Gun Safes: Ratings and Certifications Are you being bamboozled?

gun safe ratings

The gun safe industry misleads consumers with deceptive ratings and bogus certifications

In this video, learn about gun safes, the gun safe industry, ratings and UL certifications. Gun safes are marketed and sold on security perceptions, not on hard facts and actual certifications.  We try to present accurate and informative material to allow you to make an educated decision based on facts and not on preconception and emotion.

gun safe fail

Breaking down UL Gun Safe  Certifications

UL listed

The first thing I want you look at is UL-listing. Most gun safes are built to UL – RSC Certification. Manufacturers use UL listings as a selling point, but what does the”RSC” rating actually mean? UL-listed RSC also called “8M10” stands for “Residential Security Container”. This does not sound very secure and for good reason. These are not Gun Safes.  This rating was created for a family of products that do not meet the minimum standards for a UL Certified Safe. The RSC Standard was designed for inexpensive steel cabinets. The RSC certification requires that they block access for five minutes using a pry bar less than 18 inches long and a hammer weighing less than three pounds. That’s it. This is a 1950’s threat level. Modern thieves are going to come in with high-powered battery operated tools and cut into an RSC certified gun cabinet in less than 5 minutes. In the Video below I just about cut the whole side off of an RSC safe in less than 15 minutes using a $9 tool for Harbor freight.

Here is a great post on thehighroad.org: The difference between “Safes” and “RSC’s”

These residential security containers are being sold as safes. They make them big and heavy and spend a lot of time talking about the doors and the locking systems. This is to give you a perceived level of security. Thieves however ignore the doors and locks and simply cut a big hole in the side. The hard truth about “gun safes” with the RSC certification is that they offer no better security then a basic gun cabinet and you are paying for a lot of useless weight and marketing.

Fire rated gun safes

Are the really fire proof?

Fire listed

Looking at the stickers on two safes, one says 45 minute fire rating and one says 60 minutes fire certified. What does that actually mean? The answer is somewhat vague and unknown. These types of fire ratings are created by the gun safe manufacturers with no oversight. Each manufacturer has their own system.  In the case of the Chinese safe, this is just a sticker and there is no testing done it all.  UL Laboratories certifies safes with three standard class ratings.  UL Class 350-1, UL Class 350-2 and UL Class 350-3. If your safe does not have a UL class 350 certification then it is not fireproof. I encourage you to do your own research. There have been several articles written on the subject. The data supports that whether guns survive a fire in a safe, gun cabinet or wooden box has more to do with how the fire burns then the actual rating of the container that they’re stored in.  RSC containers are being sold and advertised as fire-rated gun safes but per UL standards they’re not safes at all.  They do not meet the minimum standard to be called a safe and the fire ratings are not independently verified. You’re buying a big, big heavy cabinet with a perception of security.

True fire rated safe.

Fire rated safe

The construction of most traditional gun safes is a container made from 11 to 16 gauge steel lined with drywall and covered with carpeting. To achieve a true fire safe rating, you need a 10GA steel container with a steel inner wall that is filled with a specific material – see image above.

Drywall is used in RSC containers because it’s heavy and cheap.

Despite the low cost drywall is a poor choice for gun safes. Drywall contains formaldehyde used as a dispersing agent. Formaldehyde is very corrosive to steel, nickel and copper increasing corrosion in a gun very quickly. You’ve also got bacteria in drywall.  Almost all the drywall that comes out of China contains a bacteria called Acidithiobacillus. It doesn’t affect people, it eats iron and produces sulfuric acid. Have you ever noticed a sulfur smell when you open the safe door? That’s from bacteria and formaldehyde eating the metal in your guns.

Gun safe fail

UL Laboratories will not give RSC – Residential Security Containers a fire rating because they don’t meet the basic fire proof standards.  These gun cabinets are using materials that are detrimental to long-term health of firearms. They are sold based on a myth that if you put your guns in a thousand pound gorilla they’re going to be safer than if they were stored in a steel cabinet. The data just doesn’t support their claims on fire rating and security and they use materials that promote corrosion of your firearms.

The excessive weight and special bars and locks on the doors of traditional safes are promoted as a perception of security.  The Model 52 is our ultra-light gun safe made of 14-gauge steel with patented Dedlock system. It ships flat and you assemble it with eight bolts. This patented system is as rigid and strong as any welded cabinet.

SecureIt Model 52 – Light weight gun cabinet

The Model 52 is based on years of experience building weapon cabinets and armories for military units all over the world. We make no false or exaggerated claims to fire and security ratings. Our cabinets are as secure as any common gun safe sold in stores across the country but without the ridiculous weight.

Gun safe

The Model 52 gives you a light-weight, secure cabinet that will provide proper storage for 6 rifles, handguns and a lot of gear. You can use multiple units throughout your home, to provide discreet security and fast access in a crisis situation.

The average American moves every seven years. The Model 52 gun cabinet breaks down and moves with you very easily. SecureIt has designed modern cabinets to meet your modern lifestyle. Things are getting lighter, and easier to use, you don’t need to saddle yourself with a huge, heavy safe. Take some time to educate yourself so you can make an intelligent firearm storage decision and perhaps not end up with a thousand pound gorilla in the room.

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