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August 29, 2016

A Look At The Best Cannon Gun Safes

For most gun owners, the two biggest concerns regarding their firearm collections are keeping them safe from unauthorized access, and minimizing their risk of damage due to unforeseen disasters e.g. fire, flooding or building collapse. Of course, finding a gun safe that reasonably manages to curb both concerns can be difficult when you’re constrained by your budget, and let’s face it, not all of us can shell out big bucks for top-of-the-line models. Cannon is one of those few safe manufacturers that seems to understand that essentially secure weapon storage should be accessible for all gun owners, not just those with ample money to spend.

They manufacture gun safes that are rigorously tested for both burglary protection and fire safety, and are backed by a solid warranty. Furthermore, their products are available at incredibly economical price points. I’ll be covering the more prominent features of their offerings in this guide, so you can know if their products are suitable for you. I’ve also included Cannon gun safe reviews for products which are most relevant to the modern day gun owner.

Best Canon Gun Safe Comparisons

Model

Weight

Capacity

Warranty

Price

Our Rating

Capitol CP603020

374 lbs

36 guns

Lifetime

$

American Eagle AE604830

770 lbs

72 guns

Lifetime

$$

1965 CA603020

595 lbs

24 guns

Lifetime

$$$

Introduction to Cannon

Established in 1965, Cannon has been producing secure safes for several decades for all budget segments. They claim to have a safe to match any gun owner’s needs: whether you’re building an armory for a small militia or merely interested in a secure place to keep your hunting rifles away from your kids, this company has you covered.

Thanks to their wealth of experience developing these products for so long, Cannon have honed their design practices to provide excellent quality and reliability, as you’ll see in the subsequent sections covering their core features.

Fire Protection

Cannon safes are rated for withstanding fires at temperatures up to 1200F. While this may not be the highest value by market standards, it is worth noting that these safes are exposed to this temperature from almost the start of the test – meaning that they’re designed to sustain this kind of heat for as long as possible.

Many other manufacturers achieve ratings that are a couple of hundred degrees higher by staying at lower temperature until the last five minutes of the test, so you can’t really be sure how well they’ll hold up against a real fire.

Furthermore, Cannon verifies the integrity of their safes during the test by measuring internal temperatures via 9 separate sensors placed all over the safe’s structure. They even test the upper portion (which several other manufacturers tend to avoid) where the temperature rises the fastest. With this manufacturer, it seems that you can count on their products to resist fire damage as advertised.

To minimize ‘acid-rain’ damage (resulting from a reaction between the smoke and the safe’s fire board insulation) to your belongings in the event of a fire, Cannon uses a Triple Fin Intumescent Heat Seal that expands when the external temperature reaches 260F, sealing the inside of the safe and preventing smoke from entering it.

Worth noting is the fact that not all of their safes are ETL rated for fire protection, which is contrary to what the company advertises. In spite of this, their rigorous testing procedure, combined with their explicit warranty, does indicate that they have resolute faith in the performance of their safes.

Burglary Prevention

Cannon’s high end gun safes offer formidable anti-burglary features: for starters, they use 3 layers of high-strength 60+ RC rated steel hard-plates and 4’’+ thick safe doors to secure the safe from tampering / drilling / hammering attempts. Even their humbler offerings have sturdy builds and essential protection features included.

A solid theft prevention measure implemented in their higher end gun safes is the incorporation of anti-pry tabs: this will stop burglars from finding a spot to leverage the gap between the bolts and the door of your safe. Pry attacks are also made harder through the use of 4’’ long and 1’’+ wide locking bolts.

The safe maker uses ‘Patented TruLock Internal Hinges’ as opposed to the industry staple external hinges. According to them, this provides a substantially greater degree of safety at the hinge side while also completely eliminating the risk of the hinges being cut out by a burglar; I’ll have to concede with them on this.

However, internal hinges are also notorious for compromising the fire insulation of safes because they require fireboard to be cut out in the places they have to fit. Still, Cannon’s rigid fire testing does establish that their internal hinge design does not significantly affect their products’ fire safety.

Note that most (but not all) of their products carry a UL-RSC security rating. This rating is more stringent than what is required by the basic CA DoJ certification, but it’s only good if it’s there!

