First, consider how many firearms you need to store. Are you sheltering a collection or a sidearm for personal defense? One collector added a cement room to his house guarded by the door from an old bank vault.
Are you securing your firearms from children or determined thieves? Many safes are childproof, but only a few have the wherewithal to stop a seasoned burglar. Biometric locks that scan fingerprints are tops in technology, but also in price. Combination locks that work with a key or combination give you options if you suddenly can't find the key, or forgot the code. Plus, they are affordable. Consider all options.
Solid doors and ample locking bolts add up to a good investment. Doors with at least four bolts on the side and one on the top, and bottom provide a sturdy lock. One-quarter-inch of steel or more creates a solid barrier, whereas doors constructed of composite layers may be easier to break into. Look for models that shout "tough."
If you hope to save your firearms in the event of a fire the safe will need to be both fireproof and waterproof. Firefighters will definitely douse the house if it goes up in smoke and the average house fire is 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
And speaking of water, humidity is an enemy of all firearms, especially collectibles. Some models come with humidity control options or you can shop for add-on climate controls later. Again, consider your budget.
Purchasing a safe is no small investment, but by investing time and research you can land a safe in your home to protect firearms and family.
Get more information on the NSSF's Project ChildSafe by going to ProjectChildSafe.org