Opinions Needed: Safes and Storage

This is a discussion on Opinions Needed: Safes and Storage within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hello Everyone, I wanted to hop in here and ask for some input on safes and storage. This post/question might come out a bit long, ...

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Thread: Opinions Needed: Safes and Storage

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array gdm320's Avatar
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    Opinions Needed: Safes and Storage

    Hello Everyone,

    I wanted to hop in here and ask for some input on safes and storage. This post/question might come out a bit long, so I appreciate those of you who hang with me long enough to come out the other end and offer an opinion or advice.

    I'll start with background. Currently, I have one handgun (P239) but there is a high probability that February/March will bring another one into the mix (small, concealable - think P238/Ruger LCP/etc). I also have a single shot, break neck 20 gauge shotgun and a .22 air rifle. The .22 air rifle and shotgun both have trigger locks, in soft cases in my master walk-in closet. The P239 is secured in a COM safe (picked it up at the gun show) secured in my clothing closet. Ammo for all the weapons is in a locked metal ammo box. I have no children, it is only my fiancee and I that live together in our rented apartment (of course we plan on having kids in the next several years after we get married and move into our more permanent home).

    Okay, so that should do it on the background. Now I'm stuck on what to do regarding my growing weapon collection.

    Money is at a premium right now, so I don't see how I'd be able to afford a full-size gun safe. Trust me, I'd love to be able to pick up something like this Winchester gun safe but I don't have $650 for that... much less $2,000 for an even more serious one.

    This is where I need some advice. What would you do regarding the direction you'd go with gun safes and storage? I was thinking of maybe going with a GunVault Multi/Multi Deluxe because I've heard their praises here before. One thing I like about those is that I could also secure our passports (and other important documents) and some of my firancee's less-worn jewelry. I also thought that when, down the road, I'll be able to invest more in a full-size cabinet-style gun safe I could still use the GunVault by my bed for defense purposes.

    I've also seen Sentry Safes like this at Sam's and was wondering if something like that might be a better idea/equivalent idea.

    Of course, these ideas still leave me with a shotgun and air rifle with nothing more than trigger locks. Any thoughts on that? Perhaps a hard-sided locking travel case that I could cable to a solid anchor point?

    Frankly, I don't know what to do. I'm confused... which is why I'm asking. What would you all do, with a reasonable budget in mind? If I need to just suck it up, throw out the budget, and buy a full-size safe to take care of everything please tell me.

    Thanks again... sorry for the length on this one.
    "Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -- General Omar Bradley

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  3. #2
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    For a safe on a budget, these are OK and are generally inexpensive:
    HAND CARRY BOXES - HOMAK MFG

    If you aren't planning on picking up any more long guns soon and are on a tight budget, I would probably stick with the trigger locks and a cable for the long guns and stick with the good pistol safe.
    eschew obfuscation

    The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD

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    Senior Member Array gdm320's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CopperKnight View Post
    For a safe on a budget, these are OK and are generally inexpensive:
    HAND CARRY BOXES - HOMAK MFG

    If you aren't planning on picking up any more long guns soon and are on a tight budget, I would probably stick with the trigger locks and a cable for the long guns and stick with the good pistol safe.
    The only thing I've considered doing as far as a long gun goes is picking up a semi-automatic 20 gauge for bird hunting... so it is possible that one of those might enter the family sometime next year.
    "Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -- General Omar Bradley

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    This may help...

    Gun Safe Buyers' Guide
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    If you like guns and plan on collecting a few, I would spend the money, get a big safe and bolt it to the floor or slab......
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdm320 View Post
    Hello Everyone,

    I wanted to hop in here and ask for some input on safes and storage.

    Frankly, I don't know what to do. I'm confused... which is why I'm asking. What would you all do, with a reasonable budget in mind? If I need to just suck it up, throw out the budget, and buy a full-size safe to take care of everything please tell me.
    A couple of thoughts. First - NO safe is impenetrable. Fundamentally, with regard to theft (versus unauthorized use) any sort of locked storage is intended to slow the thief down. Usually, the more money you spend, the longer it takes the thief to reach the prize. The $150 sheetmetal, key-locking "safe" sold at Dick's will probably slow down the neighborhood kid who breaks into your place long enough to keep him from getting your guns. The professional thief will be in and out of that in no time, or maybe he'll just pick it up and take the whole thing! The $2000 gun safe weighs close to half a ton and is lagged to the concrete floor, has massive locking bolts on all 4 sides of the door, and floating, hardened plates inside the door to prevent easy drilling.

    Second - you have a smallish collection of guns. The replacement value of your long arms is small, so I think trigger locks and whatever "hidden" storage you can find at home is probably sufficient. That leaves you with one or two handguns to lock up, so for now you won't need a really big investment to provide safe storage. Thus it comes down to what you can afford, and what fits your needs, such as the Gun Vault you mentioned. Just be aware that a small lockbox affair that's not anchored to anything provides only minimal theft protection; the thief can simply grab the box and run. Give some thought to how you might secure that safe.

