EMP Proof Safe? Protect Your Gun Safe from an EMP

If you’re into preparedness, you’re likely aware of the potential threat from an electromagnetic pulse or EMP. You can read up on EMPs, their effects, and what causes them elsewhere. But in the video linked below, leading EMP expert Dr. Arthur T. Bradley shows us how to protect your gun safe and what’s in it quickly, easily, and inexpensively – even if you don’t have an EMP-proof safe. 

Protect your gun safe from an EMP high altitude EMP effect
An EMP would fry all unprotected electronic devices in its radius. (electricalelibrary.com)


Now, of course, if you don’t keep anything electronic, like red dot optics, range finders, whatever, in your safe it’s no big deal. But if you do, even though your safe acts as a Faraday Cage, the seams around the door can let radio frequency (RF) radiation through in large enough amounts to damage those things.

Some safes also have interior lights or dehumidifiers. Unfortunately, the cord powering those features can act as a conduit for RF radiation into your safe. Finally, if you have a digital locking mechanism, an EMP will smoke its electronics, making it difficult to get into your safe.

Radius of an EMP blast
A high-altitude EMP could devastate the entire country. (wikispooks.com)


But those dangers are easily guarded against, making sure your stuff is ready to go if you need it. Dr. Bradley, an electrical engineer who worked for NASA, is a leading preparedness authority. He runs disasterpreparer.com, where you can buy the equipment he uses. There are three steps to the process, so we’ll look at them one at a time.

Protect your gun safe from an EMP Dr. Arthur T. Bradley
Dr. Arthur T. Bradley is a leading expert on EMPs and a notable voice in the preparedness community. (NASA/Sean Smith)


Protecting Your Digital Locking Mechanism

This is simple. You can protect your digital lock by covering it with something conductive. That can be as simple as taping a piece of aluminum foil over it. Of course, you’ll have to remove the foil when you need access, but that’s not a huge deal.

In Dr. Bradley’s example, he uses a square of conductive cloth held in place by magnets, making it easy to remove when you unlock the safe. You could likely use the magnets with the foil too. Then, you can seal it as securely as you like.

Protect your gun safe from an EMP digital lock protection
Protecting the digital lock on your safe is as easy as covering it with conductive material, such as this square of conductive cloth.


The steel door provides a large conductive surface underneath, so any small bits of RF that might leak through will be inefficient and likely won’t damage your lock. The better job you do, the better your protection will be. Also, if you have a mechanical lock, you don’t have to worry about this one.

Protecting the Seam Between the Safe and the Door

Most safes aren’t airtight, meaning RF radiation will get through the seam between the safe and the door. Many safes also have rubber stoppers on the inside of the door to cushion the impact between the door and the safe. Dr. Bradley recommends replacing the stoppers with a conductive gasket, ideally about the same thickness as the stoppers. You can easily install the adhesive gasket along the inside of the door or on the door frame of the safe. Either one will work. The gasket won’t affect how your safe operates, but it will be better protected.

Protect your gun safe from an EMP conductive gasket
The seam between your safe and its door can be sealed by applying a conductive gasket around the inside of the door or on the door frame.


Protecting Your Safe’s Power Cord

You can skip this one if you don’t have an interior light or dehumidifier. But if you do, your power cord is a significant vulnerability. The hole it goes through isn’t a threat because any energy coming through would be negligible. But that same energy will attach itself to the power cord, using it as a conduit into your safe, where it can efficiently disperse. Taping around the hole or covering it up won’t help since the cord itself is the threat.

Protect your gun safe from an EMP broadband ferrite
You can protect any power cord going into your safe with a broadband ferrite that suppresses the electromagnetic energy. (disasterpreparer.com)


Dr. Bradley recommends attaching a “Broadband Ferrite” around the cord right before it enters the OUTSIDE of the safe. That’s very important. This device suppresses the EMP energy before it gets inside. You can get one that fits the cord perfectly, or you can get a larger one that allows you to loop the cord through it several times, making it even more effective.

An Easy Fix

This may or may not interest you. If not, no worries. But if so, you can get this stuff for not a lot of money and even less work. An EMP is an unlikely threat, but the possibility grows every day, and the potential damage from even one is devastating. Many folks carry their phones in miniature Faraday Cage bags, even though the network infrastructure would likely be fried by an EMP. It might be a good idea to protect all that fancy stuff you put on your guns.

What do you think? Are you concerned about an EMP? If so, what are you doing about it? Hit us up in the comments.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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