Understanding Gauge Ratings
Always make sure to check the gauge rating on a gun safe before making the decision to buy. And if you cannot find this rating on the safe or listed in the safe’s spec sheet, ask your dealer for more information. If you are unfamiliar with how gauge ratings work, they can be a little confusing. The higher the gauge rating, the thinner the gun safe steel is. Therefore, you want to look for a safe that has a lower gauge rating.
Lower quality gun safe steel usually has a gauge between 14- to 20-gauge. This means the steel walls on the safe are very thin. The likelihood they will stand up to a drill or prying attack is low. Gun safe metal that is 14-gauge is 1.626mm (0.064”) thick, while 20-gauge is a mere 0.9mm (.037”) thick.
You should try to choose a safe made with thick steel that is between 12- and 6-gauge for the greatest protection. Gun safe metal that is 12-gauge is 2.057mm (0.081”) thick, while 6-gauge is 4.166mm (0.164”) thick. You will pay more for thicker gun safe steel, but it is well worth it.
Here are four reasons why steel thickness is vital for your gun safe:
Reason #1 – Thick Gun Safe Steel Means a Stronger Safe
When it comes to protecting your firearms and your family’s valuables, each thicker gauge increases the strength of your safe at a greater rate. Doubling the thickness, like going from 12-gauge to 6-gauge makes the steel eight times stronger.
Reason #2 – Thick Steel is the Best Metal for Safes
When shopping for a safe, you want to ensure its thick walls are made from good quality steel. There are actually some gun safes on the market that are made from aluminum alloy, which is not nearly as strong as steel.
Reason #3 – Thick Steel Provides Greater Fire Protection
Gun safes offering the most fire protection usually have thicker steel walls. However, do not assume that all safes with thick walls are designed for fire protection. Such a safe should also have additional fire protective features, including multiple layers of fire-rated sheetrock.
Reason #4 – Greater Peace of Mind
Having a safe constructed with thick steel can give you and your family a greater peace of mind; your firearms and valuables are protected from theft and fire. After all, isn’t that the main reason for owning a gun safe?