100 Money-Saving Ways to Protect Your Guns

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2. Deterrence

Assuming thieves doesn’t already have any preexisting knowledge about valuables in your house, they’re going to be looking for targets of opportunity.

Keep Up With the Jones’s

Two hikers are walking through the woods when they see a brown bear.  One hiker bends down to tighten the laces on his boots.  The other hiker says, “Are you crazy?  You’re never going to be able to outrun a bear!”  He replies, “I don’t have to outrun a bear.  I just have to outrun you!”

Here are two questions to ask yourself:

  1. How does your house compare to your neighbors?  Is it the nicest house in your neighborhood, average, or on the lower end?  Does it look like breaking into it would bring a good haul?   If you have more signs of wealth than your neighbors, that’s something to think about.
  2. How secure is your house compared to your neighbors?  Would it be easier or harder to break in than your neighbors’ houses? Do you have obvious security measures?  Does it look well maintained, or like there might be an easy entry point?

Be Home

The risk of both theft and fire are higher the more your home is unoccupied.  72% of burglaries happen when no one is home, and most of the other 28% happen inconspicuously at times when the owner is asleep or occupied.  (Sources for burglary statistics can be found here.)

The majority of burglars prefer that no one is home.  Anything you can do to increase the time you’re at home will reduce your risks.

There are many reasons you leave the house for fun that aren’t worth giving up.  But there are also plenty of errands that you’d never miss.  There are dozens of chores that you can do online or automate.

  • Bill payment can be done online, so you don’t need to leave for stamps, envelopes, or checks.  Stamps can be bought online at sites like Stamps.com.
  • Banking can be done online.  Many banks now offer a mobile deposit app where you take pictures of your signed checks with your phone.  (Be aware, for alleged “security reasons”, bank apps often require permissions to access your entire phone, contacts, apps, and files.  To me this is the opposite of “security”.)  Alternatively, you can also get pre-addressed deposit by mail envelopes from many banks, or print them out yourself.
  • A friend of mine runs a home dry cleaning business where his customers hang clothes in a bag on their door every Wednesday and he drops them off the next week.
  • Joining a wholesale club like Costco or Sam’s Club will mean that you buy more each visit, and make fewer grocery trips.  Groceries can be delivered for you, with recurring deliveries for things you use regularly.  (Note that delivery services do increase the number of people coming by your house.)
  • Telecommuting or working from home may be an option for you.
  • If you work out at a gym, you can probably find some used workout gear on an online classifieds site like Craigslist.org or maybe on a free item classifieds site like FreeCycle.org.  The cost may be less than your annual membership.  You can work out at home and save the commute time.  You might even be able to do it more often.
  • If you usually go to the bar after work, instead invite friends over for a BBQ, to watch the game, have a party, or start a poker night instead.

If you’ve never used Craigslist, I recommend it.  Craigslist is just an online classifieds like the ones in a newspaper.  With it I’ve found all but one of my apartments in three different states, both my motorcycles, a refrigerator, electronics, speaker stands, a wall mirror, and various other things.  There are a few people trying to scam someone but this is no different from any other classifieds, yard sale, etc..

Change Times You’re Home

If you have flexibility of when you can be home, use it to your advantage.  The most likely time for burglaries is between 10 AM and 3 PM.

If you work from home and usually go to the gym between 10 AM and noon, you could go from 8 AM to 10 AM.

In addition to times you’re home, a thief is less likely to burglarize your house when your immediate neighbors are home.  During times of day when your neighbors are usually away, schedule things so you can be home.

Pretend You’re Home

Making it look like you’re home will reduce the risk of theft too.  How well it works depends on your circumstances and tactics. Your house is not likely to be “staked out” long enough for someone to tell that you’re faking being home, unless they have preexisting knowledge about your valuables.  But, a potential thief may be commuting to work or another place a couple times a day, driving or walking by your house each time.  This is more likely if you live on a main road.

The first step to pretending you’re home is to make sure thieves can’t verify that you’re not home.  That means drawing the blinds or putting sheer curtains up so people can’t see in the windows.  Another option is to use a security window film with tint or other coating for privacy.  Also, make sure your garage door is shut, or a vehicle is in the driveway, or it’s going to be harder to convince someone that you’re home.

Having lights on, audible and visible activity, and cars in the driveways of you and your neighbors all reduce your risk of burglary.  Light timers can help your house look occupied, but they’re pretty common now and most homes are burglarized during the day anyway.

You could set your TV or radio timer to turn on and off at certain times during the day to make someone think you’re home.  This should work better than light timers alone.

