According to Wranglerstar, the humongous safe sheltering your firearms was designed for an earlier time. “I can get into one of those things with a $10 grinder and couple fiber blades from Harbor Freight that I spent no more than twenty bucks on. In fifteen minutes I can be into any one of those safes.” Fire protection? Not unless it’s totally high-end. Skip to 4:41 and our man starts singing the praises of a 100-pound security cabinet, at half the cost of the behemoths.

Wranglestar makes another good point: for those of us who sleep on the second floor, an accessible “proper” gun safe isn’t an option. Which is why I have a Browning Tactical safe on the lower level, a security cabinet near my bedchamber (yes I’m binge watching The Tudors), a single handgun safe near the kitchen and a Cabot on my hip. What’s your firearms storage strategy? One safe, two safes, security cabinets, bedside one-gun safe, what?

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74 Responses to Question of the Day: Got Safe?

  1. His entire premise revolves around the fact that the sides of the safes are vulnerable. That is true, but what if the thief doesn’t have access to the sides of the safe? In my closet I have 2 safes right next to each other. On one side is the interior half of an exterior wall. On the other side is permanently mounted solid wood shelving. The thief would have to defeat one of these two barriers just to get into ONE safe, then move that safe out of the way to get into the side of the second one.

    In short, just like in shooting, it’s all about placement.

    • A family friend lost his entire gun collection and his wife’s inherited antique jewelry collection to a thief who just took the entire safe. Right out the front door into the back of the van parked in his driveway. (Neighbor across the street video cam recorded the whole thing.)

      Bolt it to the floor or concrete pad, preferably.

      We have had serious problems with China drywall here in Florida. He mentioned Formaldehyde contamination, down here it’s sulfur contamination. It stinks up the house and corrodes the hell out of copper wiring. We suspect down here they were using gypsum from phosphoric acid for fertilizer manufacturing. They dissolve the phosphate out of the rock matrix with sulfuric acid and some of it ends up in the gypsum.

      If you smell *anything* remotely chemical inside besides glue, perhaps, avoid if possible…

    • The skinny jeans segment of the gun owning population.

      The reality is that anything is failable. Just the ugly truth of it. He is right that a safe is largely the illusion of safety but so are many other things in life. They are certainly able to keep honest people honest though.

  2. Nothing can protect valuables against everything. But unless a burglar enters my home with the intent to cut through my (multiple) safes, he won’t have the tools to do so.

    Most burglars carry no tools at all, aside from a screwdriver, pry bar and maybe a hammer. They’re just punks looking to grab TVs, home computers and whatever jewelry or cash is laying around. They leave whatever they can’t carry away or quickly break into by main force.

    • Yep, crime wave around here started last December. Hispanic burglars that are in and out in 2 minutes. They know exactly what to look for and where to look. Stuff everything they take in a pillow case (also stolen from your house) and gone. All those security systems that email you when there is a break in had great pictures of them…heading out the door. We had to threaten to burn down the donut shops to get the fat, lazy sheriff deputies to actually get off their asses and arrest these wastes of skin. Now the big thing is car break ins. Go figure.

  3. I have a few old school gun cabinets with glass doors and one room in the house with multiple racks and wooden cabinets as well. Just a simple glass door on that room, and rarely even locked. We recently had to put a lock on our front door, because the new dog figured out how to open the front door and let herself in. The other doors have no locks, but the screens keep the dog out.
    All you have to do to get my guns is walk on in. Just walk right on in.

      • Wait a minute…is this some kind of trick? I don’t want to drive all the way to Texas for nothing. (Don’t want to die in Texas, either.)

        • Here’s a hint, bring a 4WD with a good amount of clearance, otherwise you aren’t getting up the road to the house. The directions I give people always include the words (yes, you are on the right road, keep driving, you aren’t there yet).
          And someone is always there.

  4. I don’t lose too much sleep on thieves managing to break into my safe. Vast majority of thieves are small-time MF’ers looking to quickly get in and out. I’d much rather them walk out with the tv or something than my guns.

