Everything You Need To Know About Big Box Store Gun Safes

Looking to purchase a gun safe? This blog uncovers the good, the bad, and the ugly about purchasing your gun safe from a big box store. Many people opt for a big box store when looking for a gun safe. Many offer a wide selection of safes at low prices, some offer brands that you have never heard of and many bring you in with the enticing thought of a SALE!

However, it's essential to weigh the benefits against the potential drawbacks, such as concerns about low quality, limited customization options, a potential lack of employee expertise, and if it's claiming to be American-made – is it really?  

 By considering these factors and conducting a little research, you can make an informed decision that meets your specific security requirements. Kaynine Safe Company aims to simplify your research by highlighting some advantages and disadvantages of big box store gun safes.

Big Box Store Gun Safes – To Buy or Not to Buy?

#1 - They have a wide selection so the products must be good right?

As we stated above, some big box stores offer a wide selection, while others offer a single brand. Sporting goods stores usually offer gun safes only, while others will offer smaller safes claiming to be able to protect your documents. What a buyer should look for is the description of the safe itself. 

Most will be vague or not have a spec sheet at all. 

Some off-the-shelf safe manufacturers boast about being American-made. Though they are only assembled (fully or partially) in America using imported components. While there are reputable brands available at big box stores, it's important to carefully examine the construction, materials, and overall build quality to ensure that the gun safe provides adequate security and protection.

#2 – They offer affordable prices and Discounted Sales

Big box store gun safes are priced to compete with other safes on their floor. If they need a safe to sell faster, they will discount it. The question you should be asking is, why is that safe model not selling fast enough? 

Large retailers leverage their purchasing power to negotiate favorable deals with manufacturers. They buy large containers full of "cookie-cutter" safes (built on an assembly line) and ship them to all their stores, resulting in lower prices compared to specialized gun safe retailers.

Does the safe fit your needs, or does the price tag encourage you to "make it work"?

#3 – Convenience – I can’t wait for the safe to be built I want it now! 

Big box stores are known for convenience, and purchasing a gun safe from these retailers is no exception. If you need a safe right away, and any old safe will do, these stores may be your ticket. However, I'd like to ask the previous question again... slightly modified. 

Does the safe fit your needs, or does immediate availability encourage you to "make it work"?

Speaking of convenience, be sure to look into shipping/delivering policies regarding safes. Nothing is FREE – So don’t be fooled by the intriguing term - “free curbside delivery”. Shipping is definitely not free to the retailer so you are paying for it in the overall price. 

Another important factor to look into is how the safe will arrive. Will the truck have a lift gate and the tools to get it into your house or will they literally just leave it curbside?

Also, consider the size and weight of the safe, and the logistics of how you will move it to where it needs to be. If delivery was not available, will the safe fit into your truck? Do you have enough people to manage it? When a 700lb safe needs to get picked up roughly 2 feet to the bed of a truck, can you make that happen? How much weight can the tailgate hold before it fails?

#4- Accessibility to staff – Their operating hours are long and there is always a lot of staff!

When buying a gun safe, having access to knowledgeable staff members is invaluable. A dedicated safe manufacturer/retailer has a staff with extensive knowledge of their safes. Big box stores are a whole different ball game. 

With so many products, it's nearly impossible to train the staff on all of them. Their products are also ever-changing (as mentioned prior) they may switch the whole line depending on where they find large quantity deals. This combination leaves the staff members, most likely with only the information listed on the sticker/price sheet, and those almost never list the steel thickness (RED FLAG!)

Lastly please keep in mind that just because a store sells guns and gun safes, it doesn't mean they sell QUALITY gun safes.

Big Box Store Vs. Custom Builder

Get The Safe That Works [Rather Than Making It Work]

The previous sections asked the following questions:

Does the safe fit your needs, or does the price tag encourage you to "make it work"?

Does the safe fit your needs, or does immediate availability encourage you to "make it work"?

If you answered yes to either of those (or if you had to think about them for an extended amount of time) then a big box store safe is already at a disadvantage, and we haven't started talking about options and logistics. 

Imagine the following scenario: you found a safe that can hold all your guns, but it only offers 30 minutes of fire resistance. You would like 1-hour fire protection, but that safe model can't hold as many guns. Which sacrifice do you make?