Locking technology

While many safe manufacturers tend to go for EMP-resistant electronic locks that can withstand the fallout of an electromagnetic pulse attack up to a certain limit, Cannon has opted for a unique redundant backup approach instead. Their higher end 1965 and Brigadier product lines incorporate Dual Locks: this means that there’s a backup mechanical lock that kicks into gear as soon as the primary electronic lock fails e.g. due to an EMP wave; this protection feature is not limited to a certain EMP magnitude.

Interior customization

While many safe manufacturers tend to go for EMP-resistant electronic locks that can withstand the fallout of an electromagnetic pulse attack up to a certain limit, Cannon has opted for a unique redundant backup approach instead. Their higher end 1965 and Brigadier product lines incorporate Dual Locks: this means that there’s a backup mechanical lock that kicks into gear as soon as the primary electronic lock fails e.g. due to an EMP wave; this protection feature is not limited to a certain EMP magnitude.

Many of these safes also come with internal media and power supply outlets that allow you to set up accessories such as lights, dehumidifiers and cameras inside the safe without having to drill holes into its structure just to get some cables in.

Warranty

Cannon offers a fully transferable lifetime warranty on all its safes, and promises to repair / replace the safe for free in case it gets damaged due to theft, fire or a natural disaster. They also promise to pay the shipping costs if the safe has to be transferred to their factory for repairs, or a replacement has to be sent to your home. This is a level of commitment to their product that few safe manufacturers today show.

There is a slight catch though: if you’ve owned the safe for more than a year, you will have to pay for the workmanship required to replace the lock, even if the company ships you the lock itself for free. This is particularly relevant given that there have been a few specific complaints from customers about how their safes’ electronic lock failed all of a sudden, preventing them from accessing their possessions until it was fixed / drilled.

Top Cannon Gun Safe Reviews

Capitol CP603020 Cannon 36 Gun Safe

  • Weight: 374 lbs
  • Dimensions: 60x30x20
  • Gun capacity: 36
  • Weight: Body steel thickness: 14 ga
  • Door thickness: 3.917’’ 2x12 ga
  • Lock: UL rated electronic lock
  • Fire protection: Unrated 30 minute/1200F
  • Bolt size: 1’’x4’’(4); 1’’x1.5’’(2)
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Sporting a 14 gauge thick steel body, the Capitol 36 gun safe provides a mix of quality and economy (mostly economy) geared towards gun owners in need of essential protection at a nominal cost

The safe has a 30 minute fire rating; although this hasn’t been verified by the ETA, the manufacturer’s stringent fire testing protocols should provide a degree of reliability in this regard. This safe bears Cannon’s signature triple fin intumescent door seal which protects its contents from fumes in a blaze.

The safe employs a double layer of 12 Gauge steel for the safe door, and incorporates a UL rated electronic half lock. The safe door is secured by four 1”x4” locking bolts and two 1”x1.5” bolts, as well as the patented TruLock Internal Hinges, so a burglar will definitely have their work cut out if they want to brute force the door.

In terms of customization, the safe is pretty vanilla: having a standard split interior for storing both firearms and ammunition, as well as a Door Organizer Kit for storing quick access items.

The safe is also available in gun capacities of 12, 24, 42, 64 and 80, to cater to the storage requirement of any kind of gun collection.




What We Liked

  • Very affordably priced
  • Excellent UL rated anti-theft protection.
  • Rudimentary fire protection.

What We Didn't

  • Fire rating is not from ETL.
  • Interior is not very customization-friendly.

American Eagle AE604830 Cannon 72 Gun Safe

  • Weight: 770 lbs
  • Dimensions: 60x48x30
  • Gun capacity: 72
  • Body steel thickness: 14 ga
  • Door thickness: 3.917’’ 2x12 ga
  • Lock: UL rated electronic half lock
  • Fire protection: Unrated 60 minute/1200F
  • Bolt size: 1.25’’x4’’(6); 1’’x1.5’’(4)
  • Warranty: Lifetime

The American Eagle line is Cannon’s idea of a mid-range offering, providing stronger protection features than the Capitol series, but at a lower cost than the premium 1965 series, a great choice for those with a moderately limited budget.

While retaining the Capitol’s 14 GA steel body, 3.917’’ 2x12 GA door thickness and patented TruLock Internal Hinges to provide the same great fundamental protection against brute force burglary attempts, the safe also uses stronger bolts (four 1’’x1.5 and six 1.25’’ x 4’’) to stopper pry attacks. It would’ve been even better if the anti-pry tab or the triple hard plate (one of them at least) found in the 1965 series was also present here, but it seems that wasn’t feasible at this price-point.

