The Bighorn 19ECB has its fair share of controversy in many online discussions. This gun safe comes at an impressive ticket price, yet it has potential buyers wondering if they’re getting what they’re paying for. Some boast about this gun safe being the best bang for your buck while others claim it’s an overpriced gun cabinet.

Regardless of the discussions online, the real question is, does this gun safe fulfill your needs?

I’ll walk you through all the aspects of this gun safe in this review. I have done over 10 hours of research to get the answers you’re looking for. I’ll discuss what this gun safe is, what can fit in the safe, and smaller details that the manufacturer might not be mentioning. If you already are interested in it, click here to see it on Amazon.

So let’s dive in!

Why is the Bighorn 19ECB safe a Residential Security Container?

You may have seen some discussions on this gun safe being listed as a Residential Security Container, or ‘RSC’. It makes you question how that differs from a normal gun safe, and what else could be considered an RSC. Let’s clear up some of these questions now.

What is a Residential Security Container?

An RSC is simply a performance rating given to a safe by the California Department of Justice (DOJ). This rating means that the safe has passed a specific group of tests and has a set of standards that it meets.

What are these standards and tests?

There are two types of requirements . Construction and Performance.

First, construction. The safe has to use at least 12 gauge steel for the body and the door. This is on the thinner end of the steel spectrum, but it does provide a certain level of solid steel protection.

Second, the safe needs a combination or a key lock so that entry into the safe can’t be done by a few common, household tools. Basically, this is protection against someone trying to pick the lock on your gun safe.

For performance standards, they actually test how easy it is to break into the safe manually. Imagine having that as a job. “Yeah, I crack gun safes for a living.” Doesn’t sound too shabby at all.

So how do they do it? It’s not exactly like Ocean’s Eleven. They test the safe using pry bars, hammers, wrenches and other non-power tools. There is one power tool tested, which is a handheld drill. It’s not a continuous break-in either. The tester has 5 minutes to break in using common hand tools in different weak points.

Even if these standards and tests don’t seem very thorough to you, the rating gives you some peace of mind. From the tests, we know there isn’t a big gaping defect that Bighorn overlooked when making the safe.

Does this still mean this gun safe is secure?

Absolutely. You’re not just buying an overpriced gun cabinet. It actually went through testing to make sure you’re getting a small level of protection from someone trying to break into the safe.

Who should or should NOT buy this?

Basically, if you’re in the market for a safe that can keep the kids out and stands against a simple robbery, this safe covers those bases. It’s a great standard of safe that provides the basic levels of protection.

If you want a safe that can put up a big fight against a knowledgeable and experienced burglar, you’ll be shelling out a bit more cash and looking at higher security rated safes.

How many guns will it hold?

The “19” in the name of this gun safe refers to the cubic foot space inside the safe. It does not mean the number of guns it will hold. The manufacturer claims it can hold 24 guns. I call shenanigans.

Why shenanigans? I will start at the beginning. When it comes to tall gun safes, the number of how many guns they hold is normally larger than the actual number that can fit. Just look around online for images of filled gun safes and you’ll notice that the number is a fraction of what the safe says it can hold.


The safes come with pre-slotted holders for your long guns. The number of those slots is the total number of guns that the safe can hold, according to the manufacturer. The slots are made for single barrel thin shotguns. Almost BB gun size.

If you have rifles with nice optics on them you’ll want to space the guns out quite a bit. This way they aren’t bumping barrels, scopes and stocks in a crowded confined space.

A good rule of thumb is, the number of long guns that a safe can hold is roughly half of what the safe is advertised to hold. So in this case, you’ll likely be able to fit around 12 long guns in here.

The safe has two areas to hold long guns and comes with some extra shelves. If you remove the shelves (with the exception of the top shelf), you should have enough room to fit roughly 12 long guns. (Or 24 of those childhood BB guns. Don’t be ashamed – embrace it.)

A lot of people find that once they own a gun safe, they want to store more than just their firearms in the safe. They want to fit ammo, extra clips, pistols, documents and other valuables. If you’re looking for something that can hold these other items, you’ll have the top shelf available.

You can customize your layout with the extra shelves as well, but they will take up space on one side of the safe. This will leave you with half the room for your long guns. It’s all about give and take.  If you’re looking for some accessories, here’s a great comprehensive list with tons of gun safe accessories.

