What Does “Gauge” Really Mean?

April 9th, 2014

Gauge InfographicIn the safe world terms like “gauge” are commonplace, but what does “# gauge steel” really mean? You may wonder when you’re shopping for a safe for home, is 12 or 11-gauge good enough, or should I invest in a 4-gauge steel liner? These are great questions you should ask and we hope our infographic to the left will help you have a bit more insight into what gauge represents. As the gauge # decreases, the thickness of the steel increases. Seems like it should be opposite, but that’s how it works. It’s as simple as that!

As far as what’s the right gauge of steel for your home safe, we’re sure you’ve heard the phrase: You get what you pay for. Well, it’s true! Safes at big-box stores can be alluring with their deep discounted prices. While some deep discounted items are the same wherever you buy them, safes are not. To the naked eye, they may look the same, but are you really purchasing a safe for its looks? Most likely the answer is no. When you look deeper at the specifications of these safes, take time to notice the gauge of steel and if there is none listed, that means something too, it’s worth the investigation. Also note what part of the safe the gauge of steel is referring to…is it the entire body of the safe? Or is it just the door? A safe door will often have thicker steel than the body of the safe, but the body is important too!

When shopping for a safe for home, know what kind of security you are investing in so you make the right choice. At Maximum Security our safe experts will take the time to help you be an educated buyer. We have quality home safes at all price points and steel thicknesses. Whether it’s 14-gauge, 4-gauge or something in between, we have a safe for you. As you can see from the graphic, it makes quite a difference!

New California Gun Laws For 2014

March 3rd, 2014

With the New Year now in full swing, are you up to date on the new California gun laws for 2014? These days gun laws are constantly changing; in fact, several new gun laws were recently signed into effect that you should know about. We won’t bore you with all the nitty gritty details, just give you a breakdown on the laws that are likely to affect you the most as a California gun owner.

First off, gun owners no longer need a “good cause” to obtain a conceal carry permit. This is a major change, previously California required gun owners to show a “good cause” for why they needed special protection. Federal court overturned this standard because it was seen as a violation of the 2nd Amendment. If you’re excited to run right out and snag your permit, you’re not the only one; be prepared for it to take awhile. According to Fox News, more than 500 applications poured in to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in just two weeks. This is roughly the total number of applications filed in all of 2013, a spokesman said.

If you’re curious about new regulations for registering your firearms, and you live in California, you’re in luck! California residents will not need to register their currently owned firearms. However, whenever a long gun is transferred through a dealer it will automatically be registered to the receiving individual (PC 11106 and 28160). It is important to note that this does not apply to individuals not currently residing in California. All individuals who move to California will need to register their long guns and handguns soon after moving into the state (PC 27560).

Another important law signed into effect this year is Penal Code section 25100 that states: With certain exceptions, if you keep a loaded firearm in your residence, and a person prohibited from possessing firearms gains access to the firearm and that person hurts him or herself, someone else or carries the firearm into a public place, you can be prosecuted.  In addition, you can commit “criminal storage in the third degree” if you keep a loaded firearm within any premises where you know or should know a child is likely to gain access to the firearm.

Whether you think it’s harsh or not, it’s laws like this one that impress upon gun owners the necessity of owning a good quality gun safe. The consequences of not properly storing your guns are severe, so take the steps necessary to ensure your guns do not fall into the wrong hands. Interested in buying a gun safe, but don’t know where to start? Download our free Gun Safe Buying Guide. Also, visit our gun safe page here, to find a safe that’s just right for you! For a full breakdown on new gun laws visit the NRA website.

Electronic Lock Not Working? Our Safe Experts Can Help!

February 19th, 2014

Electronic locks are popular choices for all types of safes from gun safes to jewelry safes, for good reason! These locks are sleek, convenient, and offer speedy access, but like anything electronic, technical issues do come up every now and then. An electronic lock malfunction can be irritating, but not having the solution is even more irritating! Fear not, our lock experts at Maximum Security have developed a troubleshooting guide to provide you with quick fix solutions for your electronic lock.