Don’t Advertise When You’re Not Home

If you’re not home, make sure to cover up any signs that you’re gone.   Close your garage door so people can’t tell there’s no car in there.  If you don’t close it because you don’t have a garage door opener, get one, it’s cheaper than a gun safe.

When you’re away on vacation and your mother is house-sitting for you the whole week, feel free to post all the pictures on Instagram that you want.  If your home is going to be empty the whole time you’re gone, it’s best to just enjoy your vacation and take a break from the internet.  You can put up the pictures on social media when you get home.

Social media restraint while your house is empty applies to your spouse and children too, who may be much more active on social media than you.  Many children have watchful parents on social media, who might see it checking what their children are posting.  Even if it’s just other children that see your daughter’s posted picture, one of them may say out of nowhere “I want to go to Yosemite” to her father.  He asks, “Where did you hear about Yosemite?”  “Becca Adkins just put up this picture of a waterfall.”

Hold Your Mail

You can have the post office hold your mail for you while you’re gone for 3 to 30 days for free. Make sure you hold your newspaper and other deliveries too, or have your neighbors get them.

Get a House Sitter

Have someone house sit.  If you have pets, you have to have someone come by anyway.  Why not have them stay for a few days while you’re gone.

You could try a home exchange and have someone watching your house for you while you stay for free at their house.  Make sure your guns are secured while you’re not home of course.

Rent Your Place

AirBnB is a popular person-to-person rental site I’ve used many times traveling, and even in between apartments.  You can use it to rent out your place while you’re gone, and make some extra money.   Again, make sure your guns are secured while you’re not home.

Borrow a Vehicle

Having a vehicle in the driveway will deter burglars.

I had an old truck (picture below) which I loaned to my mother a few times for that purpose, once for 8 months straight.  None of her recent burglaries happened when my truck was in the driveway, even though she only moved it around once a month.

If you know someone with an extra vehicle, ask if they’ll park it in your driveway.

Rent your Driveway

Want to look like you’re home and make some extra money at the same time?  If parking is a problem in your area, you can rent a space in your driveway.

Some websites allow you to rent out your driveway, so that it looks like you’re home even when you’re not.

Buy a Beater

It’s a curve ball for those who came here looking for a gun safe, but buying a vehicle can probably keep your guns safer, and be cheaper, than a gun safe.  A thief shouldn’t even know that you have a gun safe until they’ve already broken in, but the vehicle will actually deter break-ins.

Maybe you commute a long distance and are spending a lot of money on gas.  Buying a cheap “beater” car that gets good gas mileage can save you gas money and keep your home safe at the same time.  If you live next to dirt trails and you’ve always wanted a mudder jeep to go 4 wheeling, why not get one and park it in your driveway to deter thieves.

Been thinking about a bug out truck?  Kill two birds with one stone.  Preppers will appreciate that the gas tank(s) also doubles as inconspicuous emergency gas storage.  With a gas siphon or transfer pump you can top off a generator over and over, or fill up other vehicles.  Make sure to treat your gas (see below) so it’s not stale when you need it.

Best $500 I ever spent, better than a cheap gun safe.

Best $500 I ever spent.  Sure it didn’t stop or go or turn very well, but it did keep thieves out of the house.

I bought “MudDuck”, the truck I loaned my mother, from a former coworker for $500.  It had distributor problems, no seat upholstery, flaky windshield wiper controls, and a bad idler arm when I bought it.  After I fixed them it was the best $500 I ever spent!  Because it was so cheap I didn’t care about the paint, the interior, the rust holes, or who I let work on it or borrow it.

A BakFlip folding bed cover and Pop & Lock remote tailgate lockgave me a huge locking space in the bed.  It gave me plenty of room for tailgating supplies, shooting gear, and moving.  Unfortunately a country road covered in black ice sent MudDuck into a telephone pole.  The damage wasn’t terrible but a new bed cost more than the truck was worth.

In the long run, keeping a vehicle on the road, insured, registered, and inspected is going to cost more than a gun safe.  But the car only has to look like it leaves your driveway to be effective.  If the car or truck never goes on public roads, it probably doesn’t need the registration, inspection, or insurance.  Keep the old tags on it (provided that’s legal where you live) and move it around your driveway periodically.

Put some Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer in the gas tank and you’ll have no problem starting it up even if it sits many months between starts.  You can disconnect one terminal of the battery or install a disconnect switch to keep the battery charged in between moves, or just jump it every time.  A discretely located Battery Tender or other trickle charger will keep the battery healthy.  In over a decade, Sta-Bil and a Battery Tender have never let me down storing cars, trucks, motorcycles, generators, snowblowers, etc.