    Basically a thief would have to bring a whole safe cracking setup with him or else kick in the door and hold me at gunpoint forcing me to open the safe to get in.

    • This is the key point that everyone overlooks.

      A committed robber will get your contents out of your safe. Whether certain tools or coercion is more efficient does not matter.

      A basic safe prevents your garden variety smash-and-grab thief from walking away with its contents. Beyond that, there are no guarantees.

      The big question in my mind is whether a thief with a typical prybar can quickly access or remove a gun cabinet. I suspect the answer is yes, which is why I would stick with low-end safes.

  5. I have spent countless hours researching safes and their construction. I haven’t watched the video posted above. But in the majority of gun safes, and weak link is in the bolt linkage design and construction, as well as the thin gauge steel. Most “big” bolts are simply supported by a thin gauge angle where the bolt is attached to the angle with a 1/4″ bolt. During a pry attack, the weak angle plate the bolts are attached to behind the door cover bend with ease (the bolt doesn’t bend because itself is strong – it’s what the bolts are attached to that bend), and allow the safe door to be opened fairly easily. In addition, the thin steel of the support cage around the door that the bolts lock behind is easily bent during that attack as well, making the pry attack easier than you might imagine.

  6. Also, keep in mind that safes that have an RSC rating from UL, means the safe can withstand only 5 minutes of pry attack with no power tools. 5 minutes with an 18″ long pry bar! Not bad for your $2,500 “safe” (sarcasm).

    Many burglars will have a pry bar with them and won’t struggle that badly to get in your safe with only a few minutes of effort.

    • “Many burglars will have a pry bar with them and won’t struggle that badly to get in your safe with only a few minutes of effort.”
      [Citation needed]

    • This is why the placement and orientation of the safe is critical. Orient the safe in a corner with the side that opens against the wall. This way the burglar can only pry the hinge side of the safe.

  7. I’ve never understood why anyone who owns more than one gun DOESN’T have a safe.
    Assuming you have one gun loaded and ready at all times ( you do home carry, right?) then the other pieces should be secured.
    Yes weve all heard your excuses: I don’t have kids, I live in a nice neighborhood, I’ve hidden them really well, I keep all twenty loaded and ready all over the house, i can’t afford a safe, blah, blah, blah.
    1. Unless you’re some kind of mutant, you likely can’t use more than one gun at a time.
    2. Your neighborhood is very nice, that’s why the burglars will target it.
    3. Its not your kids we’re worried about.
    4. I doubt you favorite hiding spot is all that creative.
    5. For the cost of a single decent hunting rifle, you can protect the entire collection.
    Stop being irresponsible (yes, you are) and go get a safe today.
    Sorry yall, this post just hit a nerve or two with me today…

    • “I’ve never understood why anyone who owns more than one gun DOESN’T have a safe.”

      You gonna come buy one for me?

      I don’t need one, and don’t want one. And you can’t make me. hows that for a reason? Dude, get off your high-horse and calm the f*** down over decisions other people make with their own possessions and their own money. You worry about you. I’ll worry about me.

      • NICE rant!

        I’ve designed nuclear plant security. The key is numerous barriers and layers. Physical barriers, electronics, cameras, dogs, people. Any one measure can be defeated. Throw in a whole lot of layers and breaches are unlikely.

      • Fair enough… as soon as we start suing you because you decide you’re too cheap to buy even the lowest level of security for firearms and someone uses those firearms against us. Because suddenly your problem- and pigheaded refusal to deal with it- has become everyone’s problem, for no good reason*. And we can expect laws to be passed that screw all of us because of it.

        • Where do you keep your kitchen knives Hannibal?

          Your automobile? Your hammers? Get a grip.

        • Deal! So, every single time one of my firearms is stolen and used to murder someone, you are more than welcome to track them down, waste your own money on an attorney, to file a lawsuit, that will get laughed out of court. Do you also sue your neighbors because they don’t keep their kitchen knives inside a safe? Their prescription pharmaceuticals? Their automobiles? I mean, these are things that are stolen and used to to kill people a LOT more than firearms… I ask about your neighbors, because someone with such a strong social conscience OBVIOUSLY locks any dangerous item of theirs inside a safe when not in use to protect everyone from their evil negligence, right?

