By John Lehndorff for At Home Northern Colorado
It’s a little embarrassing to admit the truth, but a lot of us keep our valuables and keepsakes in dresser drawers, on display or in a box in a closet at home.
“That would be me back in the day with everything lying around my house,” says Tim Brough, owner of Rocky Mountain Shooters Supply (RMSS) in Fort Collins and its sister store, Cheyenne’s Rocky Mountain Gun Trader.
“It is a relief to know now that I have my firearms and valuables and essential paperwork secured in a safe,” Brough says.
Besides offering firearms, ammunition and equipment, Rocky Mountain Shooters Supply has one of the widest selections of safes in the state, with 50 to 70 safes in stock.
Many families find that their collection of items from jewelry and coins to small antiques grows bigger and more valuable over time. “You can end up with a great deal of wealth that can fit inside a small box,” Brough says.
What if you were away on vacation and burglars broke into your home?
“You need to think of a safe as an insurance policy and an investment that keeps firearms out of the hands of kids, guests in your home and those family members who should not have access to firearms temporarily because of their mental condition,” he says.
At Rocky Mountain Shooters Supply, safes come in all shapes and sizes including handgun safes, vault doors and rifle vaults from the most respected brands: National Security, American Security, Browning, Graffunder and Liberty Safe. Brough’s Cheyenne shop offers a similar range of products.
The shops’ experienced staff help homeowners answer the major questions about purchasing the right safe.
The biggest comment Brough says he hears from folks a few years after they have purchased a safe is: “I should have bought a bigger one.” A safe should be big enough to store everything you consider essential and valuable including electronics, action figures, keepsake photos and financial records, he says.
For firearms, a safe is essential. In some locations, it is a legal requirement. “Even if you only have one or two handguns you need to have a small safe,” Brough says. At home he uses a safe covered by a blanket as a night stand.
Contrary to what is depicted in movies, you don’t necessarily want to hide your safe behind a bookcase in a spider-webbed corner of your basement or garage. Location matters.
“The big problem is accessibility. It needs to be convenient otherwise you won’t use the safe when it matters most,” Brough says.
You also want to place the safe in a fairly obvious place to make it less likely that burglars will ransack the premises. “We have seen cases, in talking with the police, where burglars broke into a home, saw the safe and then left and broke into a neighbor’s home looking for an easier target,” Brough says.
Liberty Safe is on the top of Brough’s list because they are the largest United States-based makers of safes. “Because they manufacture so many safes their price for the value is competitive with the imported safes available at big box stores. Liberty’s safes are also built more securely, made from only two pieces of steel so there are fewer seams where a prybar can be used to break in,” he says.
He adds that Liberty adopted a military-style locking device a few years ago that offers additional protection.
For homeowners looking for an even higher level of security for coins or gold, safe manufacturers offer products built with thicker steel that make them even more impenetrable.
The other major concern for homeowners in Northern Colorado and Wyoming is protection against fire. “A good safe should protect the contents from harm for about an hour in a house fire. It keeps the internal temperature below 300 degrees, the point where paper starts to char,” Brough says.
Safes for homes in forest fire-prone areas need additional protection including an insulated location to protect against much higher temperatures.
Moving and installing safes is such a specific service that Brough leaves it to the former owner of Rocky Mountain Shooter Supply, Cliff Hamblen, who has decades of experience.
Customers have choices in safes in a wide price range. “It shouldn’t be the cheapest one available from a chain store but it also doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles of the high-priced model,” Brough says.
“I think the biggest bang for the buck for the average buyer are the safes that sit in the middle price-wise, like Liberty Safe’s Franklin and Lincoln models,” Brough says.
“You need to think of a safe as an insurance policy and an investment that keeps firearms out of the hands of kids, guests in your home and those family members who should not have access to firearms temporarily because of their mental condition. It keeps your family and the community safe,” he says.
Rocky Mountain Shooters Supply
3507 E. Mulberry St., Fort Collins, 970-221-5133
Also: Rocky Mountain Gun Trader
2115 E. Lincoln Way, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 307-632-5133
More information on Liberty Safe: libertysafe.com