What is a locking Bolt?
For a quick & easy explanation for this question, a locking bolt is the round metal pins that are built into the gun safe door and retract when open and when closed they engage and lay in place behind the door frame in order to secure the door and make it very difficult for anyone to pry it open, or get into to safe at all for the matter. Well now that I have given you a simple definition for what a locking bolt is, we should go into the factors that you should look at when analyzing the locking bolts on a gun safe.
What Materials should be used? Some people we have worked with will say the perfect material that locking bolts should be made of are titanium. We agree that it would be nice but we also are realistic and feel that the cost of such a material would place the gun safe price then at around $10,000. I know I would never be able to afford that kind of price tag and not sure anyone one here would either.
Now being realistic and making sure the strength is going to be of any value for the typical break in attempt, we would have to suggest that the materials of choice be either hardened steel or Chromalloy steel. Hardened steel bolts are very strong and will resist a pry attack just as well as any other high end fancy metals such as titanium’s. The other metal would be Chromalloy and that will add some price to your safe but in some of the higher end safes, it is worth the costs depending upon the needs.
Where should they be?
IN the case of gun lockers or gun cabinets, those products will usually have an external locking mechanism and in some cases the lockers will have locking bolts in the door but only one row of them, between three and four bolts, on one side of the door.
So I figure the discussion here is more towards the real gun safe or security safe. The better safes are going to have locking bolts on every side of the door. We at GunSafeSpot.com feel that a good gun safe must have at least three bolts on each long side of the gun safe door and also have at least one but preferably two bolts on top and on the bottom of the door of the safe. Some of the expensive gun safes have bolts on every side, both top and bottom and on each corner. There have been questions about the bolts on the corners of the door adding security, and yes they do but from our tests they do not add so much that they would be worth the much higher price tag.
Now that we have discussed the places on the safe that we would like to see the locking bolts to be, the next concern is usually about how many there should be.
I lightly touched on this subject in the section of “where should they be?” If you are looking for a gun or security safe that is going to be very secure and protect from break in, then you would be wise to look into a safe with locking bolts to be no more than six inches apart. Take into account that considering a safe with locking bolts that close, that you will be in the higher priced range of safe, but it will be well worth it.
We have reviewed many and would have to say that browning is a very good high end safe and so are liberty safes and safe company named Pendleton safes. You must understand that you will be in the price ranges now of anywhere from $2500 up to $8000 depending on size and other added features. Now if you are like me and being price conscious,
I call myself cheap, but if it is price that is a larger concern, then a safe door with three to four bolts on each side and two on the top and bottom of the door are perfectly fine. The price range for something like this is around $899 up to $1300 depending on size. Be very careful to look for the amount of bolts on the lower priced safes. The amount of them on the door is critical but it is important that the size of the bolt is just as important.
What Size How Long should they be?
After we have gone over the materials that we think are good and better, where the locking bolts should be on the door for optimum strength and resistance, and how many there should be on a door, we figure that the size should be discussed and then you will have a good benchmark for judging the locking bolts on a safe.
Different size safes of course will dictate the size of the locking bolts accordingly. But once you get into the mid to large safes, (14 gun and up to 52 gun safes) then you would be best to look for locking bolts with measurements of at least one (1”) inch in diameter. Anything less than this is not really going to be of any resistance to a pry bar attack. As for the length of a locking bolt, this is very important.
Many of the lower priced safes, and especially the Chinese manufactured safes, come with very inconsistent or under sized locking bolts. Some of the Chinese safes do have the better locking bolts but you will see the prices be higher on those and then all of a sudden the value for the price savings is no longer there.
All in all, all of us here at GunSafeSpot.com feel that if you follow these insights and rules of thumb for the locking bolts on a gun or home security safe, you will get a better product for the best price.