The Gunblast brothers had several “missions”
at the Shot Show in
February. Jeff, as always, enjoys comparing
ballistics figures with the ammo manufacturers and investigating
all the new guns that are coming out where we can get our hands
on them for testing and evaluation. Boge follows
Jeff around making pictures of all the great new stuff at the
Show, and trying to make Jeff look good on camera (tough job).
I, on the other hand, generally go off on my own with different
types of assignments. I began looking for the “best of
the best” manufacturers and wholesalers in specific markets
with whom I will invite to become a Gunblast advertiser,
something we just started at the Shot Show this year. I
look for other areas in which we can elevate the business
aspects of Gunblast to generate income where we can continue to
bring the Gunblast.com reader the very finest content without
reservation or external influence. In other words, make
money where we can continue to “tell it like it is”; the
trademark of Gunblast’s mission as the pioneer online gun test
magazine. And, as always at the Shot Show, I look for new
and innovative products that we can showcase on Gunblast, as
well as isolate a few products with the intent of discovering
the very best of their breed. It is with the latter
assignment, a mission of discovery regarding what we consider
the best gun safe for the money, that culminated in this
As Jeff and Boge got to handle all the new guns, I spent two
days at the Shot Show learning all I could about gun safes, and
then investigating which gun safe manufacturer offers the best
features for the money. The reason for this dedication to
the gun safe product is twofold.
One, more and more gun owners seek out safes in which to store
their precious firearms collection. This is very smart.
A quality firearm is a significant investment, and they should
be protected as such. Insurance plans typically don’t
provide enough coverage to replace one gun, much less a bunch of
them. Additional insurance is expensive. A quality
gun safe is the best bet against theft and fire and could prove
to be the best investment a gun owner could purchase. In
addition, if you feel a need to build up your gun and ammo
investment for family protection (see Jeff's article on Homeland
Security), you need a safe and accessible place for storage; a
quality gun safe is your best answer. Furthermore, it is
dangerous and totally irresponsible to be a parent of small kids
and have guns loaded lying around for them to discover by
accident, unless you have trained them in proper gun safety. A
small child must be taught to never touch a gun without
permission. Still, if your child knows to never touch a gun, if
he has friends over to visit, chances are that the friend has no
such training. You must be absolutely certain that no
unauthorized person has access to your firearms. After a
child is killed or injured as a result of a preventable gun
accident, it is too late for “I wish I had of’s”.
Don’t give the antigun nazi’s another opportunity to rally
for additional gun laws because of your negligence.
Therefore, if you choose to own guns and ammo at your home, you
need a safe place to store them.
The second reason is a very selfish one. As the
Gunblast.com personal firearms collection continues to grow, we
recognized a need to house the finest of these guns in a quality
safe(s) for protection from theft and fire. So, I spent a
significant amount of time at the Show investigating gun safes
with these factors in mind.
There are a lot of quality gun safes on the market, and some
that are pretty much junk. I spent many hours at the Show
reviewing the best and the worst within the gun safe market.
Some of the better gun safes evaluated at the Shot Show include
models from the following manufacturers: American
Security, Browning, Canon Safe, Champion Safe, Fort Knox,
Frontier, Granite Security (Winchester), GunVault, Heritage,
Homak, Knoxx, Liberty, Remington, Safari Safe, San Angelo,
and Weatherby. Within this group are the
inexpensive (but non-fire resistant and easier to break into)
products from manufacturers like Homak and GunVault,
and the premium vault-like safes such as represented by most of
the rest of this list. While a safe from any of these
manufacturers would do the job for most firearms owners, we
bypassed the lower-end safes and evaluated only premium-line
safe products. These upper-end safes would all contain the
following features: exceptional quality products utilized
in manufacture, heavy gauge steel, superior locking mechanisms,
fire certification (of at least Class II), high-gloss automotive
finishes (attractive enough to please the better gender),
excellence in interior design and finish, and overall value.
After careful evaluation of many really nice safe products (most
of these any Gunblast reader would be proud to have in his
home), we had to make a choice. We selected the product
that provided superior construction, fire and theft resistance,
quality components, excellent finish (interior and out), and
best overall value (features per dollar). We chose Heritage
This is the safe we liked the best, and the safe we purchased
for ourselves (2 of them actually).
