By Dave Goetzinger
As readers well know, gun sales shot up when Covid-19 was declared a pandemic. People who had never considered buying firearms or the prepper lifestyle were buying bags of rice, medical supplies, gas masks, freezers. Then they headed to the gun shops, and after filling out their background checks and putting down deposits on new handguns, they went home and went online to shop for handgun safes.
Quite a few of them ended up at my site, HandgunSafeResearch.com. But the situation was bleak. Visitors wanted to know how cheaply they could secure their guns, having spent most of their remaining savings on guns they hadn’t yet fired.
They also wanted to know about preparing for home invasions. But I had no safes to recommend and I wasn’t providing therapy for people who probably should have stopped binge-watching The Walking Dead during Lockdown.
What I did was hit up every manufacturer of handgun safes I felt I could endorse and asked for a product to review. These, combined with a safe I previously examined, comprise a short list of items I now call Handgun Safe Research Approved safes.
The safes below all have pre-drilled mounting holes and are resistant to an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse). All are California DOJ approved.
Fort Knox Original Pistol Box
I had already examined the Fort Knox Original Pistol Box and endorsed it prior to the outbreak. The Fort Knox Original Pistol Box has a distinctive powder-coat finish called “Silvervein,” and it features a 5-button Simplex lock. The main features of the Original Pistol Box are the Simplex lock, its 10-gauge steel construction, and the gas strut that supports the heavy lid. The safe also has “egg-crate” style foam lining the bottom.
American Security (AMSEC) manufactures an identical box, also sold under the Stealth Tactical brand name. AMSEC manufactures both safes. Because these are based on the Fort Knox Original Pistol Box, I’m letting the Fort Knox pistol box be a stand-in for both of the AMSEC versions.
The only significant difference between the boxes is that in the AMSEC box, a steel plate covers the lock inside to prevent the lock from being knocked through. However, I’ve seen no evidence online that this is likely to happen, and no one has ever demonstrated that such an attack could be accomplished easily.
Titan Pistol Vault
The Titan Pistol Vault is a compact, strongly built handgun safe that also features the 5-button Simplex lock. In fact, the designer and owner of this product, Matt Miresmaili, once worked for KABA, the company responsible for the original 5-button Simplex lock design. Matt is also a mechanical engineer, so he was able to solve all the security problems long before going into production.
The Titan Pistol Vault comes with a lot of hardware that gives the owner a range of mounting options. In my video about the device, I demonstrate a quick-and-dirty installation under a desk. The device can also be mounted under a bed on the frame, on a headboard, or on a wall. In addition, the safe can be released from its mount to function as a portable case.
I was so impressed with the V-Line Brute that I placed it at the top of my recommendations list on YouTube. A lot of thought went into its design, and the details add up to this being an exceptional handgun safe. This device also relies on a Simplex lock for access.
Made of 10-gauge steel, the Brute has a deep lid profile that covers the front and sides of the box, preventing someone from gaining purchase with a pry bar. The lid also has a handle piece welded onto it that surrounds the faceplate of the lock, making it virtually impossible to pry at the lock.
Inside, the gas strut assists you when opening the lid, and the foam that lines the safe is perforated so that the owner can customize the interior storage.
A Note About Simplex Locks
I’ve received more questions about Simplex locks than any other matter pertaining to gun safes. So I recorded a series of videos that answer most of the questions people ask. Ever wonder how many combinations are possible with a Simplex lock? The total is 2,162, and you can learn a simple way to calculate this in my video, How Many Combinations Are Possible With a Simplex Lock?
In my video, Can a Simplex Lock Be Opened With a Magnet?, I address a widespread rumor alleging that these locks are easily opened. In my video, The Simplex Lock Hidden Defense, I demonstrate how these locks are designed to prevent forced entry. And finally, I’ve recorded the most comprehensive tutorial you’ll find on how to use these locks: How To Change Your Simplex-Lock Combination.
Rhino Metals Longhorn Strongboxes
The Rhino Metals Longhorn Strongbox series includes a couple of small safes that don’t feature Simplex locks, though they are ideal for use as handgun safes. The first one I recommend is the LSB1014.
Like the other safes in the Longhorn series, this safe has an antique style about it. The safe is key locked, and for the average person the lock is adequate. However, because of the way the safe is constructed, a person who is mechanically inclined and knows something about locks could replace the lock with something else if needed.
The other Rhino Metals safe I recommend is the LSB1818. This one is larger and features a Securam lock that’s powered by 9V battery. To operate this, you enter an access code on the entry pad, which sends power to an electronic bolt inside that ultimately frees up the main bolts in the door.
The safe is made with ample steel, and it has no extraneous holes an attacker might exploit. But the main reason I recommend this safe to preppers is that you can go online to Securam and order an entry pad that is EMP resistant.
And that’s my current recommended list. It’s a short list that continues to grow. The safes aren’t cheap, but they also aren’t cheaply made.
Why do I suggest that preppers consider these safes? Traffic to my site seems to rise and falls with the shifting tide of Covid-19 cases. Traffic also spikes following certain police-involved shootings, which the public now expects to be followed with violent protests and property destruction.
These facts keep sending people to gun shops and from there to my site. By “people” I mean just about everybody. Visitors to my site are on personal networks as well as those of Senate offices, the House of Representatives, US Courts, US Department of Justice, US Department of Defense, the White House, and municipal and university networks too numerous to list.
My visitors may not consider themselves preppers, but their actions reveal that a lot of Americans are preparing for grave eventualities, however likely or unlikely they may be.