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    Gun Safe Fire Ratings Explained

    Are you prepared for the possibility of a house fire? Whether you are a gun owner or simply need secure storage for your valuables and important documents, Tractor Supply highly recommends investing in a fire-rated gun safe. With over 85 years of experience and knowledge, Tractor Supply is committed to delivering high-quality gun storage solutions for your Life Out Here. Learn more about gun safe fire ratings and what they mean in our selection of gun safes for sale.

    What Is a Gun Safe Fire Rating?

    In simple terms, a fire rating determines how much fire protection is included with a gun safe. The fire rating itself states the minimum time the interior of a gun safe will remain under the maximum temperature when engulfed in flames. For instance, “45 minutes at 1400 degrees Fahrenheit” means that the safe’s internal temperature will stay at or below 1400 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 45 minutes of fire exposure. While some gun safes are not fire rated, most come with some level of fireproofing. 

    Who Determines Fire Ratings? 

    Gun safes are rigorously tested by manufacturers via independent testing laboratories, a process called private fire rating testing. Gun safes are also tested by trusted third-party agencies, who rate them for their effectiveness in a fire. Some of these include: 

    • Underwriters Laboratories (UL): These fire ratings are known to be some of the most trustworthy and comprehensive in the gun safe world. UL fire ratings are considered to be the industry standard, so they are the most common in the United States. 
    • Korean Industrial Standards (K.I.S.): The K.I.S. fire rating system is also highly regarded in the industry, using international standards to determine a gun safe’s level of fire protection. 
    • ETL-Intertek: This is an independent laboratory known for international testing and certifications. 
    • International Organization for Standardization (ISO): Recognized around the globe, ISO’s standards apply to many services and products, including fire-resistant gun safes. 
    • British Standards Institute (BSI): These fire ratings are more common in Europe, specifically in the United Kingdom. 
    • Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS): This rating system is used mostly in Japan but may extend to products available in the U.S. 

    Depending on the organization, the specifics of these tests may vary. 

    What Are the Tests for Determining Fire Ratings?

    Gun safes typically go through several phases of testing to determine their efficacy during a fire. Fire endurance testing is always the first, and it may be followed by explosion and fire impact tests. Here’s a look at what happens during each test:

    Fire Endurance Testing

    This test indicates how well a gun safe can protect firearms and valuables during a fire. The gun safe is first heated to a predetermined temperature, usually around 1700 degrees Fahrenheit to simulate the intense heat when engulfed in flames. The heating phase will typically last a minimum of 30 minutes and can go for up to four hours. Next, the gun safe is cooled down while still in the furnace, so it mimics what naturally happens when a fire is put out. Once cool enough, the inside of the safe is evaluated for indications that heat intruded and/or damaged the contents.

    Fire Impact Testing

    The gun safe’s physical endurance and fire-resisting properties are tested through a fire impact evaluation. As in the previous test, the gun safe is first warmed to a certain temperature for a period. Then, while still extremely hot, the gun safe is dropped onto a hard, solid surface from a predetermined height. This simulates what might happen if a gun safe falls down multiple stories of a burning structure. When the gun safe lands on the ground, it is again heated to test whether it still provides fire protection after an impact. The last step is cooling down the safe and opening it to analyze heat intrusion and damage to the interior and its contents. 

    Explosion Hazard Testing

    This assessment determines how well a gun safe will protect contents in the event of an explosion when temperatures suddenly rise to extremes. The first portion of the test focuses on simulating the effects of an explosion or flash fire, with the safe heated rapidly to at least 2000 degrees Fahrenheit for a short period. The gun safe’s integrity is then examined for damage that could harm valuables, such as deformities or blown-off doors.

    Which Gun Safe Fire Rating Do I Need?

    The answer to this question largely depends on what you are storing in the gun safe. Fire-resistant ratings vary greatly to accommodate the unique needs of each gun owner. Here are a few metrics to keep in mind as you weigh your gun safe options:

    • Maximum interior temperature: This indicates how hot the safe’s interior will get in the allotted duration specified by its fire rating. Internal temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit will protect paper documents, while up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for CDs, DVDs, hard drives and related media. If you have a large gun and ammunition collection, look for the highest possible fire ratings. 
    • Duration: This determines how long the gun safe will remain at or below the maximum interior temperature during a fire. Gun safe fire rating duration could be anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours. During testing, gun safes are engulfed in flames for longer than they would be in the average fire, and the amount of time they’re tested for is indicated in the fire rating itself. 
    • Tested temperature: Fire ratings indicate the conditions in which the gun safe was tested. Usually, gun safes are tested at much higher temperatures than an average house fire reaches. 

    Find Fire-Rated Gun Safes at Tractor Supply 

    As America’s largest rural lifestyle retailer, Tractor Supply knows the importance of choosing the right gun safe fire rating. We’re proud to offer fire-rated gun safes from top brands, including Cannon SafeLiberty SafeRemingtonSports AfieldStack-On and Winchester Safes. Learn more about our fantastic gun safe selection in our buying guide. To get your new gun safe, place an order with us online or visit your local Tractor Supply store today.