  8. Got several full size safes in my basement, nice locked in room. Some belong to friends.

    One pointed out that thieves don’t care about the damage they do; they aren’t trying to preserve the safe, only to sell the contents. If they were desperate, they’d take a sawzall to the house walls and drag the safes out to a good isolated spot to work on them. If they aren’t willing to do that, then the safes are safe as is and where is. A locked cabinet won’t deter a casual thief, but if it requires power tools or explosives or cutting torches, than it’s not a casual thief.

    • A friend of mine was on vacation, many years ago, and the burglars used a Sawzall to completely remove his front door. They backed a truck up to the porch & took everything. Literally every thing – TV, stereo, dishes, pots, pans, clothes, throw rugs, towels, furniture, every single thing. A neighbor said they noticed a truck there for an hour or so but just thought my pal & his wife might be moving. Broad daylight, too. Burglars will trash anything & everything…

  9. Of course nothing is truly secure. But honestly, if you’re worried about your gun safe you probably should be more concerned about your doors and windows.

    In any case, if Jack Reacher breaks into your house, you’re probably going to be calling your insurance company.

    Thankfully, most street thugs aren’t Jack Reacher.

  10. How long until the anti’s ban the term “gun safe”, because there’s no way to make guns safe, don’t you know?

  11. It’s no secrete to anyone paying attention , there been a race to the bottom in gun safes ever since they started being sold in box stores. None of which are really safes , most can’t even make the lowest rating of RSC, which is really not much of a secure safe either .

    Frankly a large screwdriver and medium length pry bar will get into most, raise your hand if you have those in your garage ….. Here’s a hint the door gap on a real safe won’t allow those to,fit…. And those large live bolts all up and down your door? They’re welded to thin rods inside the door that bend with the slightest pry attack .

    This is why your safe should be hidden from guests and workmen. Safe = stuff to steal, name on safe , go to,YouTube and learn how to break into it in a couple minutes , come back with tools/grinder and be in and out in a few minutes .

  12. The dirty little secret about gun-safes is that they provide expansive security for only one thing:

    (*move your hands like lobster claws with me*)

    B O O B Y T R A P S

    I’m just trying to protect you from them.

    Don’t let them loose (just a PSA). If you can understand the concept, then Stack-On will work in most instances not involving fire, smoke, or water damage.

  13. I thought it was a good enough presentation and the guy made some solid points. I’m in the market for a new safe and I’m checking out SecureIt.

  14. Sturdy safe co.

    They don’t advertise because they don’t have to . Speaking of eggs don’t put them all into one basket or I mean safe .

    People gather all the stuff they had scattered/ hid all over the home in and the into one easy to break into spot , once the buy that cheap pos safe. One stop shopping for the bad guy.

  15. Steel Stack-On cabinet, two locked doors, and a 130 lb Lab.

    And, since you counted the Cabot, a Sig M11-A1 on my hip.

  16. True story, sort of off topic but determination is important, so is brains.

    Two persons drove into a grocery store in Hamburg, NY, wrapped a chain around an AMT machine and drove it home. The skid marks in the road led the police to their house.

    In Charlotte, thugs are stealing SUV’s and a few days later driving them through the front entrance/back door of gun stores to steal . . . . . GUNS!

    ATF visited us and said the thieves are using welding equipment to get into areas they want to go.

    If you are determined, you can get there.

    At home, best advice, leave a TV or radio on when you are gone.

  17. Partly passively construed negligent discharge of the day (they sure did fire her quickly though):

    Carpenter said in a news release that Misty Michelle Flowers was negligent while showing the handgun to friends Saturday night at her house. The gun discharged and the bullet went through a wall and struck her 11 year old daughter in the abdomen in the next room. The girl is expected to recover.

