The main focus of any lock or locking system is the locking bolt. Whether you are dealing with dead bolt locks for the doors in your home, common padlocks for personal lockers and toolboxes, or even latch locks for windows, there must be a bolt, ring, or latch involved. This is obviously meant to to keep a door, window, top, lid, or covering from moving from it’s place.
This important part of any locking system is sometimes overlooked. It’s easy for the average person to see a simple bolt in place and feel like there will be adequate security because of it. But time and time and again, it is revealed to us that things are not always what they seem.
When it comes to large gun safes, Bolt Rigidity is a huge part of the security equation. So what actually is it? Bolt Rigidity is comprised of 4 key components :
- The Number of Door Bolts
- The Steel Gauge of the Door Bolts
- How the Bolts are Connected, Attached, and Supported in the Door
- Bolt Diameter
Number Of Bolts
If you think that a gun safe door that has more bolts will provide more security….guess what…..you’re right! There definitely is safety in numbers. This is quite simple and quite logical. Adding more bolts to a door will not only help to prevent the door from being moved, but it also provides “area balance.”
In a lot of cases, when gun safe doors are pried open with pry bars or crowbars, it is because of the leverage that is being applied. The amount of leverage that is required to pry open a door is what really matters in pry attacks.
If you can diminish the leverage a burglar or thief has, then you can greatly increase the chances of your safe not being compromised or broken into. Increasing area balance greatly lowers pry bar leverage. Having small door gaps will also help to decrease leverage.
Steel Gauge Of Door Bolts
Still gauge is the indicator of thickness for a piece of sheet metal. A lower number means a heavier, thicker steel, while a higher number indicates a thinner more malleable sort of steel. To give you an idea, most tool boxes are made of steel that has a steel gauge of about 18 or 20 .
Most tool boxes can easily be broken into with hammers or mallets. The average gun safe bodies are made with 10 to 12 gauge steel. The doors are generally made with 8 to 10 gauge steel. When it comes to gun safe locking bolts, it is best to find bolts with a low steel gauge. It is better to have a gun safe door with 10 low steel gauge bolts than 12 high gauge steel locking bolts.
“Bolt Coverage” is a term you may come across when looking for a gun safe. If a manufacturer claims that a gun safe has “3 Way Bolt Coverage”, this means that there are locking bolts on the bottom, the side, and the top.
How The Bolts Are Attached And Supported In The Door
In some cases, when a burglar attempts to pry open a gun safe door, he doesn’t bend the actual bolt, but he bends what the bolt is attached to. This is still more than enough to allow entry. The inner frame work and inner mechanism that holds the bolts must be sturdy and stable.
This structural rigidity is going to come down to how much steel is used, the steel gauge, and how the inner mechanism is constructed. If you can take a socket tool or a wrench and move the bolt back and forth within it’s framework, this is bad news. The locking bolt should not move at all.
If it does move, please move on to a different safe. The inner framework and mechanism attached to the door locks must be robust and extremely stable. This is one of the most important, but often overlooked, aspects of bolt rigidity.
Bolt diameter is an obvious component of bolt rigidity. Simply put, the wider a bolt is in diameter, the tougher it is going to be to bend, break, or cut through. Since we can clearly recognize the obvious, lets take a look at the industry standard.
The standard diameter of a large gun safe locking bolt is 1 inch. This is sufficient enough to defeat the most common cutting tools. This size also does well against bending or breaking. Fortunately, for those who want extra security, these gun safe door locking bolts do come in wider diameters. You can definitely find locking bolts that are 1 and 1/2 inches. The wider the better. If you can find locking bolts that are 2 inches in diameter, you are in business.
So as we can see, there are so many different pieces to the puzzle when it comes to defeating a gun safe pry attack. Locking bolt rigidity is a big piece of this puzzle. When it comes to large gun safes, so much attention is placed on the door itself , but it is the locking bolt that keeps the door secure and in place.