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Will a Gun Safe Protect against EMP?

By Maria Paiz October 23, 2023

Dark blue background with contrasting light blue text that reads will a gun safe protect against EMP, the USA Safe and Vault logo, and a photo of electromagnetic pulsation.

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Will a Gun Safe Protect against EMP? 


As a gun owner who values preparedness, I often think about protecting my firearms against all kinds of threats, including those that aren't as obvious. One such threat is an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP). You might have heard about EMPs in sci-fi movies or news about solar flares, but have you ever wondered what impact they could have on your gun safe? An EMP, natural or man-made, can disrupt or damage electronic equipment, and this includes the tech in our gun safes. So, it's crucial for us to ask: Can our gun safes stand against an EMP attack? Let's dive into understanding EMPs and how they might affect the security of our firearms.

Understanding Electromagnetic Pulses (EMP)


An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation that can occur naturally or be human-made. These pulses can disrupt or damage electronic equipment and systems, making them a potential risk to items stored in a gun safe. Natural sources of EMP include lightning strikes and solar flares, while human-made sources can include nuclear detonations and specialized EMP devices. Understanding the nature and potential impact of an EMP can help you make informed decisions about protecting your valuables.

EMP threats are rare and usually a result of a high-altitude nuclear explosion or a non-nuclear attack. It knocks out most electronics that we know exist in just about anything. Of course, if you are serious about protection, your gun safe should be able to withstand an EMP attack if it ever occurs. 

So, will a gun safely protect against EMP? The short answer is: No, it won’t. However, you can EMP-proof gun safe so that it can handle EMP blasts.

There are several things to do to address the EMP problems so your gun safe and firearms collection stored inside remain safe during an unexpected nuclear attack. 

Reasons Why a Gun Safe Likely Can't Survive an EMP Attack

Many gun safes are not built to withstand an EMP attack. The electromagnetic energy from the pulse can penetrate the metal of the safe and disrupt or destroy any electronic systems within. This includes electronic locks, which could potentially become unusable after an EMP event. Additionally, any electronic devices stored within the safe, such as tablets or hard drives, could also be damaged. Considering these factors is essential when deciding how to best protect your valuables from an EMP attack.

Requiring power to work:

An electronic locking device requires power to function, and when the power decreases, the electronic lock used to protect the gun safe will turn off, and which override key is the only way to get access. Hence, people use a mechanical lock system for their gun safe as an alternative option in case this situation happens. 

Not all gun safes are EMP-Proof :

Not all gun safes can be EMP-proved, so you need to get other alternatives, like using a gun safe with a mechanical locking system that can resist EMP. Otherwise, you put gun safes inside a Faraday Cage to make it empty. 

    I have explained the reasons why a gun safe cannot stand EMP. Now it’s time to know further about getting a safe EMP-proof. 


    How to EMP-proof a gun safe

    EMP-proofing a gun safe involves adding protection to prevent electromagnetic energy from penetrating the safe. This could include purchasing a safe specifically designed to resist EMPs, or adding additional shielding to an existing safe. Some manufacturers offer EMP-resistant electronic locks, which can help ensure you can still access your safe after an EMP event.

    Use a Mechanical Lock:

    After placing a gun safe into a Faraday Cage, you can improve its protection by installing a mechanical lock or a dual lock system to the gun safe. Use a multimeter to look for a spot on the door in order to know if it has electricity. 


    Use Small Ground Straps

      A small ground strap like that used for automotive can be used by drilling and screwing its bits on a similar frame to connect the door. When the straps have been applied, put them in the gun safe using aluminum foil to function as an RF gasket. Check if there is moisture going across the safe. If you find any on its wall, you must get rid of it before applying a foil to the safe.  


      Get a Paint Finish

      Take into account getting a paint finish and see if it can limit your efforts of using a mechanical lock on the safe. You need to get ride of the painted area previously if you connect it with metal. 


      Frequently Asked Questions

      Is my gun safe EMP proof?

      Yes, it is possible for guns to be affected by an electromagnetic pulse. It is very important that when you store firearms, you store them in a place without any electronic devices or anything made with aluminum.

      Are guns affected by EMP?

      Electromagnetic pulses (EMP) will not harm your guns directly, but if you store them in a metal box and the EMP scrambles electricity, then your guns will not work because they are electronically locked until manually retrieved out of the metal container. To protect against EMP, use safes with steel inside to secure your firearm from being affected by electromagnetic pulses. 

      What material is EMP-proof?

      The material needed to protect firearms from EMP is steel. Your firearm should be stored inside a safe that contains steel because it will not be affected by EMP if the electricity goes out. All the metal-containing locking appliances that can store a gun will help protect against an electromagnetic pulse. 


      EMPs pose a potential risk to the electronics in your gun safe. While many safes aren't built to withstand an EMP, there are steps you can take to add protection.

      Understanding the risks and available options can help you protect your valuables from an EMP event. This includes choosing a safe designed to resist EMPs, adding extra shielding, and using a Faraday cage. Understanding the risks and available options can help you protect your valuables from an EMP event.

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