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What's An EMP (And Can My Safe Lock Protect Against It)?

You might be familiar with the term EMP, or you might not, but for the past few years it's been coming up more and more. An Electromagnetic Pulse is an event that can disable electronics, and that includes electronic locks. While this can happen naturally or it can be weaponized, the bottom line is if your safe has an electronic lock on it, it might be affected. It's a pretty heavy topic, but we want you to be informed and understand what this means for you if you have an electronic lock on your gun safe.


What Is An EMP?

EMP stands for ElectroMagnetic Pulse, and it's a short burst of electromagnetic energy that can interfere with and damage electric and electronic equipment. Depending on its intensity and certain other factors, it can disable devices temporarily or permanently. It can occur naturally with things like solar flares or lightning strikes, but most people worry about man made, weaponized EMP attacks.


Why Worry?

We'll focus on two levels here, nationally and personally.


An EMP attack can do some catastrophic damage to a region and collectively, a nation. Main targets would be things like power grids and water management stations that rely heavily on delicate electronics, but it can affect all the small things that we take for granted like radios and cell phones. Imagine if a giant chunk of our country's electronics failed all at once. The extent of the attack on a national level would cause a lot of chaos. People could become desperate, and that would affect us on a personal level.


In the middle of all the chaos is us, defending ourselves and our families. If there was ever a time to get to our money and firearms stored in our safes, this is it. But like we rely on so many other electronics in our lives, a lot of gun owners rely on an electronic lock to lock up their gun safe.


Can EMP Attacks Affect Electronic Safe Locks?

Every electronic device can be affected by an EMP if it's not designed in a way to be shielded against it. The question is, which electronic safe locks are built to withstand an EMP?


We can't speak to every lock out there, only what we know. Of the brands we sell, Sargent & Greanleaf and SecuRam electronic locks have been successfully tested at a MIL-STD 461F rating. This is the level of security created for and used by the Department of Defense for everything they don't want affected by an EMP. It's a high standard. So yes, you can trust Sargent & Greenleaf and SecuRam locks to protect your safe against EMP attacks.


So, what if you want to find out if your electronic lock is EMP tested and approved? If there's not a sticker on the door of the safe, your best bet is looking up the lock manufacturer to see if they bring it up themselves. It's they've passed the test, they'll proudly let you know somewhere on their website. If there's no mention of it, it's very likely they don't have it. Most locks have their name (or their initials) right on the lock itself, if you need to know who made it.


So, What Are My Options?

While the potential for an EMP event is there, your options and the choice you make will come down to how concerned you are.


The first option is to trust a sucessfully tested EMP resistant lock, and a lock with a MIL-STD 461F rating is definitely a viable option.


The second option is a mechanical lock. If you will have no peace of mind with any electronic lock then a good, old fashion spin dial mechanical lock can give you that peace of mind. The trade off would be losing the ease and speed of every day use that comes with an electronic lock.


Hopefully all of this has given you some insight into what an EMP is, how it can affect you and what options you have, at least when it comes to your gun safe. Just having the knowledge can help you make informed decisions when it comes to your safety and the safety of those you love.