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Theft. Robbery. Nothing gets me angrier than some bastard coming in and taking something of mine. Obviously the health and welfare of family is way more important, but we’re not talking logic. We’re talking the helpless feeling after finding your car gutted, your house entered, your belongings gone. And bear in mind I’ve never had anything stolen that I couldn’t easily replace. Nor have I ever come face to face with the criminal element. No, the real loss is the loss of confidence and the feeling of security. The magical happy place where bad things don’t happen suddenly evaporates.

The first time I was the victim of robbery, my truck was “broken into” by (most likely) young kids wandering the streets late at night. I was a teenager living at home, and “my” truck was really my Dad’s truck that was an extra family vehicle. And I said “broken into” in quotes because the truck was actually unlocked. The truck was old and had little of value, except for some cassette tapes that were dumped at the end of the street. Guess they didn’t like my taste in music.

My parents lived in a quiet, older neighborhood in a small town in South Texas. We never locked our doors, trusted the neighbors, and generally led a decent life. Even as we realized that our little street was only a few blocks away from a much lower class area populated primarily by non-whites. Not that I’m implying anything. Just that a lot of the little bit of crime that happened got attributed (true or otherwise) to kids from that other area wandering through our little area.

Anyway, I went ballistic. I ranted and raved. I stayed up late watching the street, hoping the little bastards would make a second attempt. I bought the most expensive alarm system I could afford and installed it. Since I was a teenager sacking groceries, it was the cheapest on the market. My installation skills weren’t much better. The mercury switch would go off on a cat fart (invariable at 2 am). The wiring would drain the battery dead randomly. After several weeks, my Dad ripped it out of the truck. End of story.

The second time was several years later. I had my own car, with about the same level of alarm system. I was fanatical about locking it. Then one day, mid-afternoon, I swung by the house to grab something. In and out, maybe 5 minutes tops. Left the car unlocked. 5 minutes turned to 10, then to dinner, then to a movie and finally asleep. Wouldn’t you know it, those little bastards came back!

This time they hit every unlocked car in the ‘hood. Stole what they could, vandalized the rest. The worst was the cops, standing on the front lawn, laughing and joking about it. Over $5,000 worth of damage and vandalism on our street alone, in 1982 dollars, and they were laughing. One even said to my face that I should have locked it up. I was beyond livid. If I’d been holding a gun that SOB would have died where he stood!


Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, I was furious. I might have had an anger problem back then. Not today, I’m totally over it. Wait, no, I’m still pissed. But at least the intervening 3 decades have allowed me to learn one thing. I should have locked it up.  In both cases.

Okay, I got 7 paragraphs and the only mention of guns is my offhand comment about shooting a cop. Not good. Why is this on TTAG? Cause of this: Black 12 gun cabinet safe w/ FREE SHIPPING!!!!  

When it comes to guns, the concept of locking it up takes on even more meaning. Yes, having something stolen eats at your mental well-being. And yes, having something expensive stolen means it might not be easily replaced. And yes, things of sentimental value can’t be replaced at all. But having your guns stolen also means that they can be used to propagate crime and inflect violence on others. That’s a worry card I don’t want.

For guns, locking it up can range from the super-expensive, survive the nuclear holocaust level fireproof vault down to the trigger lock and safety cable el cheapo system. I find locking steel cabinets to be a good mid-range answer. It fits my price range, fits in my closet, and should stop 99% of the amateurs out there. My current 8 gun cabinet is right now filled to capacity and beyond. I believe it to be a Homak but I’m not sure. No markings anywhere on it to indicate the manufacturer other than the HMC stamp on the key. It appears very similar to the one in the picture above.

I’ve just hit “Buy It Now” on E-bay for this one. It should allow room for all my toys, plus a little room to grow. Once it arrives I’ll try to document the quality, fit and finish for the TTAG Best and Brightest. I’ll cover some aspects of installation without giving away all my secrets. And I’ll let you know if it’s worth more than the bottom dollar competitor. Until then, I’ll be sitting by the door waiting for the delivery truck!

