Category Archives: Gun Safes

Tips for Purchasing Guns from a Private Seller

At Sportsman Steel Safes, we focus on gun safes and other gun safety issues, but our gun knowledge doesn’t begin and end with safety. We know what first-time gun buyers have on their minds when they’re thinking about purchasing a firearm. Along with the issues of safety, gun type, and ammo type, people spend most of their time considering where they’re going to purchase their gun. We will always advocate going to a licensed and public gun seller. If you do, you won’t have to worry about whether or not the transaction is legal – you’re sure to get a good firearm, and you’ll have a chance of a refund in case anything goes wrong.


We know that, for a variety of reasons, some people will chose to find a gun through a private seller. Again, we always recommend using more traditional means for getting a gun, but if you want to buy from a private seller, make sure to follow these tips:

Check ALL local, state, and federal requirements for private firearm sales

We cannot stress this enough: if you’re going to use a private seller, make sure you know about the laws in your county, town, and state, along with the federal laws governing the sale of firearms. Usually, most places require a simple notification of a change in ownership, but since guns are such a hot-button topic now, new laws and restrictions are being adopted every day.

Make sure the gun has a serial number

By now, nearly every handgun and long gun should come with a manufacturer’s serial number. The purpose of these numbers has nothing to do with manufacturing, and everything to do with the law. Serial numbers are recorded when a gun is first purchased from a dealer so that the police and government can track who owns the gun. Make sure that any weapon you purchase has a valid serial number, and never buy any kind of handgun or long gun that has a scratched off number or missing one. The absence or distortion of a number can be a sign of a stolen weapon.

Always test it out

This may seem like a no brainer, but not testing the weapons has become more of an issue lately, as more people use the Internet to buy guns. Some private sellers may try to con customers by selling them a gun that looks nice, but doesn’t work. Buying a gun that doesn’t work isn’t just a waste of time; it’s almost always a waste of money, if you buy it from a private seller. If you find out that your gun is a dud after you purchase it, you shouldn’t expect a refund. Always ask to test it out before hand, or to physically see the seller test it out.

At Sportsman Steel Safes, we advocate gun safety – and that extends to the purchasing process. If you must buy a gun from a private seller, use due caution. Better yet, avoid the risk and buy from a legitimate seller. And of course, no matter what gun you choose, make sure that you have an adequate gun safe to house it. Contact us today with any questions you may have!

Tips for Choosing the Safest Gun Safes

When choosing the proper gun safe to store your firearms at home, you must research what attributes create the safest gun storage environment. Customers ask us all the time what features can make gun safes the absolute safest. We are more than happy to help educate gun owners on how to pick the right safe that can protect not only guns, but anything from important family documents and photos, to priceless heirlooms in the worst scenarios.

Image: Tips on How To Choose the Safest Gun Safes

Tips on Choosing The Safest Gun Safes

  1. Get a safe that utilizes an electronic digital access. Opinions throughout the industry typically agree that combination dial locks are in fact slower to open than electronic locks. It is extremely important to factor in the speed of your firearm’s availability in a crisis situation, and the difference in opening time between a dial and digital lock is pretty substantial. Additionally, electronic locks with digital access allow owners to change codes whenever necessary as opposed to combo dial locks that require a much longer process. Digital access can also allow for industry upgrades such as fingerprint technology. It has been reported that around 80% of total gun safe owners rely on digital locks, rather than their dial equipped ancestors.
  1. Get a safe that is completely fireproof. Your safe should be certified flame retardant and suitable for surviving temperatures of at least 1500 degrees Fahrenheit; some high end models can even reach levels of 2300 degrees. The exterior of your safe should also include a flame retardant powder coating that helps deter fire, including blow torches during break in attempts.
  1. Get a safe that incorporates a separate steel frame solely for its lock plate. This simple addition greatly prevents common intrusive attempts such as drilling.
  1. Get a safe that has “Jig-Saw step doors,” over traditional flat surface designs. Flat doors rattle and only provide a gasket seal on one level. During a fire, hot air can still get into safes that are only protected through one level of sealing, thus putting your important documents at risk. On the other hand, “step doors” are built like bank vaults and commercial grade safes, sealing your firearms on four separate levels. This type of seal actually creates a gun safe that is airtight and waterproof, as well as fireproof.
  1. Get a safe that is protected under a warranty. In today’s day and age, most companies stand by their work in the form of some sort of warranty. Make sure you choose a well known manufacturer that offers guaranteed protection to your valuables.

If you consider the five tips mentioned above into your decision making when picking out storage for your firearms, you can guarantee that not only your valuables, but your family, will be protected by the safest gun safe possible.

Let us help you make the best possible decision for your firearms protection; whether you buy from us or not, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about gun safes.

