Everyone has something they value, something they want to protect from fire or theft. You need someplace to safely store and protect your most valuable items and papers, jewelry, those family heirlooms and keepsakes, and your firearms.

Bill Jackson’s has one of the largest in-store selections of home security safes in the Tampa Bay area. We proudly carry brands that have high quality workmanship and reputation. As Champion Safes likes to say, “Built up to a standard, not down to a price.” We can even assist with delivery and installation to your home or business.

Most important, we can guide you through the safe selection process. Our staff is here to answer your questions. If we don’t know the answer, we usually know how to find it.

Here are some criteria to keep in mind when selecting a home security safe:

Price and Production

– As a general rule, higher priced safes deliver better quality, more fire protection and more security for your money. What is your priority: budget or protection? How much do you value the items going into the safe?

– There is a difference in materials and workmanship. Ask where the safe is manufactured. Safes made in Asia are usually less expensive. Safes made in North America carry a higher cost, if you want the best protection and quality for your money.


Safes come in a variety of sizes, from small nightstand safes to nearly closet size.

– Location determines the size limitations. Measure your potential location from baseboard to baseboard and not just wall to wall. You may need to remove baseboards if space is critical. Also, check the distance needed when the safe door is open. Further, the handle on the front must be accounted for when measuring the front-to-back distance.

– If the location allows, we recommend you always choose the larger size safe. Our customers always seem to fill the space.

– Measure the dimensions of any hallways, turns, landings and staircases to ensure that your safe can pass through to reach the final location.

– Every large safe must be bolted to the floor for security and safety from tipping.

– Every small single gun vault must be mounted to the floor, a shelf or a wall.

Fire rating

Paper chars at approximately 400 degrees, and guns are damaged when temperatures exceed 500 degrees. Therefore, we recommend that the internal temperature of your safe never exceed 350 degrees. The fire rating of a safe is based on two factors. The first is the external temperature the test safe is exposed to. The second is how long, in minutes, it takes the internal temperature of the safe to reach 350 degrees. Some examples where a non-fire-rated safe might be desired would be to prevent young children, the elderly or mentally challenged from having access to firearms.

– If you live in the city, you have good access to a fire department. Look for a minimum 60-minute fire rating at 1,200 degrees.

– If you live a considerable distance from a fire station, look for a higher fire rating of 90-120 minutes at 1,600-1,750 degrees.

– If you have expensive collectors items or family keepsake items in your safe, look for a fire rating of 120 minutes at 1,750 degrees.

– When it comes to insulation, gypsum is the most commonly used material in home safes. When heated to 262 degrees, gypsum releases water vapor, which cools the safe’s interior. Multiple layers of insulation provide longer and higher fire ratings.

Doors and Hinges

Doors vary in the thickness of the steel. The heavier the door, the less distortion when heated, and thus the higher the fire protection and the better the burglary protection. Heat-expanding door seals can swell up to 10 times their original thickness, sealing out the heat.

– Examine the number of steel plates and the construction of those plates.

– Safes vary in the number of bolts in the door and the size of those bolts. Look for four-way bolt activation.

– Examine the construction of the backing plate behind the lock mechanism.

– We recommend a double casement door frame, which better resists prying.

– Some safes have an interior door organizer with storage for handguns, documents, ammo and more.

– External hinges are less expensive to produce and are a possible point of attack for thieves. These hinges allow the door to open 180 degrees. Internal hinges give the safe a cleaner look and do not present a target for thieves. The door will open to about 90 degrees.

Walls and Appearance

– Most safes are rated in “gauge” thickness; the smaller the gauge (think shotgun rounds or electrical wire), the thicker the steel walls. We recommend using 12 gauge at a minimum for economy safes, but 10 gauge or 7 gauge for better protection (both for security and fire protection).

– Textured finishes are the least expensive and the most durable, but they are harder to clean. High-gloss paint finishes fall in the mid-price category, present a better look and they are easy to wipe down. Two-tone paint finishes are the most expensive, look great anywhere and are the easiest to clean.


– Electronic locks are the fastest and most reliable way to get into your safe. Most work on a 9-volt transistor battery, which can easily be replaced. If someone attempts to access your safe without the proper combination (usually four times), they will be locked out for a period of time.

– Combination locks are reliable but can be slow to open, especially when you are hurried or under duress.

– Biometric locks read fingerprints. These are not as reliable as other locks.


Keep in mind some of these other features that may be important to you. You may want a dehumidifier if you live in a high-moisture environment, such as Florida. Light kits illuminate the interior, and lock lights help with access. Drawers and handgun racks can organize your storage.

Brands we carry

Again, we prefer to carry quality safes that hold up over time and against the elements.

  • American Security
  • Champion
  • GunVault
  • Rhino