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  1. Craig’s List .com is another source to consider. A friend of mine picked up a high-quality gun safe very inexpensively from someone moving out of town. I’d pay with cash and not a personal check from a seller so they’ll have no idea where you live.

  2. In my experience, people selling stuff on Craigslist generally don’t take checks- there’s no way for them to know if it’s good beyond ‘he looked honest’.

  3. I find locking steel cabinets to be a good mid-range answer. It fits my price range, fits in my closet, and should stop 99% of the amateurs out there.

    Time available to a burglar is a consideration. If your residence is somewhat isolated and you’re away for days the bad guys could bring in power tools and probably would manage to break into about any safe.

    A hierarchy for burglary security might be:
    – locking box (but if found could just be carried away)
    – locking steel cabinet (but could be attacked with hand tools)
    – locking steel fire resistant vault (but could be attacked with power tools)
    ergo consider:
    – enhancing with home alarm system to constrain burglar’s access time.

    Plus of course don’t advertise that you have significant stored valuables in the first place i.e. “loose lips sink ships.”

  4. Buy a safe (or 3) Lock all your guns up (except your EDC)

    Bolt it to a wall or concrete slab use 2 large 2 or 3 inch fender washers on the heads of each bolt on plain steel cabinets to support the bolt heads inside the safe. Many years ago a close buddy of mine had a stack-on with 2 – 1/4 by 2.5 inch lag bolts into the studs, the thieves pulled hard enough to pull the bolt heads thru the back steel. luckily the thieves were likely dumb kids and it was found contents intact but slightly damaged that evening in a wooded area 2 blocks away, top lock beaten into submission bottom lock still intact but barely. I have also in chatting with people at shows heard of people laying 80 to 100 lbs of lead or steel block in the bottom of a safe on top of the bolts to floor and wall to make movement even harder.

    If you are concerned about people knowing your address, buy one locally at a locksmith, Home depot or Wallyworld (if your local one has the big sporting goods section) pay cash. Leave no trail as to where you live.

  5. Buy a safe. Any safe is better than no safe. You do not want to have your guns stolen.

    Don, is there a link to the safe you bought?

  6. Most safes in this price range don’t provide much adjustment capability for how high the backrest contacts the guns or how far away from the back of the safe they stick out. You might need to make your own bracket and mount it inside.

  7. I truly hope the photo shown is for illustration only, as there’s nothing “Safe” about it-
    Nothing more than a locking cabinet- it might stop household kids, but a light pry-bar would have that thing open in a fraction of a second…..

    • +1
      It would be better to just run a chain thru the trigger guard. Burglars will almost always have a tool to pry with, not as many carry bolt cutters. Even if the burglar didnt have a pry tool, he could easily carry it out. I have a 750lb safe loaded with a couple thousand rounds of 45 & 308 plus guns, and I can move it around (not lift) by myself, and i’m a lanky computer geek.

      • I own one of these and it actually comes with 4 bolts that you can run into the studs behind the cabinet. That said they metal they make it out of seems like 1/8 inch sheet metal. But if you ran some I-bolts into the cabinet and ran some steel cable through the trigger guards I think that would be fairly secure.

  8. I recently had just that happen. The little bastards broke in and stole 4 guns(I had just dropped my shooting bag down after a range trip. I didn’t lock the guns up right away. But they were still in my house. The guns, along with some money( a coin jar), a digital camera, and some other stuff were gone. A few days later, I caught the teen non-white neighbors breaking in. The guns were not recovered.

    “I went ballistic. I ranted and raved. I stayed up late watching the street, hoping the little bastards would make a second attempt. ” Yes, exactly how I feel. It has been a few weeks, and I am still as angry as ever. I have a hard time sleeping, in worry (and to be honest, hope) the little shits come back.

  9. There’s two more installments.

    Aharon – I cruise Craig’s list religiously, but I haven’t found many gun safes in my price range. This one came from eBay, stephens_st0re.