The beater really doesn’t even need an engine as long as it looks like it’s driveable and has air in the tires.  You can just push it around in your driveway really, but the brakes will rust enough to make pushing it a chore.

Get a Dog

A dog is somewhat of a substitute for someone being home and statistically reduces the odds of a burglary.  It’s such a big responsibility that it would be silly to get a dog just to protect your guns.  But if you’ve been thinking about getting one, security is as good a reason as any. Adopting a dog for $100 is much cheaper than a gun safe, even including a couple years’ worth of food.

Pretend You Have a Dog

Beware of Dog Sign

Beware of Dog Sign on your gate, cheaper than a real dog.

If you don’t want the commitment of a dog, pretend you have one.  Beware of Dog signs are old standbys.   Since they’re common though, they might get overlooked or ignored.

There are more eye-catching options like the one on the right, which would draw attention posted on your gates and corners of your fence.

To sell the imaginary dog better, consider other indications like invisible fence markers and/or a real dog house.  Maybe you have a friend who is giving one away, or an outside (attack) cat that needs a home anyway.

Pretend Your Dog is Mean

Beware of Dogs Sign

Make burglars think your small barking dog isn’t your only dog with a sign like this.

If you do have a menacing dog already, you probably have a sign.  If your dog is not so intimidating, pretend it’s meaner than it is.

Similar signs are made for multiple dogs.

A little dog’s yap-py bark may not scare anyone.  But a real barking dog would lend credibility to a dog warning sign, especially if the sign warns of more than one dog.

The same tactic might be employed by adding a large dog house next to your small dog’s house.  Or, build your Jack Russell Terrier a dog house sized for a large Doberman, with a menacing name like “Crusher” above the door.

Install Fake Surveillance Cameras

You can install fake security cameras for a fraction of the cost of real ones.

Or you might get real but broken or old security cameras that an electrician friend of yours is upgrading and throwing out.

Install fake cameras in prominent locations where they’ll be seen, and where they have a good view of doors and other access points.

For decoy cameras to work as a deterrent, they must be realistically installed.  Make sure not to install them in a way that is obviously fake.  If you put a camera in a tree with no wires going to it, it may not fool anyone.  There are wireless security cameras, but all cameras need power.  Solar powered security cameras exist, but have large solar panels and batteries mounted near them.

A camera surveillance sign next to your fake camera can help draw attention to it.  I was visiting a friend when I recognized the fake camera above and sign on a telephone pole at the end of her quiet dead-end city side-street. She said there used to be a problem with teens drinking and breaking bottles there on the weekends.  Her neighbor put up the camera and the sign.  Since then the teens had apparently found another place to hang out.

A fake or non-functional surveillance camera may help you deter thieves, but it obviously isn’t going to help you by making a video of a break in.  That’s fine, because prominent cameras work better as a deterrent, but hidden cameras work better at catching thieves.  You can employ fake cameras as a decoy, and hide your real cameras.  Career thieves may destroy or obscure the fake cameras and not notice the real ones.  Then they’ll carry out their crime thinking they’re safe, only to have their picture on the evening news.

Post Monitored Alarm System Signs

Burglar Alarm Sticker on Window

Window Burglar Alarm Sticker

Another deterrent is a monitored alarm system.  Statistically, homes with alarm systems are broken into less often, but an alarm can only be a deterrent if the thief knows you have one before he breaks in.

If you do have an alarm system, post signs to make that obvious to anyone who looks at your house.  Signs are best posted on sides that a burglar may approach from, like a park or woods next to your property.  Also put stickers on all doors and windows that a burglar is likely to use to break in.

Criminals know that many homeowners use fake alarm signs and stickers.  If you’re going to post fake alarm signs, make sure they’re from a nationally recognized company that has monitoring. Thieves also know that many houses which once paid for monitored alarm service have stopped paying for monitoring, or don’t always turn the alarm on when they leave.  So, you may want to mount a fake alarm keypad near the door too.

Install Outdoor Lights

 Most burglaries happen during the day, but if your house is poorly lit and it’s obvious when you’re not home, that may not be the case for you. Flood lights with motion detectors are an additional deterrent because the lights turning on attract attention.

Make sure the sensitivity of the motion detectors isn’t set so low that animals turn it on.  It should be set so that only people can set it off. Many people adjust the lights so that they shine too far away from the house, which actually makes it easier to hide in the shadows next to the house.  The lights should illuminate any bushes, trees, and hiding spots next to your house.