    The Sheriff’s Office policy says firearms are expected to be locked away when they are at a deputy’s home.

  18. I have a stack-on cabinet in my bedroom closet which holds a few home defense weapons. All others are locked in the safe which is in a forgotten corner of the basement.

    Of course I home carry but that won’t do much when I’m not at home. I DID leave the previous homeowners security system set up even though it’s not active. Seeing it may make an intruder think they have less time than they actually do…

  19. Nothing will stop a true professional burglar but I assume that they are few and far between. I bought a Liberty Centurion 12 gun safe, it was about $450 or so from Gander Mountain (yes, they’re good for something) and I bolted it to the concrete pad with four Redhead concrete wedge anchors. Not too hard to do yourself, and I was able to maneuver the safe from the car through the house using a cheap harbor Freight hand truck.

    The safe is tightly wedged into a closet so I feel pretty happy that I have done a reasonable job with regard to keeping my firearms out of the hands of those that shouldn’t have them……

    http://www.libertysafe.com/safe-centurion-safes-ps-23.html

  20. If the liberals really cared about “safe” storage of guns they would give out a tax credit on the purchase of a safe. Like maybe up to a $1500 credit like they did for pellet stoves a number of years back.

    If you care, put it up. Of course it’s my money to begin with sooo…

    • That’s what I’ve been saying for years. Especially when some states or localities require the purchase or possession of a safe in order to buy guns.

    • Right, but using California as an example, under their regs even this cheapo SentrySafe/GunVault thingies that can be opened with a paper clip qualify as a “safe”. So they would probably see your Amsec BF as an excessive and unnecessary luxury.

  21. Safe weighs 600 lbs, is hidden in the “gun closet” and bolted to the slab. In a 4000 ft house it would take a likely half-hour just to find it. That’s after driving a mile and a half beyond the “no outlet” sign, past 2 housing developments, then deciding it’s worth your life to see what’s in my safe. If I come home to an empty house and a strange car/truck in my driveway, step one is park sideways in the driveway so no other vehicles can get out. Step two is get my car gun out and at hand, with spare mag, since my EDC is a puny 9mm. Step 3 is call 911 and get them on the way. Finally, step out of the car and behind a tree, to wait. Pardon me if I am not concerned.

  22. I could zip through the piano hinge on that SecureIt cabinet with a battery powered angle grinder, or even a Dremel, in no time, much faster than trying to grind through the side of a safe. And, those little locking pin bolts are just hilarious, regardless if they are hardened steel. Comparing a gun cabinet to a safe is just ridiculous. What safe you buy depends on your needs; fire, flood and burglary.. and budget.

    You’re naive to think that just a safe would keep a burglar or kids from getting your valuables, especially if you keep it in your closet without bolting it to your floor. You’re wrong to think “hiding” your safe in the closet or bedroom is a good idea. It’s the first place a burglar and inquisitive kids will look. A safe is only a deterrent.

    You should:
    1. Put your safe in an inconspicuous place where valuables aren’t typically kept. A confined location is best that can’t easily be maneuvered within. Depending on your priorities of fire/flood/burglary will determine the best location of the safe (basement, main floor, upper floors, coat closet, laundry room, utility room, etc.).
    2. Bolt your safe to the floor and/or wall (both is best). Typically, you should place the safe in a corner with the opening side of the door closet to the wall. This way the burglar can only pry the hinge side of the door.
    3. A layered security system should be utilized… Alarm system with real-time monitoring, video monitoring system and tamper notification system. Home alarm systems are a cheap deterrent, and wireless systems make them easy to install. Video monitoring provides evidence, and possibly two-way audio to alert burglars that they are being watched. Lastly, with home automation systems, like Wink and SmartThings, you can place door alarms and tamper alarms on the door of your safes, even quick access safes, to automatically notify you in near real-time via email or smartphone app that someone has opened or broken into your safe.

  23. my visible Sentinel safe contains exhausted car batteries. take it home, cut it open, you got bupkis.

    my hidden pistol safes are distributed. you would need a very long time to find them all. you need to be sure I am not closer to one than you are. that will be difficult.

