Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Browning ProSteel Gun Safe

Guns make us feel safe right? We keep them on our person, under car seats, in glove boxes, in purses and even on night stands. But what do you do to make your guns feel safe. Do you lock them up or do you just leave them in a range bag on your closet floor?
That’s a dumb question. But what isn’t dumb is being smart with your guns and other personal belongings.
  • Don’t let kids get a hold of your guns! Yours or the neighbor’s kid!
  • Don’t let stolen guns get onto the street to be used in criminal activity!
  • Don’t let your precious heirlooms and other valuables get taken!
  • Don’t let a fire consume these good either.
Getting a good safe is a great idea for more than just gun safety. It’s an actual investment. My wife likes the idea of the safe so we can store important documents and jewelry and I came up with an ingenious idea! The Browning ProSteel Safe I bought has a small hole in the back that lets you run a power cord into it for a dehumidifier. Well this safe will be in a climate controlled environment so I decided that since my safe was within a few feet of my wireless router, I’m going to run a USB cord through the hole (from the back of my Wireless Router) and keep a WI-FI, USB powered backup hard drive drive inside the fireproof safe. How’s that for keeping your data secure?
I went to Sportsman’s Warehouse and looked at several of their models. Then, as I usually do, I surfed the web for some research. What I found out was that most safes are made in the same factory in China. Not a big surprise but that means that the differences are in the models within the brands more than in the brands alone. See for yourself in the photos below.
See any similarities? And even those that aren’t made in the same factory use a lot of the same parts. Yes there are some differences but if you buy a reputable brand like any of those listed above, you’ll be buying a lot of peace of mind and getting a great safe.
I bought a 14-bolt, 60"x30"x25", $1500 Browning ProSteel Copper (versus Gold) with digital keypad for several reasons. Ease, it was at my local store. Function, it had a great interior with TONS us usable space for it’s overall footprint. Price, it was in my price range. Security, I felt it would more than adequately keep my stuff safe (Fire: 60 minutes at 1200 degrees).
Here’s what I mean by lots of usable space. Notice how the door (a spot normally left empty) allows for seven rifles, several hand guns and has pockets galore for anything from knives and holsters to jewelry and passports?
It’s a wonderful idea! The door alone holds the contents of many small safes!
Not only that, the entire interior is covered with a felt-like lining. I have two small hockey puck sized “tap lights” with Velcro on the back and the “hook” side of the Velcro easily sticks to the felt on the ceiling of the safe. Instant interior lighting on the cheap!
Now, I needed to figure out where to put the new safe. According to my wife, it had to be hidden from view, not in the master bedroom but somewhere easy to get to. That didn’t leave may options. So, together we decided to put it in a closet under the stairs. After some tape measurements were taken, we determined it was a perfect fit.
But what effect would a 615 lb. (empty) safe have on my floors? Instead of taking chances, I put two $30 floor jacks in the crawl space under the floor where the safe would live. $60 and a little (I really mean little, those things are EASY to install) work now means no chance of sagging floors later.
Once purchased, I had to get the mid-sized beast home. Sigh. Instead of calling my tough guy buddies, I decided to let the professionals handle it. I called a piano mover that also moved safes. He charged me $250 (about $150 more than the kid at the store) but think of this. The piano mover is insured and bonded! If he scratches you floor or rams a hole into your wall or worse, you’re covered! To me, it was worth the extra money for that peace of mind alone. Isn’t that why we buy safes anyway, peace of mind?
Once installed, I immediately reset the master combination to a crazy number that I hope I never forget (I even reset the fall back combo. The “oops I forgot the combo”, combo). The digital key pad gives you the option of timed delay opening and a cool two series combination that lets you program in two different combinations where both have to be entered for the safe to be opened.
For example, my wife could have a combination that I don’t know and I could have a combination that she doesn’t know but both numbers must be entered for the door to be opened. That way neither one of us could access the contents of the safe without the other knowing it. Overkill in my home but you might have need for this cool feature if you’re a store manager.
Also, enter the wrong code a couple of times and the safe locks you out for five minutes. There are other settings too numerous to be described here but I was surprised by all of options.
After changing the combination to 12345 (just kidding) I loaded the safe with all my firearms. Sigh. While I now have room to grow, I immediately saw that I needed more hardware to keep the safe from looking so empty.
Oh, one more thing, safes need to breath. The doors aren’t air tight. But in the event of a fire, you want that baby sealed tight! So another cool feature is that the seal around the door allows air to pass but when heated up from a fire, it expands to seal the door shut, keeping out some of the heat, smoke and water (from the fire fighters).
Am I happy with my purchase? You bet! When you stack up the incredible usage of interior space, fire-resistance (yes, there are safes with a better rating), overall break-in security and medium sized foot print, the choice was an easy one. The Browning ProSteel Copper is perfect for me.
SPECS (from the Browning web site):
  • 1200° F/60 minute fire protection
  • Attractive wildlife scene available
  • Full DPX® Storage System (on the door)
  • Top door bolts for extra security
Copper Series features
  • 12-gauge steel body
  • 1" formed steel door
  • Force Deflector™ Locking Mechanism
  • Hardened steel pin lock protection
  • 1" chromed locking bolts, three-sided door coverage
  • DPX Storage System
  • UL® tool attack listed
  • S & G® Group II lock with key lock dial and five-year limited warranty
  • Three-spoke handle
  • Available with game scene or scroll graphics
  • Baked on high gloss or rugged textured finishes
  • Elevated floor to facilitate removal of guns
1200°/60 min. Standard Fire Protection
  • 1200° F/60 min. fire protection
  • Three layers of 1/2" fire-resistant insulation in the body and door
  • Palusol® expanding fire seal
No matter what you choose, have a way to lock up your guns. Keep them out of the hands of kids, criminals and please keep them off the streets. We have a right to own and bear arms but that comes with a responsibility. Even an inexpensive, light-weight gun locker bolted to the floor is better than nothing. Ok, I’ll get off my soap box now.


  1. I have installed two secure logic biometric safes for my ready guns..one in our bedroon and one on the other side of the house in the hall. learned that one th ehard way..

  2. When I bought my house 24 years ago, one of my first purchases was a heavy-duty safe to replace the $50 Homak steel cabinet I'd been using in my apartment. A $600 (at the time) safe was a lot for me to spend at the time, but I realized it was cheap insurance given what I had invested in the guns in it.