While waiting patiently for the delivery van (dammit, hurry up!), I’ll detail my thinking process on the gun cabinet safe versus several alternatives. My thought process involved looking at what I could afford, how many guns I’d need to lock up, where I could put the safe in the house and determining what exactly I’m trying to protect against. Pretty much in that order. So logically I’m going to explain it in reverse Polish notation . . .
What am I protecting against?
In the deep dark recesses of my mind, I’m protecting against them little thieving bastards from the next neighborhood over who broke into my truck almost 30 years ago. But that’s a problem better handled through modern chemistry and anger management seminars. In reality, I’m concerned about unauthorized access, outright theft, and loss through disaster.
Unauthorized access ranges from the pitter-patter of little feet to the teenage friend of a friend of my son who is “innocently wandering through the house” while looking for the bathroom. Also, repair men, carpet installers, general contractors, etc. who might be in the house at different times.
These days the pitter-patter feet belong to a Yorkie, so no real worries there until the grandkids start popping out. But the rest simply represent parties who may pick something up that’s laying in the open, but wouldn’t try forcing a lock or spend any amount of time trying to get to something hidden. Any type of locked storage would work here (assuming you actually lock up your firearms).
Outright theft would be a B&E that occurs while we’re not home or while we’re home. If we’re out, I want some firearms security that would take some time and effort to defeat. The more time and effort required, the greater the chance that the professional thief will skip it and look for an easier item to steal.
Unfortunately, that kind of protection requires some serious coin. And the world is full of amateurs. A locked steel cabinet would stop anyone not carrying tools, and only slightly delay someone carrying a pry bar. For anyone carrying the right kind of power tools, it’d take maybe 5, 10 minutes tops to get in. Counting the time to wind up the extension cord and sweep up the mess.
But people carrying power tools expected to defeat a gun safe are pretty much going to get in, regardless. It’d take almost an order of magnitude more money to protect against that scenario.
If we’re home when a break-in occurs, I’d be able to fight back or I wouldn’t. Regardless, the type of safe would be a non-issue at this point. So back to square one.
Finally, loss through disaster. I live in hurricane central, right on the corner of drought central. If I lost the house to flood, wind, or fire, I’d lose a lot more than guns. At that point it’s all insurance money and start over. Again, the type of safe purchased is a non-issue. I’d carry my favorite guns during the evacuation anyway and replace the rest.
Where can I put it?
My wife answered that question. Anywhere she doesn’t have to see it. So I chose a closet. So the safe had to be small, manueverable, lightweight. Not a lot more to discuss, other than I’ve owned four different homes, lived in three others, and never really had one with a suitable place for the “survive the nuclear holocaust” gun safe. I would put it in the living room right next to my Suzuki, given the option of being single again. But marriage does have a few benefits even if it means parking my motorcycle outside.
How many guns should it hold?
All that I currently own, plus everything I plan to buy in the near future, plus about a dozen others. And then some. Okay, maybe not. But a new 12-gun locker plus what I already have should be sufficient for now.
What can I afford?
I’ve seen several responses as to what you should be willing to spend on a safe. Some of the more glib comments assume that just anyone can drop several grand at the drop of a hat. Not in this economy! Anything over a grand is a no-go. Yes, it would cost more to replace the guns if stolen, but so what?
Right now I’d rather dump several grand into the kids’ college account than on a gun safe. Priorities. I’m willing to go up to $400 or so, but much more than that and I’d have to revisit the above three questions to see what I really need versus what I just want.
So, finally, I need something that costs less than a used rifle, holds about a dozen long guns, can fit in a closet, prevents unauthorized access by friendlies, and will stop amateurs crooks while slowing down professionals. I’ll accept that some crooks, given time and tools, will get in regardless and not plan against that scenario. I’ll also accept that it doesn’t have to guard against natural disasters and take my chances with the insurance company.
Where does that leave me? With a steel cabinet locking safe. It’s not the final answer in protection, but it is a good mid-level answer to security. At least for me. More to come on the Homak once it arrives.