Call us at 800-266-7150 or fill out our contact form here.

Wood Gun Cabinets Can Be Deadly

The Waikato Police in New Zealand disclosed earlier in the month that 8 firearms were stolen from a resident’s wood gun cabinet. Police have asked gun owners to consider upgrading their wooden gun cabinets and rifle display cases to steel gun safes bolted in place; stressing that it’s not only about protecting your investments but also about keeping the community safe.

image: burglar stealing guns

This crime probably could have been avoided. Since this wood gun cabinet probably had a glass front (such as a rifle display cabinet), it showed the crooks exactly were the guns were. So breaking into the unit was not only easy to achieve, but quick to locate. These types of gun display cabinets might be nice to look at, but they are not safe.

As the police have cautioned and as we always say, having sub-standard firearms security in your home is a tragedy waiting to happen! What’s worse is, if these guns are used in a crime, if you live in the wrong state, you might just be liable. Yikes!

The solution is easy. Buy a steel gun safe. One with a DOJ compliancy.

Not only does Sportsman Steel gun safes have a DOJ rating, but none of our gun safes have ever had a door drilled open in 35 years. If you’re concerned about fire protection, Sportsman Steel offers a commercial grade 2″ Step System door with a heavy-duty 3/4″ pry resistant frame.

Don’t become a victim of having your firearms stolen. Protect your guns with a steel gun safe from Sportsman Steel Safes. Call 800-266-7150. 

Gun Ownership Restrictions – Do they Apply to You?

When you hear the way some people talk about gun ownership in the United States, you’d think it was possible to simply walk into a gun store and walk out with a firearm of your choice like you were buying groceries. Gun ownership isn’t a right; it’s a privilege that some people may not be able to have. You may be skilled in firing a gun, you may accompany your friends when they go shooting, and you could own the safest gun safe for your future firearm, but that doesn’t mean that you can own a gun.

Before you set your heart on getting a firearm, Sportsman Steel Safes advises you to make sure that you can legally own one. There can be exceptions, but if you fit any of the following categories that we’ve outlined here, you may not be able to purchase a gun.

Mental instability

As we learn more about mental illness, this factor seems to be constantly changing in law. In almost every state, there are laws that declare that a person cannot own a gun if they are found to be mentally disturbed or incompetent; however, the definition of “disturbed” or “incompetent” can change from state to state, and even country to country. A person with major depression and no history of violence could get a firearm in one state, and be completely barred from gun ownership in another.

Felony record


This is another factor that can vary from state to state. It’s almost universally agreed upon that felons that were convicted of a violent crime are barred from gun ownership. If you have been convicted of a non-violent crime, there may be a chance that you could be legally allowed to own a firearm. That chance, however, is small – if you have any criminal record or conviction, getting a firearm may be very difficult or impossible.                                                          

Juvenile Records

Most people don’t think about juvenile records, since many of these crimes do not legally follow people into adulthood. It’s also possible to request that certain records be expunged or sealed. But it’s possible that some serious crimes might remain on a person’s record, which can prevent them from owning a gun.

Non U.S. citizens (usually)

Not being a citizen of the United States usually automatically bars you from gun ownership, but (surprisingly) there are some exceptions. If you are permanently immigrating to the country, you may be able to own a gun. If you’ve managed to obtain a hunting license that was issued in the U.S., you should also be able to own a firearm.

If none of the above apply to you, the chances of being able to purchase a firearm are much greater. Call us at Sportsman Steel Safes today with any gun safety questions or for information about one of our state-of-the-art safes: 800-266-7150.

3 Mistakes People Make that End up Ruining their Shots

For some first-time gun buyers, it can seem like some people were just born with the ability to shoot. When you go to the gun range and see people flawlessly hit each bulls-eye, or go hunting and notice that your friend seems to hit every animal that comes in their sight, it can be easy to think that you have to be born with some gun skills. It is true that some people happen to have a knack for shooting, but a lot of different things go into being a good shot. You’d be surprised by how one seemingly small alteration in the way you handle your firearm can dramatically change the accuracy of your shot. Don’t vow to lock up all of your firearms in your gun safe when you come back from another unsuccessful day of hunting; see if you’re making these common mistakes when you take your shot.

Improperly mounted scope


You may have been mounting your scope the same way for years, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve been doing it correctly. Properly scope mounting can be difficult, but luckily there are a lot of resources available to help you do it correctly. has an excellent step-by-step picture post on the proper method. If that doesn’t work for you, do a quick YouTube search for videos that will demonstrate the technique. If you’ve been doing it wrong, a slight change to your scope may help improve your shooting accuracy a great deal.