Don’t Leave Notes on the Doors

Leaving notes for family members or service people on the front or back doors lets burglars know that you’re not home.

Talk to Your Neighbors

If you haven’t talked to your neighbors in a while, maybe bring them a bottle of wine or a 6 pack and have a chat with them.  Tell them you’ve been concerned about security and ask them if they’ve seen any strange people or cars in the neighborhood.

That conversation may make them more likely to come over and tell you when they notice something out of the ordinary.

Pretend Your Gun Safe is Better Than It Is

Even if you can’t hide your gun safe, you could pretend it’s better than it really is.  Safes last a long time but paint and trim change often, so why not exploit the confusion?

Many companies sell optional decal kits for their gun safes and safes. If someone is in your house or sees it through the window (really shouldn’t be visible from a window), most likely they’ll just read the name off the front.  Later they might use the name to look it up on the internet or describe it to an accomplice.  An imposing brand name logo from a substantial safe company could hypothetically act as a deterrent on your cheap gun safe.

An experienced safe cracker type of thief will be able to tell what kind of safe it is by the size and arrangement of the lock and locking handle.  But this type of thief would get in your safe no matter what you do.

Force a thief to break something to get in.

Burglary Type of Entry

Burglary Entry Type

Over half of burglars don’t break anything to commit their crimes (“Completed Unlawful Entry”in the chart).  Forcing thieves to break something to get into your house will statistically reduce the odds of you being burglarized.

Even if a thief is more than willing to break in to your house, making him do it will help you.  In cases where a burglar must force his way into a house, he is unable to do so, gives up, or is interrupted over a third of the time (“Attempted Forcible Entry” in the plot).  So just by forcing a thief to break something to get into your house, you quasi-statistically reduce your burglary risk by about 69%!

And if you keep him out of your home the first time, you reduce your repeat risk.  Once burglarized, a house is 4X more likely to be hit again. An added benefit to making a thief break in is this is that the crime won’t be classified as Unlawful Entry by the police, in case your state has laws requiring the locking up of firearms, or a litigious history against gun owners.

Lock Your Doors

Doors are the favorite entry method of burglars, so locking them is the first step.  This also goes for interior doors in attached garages, sliding glass doors, Bilco-style basement doors, and even storm or screen doors.

Install a Security Screen Door

If you like leaving your doors open in the summer, another option is a security storm door.  These are really storm doors with steel screens and/or bars in them.

High end decorative models have laser cut patterns which ensure they won’t be mistaken for jail cell doors.  These doors open outward too, so they can’t be kicked in.

Lock Your Windows

When your windows are shut, lock them.

Install Window Ventilation Stops or Locks

Factory Window Sash Ventilation Stops on Pella Window

Factory Pella window sash ventilation stops.

One of the reasons that more burglaries happen in summer is that windows are more commonly open.  In the North, colder weather means plate glass storm windows are closed, which are harder to open without breaking.

You can still leave your windows open when you leave and have them locked.  Window ventilation locks are available many window types so that you can keep your windows open a bit (usually 4″), but they can’t be opened any further.  These locks come standard on a variety of modern windows.  If your windows already have them you can just pop them out and use them.  If not, many modern windows are already cut for them but have the holes covered by blank plates.  In this case, buy the appropriate sash vent locks for your windows, pop off the blank cover, and install them.

Window Ventilation Locks and Stops

Window Ventilation Locks and Stops

If your windows don’t have them already, there are dozens of different types of aftermarket ventilation locks you can get for your windows.  Some of the different styles include toggling child stops, slide-out stops, threaded pinswindow channel stops, and simple pins.  You can even just drill a sloped hole through your sashes and use a nail as a pin (see right).

Horizontal slider windows can use window track locks which clamp to the window channel and block it.

Keep Thieves Grounded

Getting into a house without breaking in often requires climbing.  Climbing into high first floor windows, or a second floor window, will require something to stand on.

All your ladders should be locked up.  Make sure wood piles, grills, chairs, and anything near your house that someone could stand on aren’t in a place where they’re easy to drag to a low roof or window.

Open Windows at the Top

One easy way to make it much harder to get into your windows, especially if you have glass storm windows, is to open them differently.  In the warmer months most people open the bottom half of the window, moving the screen down and the bottom storm window up.

The screen and storm windows have beveled latches which generally block them from sliding down but not from sliding up.  So it is relatively easy to slide a storm window or screen from the lower position up, but not vice versa.

