The point of a home defense shotgun is having an effective long gun that you can quickly get into a fight and put a two- or four-legged intruder down. A 3-inch slug will do for black bears and grizzlies at close range and I’ve been informed that 12-gauge pumps are popular bear guns loaded when loaded with Brenneke and other heavy slugs.
However, the point of a home defense gun is to be on hand in case you need it NOW. A safe is too cumbersome, unless you live in a panic room. What, then, to do? You obviously can’t leave it out for just anyone to find and you certainly don’t for little ones to have access.
Here are a few solid options. They may not be perfect, but they’ll work and keep your scattergun handy.
One stellar option is to use concealment furniture. A number of companies have make furniture with hidden compartments for storing firearms, including long guns. While they don’t lock as securely as a safe, they hide guns very well.
Some pieces are clearly more intended as decor, which is fine, but if you’re sound asleep and someone tries to break in…that clever piece in the living room is closer to them than it is to you. While you could stash home defense shotguns in multiple rooms, be sure to keep one in the bedroom.
Therefore, you need practical furniture. Look for a dresser, chest of drawers, bed, or armoire. That gives you the best of both worlds, as you get a functional piece of furniture AND a good stealthy place to stash your home defense shotgun.
However, be prepared because gun concealment furniture options are NOT cheap.
For instance, the Hidden Gun Storage Shelf by Liberty Home Concealment:
It’s a wooden bookshelf which could double as an entertainment stand if you keep a TV in your bedroom. It also has two slide-out compartments that can hold long guns up to 46 inches long, though custom orders can be had as well.
It’s available in 8 finishes or can be had unfinished, if you’d like to finish it yourself. Unfortunately, the unfinished model doesn’t discount the $1,250 price tag.
Another good example is the Fluted Cherry Dresser by NJ Conceal.
It has a side compartment that stashes a long arm up to 48 inches tall, but you can get it customized for other dimensions if you like. Six finishes are available and you can even add LED lights or a locking mechanism – RFID or magnetic – for an upcharge.
It’s actually a beautiful piece, and at $1,595 it had better be. Granted, it rightly should be called a chest of drawers – dressers are usually horizontal; chests of drawers are vertical – but what’s in a name?
Top Secret Furniture is another maker of clever concealment furniture.
A solid choice from their offerings is their Top Gun Dresser, which actually IS a dresser (wide, rather than tall) at 50 inches wide. The compartment stores long guns up to 44 ½” wide.
A lock is standard, and you have your choice of a magnetic or wireless system with a 15-foot range for the remote. They offer different woods; cherry, oak, standard and knotty alder are standard options with walnut being available for presumably a hell of a lot more money, with more than a dozen choices of stain.
If I won the Powerball, I’d probably get it in walnut with a tung oil finish. The base price is $2,299 before options.
But what if you aren’t super rich or otherwise don’t want to go broke getting something to stash a shotgun in?
A decent cost-effective option is to get a standard gun cabinet that will stow in a closet. Pick a model with a fast-action lock (key-operated is best for quick access, but biometric isn’t bad either).
As it happens, Stack-On makes just such a product: their 8 Gun Security Cabinet.
At 17 inches wide by 11.25 inches deep by 53 inches tall, with a shelf for pistols and/or ammunition, you can easily store a shotgun or either. It’s available in black or green, and in basic black retails for $115 from Stack-On.
The hitch is some assembly is required. You’ll want to anchor the cabinet to the floor or wall (or both) as it isn’t too difficult to lift and carry. If you get a keyed cabinet, you have to know where the keys are at all times. You’ll have to keep them out of the reach of children. You also have to be in a position to get into the cabinet in a hurry.
Cabinets are fine for basic storage, but they’re inadequate compared to serious gun safes – there’s no fire protection, the keyed lock can be punched. But the point is it’s inexpensive, and can be effective enough to keep kids away from your home defense firearm.
Perfect? Of course not. But it’s cheap, and it can work.
Like the idea but want something a little more attractive? There’s the American Furniture Classics 8 Gun Cabinet. Instead of flat-pack steel, it’s made of good-looking wood with a glass door. The door locks, and so do the two accessory drawers and runs about $250.
However, this presents some of the same issues as the Stack-On. Assembly is required. It’s not as secure as a standard safe, and the same ideas apply regarding the keys. It is also not going to fit in many closets as the exterior height is 71 inches. (Overall dimensions are 71″ H by 29″ W by 13″ D.) And that glass front won’t do much to stop a burglar.
With that said, it’s nice looking enough to not hide.
Fast Access Safes
That brings us to “fast-access “safes for your home defense shotgun. These come in a few different varieties, but they all have some features in common.
Some are designed as under-the-bed units, some are upright, and there are wall-mounted units. Almost all fast-access safes feature a more complex lock than a simple barrel lock and key, though a few have those as a backup. Biometric and RFID locks are quite common, though a few are out there with push-button or other mechanisms.
One example is the SnapSafe Under Bed Safe.
This under-the-bed safe is basically a flat locker with a digital lock for quick access, which can be programmed with a 3- to 8-digit code. You can choose a regular or XXL size model.
Dimensions are 40″ W by 6″ H by 22″D for the standard model (so a full-size shotgun wouldn’t fit) and 48″ W by 7″ H by 24″ D for the XXL, though that’s wide enough for storing a gun with tactical furniture, a light and a red dot provided OAL is within those specs. It also includes a 5-foot steel cable if you wish to anchor it.
Opt for the XXL model; the standard version will barely fit a shotgun with an 18-inch barrel.
It’s a bit pricier at $307 MSRP, but it’s a solid (150 lbs for the XXL model) fast-ish access safe that won’t be going anywhere once you’ve got it. Just be aware you’ve also got to be able to dive under the bed and punch in a combination in a hurry…potentially in the dark.
Wall-mounted fast-access safes offer some of the quickest access. One such product is the ShotLock Solo-Vault.
You can choose the shotgun 200M – which has a mechanical push-button combination lock – or the 200E (pictured) which has an electronic lock. Both have a barrel lock as a backup, in case you forget your combination or the electronic lock fails…so long as you have your key.
The ShotLock Solo-Vault – and similar products by other manufacturers – essentially secure the receiver inside the locked box. It is, of course, a best practice to mount the safe to wall studs for the most secure connection. Use is pretty simple, in that you unlock, grab and go, but this does present a few issues.
First, you have a gun on your wall and not everyone will want that. Significant others don’t always take kindly to storing a loaded weapon on the wall. Stored inside a closet, you can keep it out of sight…so long as you can get to it in a hurry.
Another issue is the Solo-Vault is fairly light, at just under 5 lbs. I’m not saying it would be easy, but it isn’t inconceivable for a burglar to be able to rip it off the wall.
Ultimately, these three storage methods – concealment furniture, gun cabinets and fast-access safes – all have their own benefits and drawbacks. You have to make your own choices to fit your needs when it comes to storing your home defense shotgun.
Have a different idea for storing your home defense shotgun? Is there another product you felt I should have mentioned? Looking forward to football season? Just angry and need to vent? Sound off in the comments.