If you don’t know by now, a thief’s main means of entry into a large gun safe will be by it’s Door Gap. Most thieves don’t have the time to take special tools and cut through 11 or 12 gauge steel.
They really don’t even have the time to take an ax to it. This sort of break-in attempt would also be quite loud.
A crowbar is a common thief’s best friend. I have seen videos where 700 lb. gun safes were easily broken into in less than 3 minutes with standard crowbars. This was all possible because the door gap was too big.
Some large gun safes are great at presenting the illusion of being impenetrable because of their weight and their huge doors, but the trained eye can easily spot the points at which a large gun safe can be compromised. A large door gap is the #1 method of forced entry into these types of safes.
Now that we have this information, how do we determine what is a large door gap and what is an acceptable smaller door gap. There is a simple rule, but it works. If the door gap is 1/4 inches or more, this is enough room for a thief to insert a crowbar or pry bar and get to work.
The Quarter Method
If you do not have a measuring tape or a ruler when you are analyzing a large gun safe that has peaked your interest, you can use the “Quarter” method. The average quarter measures about 1/16 of an inch in thickness.
If you take a quarter and attempt to slide it through the door gap, and it slides through with much room to spare, this may give a criminal just what he is looking for. On the other hand if it proves to be a tight fit, you have yourself a pry resistant gun safe.
It will be very difficult, if possible at all, for a criminal to pry a large door open with such little room. Any large gun safe you want should pass this test for the most common means of entry to large gun safes or rifle safes. When you are testing this gun safe with the quarter method, make sure you test the top of the door, both the left and right sides, and the bottom of the door.
The door gaps in some safes don’t always measure the same gap space all the way around. Doors can be pried open from the bottom and the sides as easily as they can from the top. So you definitely want to check all four sides.
There are those who think that it would take a lot of strength from a very large man, or it would take several men to pry open such a large door. Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, “a large door does not mean it is a quality door that is 100% steel.”
Secondly, if the door gap is large enough, the average man would be able to pry it open because it all comes down to leverage, and what gauge of steel the gun safe door is made of. If the door is made of a high gauge of steel and if the door gap is wide enough, repeated attempts, with great leverage, to bend the door in a “can opener” type of style, (traveling around the sides of the door) can definitely result in a successful pry.
This is why door gap and steel gauge are two of the most important issues to consider when buying a large gun safe. A gun safe with a low steel gauge, as well as a very small door gap, is going to be almost impossible to break into. At this point some criminals may attempt to knock the lock or keypad off, but that’s another discussion.
Perfect Door Gap
Here, we can see that we have already prevented the most common type of gun safe breaching. This really is what gun safes are intended to do…..”provide progressively compounded levels of resistance” until the thief realizes that his time just isn’t worth it.
Almost any gun safe can be compromised if the right tools are involved and there is enough time, but time is something that most criminals just don’t have. The best gun safes are specifically and intelligently designed to compound resistance to forced entry at the most common places of entry.
So, as we can see, it’s not all about size when it comes to large safes, it’s about intelligent engineering. You obviously need the size if you plan to store a huge collection of guns, but the actual “security” is going to come down to intelligent engineering.
So, if you plan to get a large shotgun or rifle safe, the first thing you look at should not be it’s size. The first thing you should look at is it’s door gap. Never be shy about using the quarter test. This test may seem strange to others, but it may save you tons of regret and quite a few dollars in the end.