I clicked the Buy It Now button and then went over to PayPal and completed the transaction. stephens_st0re on eBay has several different models of the Homak safe at competitive prices (compared to other Homak’s for sale) and a 1381 star rating. This was Saturday. By Wednesday all I had was the auto-generated eBay email with no word at all from stephens_st0re. I was starting to get nervous. Come Friday, there it was on my front doorstep . . .
Before I get any further, I’ll explain that I chose a Homak for three reasons: 1) I already have one and I like it, 2) it has two locks versus one on the competition, and 3) I absolutely detest the green color that Stack-On uses on their cabinets. Number 1 wouldn’t apply to most people, number 2 is a potential design improvement, and number 3 is purely aesthetic. Plus I understand you can order Stack-On in black, although I only see the green ones in stores around here. But you can find Stack-On’s in stores; Homak is an internet-order-only option for me.
Where was I? Upside down. Not me: the box on my doorstep. Still, it looked fairly sturdy, like it would almost protect the contents. The Homak gun safe was clearly marked as requiring two men to lift and move. It was also clearly obvious that was ignored, as scuff marks, tears, and one puncture in the box indicates that a single guy manhandled it on and off the UPS truck.
After removing the Homak from the box, I noticed several small dings, the largest about three inches in size and maybe ¾ inch deep. I debated my options. Free shipping was most likely one way only, and any replacement would be as damaged if not more. Plus the damage was purely cosmetic and on the back wall, so I decided to ignore it. Just like I wanted to ignore the Made in China label, also on the box.
The inside of the safe contained a variety of goodies, loosely clanking around. Several pre-cut sheets of adhesive backed foam were there, waiting for user installation. But wait! I needed to install the plastic doohickeys that the rifles rest against first and then trim the foam to fit.
The foam itself is of the “cheap is good” variety, so my plan is to discard it ASAP and go buy some better stuff later. The plastic doohickeys look neat, though. There’s two different sizes, the taller providing more clearance for a rifle with a large scope. Unfortunately there’s only two of that size and a baker’s dozen of the shorter pieces. These doohickeys mount on a rail that’s adhesive backed also. And the rail is the exact width of the back of the cabinet.
Uh-oh. For the eight-gun cabinet, the rifles are positioned across the back wall and the rail is perfect. The 12 gun cabinet is the same width, but position 6 rifles each along the deeper side walls. And the plastic rail is too long to fit the sides. So the one size fits all apparently doesn’t. They included two rails, but each will need to be trimmed to fit.
Suffice to say, I’m not thrilled by that. Furthermore, my eight-gun cabinet, purchased back in the 1980’s where I’m pretty sure we weren’t importing any Chinese stuff, had a metal rail spot-welded in for the rifle rest that provided additional rigidity to the cabinet. This one is lacking that rail, and it’s noticeable.
Also inside: three plastic trays that fit in the door (above, nice) and some miscellaneous screws and bolts. None of which is actually long enough to properly mount the cabinet to a wall. Along the back wall of the cabinet are three metal shelves spot-welded in that weren’t evident from the pictures on the website. Damn. If you’re looking primarily for rifle storage, the shelves are a nice touch. I planned to customize the inside and will need to remove these later.
I noticed the top of the cabinet had four equally spaced holes, each about a ¼ inch in diameter. I thought briefly that there must be some accessory, perhaps a top box, that would mount there. Then I realized that the bottom had the same four holes for mounting to the floor. Thus the top piece was cut, stamped, and drilled on the same machine as the bottom to save money. So I’ll be looking at filling these in later. I don’t expect this price level of cabinet to be hermetically sealed, but I’d prefer to not have open holes letting in dirt and dust.
I mentioned earlier that the Homak gun safe has two locks on the door. Each has a main lug and an extension to create four lock points. The Stack-On has one lock with two extensions to create three lock points. The extensions themselves didn’t look too robust, so I’m of the opinion that the Homak has two secure lock points versus the one for Stack-On.
Unfortunately, the door on mine wouldn’t stay completely closed when locked. There’s enough play for the door to not sit flush with the frame by at least a 3/8 inch. Comparing the locksets with my old one shows the bean counters’ touch. The new one is definitely cheaper and less robust looking. Plus now I’ll have to tinker to see if I can get the door to stay flush in the frame. Again, not good.
[Installation detail: there’s never a wall stud exactly where you need it to be. So I mounted a 2×4 horizontally against the back and side walls where I could attach it firmly to several different wall studs. I then attached both cabinets to the horizontal 2×4 using lag screws from inside the cabinet. I did this at both the top and bottom of the cabinets. A side benefit is this offsets the cabinet 1.75” away from the wall so that the bottom doesn’t hit any floor molding. Safe and secure.]
Finally, in moving the two around, it was quite noticeable that the smaller older cabinet was heavier than the larger new cabinet. I checked the metal at the seams and it appears that the new one is a thinner gage of sheet metal. Given that anyone with the right tools will get in regardless, it’s probably not a big deal. Except the old one feels more solid. Solid feels like quality, period.
Lest you think I have buyer’s remorse, I just mourn the fact that China has conquered the world with lowest cost merchandise and we’re poorer for it. At the end of the day, this is a locking steel cabinet that’ll hold your guns. It’s not perfect. The interior pieces are not the best quality. If you’re anal (or OCD), there’s several things you’ll want to touch up. I saw an equivalent Stack-On at Academy for $189. My final price, as delivered, was $234. In retrospect, I’m thinking I should have taken the Academy deal instead.