There are some door organizers you can buy that can give you some extra storage room as well. They don’t come standard with this safe, so you’ll have to buy it separately. Just make sure to measure correctly so you can get one that fits well. They normally have pistol holders and some extra zipped containers. The one that I saw with this safe came with 6 extra pistol holders, which really maximizes the space in your safe.

There are some things to consider when thinking about whether the space in this safe will work for you. Are you done buying guns? Or are you looking for a safe that you can grow into with time?

If you’ve got your gun collection and you’re done buying, then this is a great purchase. Even if you’re planning on buying more guns down the road, you may be considering upgrading to a larger, more expensive safe and just want some basic protection temporarily. Then this is also a great safe for the price.

This safe is definitely not for someone who has big dreams for growing into the safe with 24 long guns and some pistols. Get a safe you can grow into because they fill up very quickly with your valuables.

Can you run wires into it?

Yes, there’s a convenient pre-drilled hole on the back bottom when you look into the safe. It’s only drilled through the steel, not through the entire safe. So if you’re planning on installing a lighting system or a dehumidifier, you’ll need to be a bit handy and drill through the rest of the safe.plug

Another thing I found is that the hole is not wide enough to fit the end of the plug through. Some people got really creative and have installed outlets inside the safe, and ran wires through the back to other outlets. The hole provides a nice option, but there’s definitely some customizations you’ll need to do to get some power in there.

Can the door be removed?

I’m guessing you’re asking this for moving purposes, not breaking in purposes. So I’ll answer it that way.

Yes, the door can be removed. The reason you’ll want to remove the door is because the safe weighs a hefty 435 pounds and can be a pain in the butt when moving. Taking the door off lets the safe shed around 100 pounds, making it much easier to move to the place you want the safe to live in the house.

Some reviewers have said that the door is so easy to remove, that you simply just open the door and lift up vertically. This slides it out of the external hinges. Sidenote: the external hinges are a nice bonus. This means the safe can open 180 degrees which makes things easier to access when you’re moving things around in the safe. It also allows for more light when fully open if you aren’t planning to install internal lighting.

Is it fireproof?

Yes, it is. This safe has a 30-minute fire rating and has fire protection up to 1200 degrees.

If one of your top concerns is a gun safe’s fire rating, it doesn’t boast a very long rating. But if you live close to a fire station, you might be ok with just 30 minutes of fire at 1200 degrees. If your main reason for buying a safe is simply to have a bit of protection, then this does provide ample, small fire protection.

Can you customize the lock option?

This Bighorn gun safe used to have the option to customize the locking mechanism. In the past, you could choose between an electronic or mechanical lock. Unfortunately, Rhino Metals has gotten rid of this customization. Sorry, but no amount of begging over the phone will convince them.

Right now, it comes with an electronic lock that is UL certified with a swing bolt lock design. This means you’re getting greater security because it has passed a series of break-in tests and meets UL standards.

It relies on a 9V battery that is not included. The battery is installed on the outside of the safe, so if it dies, you aren’t completely in a pickle.

The code is a 6 digit PIN and the lock will temporarily go into a locked mode if the incorrect PIN has been attempted too many times.

There are some videos online about installing a mechanical lock into this safe. From what I’ve read, the aftermarket lock is around $100 and is moderately easy to install. This will void Rhino’s warranty on the lock, though, so weigh the benefits before starting to hack at your safe.

Who makes Bighorn gun safes?

Rhino Metals, an American company, makes Bighorn safes. Bighorn is their economy line of safes.

Where is it made?

The Bighorn gun safes are made in China, but they aren’t shipped directly to you from China. They come back to the States and are taken to Rhino’s facilities. There they pass through all the quality checks before shipping to your home, well, your curb.

What does the warranty look like?

Rhino offers a limited lifetime warranty on this safe. It covers all the defects and also promises to fix or replace your safe if there is a fire or break-in and your safe gets damaged.

To get the warranty, you have to prove you bought the safe (so keep those receipts around), submit photos and send them the police or fire report.

Oh, and the warranty is void if you don’t bolt down your safe. So do that.

You also get a one-year warranty on the locks and paint. Sweet.

Remaining details

Alright, here are the rest of the fun details about this safe.

Exact dimensions are as follows. Exterior: 59 x 28 x 20, so you’ll be able to get it through a doorway. Interior: 57.8 x 26.75 x 14.75

Door thickness: 1.5 inches thick on the front, with an overall thickness of 4.75 inches.

