What to Look For in a Gun Safe

Purchasing any product that you are going to keep for many years means you need to do proper research to ensure that what you are buying is worth the money. This is never more true than with a gun safe. These safes are available in many models, sizes, and materials, so it can be tough to get your head around which you should go with. Here we will look at what to look for in a gun safe, so you know exactly what to keep an eye out for. Let’s get right to it!

pistol gun and bullets in a case


We use one simple rule when it comes to size: bigger is better. Ask anyone with a gun safe, and they will tell you that buying a safe that will hold more than what you think you need it to hold will help you over the years – you never know what else you may want to protect years down the line.


After size, the most crucial consideration is the lock – this is what keeps your contents safe once inside the safe. The top locks available are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed locks. These locks are UL tested and certified – they come with a history of over 100 years.

They are the gold standard for reliability and safety testing, so if your lock is UL-listed, you are good to go. In fact, if the safe you are looking at doesn’t have the UL stamp of approval, avoid purchasing it.

Double or Triple Directional Protection

If you look at the cheapest safes on the market, you will find that they typically only have a locking bar or bolt on the side of the safe opposite the door hinges. This makes it much simpler for thieves to gain access to the safe.

Advanced gun safes will feature bolts at the top and bottom in addition to the side bolt. Additionally, some safes have hinge-side bolts that protect the safe from that side too. The basic rule of thumb is the more bars or bolts, the more protected your safe is.


While locks and bolts are great, even the best quality locks can be overcome by the most determined of thieves. This is why you need a relocker. This is a fail-safe that engages if the safe lock is defeated.

If the lock is damaged or destroyed, the relocker activates to provide another layer of protection. How does it do this? Even if the lock is removed, the bolts and bars stay engaged.

Relockers are available in two types – external and internal. In a perfect world, you want a safe that offers both, but don’t even look at a safe if it doesn’t have at least one.

Safe Placement

When looking at a gun safe, you need to consider where you will be anchoring/mounting it. Our first suggestion is to decide if it will be placed in a room that is covered by your home alarm system. If not, putting your safe in an unseen position is vital.

You also need to look at the lighting available in the room you are considering. If it is low lit, you may want to look for a safe that comes with internal lighting – this is always helpful and often available in entry-level models.


Believe it or not, thieves are not the only concern you have when looking at a gun safe. The items that go in your gun safe, other than a gun, will likely include valuable jewelry, cash, important documents, and travel documents. Protecting these items in the occurrence of a fire is just as important as protection from a thief.

To do this, you need to ensure that the gun safe you purchase has fireboard in the door, floor, walls, and ceiling – the more layers, the safer your safe. The fireboard layers resist fire to keep your valuables protected. There is no standard for safe fireboard, so don’t take the brand’s rating at face value – rather, look at how many layers of fireboard have been included.


Having a safe that you can’t get into is only effective if that safe can’t be moved. That is why anchoring your gun safe is so crucial. It is so easy for a thief to break into your home and load up your safe, only to be able to break into it with all the time in the world.

Most safes will have at least one anchor hole that you can anchor to your floor. It is best to secure your safe to a concrete floor. A wooden floor will not offer you much protection if the thief has a bit of time on their hands.

If you are not sure how to anchor your gun safe yourself, it is best to hire a safety expert who will come to your home and install it for you. Ensure that you only hire a reputable company that will not store information about your address or your safe location in your home or office.

Internal Versatility

The last thing you need to keep in mind when looking for a gun safe is what it offers internally. The purpose of a safe is to keep your valuables protected, but if you can’t properly store those valuables, it defeats the point. Consider what you will be placing inside your safe so you can make decisions about what sort of space you will need. The best option would be to find a safe that offers an adjustable interior so you can change it based on your needs over the years.

Final Thoughts

Now you know the main features to consider when you are looking at purchasing a gun safe for your home or office. With the variety of safes with their plethora of features available, it can feel like an enormous task to find the right safe for you. But with the guide above, you should feel content knowing that if these are included, your possessions will be safe and sound.

If you aren't familiar with the gun safes on the market and you aren't sure which of the gun safe models is the best choice for you, I recommend you to read my Gun Safe Buying Guide so you can learn how to determine which gun safe suits your lifestyle best. I have made a detailed guide about the features you have to consider before you buy a gun safe and they are connected to the size, brand which made it, capacity, materials used during the production and special features like fire or water protection. If you are familiar with all those features, I suggest you visit my posts about best biometric, quick access or fireproof gun safes if you know that they suit your lifestyle best.