We don’t pretend to be safe experts. Yet, each
manufacturer had trained sales reps that reviewed carefully with
me each feature of their products. Some manufacturers were
easier to deal with at the Show than others, and some had
exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable reps available to answer
questions. I became simply an “information gatherer”,
carefully completing a list of features and benefits of each
premium safe product available at the Show. After
reviewing this list, I then went back and asked additional
questions. Then, I compiled a “features and benefits”
checklist, and reviewed again the top models. I narrowed
the list to several top manufacturers of premium-line safe
products. I eliminated from consideration the very top
model from each premium safe manufacturer, and the bottom model
from each premium safe manufacturer, and concentrated on the
models in the middle of the range from the very best of the
premium safe companies’ product lines. Comparing
feature-to-feature, I began to create a “short list” of
products for further consideration. From this list, I then
began to look at price, and determined overall value (features
per dollar) to be the deciding factor from the short list of the
top safe products. We chose Heritage not for one factor
alone, but because we felt that their mid-line safe products
represented the best products at the best overall value to the
informed gun safe purchaser.
Now that I did all the painstaking comparison work for you, let
me share with you the features of the products that were chosen
First, we chose (and purchased) not one but two safe products
from Heritage. We bought one big ol’ safe and one
mid-sized safe. We chose two different colors from
opposite ends of the paint spectrum (one black and one white).
Both were very heavy and very well-built products. Believe
you me, before ol’ Greg lays out any money, he insures that he
is getting the best value for his dollar. I feel very
comfortable with our Heritage purchases, and can highly
recommend this product for any of our Gunblast readership.
We bought one Model T4072 in Ivory White, and one Model
T3060 in Gloss Black. The T stands for “Tradition
Series” safes. The Tradition Series is the
middle-of-the-road safe in Heritage’s line of quality safe
products, and is their number one best selling safe line.
The Tradition series safes by Heritage provide automotive
finishes (high gloss urethane), a gold trim package, 60-minute
fire protection, plush velour interior, and heavy construction
as standard features. These safes feature UL listing and
certification, 10-guage body and 5/8 inch solid reinforced door
frames, solid ¼ inch doors (with 3-inch angle frame), 1 3/16
inch Firewall, Class II (60 minute) Fire Certification, 1 inch
diameter lock bolts (side, top and bottom), 24K gold Tradition
3-point handle, pindot velour interior (including sidewalls and
shelves), top/bottom lock bolts, drill-proof ball bearing
design, Quad Sleeve relockers, Diam-a-Shield hard plate, and a
bank-style Sargent and Greenleaf electronic lock. These
are truly beautiful and well-built safes, loaded with features.
Other features on Heritage safes include solid
reinforced doors, active lock bolts, recessed pry-proof doors,
concealed internal hinges, drill-proof ball bearing safeguards,
hard plate metal over locks/relocks (Diam-A-Shield plate unique
to Heritage provides 30 times the drilling protection of other
leading brands), Quad-Sleeve relockers (triggered to relock when
the safe is attacked by torch, impact or prying), positive
deadbolt system locking mechanism, seamless body design (up to
50% heavier than some other brands), and UL listed bank-style
The T4072 safe is a large safe, with measurements of 40”wide x
72” high x 28” deep (interior measurements). Overall
depth is 31 ¾”. This safe weighs approximately 1100
pounds. The 4072 is designed to hold up to 52 long guns,
plus shelves for pistols, accessories, and ammo. The
interior (several options available; I chose their Expandable
model) is a modular design with a removable side shelf to hold
fewer long guns (40) and more pistols, or the modular shelf can
be removed to hold the full complement of 52 long guns. It
has 5 full shelves. The interior is beautiful, with plush
Beige velour on the shelves, safe walls (sides and back) and
interior door. This hefty beauty has a premium S&G
electronic lock and 18 (yes, 18!) lock bolts.
The exterior of the T4072 is as nice as any piece of painted
furniture. I chose the ivory white color so that it would
appease the finicky designer attitudes of my better half.
This safe looks so good it’s a shame you can’t sleep on it
or eat off it. While some might say that the Ivory White
is not a very “manly” color, it’s better to choose
something that appeals to the décor of your home and is
prominent and convenient in location than something that your
wife hates and replicates to a basement corner. After
getting the ivory white (truly the color of a nice set of ivory
handgun grips) unit delivered, I really love the color.
This thing is a true beauty. As far as quality of finish,
I couldn’t find a flaw in the finish anywhere (even the back).
The gold trim package is nice and not gaudy, and the S&G
gold lockset and the 24K gold-plated 3-point handle fit well in
any interior environment. Again, I like it and
(surprisingly) so does my wife.
Currently, the position of honor for this beautiful safe is a
place in the back of my garage (aarrgghhh). This is only
because we are building a new home, and our current rental
home’s inadequate floor system cannot hold the weight of this
huge safe without buckling the floor joists. So, a tip for
anyone purchasing a big safe: make sure you have a floor
solid enough to place a 1100 pound safe on it without structural
damage to your home. We are beefing up the floor in the
location for the safe in our new construction. Yet, most
quality homes can hold a safe as large as the T4072 without any
problem. Any location that is strong enough to hold a big
deep freezer full of Elk can hold one of these safes.