Pulling the trigger roughly

Pulling the trigger on your firearm properly is a lot more complicated than you’d think. In fact, the term “pulling the trigger” may not be the best way to describe firing your gun. Ideally, when firing, your finger should make more of a pressing motion than a pulling motion. When most people fire, they end up yanking too hard, which can completely mess up a perfect shot. When you pull your trigger, it shouldn’t jostle your gun, mess up your sight, or do anything to affect your shot.

Using the wrong ammo

The importance of ammo has been mentioned on this blog plenty of times in the past, but in terms of having a good shot, the type of ammo you use is crucial. If you’re shooting factory rifles, always test a few loads to see what kind of ammo will perform the best in your firearm. If you have to reload your gun often during hunting, also be sure to focus on how smoothly you can reload your gun.


Owning a Gun Safe is the Best Gun Control

The debate over gun control has been talked about for decades. It’s time we stopped talking, because it won’t happen; not dramatic gun control anyway. Not with Americans fascinated with firearms. But what we can do is take small steps toward making our country safer.

image: gun safe

For example, of the teens that used guns in high school, theater and night club shootings, 85% acquired their weapons from family members who didn’t have them locked up. That’s right. Rifles, handguns and ammo was left out in the opening for troubled teens to take and use on their shooting rampages.

I can’t help but think that if these families had guns safes how many lives would have been saved. Ten, twenty, a hundred? By simply buying a DOJ approved gun safe, we could reduce the likelihood of these shootings dramatically. So the next time someone mentions gun control, ask them where their guns are? If they are unprotected, in a closet or under the bed, this gun control problem start with them.

As gun owners we need to be responsible.

The solution is easy: Buy a gun safe and be a part of the solution.

Call Sportsman Steel Safes for gun safes and vault doors. We’re had zero safe doors drilled open in 35 years. Call 800-266-7150. 

Gun Safe Fire Test

Gun Safe Fire Test

In our latest YouTube video, you’ll see just how fireproof our gun safes are. Our CEO Kevin is so sure it will perform under the test, he puts a family photo and $3,000 cash in the safe. See what happens below!

Our gun safes are so fireproof, they survive a fire test at over 2400 degrees!

If you’re in the market for a gun safe, and fireproofing is important to you, consider Sportsman Steel Safes & Pentagon Safes. In 35 years we’ve only had one step door safe lost to fire. If any of our gun safes is caught in a fire, we’ll give you a free replacement safe!

Call us about our fireproof gun safes today: 800-266-7150

4 Tips for Responsible Gun Owners

Gun owners have a lot of things on their minds. Current gun laws, ammo prices, and other topics are important, but there’s something that every gun owner is concerned about: proper gun usage. Responsible gun ownership is important for a variety of reasons. Using and storing your firearms keeps you and your loved ones safe, and your responsible behavior also sets a good example for people who have negative views on firearms. If you own a gun, make sure you follow these important rules.

Always point in a safe direction

This is quite possibly the most important rule gun owners can follow. Whenever you have a gun, make sure that your gun is always pointed in a safe direction. A good rule of thumb is to never allow your gun to be pointed at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Even if you know that your safety is on, and even if your gun isn’t loaded, you should always have your gun pointed away from people. Treat every gun like it’s loaded. In these situations, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and you don’t want to make a mistake the one day you accidentally forget the usual routine.

Don’t rely on the safety 


Your gun is designed to be as safe as possible, but even manufacturers with an excellent safety record could make mistakes. A gun’s safety setting isn’t an infallible tool; it’s a mechanical device that can jam, or fail like any other. To be perfectly honest, your “safety” is more likely to fail from human error than some kind of mechanical malfunction. You may mistakenly think that you put the safety on when you forgot, or the safety may have been somehow disengaged without you knowing it.

Know what is beyond your target

Despite what most people see in movies, some bullets don’t stop once they hit their target. It’s possible for them to travel through your targeted object and into something behind it. It’s also possible that you may miss your shot, and that the bullet could ricochet into something in the immediate area. You should never fire your gun unless you’re sure that you have a clear shot. Don’t fire when you hear a sound, or see motion or color. Always wait for visual confirmation before you pull your trigger.

Store the guns and ammo properly

Only have your firearm loaded when you’re ready to use it. Never let a loaded gun out of your sight or your hands, and make sure that you’re always in control of your gun when you have it. Also, it’s important that you keep your guns and ammo someplace safe. Some people think that gun safes are only for firearms, but there are plenty of safes with ample space for both your guns and your ammo.

3 Tips for Teaching Your Children About Guns

According to a gun ownership survey done by Gallup Inc. and Gun Owners of America, 36% of people they surveyed own a gun. Gun ownership is an important issue to a lot of Americans, and despite the political differences that people have over it, there is something that people on every side of the issue can agree on: the importance of gun safety and education.