Step one for any electronic lock malfunction is simple; replace the batteries. Not just any old batteries will do, electronic locks require powerful brand new, future dated, good quality brand batteries (i.e. Duracell or Energizer). No matter what symptom your electronic lock is exhibiting, battery replacement will always be the first method step in troubleshooting.

After replacing the batteries, we hope your lock will be back to full working order, but if not, you’re the reason why we’ve created the Electronic Lock Troubleshooting Guide, to walk you through the diagnosis process and proper solution for your lock challenge. Check it out and let us know if you discover any other additional tips along the way that work for you!

AMSEC BF Gun Safes Sport New 2-Hour Fire Rating

February 4th, 2014

amsec bf series gun safe fire proof testIf a fire resistant gun safe is what you’re looking for, it’ll be tough finding one to compete with AMSEC’s BF Series, and if you already have a BF you’ll be happy to hear this news. AMSEC BF gun safes were historically touted as having 90-minutes of fire resistance, which is already impressive. Recently, ETL Intertek, an independent testing lab, ran a blind gun safe fire resistance test between competing brands, and the AMSEC BF safe came out on top, proving fire resistant for beyond 2 full hours! The safe itself is exactly the same, but needless to say, BF series safes now officially come proudly certified with a 2-hour fire rating.

Curious how one of these Intertek tests is done? Fire safe tests literally involve sealing the safe inside a big oven and cranking the temperature up to 1200º. It then takes eight minutes for the oven to reach 1200º after which the temperature is held steady at 1200º for the remainder of the two-hour test. Typical house fires peak at 1100º, but 1200º is used to be on the cautious side. At this temperature, the interior of the safe must stay under 350º (paper chars at 450º); if the internal temperature rises above 350º the safe fails the test.

How did AMSEC stack up? The BF gun safe exceeded testing standards with internal temperatures never exceeding 325º until after the 2-hour mark. It wasn’t until 126.5 minutes went by that the interior temperature reached the testing cut off of 350º.

Better for a safe company to underestimate their own fire rating than overestimate. As you can see in the graph to the left, other brands did not meet their claims. These trumped up fire ratings, emphasize the importance of being an informed consumer. Know what to look for, safes that are tested by nationally recognized and independent testing companies such as Intertek. Be wary of unverified factory testing. For more detailed information on fire ratings visit the Burglar and Fire Rating Guide.

In other AMSEC BF Series news, the new BF6024 gun safe has just been released! Be sure to check it out, along with all the other BF Series safes here, and rest assured your valuables are certified fire safe.

For more fire safe tips check out these articles:


Heavy Winds Increase Fire Risk – Fireproof Your Home

January 17th, 2014

With recent Santa Ana winds raging, fire risk is higher than normal, which bodes the question: Is your home fireproof? Consider doing a fire safety survey of your home and check out the tips from the NFPA on how to fireproof your home on our infographic below. If you don’t have a fire safe already, don’t delay! Some valuables are irreplaceable and can only truly be protected in a fire resistant safe. Check out our inventory of fire safes here and leave us your questions in the comment section below.

What is a Data Safe & Do I Need One?

January 10th, 2014

Why Your Fire Safe May Not Be Protecting All of Your Valuables…

Data Media SafeMost people when they hear the term “fire safe,” automatically assume that the items they keep inside it will be, like the name indicates, fire safe. But did you know that fire safes do not protect all types of valuables? In fact, there are many types of materials a fire safe will not protect when it comes to a fire. Rest assured, there is a safe out there that will protect it all. Enter the data safe. This safe is really a safe within a safe. The outer safe has all of the fire protection of a fire safe, while the inside safe has the appropriate protection for any data, media files, and more (see “valuables that require a data safe” below). 

How a Data Safe Works

A regular fire safe has a special wall that when it reaches a certain high temperature, produces steam, which keeps the temperature inside, much cooler than the temperature on the outside of the safe. This steam does not harm many materials, but there are certain sensitive materials that will be ruined by the moisture of this steam. Therefore, a second layer of protection (found in a data safe) is required. A data safe is comprised of a fire safe with a second moisture resistive safe inside. The fire safe acts like a normal fire safe and produces the steam to keep the temperature lower on the inside, while the second non-fire safe keeps out the steam that otherwise would destroy your sensitive data materials. Our favorite trusted data safes are the Phoenix 4620 Series.