The other safe purchased was for our Gunblast.com competitive
shotgunning expert, George Briscoe II.
George is a master-class shotgun professional that is rising
like a comet through the pro sporting clays firmament. We
are proud to have George aboard. If you attend any
master-class sporting clays events, you may see a good-looking
stocky-built blonde-headed guy with a groomed beard (not like my
brother Jeff’s "ZZ Top-esqe" dual braids) sporting
‘gunblast.com’ on the barrel of his piece, beating the pants
off most of his competition. You’ll hear more about
George on Gunblast.com and in Sporting Clay events reports.
George opted for the T3060 in Gloss Black. The T3060 has
all the features of the T4072, just not quite as large.
Weighing in at 775 pounds, the 3060 is (you guessed it) 30”
wide and 60” high. It is about the size of a good-sized
fridge; any floor that’ll hold a big fridge should hold this
beauty. It has an overall depth of 28-9/16”. The
T3060 holds 27 long guns and has 12 locking bolts. The
gloss black on this safe looks as good as on any Harley, and the
gold accents (S&G lock, 24K gold 3-point handle, and script
trim) looks classy. George chose the same Beige velour
interior on the T3060 as the T4072.
Heritage also brags about being the only company in the industry
offering dual fire certification (tested and certified by
two independent fire-testing facilities: Itech Thermal
Response Fire Certification, and Certified Quad Fire
Certification by Idaho National Engineering Laboratory).
ITR (Itech Thermal Response) represents quality assurance to
specified products in providing controlled results in fire
testing. Fire safes are designated as fire resistant (not
fireproof), which entails a different temperature rise in the
furnace during the endurance of the test. Fire safes,
standing upright, and monitored and measured using ceramic
thermocouples placed throughout the safe to give exact
temperature readings. This classification provides
external safe temperature, not the furnace temperature as
promoted by some tests. Test failure occurs when the
safe’s average internal temperature reaches 350 degrees F.
Paper products will char at approximately 420 degrees F. A
certified testing furnace is rated at 1950 degrees F, generating
36 million BTU per hour of scorching heat, exposing both radiant
and convection heat transfer to the safe. In comparison, a
typical home fire is estimated to reach between 800 and 1200
degrees F. The average response time for authorities to
reach and contain most home fires is 10-30 minutes (unless you
live in the crime-riddled inner-city areas of some major
cities). All this means that a Heritage Tradition safe is
guaranteed to hold 350 degrees internal temperature or less for
one hour as certified within a furnace that delivered twice the
heat as an average home fire. So, I feel that my firearms
investment is very safe from the dangers of fire when placed in
this Heritage safe.
All Heritage safes have a lifetime warranty, including in-home
repair, covering forced entry, forced attack, fire, flood,
hurricane, tornado, and earthquake damage, as well as a 5-year
paint warranty against rust and a 5-year lock warranty.
Lifetime, free-of-charge, repair, either in-home or free pickup
and delivery. If that isn’t enough, they offer an
extended warranty to cover lifetime paint and lockset.
Cost? You can spend more on a quality safe, and you can
spend less. From my research (and remember I am the
businessman of the three Gunblast brothers, and am noted to be
pretty cheap), I found that the Heritage Tradition safe
delivered the best combination of quality, warranty, and
workmanship for the money. In other words, you can spend
more money, but you won’t buy a better safe. Price will
depend upon delivery location and options. Configured as
in our test articles, excluding delivery, cost should run
somewhere in the neighborhood of $2200-$2700 for the T4072 and
$1500-1800 for the T3060 (prices current as of May 2003). Don’t hold me to this,
however, as Heritage sells through a dealer network, and I
cannot tell you what a dealer will charge. It may cost
more or less, but you’d be safe to figure a cost in this
general range. If you need more information on features
and pricing, go to www.heritagesafe.com,
and find the nearest dealer to your location.
What now? You have several nice guns and you want to
protect them? You are concerned about fire and theft for
your guns as well as other home valuables? You have kids
and want to prevent accidental gun discovery? You want to
protect your family by having accessible loaded firearms and
supplies of ammo in a safe and convenient location? You
want a safe that looks as good as it protects, with top quality
and the best warranty in the business? Then, take the
money you’d spend on that next shotgun or rifle and invest in
a quality gun safe from Heritage.
Tell ‘em that those Gunblast brothers from Tennessee sent you!
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