Opening the top half of the window instead of the bottom will make it much harder to climb inside.  It will also actually keep your house cooler by letting the hot air near your ceiling out.  With the screen up and both storm windows down, someone will have to break the screen (because the latches prevent sliding the screen down) and climb in the top much higher off the ground.  Or they’ll have to break two plates of storm window glass to open the window from the bottom.

Change or Upgrade Your Locks

In 7% of Unlawful Entries, the burglars had a key.  If you’ve never changed the locks since moving into your house, or if you’ve recently lost your keys, change your locks.

This can be an opportunity to key alike all the locks in your house too, eliminating unnecessary separate front and back door keys.  A locksmith can change your locks, upgrade some to match the others, and key them all alike.  Or, you can upgrade them all at once with a keyed alike set.

Secure Your Spare Key

Instead of putting your spare key under the doormat, in your wall-mounted mailbox, or other common location, think of a better more permanent location.

Maybe put it in a 35 mm film canister and bury it in the edge of your flower garden.  Or install an empty exterior electrical junction box and put it inside so that you can only get it with a standard screwdriver.

There are also plenty of cheap options you can buy from fake sprinkler heads to fake rocks.

Change Your Garage Code

If you have a combination keypad on your garage door, change the code periodically.  If you’ve had the same code for years, it’s likely that more people know it than you think.  Your child’s friends may have seen them type it in so many times they know it too.

Carry When In Your Home

One of the safest places for a firearm is on your person.  You may not have a concealed carry permit for outside of your home, but in almost all states you can carry a loaded firearm on your person inside your home.

You’ll know where it is at all times, and it will be ready immediately when you go out to the garage at night or open the door.  It will also be ready in the case of a home invasion.  If criminals decide that they’ll just bust in and force you to open your gun safe at gun point, they’ll have a surprise of their own.

There are an infinite array of holsters for concealed and open carry these days.  Bikini swimsuit beach carry is even an option, so figuring out a way to carry comfortably at home should be a piece of cake.   I have a variety of inside the waistband carry holsters.  However, for around the house and checking on bumps in the night, I keep outside the waistband paddle holsters in the quick-access safe with the guns in them.   Open the safe, slip the paddle in any waistband including boxers, and you have your hands free for a flashlight and/or 911 call.

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What do you think? Leave a comment below, your thoughts are welcome.


  1. store valuables says

    You are so interesting! I do not think I’ve read anything like that
    before. So wonderful to discover somebody with genuine thoughts
    on this subject. Really.. many thanks for starting this up.
    This web site is something that is required on the internet,
    someone with some originality!

  2. There is a major flaw in Job Box boxes. The locks can be drilled out easily. Its happened to friends. After showing someone how to do it when they locked the keys inside that very person drilled out the locks and stole their nailguns and purposed destroyed the collated nails that were also inside as they lost their job there.

    We used to get into the full sized containers yanking on the lock with a chain and a forklift since its hidden up inside to make it more secure. This also was done when a boss left his keys inside.

    • Great points, thanks for your comment.

      It’s important to understand the level of protection you’re getting for your money when you buy protection for your guns. As Framer points out, the weak point of job boxes is the lock(s). This isn’t an area you want to skimp on, so buy the best locks you can that fit your job box.

      He also pointed out the importance of locking up your tools, which the reader in the pictures did with a second job box (the combined cost of both job boxes was still about half of a basic RSC gun safe). Leaving drills or other tools accessible outside the job box hands burglars a way in.

      Job boxes are best for those just looking to save money on a cheap gun safe, keep their kids out, not draw attention to their guns, and avoid/deter basic burglaries. If you’re looking for more protection than that, you should consider something stronger than a job box as Framer noted.

  3. Sanjay Dutt says

    Job Boxes can be positioned so that there is only enough clearance in front of the locks to get a hand in with a key. Then fill the bottom of the box with 500 pounds of lead shot and tie it down with a couple of redhead bolts. Won’t stop a well-planned assault, but will stop most folks. Might as well force them to saw the box open, which is a long noisy job.

  4. Walt S. says

    The statement that a home invasion forcing you to open a safe is a robbery, not a burglary, is incorrect in Pennsylvania and I would suspect everywhere. Entering an occupied building with intent to commit a felony (robbery) is burglary.

    • Jeffrey Walker says

      In Michigan, taking property using force or threat of force against a person is robbery. Armed robbery has a max of life in prison. If a home invasion or burglary
      is involved, it does not matter, it’s still a max of life.

  5. That’s quite a list of tips there. Interesting to note the NRA insurance has to be activated. That feels a little sneaky to me, but maybe I’m misunderstanding something?

    • I wasn’t a big fan of the requirement for activation either. It’s moot now though as the $2,500 in free coverage (after activation) is no longer advertised.