    • Friend of mine had an old semi portable bank vault that he mounted on wheels and kept his 20lb powder kegs in. (it was actually bought from a bank, probably made about 1930 or so)

      Spend an hour cutting that thing open, and your reward is a very hot fire or worse.

  24. The safe manufacturing industry, combined with the anti-gun scary babies have convinced too many people that you need massive safes to store firearms.

    Back in the recent past, people hung their rifles on the wall like fishing rods. My dad did. In fact, I did too, with my toy guns (that didn’t have sissy orange on the tips). I remember making the rifle racks for my toy guns. Cutting the wood, sanding it, staining it, and hanging it proudly on the wall and fitting the rifle perfectly on it.

    • Except the gun safe is for more than just guns, if I had enough to warrant a safe it would also contain most or all of the physical traditional artwork I’ve made, any contracts, original orders, a partial amount of coin, etc.

      Mainly stuff I would want to keep away from flooding and rats without building a new structure up on a hill.

  25. High end safe bolted to concrete on first floor. Heavy duty (way heavier than Hornady) quick access pistol safe anchored to the window sill next to bed.

    Usually have semi-auto and revolver on me.

    Also have good quality security alarm with 3 methods of contacting monitoring service and the cops are usually 5 minutes away.

  26. I keep hearing about how there are videos on how to cut through a gun safe with grinder in x minutes, but I have never found one on youtube or heard of someone losing their guns by this method.

    My safe is bolted to the concrete floor and to the wall behind it. It weighs 800+ lbs empty, and is not empty. I have a large dog and a security system. And I am always within arms length of a gun at home.

  27. Sounds like he bought into some marketing. He talks about it his cabinet being half the cost of a comparable “safe”. His 14 gauge steel box from SecureIt costs $600 and only holds 6 guns my 14 gauge steel box from Liberty Safe cost me about the same price delivered (actually a little less), holds at least twice as many guns, and has 30 minutes of fire protection. Sure it weighs more, but that’s because it’s bigger, and as far as moving in the future, it won’t be any more difficult than a fridge.

    • Interesting attitude! When I bought my safe it was with the same approach as when I bought the dining room table/chairs which seat 20, some 15 years back. When/if I ever sell the house, they stay. The likelihood I’ll ever again have a dining room which will hold 20 people is tiny, and the cost of a gun safe is so low that the simple answer is to buy a new one, not move it. Both should add to the marketability of the home.

  28. My safe is in a basement with no exterior access. I have an alarm, a dog and home carry and a gun in the night stand by the bed. It’s in a place where it can’t be dumped over to get in from the back and I don’t tell anyone except other gun people that I even own a gun. Don’t know this guy at all but I’m pretty sure I’m ok. Maybe I’ll have someone come in and concrete around the potentially sides of the safe and have them bolt it to the floor.

    I have also thought about leaving the safe there and moving everything in it to another location in the house where there is a false wall where I could store everything and let them spend a bunch of time screwing with the safe as the cops arrive as they delve into an empty safe.

    • You are free to do whatever you want to, but in the interest of sharing information, if you don’t bolt your safe to the ground, all the thief has to do is tip it over. Once on its backside, they can have the front door pryed off in a couple of minutes, using a pair of those 6ft long rock breaker bars, leaving your trashed 800lbs safe behind in your basement and carrying all the goodies out the front door.

  29. Security is relative to time. If you have a security system with a five minute response time all you need is a six minute safe. There are a couple of things you can do to extend the time to break in. Put a black powder warning on your safe. It takrs power tools out of the game. One spark and it goes boom. I have a friend who keeps enough black powder in his safe to destroy the contents and maybe take out the thief. Also never put out a protected by ADT or other company. If they don’t know that you have a security system then they are more likely to trigger the alarm. And be sure to let the company know you are out of town so they will respond immediately to an alatm.

    • I think like you… I had the alarm company signs up until I actually had an alarm system… then I removed all indications.