The handle is a nice, stylish 3 point chrome handle.

Again, the weight is a hefty 435 pounds.

Space it takes up in the home: 19.12 cubic feet. And the interior space of the safe is 13.13 cubic feet.

And again, it’s listed with UL as an RSC and meets the CA DOJ acceptable gun safe standards.

There are 8 door bolts that are 1 inch thick.

Bottom Line

So in conclusion, is this safe the top of the line? Not a chance. Is this the best safe for its price range? Absolutely. Not many safes contain this much room for the price tag. The thing I really like is that it’s made by an American company with high standards, so it’s got great quality for its price tag.

It’s a favorite safe of many, and I recommend it as a good safe with a great value. If you’re looking for something with some basic protection from kids and simple burglaries, look no further. It’s an affordable safe for what it offers.

The best price that I was able to find online is at Amazon. They offer a great deal on shipping this Bighorn safe too, which is key. Get your safe here on Amazon by following this link!

Not the safe for you?  Check out Stack On’s 24 gun safe with my complete review here. >>

Leave a Comment:

Martin says August 29, 2016

This is an impressive looking gun safe. It wouldn’t look out of place in an old western movie. It has that Wild-West look about it. I guess that’s why they named if after the Battle of Bighorn.

maria says August 30, 2016

Thanks for the honest opinion on this safe. It looks a like a good quality entry level safe for a small firearms owner to have in their home. This is much better than leaving them laying around especially if you have children around! Better keep that 6 digit pin code in safe place and never loose it!

    Lauren says September 1, 2016

    Thanks Maria! Glad you found it helpful.

Quinn says August 30, 2016

So this safe is 435 lbs. Does the shipper bring it into the house, or do you have to meet them at the curb with your own equipment?

    Lauren says September 1, 2016

    Great question! Normally the shipping company will drop the safe off at your curb, and then it’s up to you to transport it inside your home to the area where you plan on keeping the safe. Occasionally you can pay the shipping company a few extra dollars to move it inside, but you’ll want to negotiate that ahead of time.

George says September 1, 2016

Thanks for the thorough and honest review of this safe. It looks perfect for the purposes you mentioned: a certain level of protection and keeping the kids out. Given that I would only want it for those reasons, do you see any negatives, or do you recommend any other safes?

    Lauren says September 1, 2016

    I would suggest making sure this safe fits your price point of what you’d want to spend on a safe. If it works for you, then I’d say go for it!

Daniel says September 1, 2016

Thanks for the write up. It’s good to know that the door can be removed because I’ll be moving house in a year’s time so that feature will come in handy when carrying it into the pick up. The life time warranty sounds good. Do you know of anyone who has ever had that rejected? Do they keep to their word on that?

    Lauren says September 1, 2016

    I haven’t heard about Rhino safes not keeping their lifetime warranty guarantee. If that’s your concern, it may be a good idea to check the Better Business Bureau!

Brian Govern says October 26, 2016

The best way to move this is to rent an “Appliance Dolly’. They are taller than a standard dolly (close to 6′) and have a strap that wraps around the item being moved. I rented one from U-haul for 10 dollars, and moved the safe from the curb to my bedroom in about 15 minutes.

    Lauren says October 27, 2016

    Thanks, Brian! Great idea. That seems much safer than using a standard dolly.

Rob Richardson says March 22, 2018

Bought this safe via Costco. Safe itself is great. Very disappointed in maker, Rhino Metals. Only two side shelves come with the safe, but shelf brackets run from its top to bottom. Yet, contrary to their own accessories adverts they do not sell additional shelves for their safe. Result is extreme waste of valuable safe space. Would not buy again!

Jay Peterson says December 9, 2018

I’ve lost the safe manufacturer’s instructions to the new safe purchaser or owner, i.e the safe owner’s manual. Where can i find new instructions on the web or otherwise?

Peter Gentile says October 3, 2019

I put the code in and it shows to open but it will not open the handle. can I still be able to remove the door at the hinges. I have had this safe for 3 years and this is the first problem that I have had with it.. Thank you in advance,

Peter Gentile says October 4, 2019

I have one of your safes and I cannot get the door open, I put my correct numbers in and is confirmed but i can rotate the handle. what is the problem with it. How can I get the door open. Please respond!.

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