  6. Michael says

    Very impressive list of ideas – some of which I have exploited and others that I’m definitely going to deploy soon.

    It would also be interesting to see a full inventory of collected breached/cracked/stolen gun safes, true safes, makes, models, residential/commercial, etc. Did anybody compile or maintain a list?

    • There are pictures here and there, but no central repository that I know of. Safe techs generally avoid posting pictures of breached gun safes and safes. One major reason is that from these images you can tell how a particular unit is constructed. Some of this information, particularly the lockwork, is useful information for other thieves to defeat that model. Another complication is that using images online involves getting rights or the permission of the picture owner. Since some people have posted pictures using emails/accounts that are no longer valid, it makes things even more difficult. I was able to share most of the interesting pictures I found and I linked to others. Thanks for reading!

  7. Was looking for good ideas to use to store cell phones and other important items within our store.It is a hassle to take everything home each day.
    I saw a great idea San Jay Duty had for using a job box.
    If there is a break in,I figure that the culprit will know that the devices are in the job boxes but I’m only concerned about them not being able to take the box or get inside before police respond to the alarm.
    Very good article and comments!

  8. #101
    On one of the bolts used to bolt down your RSC type gun safes, have someone weld a heavy duty eye bolt on top of it and use an open end wrench to tighten it down. Have a high strength, coated steel cable made with crimped loops in each end. A plastic coating will prevent scratching. Run the cable through each trigger guard and use a high quality lock purchased from a locksmith to lock the ends of the cable. Now even if they saw into the top or side they’ll have a devil of a time dragging the guns out. If they manage to breach the door they’ll still have to deal with the cable.

    No safe or vault on Earth is impenetrable. Even an ISM Treasury safe only buys time. Everything you can do to slow them down will help.

  9. Framer Dick says

    I have a real issue with the suggestion that a Jobox is suitable for a gun safe. It may work yet we find them unsuitable for tools. Perhaps it is not much worse than some of the cheaper gun safes. I have worked in framing many years and rarely ever stored my tools in a box. For years on job sites we put tools in common big blue walk in job containers that have the lock hidden up inside and difficult to get to. I remember a framing contractor locking his keys inside once. The method to getting back in involves… [redacted descriptions of ways people break in to job boxes on job sites]

    Of course the more stupid theives will try and pry it open rather than [those methods]. Its like my brother’s Ford F350 superduty. The internet is probably full of utube videos of how to easily break into one. Kinda of like Rangers are easy from under the handle. A company makes a anti theft plates that bolt inside that area someway in a number of trucks. But along came some idiot that attempted to turn the door key lock with a flateblade screwdriver most likely and just twisted out the locks metal so a key won’t go in anymore. Some are just low tech and low thought, low brow. In Seattle I used to see nice old cars with wing windows in the door broken just to get in when the door was left unlocked. Some of these ppl would not have survived long in the caveman days if dinosaurs were present.

    • Thanks for posting your misgivings about job boxes. You gave some descriptions of ways people have broken into job boxes on job sites, which I redacted. It would be a shame for anyone to learn any tricks here which would wind up putting readers’ guns in jeopardy.

      Your comment reiterates the importance of not getting a false sense of security about job boxes, or any security measures. Job boxes are great for those wanting something cheap to keep guns away from their kids, for not attracting attention like a gun safe, and for low brow burglars you described. They are not high security. But, they are not worse than cheaper gun safes as you point out.

      One difference I would mention is that a job box locked in a basement or garage is more secure than a desolate job site. Job sites generally have very little security, no one around to see/hear someone breaking in, they attract vandals and thieves, and most of the passers-by have pickup trucks and/or tools — which could be used to take or open the job box. We never used them on a site, either, although we moved around a lot anyway. For a home though, they have many uses if the guns outgrow the box.

      Thanks again Dick!

  10. Eddie Sinclair says

    Awesome article. I’ve been through the flood disasters. I 100% agree with all your good advice. Seems very complete. Thank you. People should follow this advice.

  11. Personally i would get an average to cheap safe, store a couple cheapest guns in there and the really good stuff in a hidden wall (behind book case / etc)… This way they find safe, they find guns and think thats it.

    Also like mentioned in the article with contractors, etc… OPSEC is very important, if people don’t know you have guns, right there you solve a HUGE potential problem. I myself am a cable tech and go into many homes and you would be amazed what people let me see or don’t go through the trouble of concealing… oops, a 1911 mag there on the counter, a box of .308 over there… on many occasions… lucky for them I am an honest person!

