Gun Safe Glossary – Terms Explained

Active Relocker
Improves the security of a safe by relocking the safe if there is an unauthorized attempt to open it. It is usually connected to the locking mechanism.

Amalgamate Composite
A mixture of concrete and fireproofing material used to help a safe resist fire.
Anchors
Used to fix a safe into position to prevent it being removed by a thief. There are several types:

Concrete strike anchors to fix safe to concrete floors.
Lag shield anchors that can also be used to fix to concrete but also brick and composite blocks.
Wedge anchors for fixing to concrete.
Heavy duty nuts and bolts or wood screws are suitable for wooden floors.

Anti-Pry Tabs
Metal tabs that are welded to the door locking frame. If a thief tries to pry the safe door the tabs help secure the door by pushing up against it.

Barrel Holder
A type of slotted rack designed to keep a gun barrel in position. Used for organizing long guns and handguns correctly inside a safe.

Biometric Lock
Type of safe lock that uses biometric attributes such as fingerprints or in some cases the iris of the eye to open a safe.

Bolt Coverage
Used to describe the number of sides of a safe are secured by locking bolts, eg 2-way bolt coverage indicates that only 2 sides of the safe door have bolts.

Locking Bolts
Hold the safe boor closed.

Cam Locking System
Type of lock where the locking assembly comprises a cylinder where the cam is the physical locking bolt.

Cash Rating
Some security safes are classified by their cash rating. A higher cash rating indicates a more secure safe.
Note that if jewelry is stored in the safe the cash rating can be multiplied by a factor of 10.

Data Fire Safe
Safe designed specifically to protect plastic media such as DVD/CD, micro-fiche, film negatives and server back-up tapes from fire. The safe internal temperature should stay below 52°C.

Dehumidifier
Used to remove or reduce water vapor and condensation levels within a safe. Typically 2 main types, those that contain a desiccant or drying agent such as silica gel and electrical types that use a heating element that keeps the air inside the safe at a slightly higher temperature than the air outside the safe preventing moisture condensing inside the safe.

Desiccant
Drying agents such as Silica Gel that can absorb moisture from the air.

Diagonal Bolts
Locking bolts fitted into the diagonal corners of a safe door.

Dial Combination Lock
A type of lock that is comprised of a series of dials that all need to be positioned correctly at the same time to open the lock.

Digital Keypad Lock
A type of lock that is opened by entering a series of numbers selected by pressing buttons on a keypad.

Dogging Bolts
Work in the same manner as deadbolts but normally used on the hinge edge of the door and fix into a rebate in the safe body when the door is closed providing extra protection.

Door Seals
Substance that fits in the gap between the safe door and the safe body. The industry standard is Palusol which reacts to heat of a fire by expanding greatly in size and filling the gap keeping out heat and smoke.

DryLight Fire Insulation
DryLight is a proprietary type of poured concrete composite material that is used to protect the safe from heat in the event of a fire.

Electronic Lock
Typically takes the form of a keypad style lock that is powered by batteries.

External Hinges
Door hinges that pivot outside of the door edge.

Fingerprint Lock
Biometric type of lock that can record or enroll fingerprints which are then registered in the memory of the safe. The fingerprint reader on the lock can then be used to open it using the previously recorded fingerprint of the owner.

Fire Cladding / Fire Lining
A fire-resistant lining used on all sides of a security safe.

Fire Rating
A safe may have a fire rating to indicate the time it can withstand a certain level of heat for without the interior of the safe having a rise in temperature to a certain level. Different Standards Institutions such as Underwriters Laboratories classify safes according to the Fire Rating.

Fire Safe
A type of safe designed to protect paper documents from fire. Designed to maintain the temperature of the interior of the safe below 177°C which is the temperature at which paper gets damaged.

Firewall (fireboard)
Similar to drywall insulation and used on all sides of the safe to insulate the internals of the safe from the effects of the heat from a fire.

Flood-Guard
Proprietary technology to offer protection against water ingress offered by Sentry®Safe.