    Everyone – I hear your concerns. Yes, it’s little more than a steel locker, not a true safe. Anyone could get in, given time and tools. But that’s true of any safe – given enough time and the right tools. I’ll explain more next installment.

  10. Several years ago I purchased a large Browning Pro Steel safe from a full page ad in SHOTGUN NEWS. Including delivery to the curb, it was about the same price as the similar safes available at Sam’s Club. Sometimes there are good prices on gun safes that are on clearance or mark down at Academy, Cabela’s and similar big-box sports stores. One of my shooting buddies got a spectacular deal at the Sunday closing time at a local gun show, bargaining with the safe dealer who did not want to take them all back to his facility.

    One of my friends, (an FBI agent) helped me bring the safe into the house using an appliance dolly. The base of the safe had the ability to fasten the safe to the floor. Since my house is on a slab, I rented an industrial hammer drill, and purchased an appropriate bit and appropriate concrete anchor bolts from a hardware store. Drilling into my slab, and fastening the bolts from inside the safe, makes it most likely that the safe (about 1000 lbs empty) will not walk away.

    In my Browning Pro Steel safe, I built a simple and cheap handgun rack which is bolted inside the safe door. I purchased a sheet of pegboard which I cut to fit the door, and painted it to match the safe. Using the existing bolts inside the door, I attached the pegboard using some nylon washers over the bolts, behind the pegboard, giving it a proper standoff from the door. A box of heavy-duty, plastic covered pegboard hooks completed the process. Now I hang my handguns from the hooks, freeing up space on the shelves for other goodies. Total time to paint and install the door mount was about an hour.

    I also purchased a large “Goldenrod” to reduce the humidity in the safe; the safe included a mounting hole for the Goldenrod.

    Prior to the safe, I had two large Morton Booth, glass fronted, locking wooden gun cabinets that were very good-looking, but not very secure. After an incident in my house (nothing lost, nobody hurt), I sold the wooden cabinets and bought the safe. I have never regretted it.

    Browning Pro Steel Safes:


  11. Gun Safes can be BIG and difficult to conceal, however, if there is a way to position or camouflage it in any manner it couldn’t hurt. I read about a gun owner who ‘hides’ his guns in a converted used refrigerator unit that poses as a second refrigerator. The door is securely reinforced from within along with some creative way for unlocking the unit. Among gold and silver bugs, there is a story about a depression-era born grandmother who keeps a dozen gold bullion coins and more silver coins in the hollowed out portion of a large peanut butter jar deep within her refrigerator.

  12. Several months ago my grandparents had their van “broken into” and they stole several things including a gas credit card, GPS, and the Beretta my Grandma kept in there. Thankfully they didn’t keep looking too much (since they didn’t find the. 38sp Smith revolver she also had hidden). The kids were going around the neighborhood checking for unlocked doors. And she was out there because of car alarms going off but had gone back in (luckily) before they got to her street. Cops never found prints (they wore gloves) and I’m sure if even if they had caught the punks she wouldn’t give he

  13. Accidently hit publish. But I’m sure the cops wouldn’t say they found her gun. And my grandpa left the van unlocked…hence the quotes. We keep telling him to remember to lock the vehicles since he’s an old country boy from Virginia

    • Yeah, surprising how a lock, even a cheap one, works. Thieves look for easy targets. You don’t need fort knox, almost any lock will do.

  14. “But having your guns stolen also means that they can be used to propagate crime and inflect violence on others”
    One mustn’t rely on spell check alone.

    At any rate, most gun cabinets can easily be broken into with basic tools, but it’s certainly better than leaving a gun out. Most thieves look for easy targets as they are unskilled. That said, inexpensive gun safes on the market are little more than a steel cabinet with a door that looks formidable. Save yourself money by buying a steel cabinet instead, or save up for a good safe, like one from Sturdy which is even made in the USA by people who understand guns and safes.

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