  12. A lot of very useful information and a number of excellent but practical ideas. Some of the information and videos are concerning enough that I am re-thinking my gun storage strategy entirely.
    Thanks for putting together a wealth of information in one place. I stumbled across your article when researching gun safes as I am about to upgrade to a larger safe. A lot of food for thought here.

    Hugely helpful.

  13. Jim Kimball says

    If there are trees close enough to your driveway you can place a relatively inexpensive game camera on one of the trees. Set at the right height the camera may catch a license plate number and possible picture of the driver/burglar either coming onto or leaving the property. A license plate number will increase the possibility of the police tracking down a suspect.

    • AGREE! I have two Cuddeback game cameras. One set up to take pics of the wildlife crossing my property at night (mostly deer and bear) and the other camera is set in the trees facing the driveway. Get perfect HD pictures with a time stamp of vehicles and persons entering or leaving the property.

  14. Eric Wood says

    GREAT Article! Packed with practical, helpful advice and scores of ideas. Thank you!!!

  15. Great site, sucked up every one of my lunch breaks over the last 2 weeks. Easy to see you’re a passionate industry expert who cares more about helping consumers than making a buck or pitching a particular product. Wish there were many similar blogs out there, run by SMEs. Shared over 4 Survivalist FB forums and personally to a dozen similarly-minded friends.

    1) Is there any sort of dedicated Gun Safe Forum? I’ve found sections on anandtech, 1911forum, survivalistboards, ar15.com etc but nothing dedicated to the topic. Maybe a good opportunity for you?

    2) After reading your blog and visiting a local safe showroom (NW Safe co in Enumclaw), I’ve come to the conclusion that a vault/armored closet would be best, supplemented by a something small in the bedroom. My question is about the “Closet Vault” door: – Does anyone have any good ideas about where to buy/how to make a decent metal door/jam/locks? My space is only a few feet wide/high so best idea I have come up with so far is to buy a wall safe big enough to crawl through and grind the backing off.

    3) Does anyone make a “hardened” (i.e. wood-appearing steel and Plexiglas) gun cabinet like the Amish one? I have several older gentlemen friends who are adamant about wanting this style. Have scoured the Internet with little luck so far. Yes, I’m aware it wouldn’t hold up well to a determined attack.
    https://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=8&f=9&t=336564 “To answer the OPs question, about ten years ago there was a company that made “glass” gun cases that were really bullet resistant plate glass and steel under a wood veneer. The company is out of business now, but you might find one used on Ebay or something.”

    Unsurprisingly, Google Trends reports a ~7x volume of searches for “gun safe” than “gun cabinet”. The later still has significant volume but is steady while the former is steadily increasing. https://www.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=gun%20cabinet,gun%20safe

    4) FYI the “indiana jones” comment above is spam.

    • Hi Carl,
      Thanks for the kind words. Glad you’re finding the site useful, and thanks for sharing it!

      1) There is no gun safe forum that I know of. Before I put this site together I thought quite a bit about the most effective way to get information to gun safe customers. I concluded that for most gun owners, gun safes are one time purchases. People do some research, buy one, and then move on to other concerns. Also, much like gun technology, sound safe and gun safe designs don’t change that often. So, I figured that other topics lend themselves better to frequent member engagement and forums. Instead I structured GSRG more like a reference than a blog or forum with constant new material.

      Speaking of forums, glad you patronized NW Safes. One of their safe techs has contributed a lot to ar15.com.

      2) A reader sent me pictures of his similar approach to what you described. He took a floor safe, cut off the door, and cast it into a masonry feature in his house. He used a liner and waterproof membrane to protect the interior from moisture. The floor safe door opens to reveal a deep chamber sized for long guns. And since the chamber is built into the structure, it’s well hidden.

      Some brands of true safe use the same door frame for multiple grades of safe. E.g. the door frames for their B-Rate and C-Rate are actually the same. If you decided to go this way, you could buy the one with the thinnest walls, as you’d just be cutting them off anyway. Of course if the area you’re trying to protect is wood framed, this could be overkill without significant reinforcement to the walls.

      Another option is to build it yourself. As you saw from the construction of the old vault door, the construction of a custom safe door can be relatively simple. The Graffunder pictures and cutaway show that the door frame of a true safe is primarily lots of steel. Of course DIY building a vault door, it’s not everything aligned and operating smoothly. But, if you’ve done some fabrication, you’ll have an intuition for how hard it would be for you to do.

      3) There are hardened bed and couch products and lots of hidden furniture options. Some of the furniture diversion safes are lightly hardened, but I don’t know of any like you’re asking about.

