Choosing a Gun Safe in the UK

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Choosing A Gun Safe in the UK

Choosing the right gun safe or gun cabinet is an essential part of responsible firearm ownership.

When it comes to choosing the right gun safe in the UK – it’s important to make the right decisions. Get things wrong, and it could have serious consequences in terms of safety, security and your firearm / shotgun licence!

Here’s what you need to know when choosing a gun safe.

Do I need a gun safe in the UK?

Technically no – but in reality, the answer is almost certainly yes!

Although gun cabinet use is not mandated by law, gun owners do have the legal obligation to ensure that their firearms and Section 1 ammunition (excluding shotgun ammunition) are:

“stored securely to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, unauthorised people taking or using them.”

In addition, in order to gain your gun license, police will come to inspect your property and examine your storage provision. Without the right, properly installed gun safe, you are very unlikely to be granted a firearm or shotgun license.

UK Gun Safes and The Law

Although the law does not require you to have a purpose made gun cabinet, it does say that all reasonable measures must be taken to ensure their safety.

Ultimately, whether or not a system is suitable is down to the local police force, who will take into account a number of different factors into their decision. These include:

  • Location and area of the home
  • Prevailing crime rates
  • Construction of the building
  • Street lighting
  • Overall security of the building
  • Where in the house the guns are to be stored

Many police forces take the view that all firearms should be kept in a gun safe or gun cabinet, and ideally one that meets the latest BS7558 standards set out in UK law.

BS7558 Standards – Features

The British Standard for gun cabinets is BS7558. There is no legal obligation to use a gun safe that meets BS7558, but it may be taken into account by your local police force when making a licensing decision.

To reach this standard, the safe undergoes a testing process where it must withstand a 5-minute attack using common burglary tools.

The recommended features of all gun cabinets in the UK are:

  • Manufactured from sheet steel a minimum of 2mm thick.
  • All lock mechanisms to be internal.
  • All locks to contain at least 5 levers (to BS 3621 standards or equivalent). Alternatively, safes may be secured with hardened padlocks.
  • All hinges to be internal. Any external hinges to be protected with appropriate security solutions (bolts, blocks or anti-lever bars).
  • All seams to be continuously welded, or the cabinet body to be formed by bend construction.
  • Full length side hinged cabinets to be fitted with two locks, at intervals one third and two thirds the height of the safe.
  • Cabinet may contain a separate lockable container for the storage of ammunition. This may be attached to the cabinet.

It’s important to remember that ammunition should be stored separately to guns, in a locked, ventilated container.

At Safe and Vault, all our gun safes meet or exceed the latest UK standards.

Are there any alternatives to gun safes in the UK?

The law does consider other methods for the secure storage of weapons, including gun clamps, gun locks, steel cable security and dedicated gun rooms.

However, for the vast majority of firearm and shotgun owners, an appropriate gun cabinet provides the most effective, secure and practical solution.

Further information and guidance about appropriate levels of firearm security and solutions can be found here.

Where to Place Your Gun Safe

The UK government has provided its own set of guidelines and suggestions to keep your guns safe, secure and out of unwanted hands. These include:

  • All security devices (including safes, clamps and cabinets) should be securely fixed to the fabric of the building
  • Gun safes should not be located in sheds, garages or outbuildings (some exceptions may apply)
  • Safes should be fixed to solid walls or floors
  • Safes should be located away from heat sources
  • Safes should be located in a discreet location (in a room or area without direct access to the outside of the building)

In addition to the Home Office guidelines, we have some additional recommendations in terms of placement. We recommend avoiding installing gun safes or cabinets in cellars or attics. This is because these rooms are often subject to large variations in temperature and humidity. Although cold in itself is not a problem, it can cause condensation, which can be extremely damaging to firearms.

To protect your guns from damaging damp, it’s best to place your safe in a warm, dry room within the main body of the building.

UK Gun Safes – Where to Store Your Keys

One of the most common questions we get asked about gun safes is where to keep the keys. This is extremely important – as it’s a condition of UK firearms licensing that keys are kept safe. Breaching the following conditions is a criminal offence!

The current guidelines state:

  • Only the certificate holder should have access to the keys
  • No unauthorised person/persons (non-licence holders) should be able to open your gun safe
  • Unauthorised people should not know where the keys are kept
  • Keys should be kept on you, or in an appropriate key safe

The alternative to physical keys is to go with an electronic locking system. This removes the issue regarding keys – as long as you keep the code to yourself!

Gun Safes and Cabinets from Safe and Vault

At Safe & Vault, we specialise in gun safes and cabinets, providing a full range of options from the world’s leading brands. All our gun cabinets exceed the UK standard for storing firearms.

With specialist solutions of all shapes and sizes, and tailored advice from our security experts, you can come to Safe & Vault in the confidence that you are in safe hands. From product selection and placement advice, to full installation, we are here to provide you with the right solution to protect your guns safe from accident and theft.

Explore our complete range of gun safes today.

For additional information about any of our products, or friendly, expert advice, Please contact us today on 0113 274 4627 or email [email protected].