Monthly Archives: November 2015

Gun Safes Make Great Christmas Gifts, But . . .

Gun safes make terrific Christmas gifts provided that the unit selected is appropriate for the recipient’s needs. That can be a problem, however, because the well-intended purchaser often does not appreciate the differences in quality, and they may not know about everything the user will store in the safe. The buyer is usually a girl friend or wife who is buying an expensive gift for her man. Understandably, she is focused on price because even a cheap gun safe is a big purchase.

Big box stores take full advantage of this situation with Black Friday sales and Christmas sales. They sell thousands of cheap Chinese units which, to the person who doesn’t do proper research, appear to be suitable. The result can be that the gun owner ends up with a safe he would not buy for himself. It might not offer the protection he knows he should have. While truly appreciating the thought behind his present, he may have unspoken doubts about using it. It’s a difficult gift to return. We have all been there with one gift or another.

So here are my suggestions:

  • Don’t buy a gun safe as a surprise. Talk about it in advance. Get his input about brand, size, and value of what he will use it for.
  • Be wary of Black Friday and Christmas sales.
  • Don’t buy only, or primarily, based on price.
  • Don’t buy a Chinese product.
  • Both parties should learn the basics about gun safes, the differences in brands and models. A good place to start is by reading my earlier posts about gun safes, safe locks, etc.
  • Buy from a legitimate safe store, not a gun store or big box. Your research time will be well spent talking directly with safe experts who actually service different brands.
  • If cost of a good unit is too high, then agree that this gift will be for Christmas and his birthday, or this Christmas and next, or have him pitch in on the cost, or get his family to contribute.

Honestly, a quality gun safe is a gift he will actually use and remember for years, even if he has to help with the cost. But the memory will be less positive if it is one of those gifts that he would secretly prefer to return for something better.

Used High Security Safes for Silver and Gold

Tom’s two general rules about safe prices: 1) You can get fire protection relatively cheap or you can get burglary resistance relatively cheap, but the price of both fire and burglary will be relatively high; 2) Good quality used safes will save you a significant amount of money.

Here is a scenario we see often: A couple has been gradually (or suddenly) converting much of their personal wealth into silver and gold, to protect their life savings from a financial market collapse. They also want to prevent the government from knowing too much about their business. But they want to buy a cheap safe. They want to store a large portion of their life savings in a “garage sale price” safe. That doesn’t make sense. And they usually are more concerned about fire than break-in, so they buy a fire safe.

Plate steel safes 023Plate steel safes 029

If you buy coins with numismatic value, or it they are in plastic cases or presentation boxes, then fire and smoke protection is important. But if you are just buying rounds, bars or bulk silver coins I recommend a used plate steel high security unit. A used safe with 1” or 1 ½” of solid steel on the door and a “TL” rating will get you outstanding burglary resistance at a reasonable price. It is extremely unlikely that your metals would melt in a safe that did not have fire protection because the melting points are high. Following are melting temps for typical investment grade metals.

Gold, 24K                     1945 F
Silver, pure                  1761 F
Silver, coin                  1615 F
Silver, sterling             1640 F

The used safe shown on the left is small, 10 x 12 x 16, perfect for hiding under a cardboard box in a closet.  But it has a TL-15 rating and it weighs 250#!  Steel on the front is 2″ thick and the rest is 1″ thick.  The other unit is 22 x 22 x 25, a TL-15 rated safe with a 1 1/2″ solid steel door  — it weighs 910#.  These units are great for low volume/high value contents like silver or gold.