While the American Eagle uses a UL rated electronic half lock just like the Capitol series, its fire rating is 1200F for 60 minutes (not yet verified by the ETL); that’s half an hour greater than the latter, so you can count on it to keep your belongings safe in a fire even when the nearest fire station is located a bit far. A Triple Fin Intumescent Seal is present as well, and it should serve to protect your prized collection from smoke in case the blaze takes a while to get under control.

This safe’s interior is divided into separate sections for storing weapons and accessories. A power supply and media outlet has been built into it so you can juice up your accessories without compromising the body of the safe. If you require quick access to your handguns, the Door Organizer Kit included with the safe will definitely be of help.

You may purchase a smaller sized version of the safe if your collection isn’t this large: 48, 42, 28 and 24 gun sizes are also available.




What We Liked

  • Near perfect balance of affordability and performance.
  • Strong theft prevention features.
  • Decent fire protection features.
  • Reasonably customizable interior.

What We Didn't

  • Fire protection isn’t ETL rated.
  • Burglary protection could’ve been improved by including one further premium anti-theft feature.

1965 CA603020 Cannon 24 Gun Safe

  • Weight: 595 lbs
  • Dimensions: 60x30x20
  • Gun capacity: 24
  • Body steel thickness: 12 ga
  • Door thickness: 4.646’’ 2x12 ga
  • Lock: UL rated EMP lock
  • Fire protection: Unrated 60 minute/1200F
  • Bolt size: 1.25’’x4’’(8); 1’’x1.5’’(4)
  • Warranty: Lifetime

This is one of the strongest offerings from Cannon, incorporating a 12 gauge steel construction and a whopping 90 minute fire rating.

The manufacturer has fitted this safe with advanced theft prevention features that include an anti-pry tab, dual relockers, triple hard steel plate, patented TruLock Internal Hinges and a double thickness 12 gauge door. There are 12 locking bolts used in this safe, 8 of which are 1.25’’x4’’ and the rest 1’’ x 1.5’’ thick, providing you with top of the line burglar protection.

The safe features the manufacturer’s famous EMP lock, with its redundant mechanical Electromagnetic Pulse wave protection – the locking mechanism has been rated by UL.

Although the safe lacks an ETL certification (which may be due to the fact that there products have been updated very recently), the glowing testimonials from users who have suffered fire accidents in their homes do cast a positive light on its performance. The Triple Fin Intumescent Seal found in other Cannon safes is also present in this one, ensuring complete smoke-proofing of the interior in the event of a fire.

The safe has a MOLLE compatible door organizer for quick access customization, and the shelf is split into sections for gun storage and ammunition/accessory storage. Also present is a built-in power and media outlet to which you can hook up accessories such as dehumidifies and LED lights. In fact, you may not even require the latter, since the safe has interior lighting built into it!

All in all, this product seems to be geared towards those with the most flexible budget constraints; it favors performance and reliability as much as possible while still remaining remarkably economical compared to similarly featured competitors.

You can also find 48 and 72 gun versions of this safe, in case you need storage for a larger weapon collection.




What We Liked

  • Affordably priced for its features.
  • Industry leading theft protection features.
  • EMP proof locking mechanism.
  • Extended fire rating.
  • Plenty of room for interior customization.

What We Didn't

  • Fire rating not attested by ETL.

Conclusion

Having read this review, you’ll see that Cannon is a company that has gone to some lengths to ensure that budget tied gun collectors don’t get sidelined when it comes to core protection features. Personally, I find it refreshing to see a manufacturer so dedicated towards the budget and mid-range demographic, that keeps on updating and improving their catalog year after year – it means that they’re listening to customer feedback!

There is no such thing as a universally applicable weapon storage solution, but for securely storing a smaller collection of firearms and accessories on a tight wallet, I’d recommend the 1965 CA603020 as the best Cannon gun safe: its sturdy construction, premium burglary prevention features and extended 90 minute fire rating, combined with its remarkably affordable price, make for a near-perfect budget friendly gun storage solution.

It may be pricier than the other two series I’ve reviewed, but the feature you get for the extra cost (anti-pry tabs, triple hard plate, dual relocker) are well worth it. Of course, those with different requirements e.g. a larger collection or a tighter budget, can explore other options.

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