Learning about safety and proper usage is important for every gun owner, but especially gun owners that have children. Since gun ownership has become such a debated issue, it is never too early to talk to your children about the subject. Some parents never quite know how to bring up these topics to their children. Finding the right approach depends on your own feelings and the kind of relationship you want your children to have with guns. What you tell your children is obviously up to you, but here is some universal advice that should help your discussion to go smoothly.

De-mystify guns in your home

Guns can be very fascinating to children, and keeping them locked away only adds to the mystery and piques their curiosity. No one is saying that you should leave your guns out in the open, but you should try to take away some of that forbidden allure that can get some curious kids in trouble. Let them know why you keep guns in your home, whether it’s for hunting, protection, or other personal reasons. If you go to a shooting range or like to go hunting, take your kid along one day to show them what you use your gun for. They’ll get used to seeing them, and they’ll understand why you personally choose to keep them.

image: teach gun safety to children

Make a distinction between real gun use and play/fake gun use

When we’re talking about play guns, we aren’t talking about the plastic revolvers and super soakers your kids are playing with. Kids see guns in televisions shows, Youtube videos, and movies, and it’s safe to say that in almost every situation they aren’t portrayed realistically. Wildly shooting in the air or into a crowd to get “bad guys,” holding guns sideways to look cool, waving around guns menacingly with a finger on the trigger to prove a point — all of this exaggerated behavior may look great on screen but, in real life, any of those actions could end up hurting someone.

Lead by example

The old saying that “actions speak louder than words” is very true when it comes to teaching your children. If you want your child to have a healthy relationship with firearms, lead by example. Show them that you always unload your gun when you get home, and that you make sure to put it in your gun safe so that it’s secure at all times and you know where it is. Your kids will eventually see how to responsibly use firearms and, when they’re old enough, they’ll be prepared to handle their gun of choice because they grew up with such an excellent example of proper gun usage and ownership.

Do you have any other suggestions for teaching kids about gun safety? Let us know!

Gun Buying Tips For Beginners

After taking time to think about the pros and cons of firearm and gun ownership, you’ve decided to purchase one of your own.  A poll conducted by the Gun Owners of America and Gallup Inc. showed that in 2011 36% of the people they surveyed owned some sort of gun or firearm, and soon you’ll join that special percentage of citizens that choose to own a firearm.  There are a lot of different kind of firearms you could, and if you’re new to the world of firearms and self defense, finding a gun of your own can seem a little overwhelming.  Guns have been getting a bad reputation lately, but you don’t have to be a gun aficionado or  into gun politics to be able to pick a good gun to defend yourself.   If you follow these simple gun buying tips, you’ll be able to find the gun that you need to meet your needs.

image: gun buying tips

Think and research

Some guns may look similar, but that doesn’t mean that they’re anything alike in terms of handling, ammo, shot range, and other important factors.  Before you start look at different gun manufacturers, think about what your ideal gun would be like.  Do you want something small you’ll easily be able to conceal, or are you comfortable handling something that is a bit larger?  Can you handle something that will have a bit of a hard kick when you fire it, or do you need something that will be gentle?  Once you figure out what you’re looking for, it’s time to go online.  The NRA has been publishing the American Rifleman for decades, and the web version of their publication has a lot of information for first time gun buyers.  When you’re deciding don’t worry about taking too much time to think about what you’re looking for.  A gun is a major purchase, and it’s something that can be costly to replace.  If you rush and pick the first thing that catches your attention you could end up disappointed, so take all of the time you need to make your decision.

Think about ammo

It’s easy to spend most of your time thinking about the kind of gun you want to own, but the bullets that you’ll be using with the gun are equally important.  Ammo can vary from brand to brand as much as different guns can, so once you think you have an idea of the kind of gun you’ll want start to do research on the recommended type of ammo for it.  Some ammo can be very inexpensive and easy to find, other kinds can be costly and may only be sold by a certain company.

Only find a legitimate gun seller

If you do a search for handgun buyers online, you’ll no doubt come up with countless nearby sellers who promise the cheapest and most “discreet” services.  Don’t let a good deal cloud your judgment, you should only work with licensed firearms sellers.  That isn’t just to make sure that you get a quality weapon, it’s to make sure that you don’t get in trouble with the law.

Take a gun safety course

We know, we know, you know plenty of people that own guns and they’ve never taken a proper safety or shooting course before in their lives.  Gun safety is far too important of an issue to ignore, and responsible gun owners do whatever they can to make sure that they’re safe.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a safety and shooting course, your local gun club may offer discount classes or completely free classes.

Buy a gun safe

Also make sure that you have what you need to safely store your gun at home.  Look for the safest gun safe money can buy, and make sure that you know how to properly store ammo.

Need help determining which is the best gun safe for you? Give us a call: 800-266-7150.