Glass Relocker
Some safes have a small piece or pieces of specially tempered glass fitted between the bolt locking mechanism and a spring. If the safe is attacked with heavy tools such as a drill, pry bar or sledgehammer then by a thief then the glass shatters. The bolt is then relocked by the activation of the sprung mechanism and the safe bolts are relocked. Note that after a glass relocker has activated it usually means that you will not be able to open the safe with the combination dial or electronic keypad anymore. You will then require the services of a Locksmith.

Goldenrod
Type of electrical dehumidifier

Gauge
The standard measure for the thickness of sheet and plate iron and steel.

Handgun Rack
Rack used inside a safe to store handguns normally in an upright position to make the best use of space and prevent damage.

Hard Plate
Plate of hardened steel specially treated to withstand attack by drilling usually placed over the locking mechanism and sometimes other parts of the internal mechanisms.

Internal Hinges
A type of hinge that pivots within the confines of the safe door and body.

Lag Bolts
Fixings used to securely bolt down the safe to a concrete floor.

Lockout Mode
This is where an electronic lock exercises a time-out due to a set number of incorrect entries. Designed to slow down a thief.

Mechanical Combination Dial Lock
A lock that consists of a dial where a sequence of numbers need to be entered by moving the dial to the left and right in the correct order to open the door of the safe.

Mounting
Process by which the safe is fixed down in situ, normally with lag bolts or other types of anchors so that the safe cannot be physically removed from its location.

Mounting Plate
Is the term describing the metal plate that the safe lock is mounted upon.

OmniBarrier Lock Protection System
Proprietary system for improving the protection of the safe lock from attack used in some Browning Safes

Palusol
Material used to fireproof safe. Expands upon heating and seals the safe to protect the contents from damaging smoke and heat.

Pry Bar
Tool used by a thief to try to use leverage or pry to open a safe.

Prying Attack
This is where a thief uses tools such as a crowbar or a prybar to try to force open a safe door.

Pry-Resistant
Some safes have additional protection from a prying attack in the form of pry resistant recessed hinges, hinge bar and locks.

Relockers
More expensive safes are typically fitted with several relockers that spring special bolts shut if a thief attempts to use force to open the safe.

RSC (Residential Security Container) TL-5 Rating
A Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard that states that a safe can withstand 5 minutes of attack with a hammer and small crowbar without being opened.

Rotary Rack
Rack used to store long guns or shotguns in an upright position that can be rotated so that gun selection is easier.

Rust Preventative
Spray used to stop rust forming on ferrous metals.

Sheetrock
Type of fire resistant material used to help fireproof a safe.

Steel Gauge
Measure of Steel Thickness

TDR Safe
Torch and Drill Resisting Safe manufactured from materials designed to resist attack from oxy-acetylene torch, drills and grinding tools, explosives, and other pneumatic and hydraulic tools used to force a safe open.

Time Delay Lock
Type of lock which once unlocked delays opening by a pre-set amount of time, usually set at less than an hour.

Time Lock
This is a safe lock that has a timing mechanism which only allows the lock to be opened at a pre-set time. This type of lock will not open with the correct combination outside of the set time.

Tumbler
Part of a Combination Lock otherwise called a wheel.

UL Lock Rating
Underwriters Laboratories classify locks by type and by the difficulty opening them depending upon the technology used in the lock construction.

UL Rating
Underwriters Laboratories rate several characteristics of safe so that a buyer can be assured of a safe’s ability to protect their belongings to a certain proscribed standard. Ratings given include security classification as well as fire resistance and impact.

Underwriters Laboratories
Non-Profit making organization that tests and monitors manufactured products for conformance to certain standards.

Unibody Construction
A safe body that is constructed from 1 piece of steel that is folded to form the body of the safe.

ETL Waterproof Verification
ETL Semco are an independent testing company that provide verification that safes comply with the manufacturers specifications for waterproof submersion and water resistance.

More from Gun Safe Articles
Back to Top