    My first secure storage was a "Pistol Pal" (no longer made) heavy-gauge steel box with a Simplex lock. I mounted this in a bedroom closet wall, out of casual eye contact, and lagged to the studs (sturdy old house with full-dimension framing and thick plaster walls). It would take a serious pry bar and more than just a few minutes to rip it off the wall. I added a simple shelf inside the box, and ultimately 3 handguns were kept in there. In the dark I could access the contents in under 10 seconds - not as good as reaching over to the nightstand, but acceptably quick for me.

    Lastly - I'm very leery of electronic locks. I dropped 2 grand on a safe last year, and within a month the fancy Sargent & Greenleaf digital lock failed, making my guns so secure that even *I* couldn't get at them. That was replaced under warranty with a conventional mechanical combination lock. I like the Simplex 5-button mechanical locks on low-cost safes, for the sake of reliability.
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

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    Senior Member Array gdm320's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    This may help...

    Gun Safe Buyers' Guide
    Thanks retsupt... that helped. I'm definitely in that "lowest budget" range and I'm pleased to see there are a few sub-$400 options from Sentry Safe. I checked out their website... one of those might be a possibility.

    gasmitty, exactly my thoughts. No safe is impenetrable, I'm with you 100% on that one. Those crummy little sheet metal safes won't happen for me.

    What are your thoughts on a small-ish type safe at the end of the article that retsupt recommended? For the sake of argument, the Sentry Safe 10 gun safe? At the moment it's overkill considering the size of my long gun "collection", but with a size like that I could probably stack some small containers for our other moderate valuables. Or do you think the size, weight, and wall thickness make it more or less pointless?
    "Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -- General Omar Bradley

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    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    This may help...

    Gun Safe Buyers' Guide


    Excellent source of info. Thanks!

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    Senior Member Array Rmac58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gdm320 View Post
    [URL="http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=11064229"]
    For your current situation, that may be okay.
    Storing valuables will be good too, but it may not stand up to a fire.

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    You might try Craigslist. I bought a safe just about the size of a large two drawer file cabinet. It weighs about 200#, 300# Full. It has 5 pistols and 2500 rounds of ammunition. With a determined thief I am sure its gone. With an amateur it'll still be in the closet when I get home. The nice thing is that it cost $75.00.

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    Senior Member Array gdm320's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matdicdad View Post
    You might try Craigslist. I bought a safe just about the size of a large two drawer file cabinet. It weighs about 200#, 300# Full. It has 5 pistols and 2500 rounds of ammunition. With a determined thief I am sure its gone. With an amateur it'll still be in the closet when I get home. The nice thing is that it cost $75.00.
    Yea I checked out Craigslist in my area... nothing worthwhile.
    "Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -- General Omar Bradley

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    Not a big fan of safes. Not against them, they just don't seem right for my circumstances.

    No kids in the house. That means your major concern is that the guns will get stolen while you are out of the house. The goal here is to prevent a thief from getting their hands on a usable gun so they can not immediately go to the liquor store or Stop and Rob and they can't shoot you with your own gun when you come home..

    So, what other options do you have besides an expensive safe or perhaps an inexpensive one which won't really stop a thief?

    Here's what I do. 1) trigger locks on the receiver; can be done with gun either assembled or disassembled. At least if stolen someone (like a kid) will have a tough time and won't be able to use weapon immediately.

    2) BETTER YET--Disassemble

    Many pistols are quick and easy to take down. Two of my 3 are.

    Except for your EDC which you take with you when you leave, just hide barrel, slide, receiver (with trigger lock in place) in different hiding places around the house. That way, even if a thief finds the barrel, he still won't necessarily have the slide or the receiver. Maybe take the guide rods and springs and toss them in your car console.

    If you do that, and someone gets in your house, they can't steal a usable gun. They won't have your gun to use on you when you come home.
    You will still be out some bucks to get new parts, but at least that gun won't be used in some other crime.

    My SUV has a nice little compartment in the back where the guide-rods and springs can go when I leave home.

    I also have a very well hidden non-obvious hiding place where I store ammo. It was built into the house when the house was constructed, and long before CHLs were issued in Texas.

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    Member Array 1boredguy's Avatar
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    I got my GunVault 5500 for only about $300. You can probably find a decent dial safe at a good sports store for around $250.

    I recommend checking out all the local shops, because shipping prices are horrible for safes..... Unless you get it from Costco, but the Costco ones I saw are not in your budget.

    I've seen some Centurion safes and cabinet safes at Sports Authority that were around $150 to $300 (about the same price as those Sentry Safes you're checking out).

    I recommend to keep researching and calling around, there should be a medium sized option for you. What is your budget?

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    Senior Member Array gdm320's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1boredguy View Post
    I recommend checking out all the local shops, because shipping prices are horrible for safes..... Unless you get it from Costco, but the Costco ones I saw are not in your budget.

    I've seen some Centurion safes and cabinet safes at Sports Authority that were around $150 to $300 (about the same price as those Sentry Safes you're checking out).

    I recommend to keep researching and calling around, there should be a medium sized option for you. What is your budget?
    Well with all of that in mind I think I've settled on the Sentry Safe 10 Gun Safe. That I mentioned. I made it by a shop (not WalMart) to get a look at one and it seems like it'll do the trick. Under $400, and WalMart will ship it for $.97 (no, that isn't a typo).

    Thanks for the advice and input everyone.
    "Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -- General Omar Bradley

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