Now ask yourself what that sacrifice will cost you in the event of fire or theft. The price of just 2 or 3 firearms can very easily outweigh the price difference between a [link to other article] “dirt-cheap safe” which offers minimal protection for a fraction of your collection, and a custom safe that fits your every need. 

When you look at it from that lens, a custom safe built by a respected manufacturer can easily be the better and more cost-effective option.

Control Over Options & Construction

When it comes to mass-produced gun safes found at big box stores, what you see is essentially what you get. These safes are designed to cater to a wide range of customers, prioritizing affordability and convenience over customization. As a result, the components of these safes are standardized and may not offer the same level of quality or security as their custom-built counterparts.

Size & Capacity

One of the primary aspects affected by mass production is the construction of the safe itself. Big box store safes often feature a standard, pre-determined size, and shape. They are typically constructed using lower-gauge steel, which is thinner compared to custom safes. The reduced thickness may compromise the overall strength and durability of the safe, potentially making it more susceptible to unauthorized access or damage.

Pick A Lock That Can’t Be “Picked” With An Internet Search

The locking mechanism is another crucial component that tends to be standard in mass-produced gun safes. These safes typically come with electronic keypad locks or mechanical combination locks as the default option. A quick online search shows you can request (and find) instructions for cracking almost any commercially available safe. Our staff has even been hired to drill out a competitor's faulty lock on a big box store safe. 

While these locks can provide a basic level of security, they might not offer the same level of sophistication and reliability as the advanced locking mechanisms available in custom safes. Additionally, mass-produced safes often lack the option for upgraded or secondary locking systems, like Kaynine’s patented “re-locker” system.

Interior Layout, Options, Accessories, & Colors

The interior setup of a big box store safe is usually fixed and may not be customizable to suit individual needs. The number and configuration of shelves, racks, and compartments are predetermined, which might not accommodate specific storage requirements or the organization of firearms and accessories. This lack of flexibility can be a significant drawback, as it limits the potential for optimizing the space within the safe to match the user's unique collection and preferences.

While these locks can provide a basic level of security, they might not offer the same level of sophistication and reliability as the advanced locking mechanisms available in custom safes. Additionally, mass-produced safes often lack the option for upgraded or secondary locking systems, like Kaynine’s patented “re-locker” system.

Genuine Fire Protection or Carpet Covered Fire Board?

Mass-produced safes may also incorporate generic fireproofing materials and insulation. While they might offer a certain level of fire resistance, the quality and duration of protection might not be as reliable as the fireproofing measures used in custom safes. Custom safes often utilize advanced fire-resistant materials and insulation techniques that have been rigorously tested to withstand higher temperatures for longer periods, providing enhanced safeguarding for valuable firearms and possessions.

Protect Your Investment Properly - Not Poorly

If you could choose to secure your guns with 2 layers of steel or 1 layer of steel and 1 layer of drywall covered with carpet, which would you choose? If you want to have any choice at all, the custom builder is the way to go. 

Assembly line safes are built on a budget, leading manufacturers to seek cheaper construction materials that minimize cost. They defer the choice of “acceptable level of risk” to the consumer. The end goal is to move units. 

The goal of a safe builder is to offer maximum protection, and minimal risk, at a fair price.

One bad safe deal to a major retailer is no big deal, they just drop the line and bring in a competitor.  People have come to expect this type of fail rate from a big box store, and they don’t typically hold the retailer responsible.  Whereas one bad safe deal to a manufacturer could be the end of the company.

Working with a custom safe builder allows you to have full control over the construction, components, and features of your safe, ensuring that it aligns perfectly with your specific requirements. From selecting the gauge of steel, choosing advanced locking mechanisms, and customizing the interior layout, to incorporating high-quality fireproofing materials, the possibilities are virtually endless. This level of customization empowers firearm owners to create a safe that not only provides superior security and protection but also caters to their individual needs and preferences. By working with a custom safe builder, you can rest assured knowing that your firearms are stored in a premium, tailor-made safe that goes above and beyond the limitations of mass-produced options, offering you peace of mind and confidence in the security of your valuable collection.

To learn more about safes built by Kaynine Safe Company click here

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