Valuables That Require a Data Safe

The following materials, though it may not be obvious, are all magnetically charged. Steam destroys all magnetically charged objects. So, don’t lose those precious photos or that favorite home video! Invest in a data safe.

  • CDs and DVDs
  • Floppy Discs
  • 4mm and 8mm cartridges
  • Tapes – Digital Linear Tape (DLT) and Linear-Tape-Open (LTO)
  • Removable hard drives, thumb drives

As you consider your personal valuables, let us advise you to take an inventory list of what you currently have in your safe, or what you would like to protect if you had the proper safe to do so. Next, let us tell you about some high quality data safes that we have to offer. The Phoenix 4620 Series Data Safes are designed for unrivaled data defense with first-class protection against fire and water damage. We currently have two Phoenix 4622 data safes with 2-hour fire protection that were improperly handled during shipment, so now they need to go! Because these Phoenix 4622 safes have a couple cosmetic flaws (see photos) we are offering them for an aggressive price of $5250. Make sure your valuables are really protected when it comes to a fire, and contact us to see if a data safe is right for you. For more tips on data safes and more, check out our FAQ page.


A Behind the Scenes Look at Safe Cracking

October 28th, 2013

Can safes really be cracked, or is it all a Hollywood illusion? In the recently released blockbuster film, Now You See Me, a team of magicians known as the Four Horsemen, are masters of every trick in the book, including safe cracking. One of the Four Horsemen, Jack Wilder, claims that, “Nothing is ever really locked.”

So is it true? And is it as easy as these grand thief actors make it seem? Well, the most popular method of safe cracking is simply stealing the entire safe and hauling it to another location where the safe cracking time can be unlimited. In fact, by putting all of one’s valuables in a safe that’s fairly light and not bolted down, one is basically packing a suitcase full of treasures for the burglar to haul away, making it an easy steal. Since this is such a common burglar method, we highly recommend bolting your safe down. For more info on how to do this, see our article: To Bolt Down or Not to Bolt Down…That is the Question.

With that being said, safe cracking IS possible and can be attempted inside a person’s home, when the burglar is not able to haul the safe away to a more secure location. The complexity and the likelihood of success for the burglar depends highly on a safe’s burglar rating.  The Underwriter’s Laboratory (U.L.) has developed a burglar rating for home security safes called: Residential Security Container (RSC), which equates to a safe being able to withstand 5 “attack” minutes of rigorous prying, drilling, grinding, punching, chiseling and tampering attacks using common tools found in a home, specifically a: 3lb. hammer, 18” pry bar, screw driver, grinder, and drill. You may think: 5 minutes, that’s all? The point is that 5 minutes of “attack” time can take 15 to 20 minutes of actual time on the clock. Statically, burglars are only inside a house for 8-10 minutes in a typical home burglary and in that time they have to find the safe, figure out what tools they’re going to use, etc. By that time, getting to the actual safe cracking time is not very likely. Want even more security? Higher security safes are available and come with a commercial (for banks and jewelry stores) burglar rating like TL-15, TL-30, or TL-30×6 (the number represents the number of minutes that the safe can withstand an attack).

You’re still probably thinking: but what about those guys in the movies who are actually able to “crack the code” and open the safe without all the brutal attack tools. Well, we can’t say that it’s not possible, but the masterminds who have learned that skill are very far and few between. The time required can be hours, and they are definitely NOT your typical home burglars. Want to know more about safe cracking or think you can figure it out? Check out our behind the scenes video looks at how mechanical locks and digital locks work HERE. Most of all, keep your safe secure by following these tips: bolt your safe to the floor and make sure it has an RSC and/or a TL burglar rating!

Maximum Security is Now on YouTube!