      4) Thanks, “indiana jones” snuck in but has been sent back to the Temple of Spam.

  16. This morning I’m reading about the shooter at Ohio State and finally decided it’s time to exercise my 2nd amendment rights. I’d figure out how to secure them first which is what led me here. Excellent ideas. The main problem around here is drug fueled break ins for which a hardened closet is probably best. Thanks.

  17. Three 100+lb dogs is all I’ve ever really needed to keep people from looking too closely to my house…….Especially Dori, who broke through the side window of my van to get at someone who was being a pest.

  18. Hey, just a quick note on clothing and books for hiding. It’s not very secure! When I was broken into the thieves stole guns & ammo, knives, etc. They went through all my cloths (took some too), stripped the bed, upended the mattresses, used pillow cases and sleeping bags to pack stuff off, went through every book and drawer, picture, and adding insult to injury, stole my leather bound bibles off the bed stand. Seriously, bibles???!!!

    Another note about clothing and books, just a few days ago, saw a news item on a local retired Sheriff that was burgled. They showed him in his living room. Every book and painting visible in the room was overturned. Looked a lot like my master bedroom 15 years earlier. Thieves are much smarter about looking for firearms and valuables, so really think the hiding strategies through. If it appears handy to grab near your chair, door, bed or not near a window easily observed from the outside, it will be searched!

    I am really enjoying the information on gun safes though. You have given a lot of food for thoughts! Thanks!

  19. James Russell says

    Be careful with some job boxes. The long hinge pin can be removed from the back unless it is tack welded or stored in a location where the thief cannot drive it out. Great article and lots of good ideas for safe storage.

  20. Bruce Gibson says

    If you have a home alarm system, run a contact wire, through the electric hole. Wire it to your system (you can do this yourself, or hire a professional installer), and place a contact at the inside frame. This way, even if they get into the house without setting off the alarm and try to pry the door open, the alarm is set off.

    Thanks for all of the other great ideas!

  21. Avid Reader says

    Thanks for this great repository of safe information etc. I’d note the importance of turning off geotags when posting smart phone pictures of firearms or your security measures online.

  22. That wasn’t Charlton Heston’s gun vault in the pic. Just saying.

  23. Fire extinguishers . . . Kidde has just (12/17) recalled 38 million fire extinguishers made from January of 1979 to September of 2017. Any Kidde or similar brand (sold under about 130 different labels) with plastic handles needs to be checked on the Kidde website. They will send you a brand new one for free, and a shipping label for the old one. These extinguishers are found everywhere, homes, businesses, workshops, even boats and RVs. Problem is the trigger gets brittle and breaks off, so the extinguisher won’t work even if it is fully charged. Again – replacement is FREE. You’ll need the model number (lower left side of label), and the serial number (lower right side of label). Takes about 14 days for the replacement to arrive. Check you extinguishers NOW before you need to use one, then it is too late. Again, FREE at Kidde.com

  24. Mr koolio says

    What about good hiding places instead. I have used the rafters in my garage for rifles and ammo. Not mentioned was the fact that if they find ammo, they know you likely have a gun. If you dont keep the riifles in boxes/cases, what are thr odds guys are going to climb around your garage rafters. I took an old mattress, slit the sides and it held 4 rifles. The i piled old clothes, photos, and other junk….up to the roof….so they just cant push it all off on to the floor….oh snd inscrewed the mattress down and put other rafters (using old dark wood…not new, so that it was all kind of wedged in there. Kind of a pain to get at for me….but with my ladder locked up outside….hard for them to get up there….whst do u think?

  25. David Bell says

    Thanks for all the work you’ve done on this website. It’s the best! One thing you said that I would like to reiterate and stress is your statement, “Any ‘booby-traps’ need to be non-lethal and of course legal.” People really need to check their state laws before installing even a pepper spray booby trap. I like the idea but it’d be really said if it could get you in enough trouble that you would no longer have a need for a gun safe.

  26. Matthew Kerr says

    Thank you for your efforts in making this long article. I really appreciate this! I was searching on how will I protect my guns without using a pot of money and less hassle, then I discovered your link. A friend of mine recommends your website. This article helps me a lot. I’m starting to like your content.

    Best Regards,

  27. Corey Naylor says

    I love how you enumerate the possible tips on how to protect guns. Your article helps gun owners have the ideas, tips and advices. My husband told me that I will search on what are the possbile ways of protecting a gun and then I saw your article. This is perfection! I will show this to my husband so that he will also get the ideas. Thank you so much for this article!

    Best Regards,

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