  30. I have a pair of inexpensive steel safes for my rather unimpressive collection. I also have alarms and insurance should they be targeted. The boxes are to keep my child and her friends away from dad’s toys.
    Nothing wrong with 600lb safes it’s just easier to cover them with an alarm system and insurance. I have records for all of them with photos. Fire is a concern but if my house burns the guns are far down the priority list.
    Seriously none of my firearms are heirlooms.

  31. He knows not what he speaks of, yet he speaks. Write him off.

    Any security designed by man can be defeated by man. It’s that simple.

  32. You can’t stop determined thieves, but you can make it difficult for them. My safe is dynabolted to rebarred concrete floor, and in the back corner of a room used for storage so access is difficult at the best of times.

    In my part of the world a gun safe has to be over 150 kilograms (over 330 lbs) empty weight to avoid having to be attached to the structure. Even then there are instances of crooks just loading the safe on to a trolley and wheeling it away.

    And the safe has to pass inspection by the police.

    The local shooting sports lobby group has a motto: Secure your gun. Secure your sport.

  33. I want a safe behind a false door. I have the space and location, However, the location isn’t that convenient. Could use it for storage, self defense guns kept handy.

    Growing up, my parents had a false door closet at a lake cabin. All booze, rifles, ammo, and portable TV’s were placed in there every time we left. Once, three homes were robbed, us included. We lost a six pack of beer out of the refrigerator and not much else. The two other homes lost new T.V’s, guns, booze…,if it wasn’t nailed down and could easily be carried, it was gone.

  34. First off any protection is better than none. Second, buy what you can afford. If you can afford a $3500-5000 top of the line safe go for it. If you can only afford a $100 Walmart Stack On gun cabinet go for it. Something is better than nothing. No safe is totally break in proof. The more you spend the longer it takes someone to get in it. As far as the IDIOT video at the top. Fire rated safes do work. They are rated different and the nicer ones that last longer cost more (duh). Safe placement is a big key, not only to thief deterrent but lasting through a fire. Place your safe in a corner, leaving only two unprotected sides is better than three. Also place your safe on a exterior wall. Remember if a thief breaks into your house with the intent of taking your safe than he is probably prepared to do so and properly motivated, nothing you can do about that. Placing your safe against a exterior wall does several things. Most exterior walls are more secure than interior walls. Second, and this is from personal experience. Assuming you happen to be there as your house is burning to the ground. Whether you were there and managed to get out, or came home to it already on fire. You can inform the firefighters that there is a safe in THAT corner and they can HELP focus on that area keeping the safe cooler. As I stood there watching my friends house burn to the ground I watched the firefighters occasionally hit the corner where the safe was with water. When it was all said and done, the only thing standing was a few perimeter walls and his safe. Everything in the safe survived. Yes there was some smoke damage inside. and some water, not much, not enough to ruin his guns. They did need cleaning and some minor bluing issues on one or two but over all i’d say 98% survival of what was inside. As to the claim from the jack wagon in the video that storing ammo inside your safe will cause it to explode has 1. does not know how ammo works, 2. never seen ammo go off in a fire, I have. The ammo in my friends safe did nothing at all. All the ammo he had stored under his bed (in the same room) went off during the fire. No major explosion like in the movies. It sounded like popcorn being popped. We were standing less than 100 feet way and no one died from a stray bullet. I will not (BORE) you with the science behind why that happened. All that to say placement is key and fire protected safes do work. And keep loaded guns away from kids.

  35. Anecdotal perhaps but when I got my gun safe ( not a storage cabinet ) I thought that it would be nice to mount a switch on the frame that would turn on an interior light when the door was opened. Forty minutes later my carbide drill bit had left a small dimple in the inner door stop and I was sweating bullets, wondering why they had used hardened steel INSIDE the safe.
    Hot glue and a manual switch mounted to the inside were the ultimate answer.

  36. I’ve been delving into the world of used/second hand real safes for sale on craigslist, ones that can be insured to hold $250k-$500k in cash. Some great deals to be had, you just got to get it home…

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