October 8th, 2013

Yes, you heard right! Maximum Security has come to YouTube and the videos have just begun. If it has to do with safes, locks, or anything in between, we’re covering it.  Become a subscriber to our channel by clicking here, and get updates sent straight to your email whenever we post a new video. Check out our latest video playlists: “All About Locks” and “See How it Works!” below:

Have an idea for a safe video? Let us know! We’re here to make learning about safes easy, so don’t hesitate to let us know what you’d like help with, and we’ll make a video about it!

To Bolt Down or Not to Bolt Down…That is the Question

September 30th, 2013

We are regularly asked if a safe should be bolted to the floor. The answer is easy – YES, it should be!

Whether it’s a home safe, gun safe, jewelry safe, or any other kind of safe, bolting it down gives you more security. However, there are sometimes issues that must be considered when determining whether or not to bolt your safe to your floor, so evaluate which of the following categories you fall into, and plan accordingly.

Concrete Slab –Whether in the garage or inside the house, if you have a concrete slab floor, the only question is: why not? If the safe is bolted to the floor, a thief will have to work VERY hard to tip the safe over or remove it from your premises. 

Ground Floor, Raised Foundation – Generally, the floor in this situation is plywood, laid over 2×8 floor joists. There are two methods for bolting in this situation:

1.     The easy approach is to drill four lag bolts into the plywood floor. This will stabilize the safe some, but if someone is able to rock the safe or get under it with a pry-bar, they are likely going to be able to break it loose, so this is not the optimum choice, but it’s better than nothing.

2.     The better solution is to drill through the plywood flooring from inside the safe and come up from underneath the house with a carriage bolt (a bolt that you cannot release from the “head” end) and tighten the nut and washer from inside the safe. *The issue with this is that we don’t ask our Maximum Security crew to crawl under houses – most are not very pleasant to crawl underneath. We will however, drill the hole(s) for free, and then you just need to finish the job from that point.

Upstairs Location – Like a raised foundation, the flooring is generally plywood over floor joists. Bolting the safe to the floor will slow down a thief, but will not keep a determined thief from being able to break the safe loose. For this reason, we recommend that a safe going upstairs should weigh at least 450 pounds. Having moved thousands of safes we know that this is too much weight for a couple of burglars to pick up and put in the back of a pickup truck!

Have a question about one of these categories or want more information on bolting your safe to your floor? Leave us a comment below!



Fall Season = Rise in Natural Disasters

September 23rd, 2013

Fall is officially here! (The first day was yesterday, September 22nd, to be exact), but did you know that with the season change, also comes a spike in natural disasters – specifically tornados and fires?

Spring is our primary tornado season here in the U.S., but fall is considered to be our “secondary tornado season”.  Tornado Expert Dr. Greg Forbes says that, “In many ways, this is the counterpart to spring…When enough warm, moist air accompanies these weather systems, the unstable conditions yield severe thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes.”

Fire season usually peaks in September/October and this year is no exception, with temperatures being so high, fire predictions are going strong into fall. As you can see in the map graphic produced by the National Interagency Coordination Center, the California wildfire predictions are above normal for September. In fact, just this past August, California had its fifth-largest fire in California history. The Rim fire scorched more than 213,000 acres since it began on August 17 and is still expected to take another 2-3 weeks for full containment.

With all that being said, fall is a lovely time of year so don’t be discouraged; the point is simply to not let your guard down, and instead be prepared. If you don’t have a fire-proof, bolted down safe already, educate yourself about the natural disaster risks in your area and choose a safe that will provide above and beyond protection for the valuables you hold near and dear. 

Take it from an AMSEC safe customer, Toby Striegel, who was hit this past year with a tornado and the only thing to survive unaffected, was his AMSEC safe. Toby recalls, “When I would show off my new safe to friends and family that came to visit, I would always joke and say that after having it bolted down to the concrete slab in my closet, it would probably be the only thing left standing if a tornado hit my house. I never imagined how right I would turn out to be.”

The investment is worth the prevention of heartache down the road from a natural disaster that we all think will never happen to us. Take it from Toby and bolt it down, lock it up, and rest assured. Interested in safes like Toby’s? Visit our AMSEC collection.

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