100 Money-Saving Ways to Protect Your Guns

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This article is continued from the previous page… Click here to jump Back to the Beginning.

6. Getting Away

Even if burglars are able to break into your house, find your valuables, and get to them, they still have to get away.  Make this as hard as possible.

Install Surveillance Cameras

Less than 14% of burglaries are every cleared with an arrest (sources).  Security cameras hooked up to a recorder may help improve your odds.

After a burglary, you’ll probably call the police and have them file a report, but your case honestly isn’t likely to get much more attention unless it’s part of a string of burglaries.  In that case they may catch the guys after they’ve broken into a dozen more houses, but you’re unlikely to ever get your stuff back.  Less than 17% of stolen guns are ever recovered.

If you have security cameras and can give the police a video of the burglary, this is a huge help.  The cops now have a description of the thieves and proof of the crime which will be valuable in prosecuting them.  This will probably get more law enforcement attention to your case than the average burglary, and may even make the local news.  It may also help in getting your insurance claim handled faster.

Another benefit of security cameras is that many now can be viewed over the internet.  If you’re away from your house, you can bring up your cameras on your computer or phone at work and make sure everything back home is ok.

Surveillance cameras are getting cheaper and cheaper by the day, and you can get a pretty good setup for much less than a gun safe. For real security cameras to be effective, it’s better if the thieves never see these cameras so that they don’t conceal their identity or avoid walking past the cameras.  Put a camera in the room with the gun safe, somewhere it won’t be easily seen.

Fake security cameras can add an extra layer of protection and deterrence to your real cameras.

Although most home burglaries happen in the day, it’s a good idea to get security cameras that work at night.  The burglarized jewelry store mentioned in a previous article had security cameras to record the break in, but they didn’t work in the dark.

Turn Your Webcam into a Security Camera

If your computer is in the same room as your gun safe, you can install a program on your computer that turns your webcam into a surveillance camera.

Unfortunately it means that you’ll probably have to leave your computer on all the time.

Weigh Down Your Gun Safe

The heavier your gun safe is, the harder it is to take it, rip out the floor bolts, or tip it over. If you reload, put your lead shot in the bottom of your safe to make it harder to steal.   Don’t put powder in there though.

Build Your House Around It

If you’re building a house, there are a number of ways that you can build a gun safe into your house and get a lot more protection without spending extra money. Floor-mounted safes and gun safes meant to be set into concrete can be poured into a concrete slab.  Or you can have your traditional gun safe set into a slab’s concrete, or anchored in a brick wall as it is being laid.

Gun Safe Built into Wall

Gun Safe built into Wall

You can build the framing around your gun safe so walls have to come down to get it out.  When I worked as a plumber, we regularly installed shower/tub stalls that were bigger than framed doorways (before the drywall went in).  Take a Sawzall and cut out the nails on the bottom of a stud by running the blade along the sole plate under the end of the stud.  Then, pull the stud down off of the top nails and move the gun safe in.  When you’re done, line up the top nails to their holes on the top of the stud and they’ll slide back in.  Finally toe-nail the bottom of the stud back to the sole plate.

If you build your house around a gun safe, make sure you get a good reliable, serviceable gun safe because you’re not going to be able to take it out to replace it.  It’s also best if you put the gun safe in at the last possible moment when the minimum of contractors will see it.

Also, so no one knows what it is, cover the gun safe with a large cardboard box for a refrigerator and label it with something inconspicuous like “Fragile, Antique Dresser and Wardrobe.  Do Not Move.”

Don’t Make Your Guns Easy to Pack Up

If your gun safe is bolted down and burglars successfully attack it in place, they still have to carry off all your stuff.

Part of the reason stealing a whole gun safe is so attractive is because even though it’s heavy, it’s a self-contained package.  Imagine trying to get away with 20 guns and long guns without a case, bag, or container to hold them.

If you leave gun cases, duffle bags, and luggage around it makes it that much easier to get all of your stuff out of the house.  You might want to get a locker or toolbox to keep all that stuff in so you can keep it next to your gun safe.

Mark Your Valuables

Marking your valuables will make it much easier for the police to recover them.  If burglars steal tools and guns and the police find the tools, it may lead them back to your guns.

Painting the handles of your tools a certain color, engraving your name or license plate number, or using a spray paint stencil of your initials on your power tools are all ways you can do this.  Automotive touch-up paint pens, available at auto parts stores and your car dealer, are good for applying durable paint marks to metal surfaces.

Giving the police pictures of what was stolen (previous step) and/or telling them to be on the lookout for a bunch of tools with orange-painted handles can make your stuff easier to identify.  The police might even check a local flea market or pawn shop if your valuables are that easy to identify.

Document the Crime

As soon as you realize your house has been broken into, stop.  Don’t touch anything.  Call the police to come write a report.

Once the police have checked out the scene, get your camera and take pictures of everything.  Then you can look and figure out what’s missing.

Install a Silent Alarm in Your Gun Safe

The best safe in the world is no help if someone breaks into your home and waits for you to come home, forcing you to open it at gunpoint.  In this situation, classified as a robbery not a burglary in most states, a silent alarm could help.

Some electronic keypad combination locks can be configured so that an alternate duress entry code triggers a signal that can interface to your monitored alarm system.

Another option is a hidden alarm button inside your safe, but for that to work the robbers would need to let you open the safe door yourself.  Since they already know there are guns inside, that’s not likely.

Sacrifice Play (Dubious)

Some gun safe owners employ a strategy to keep smash-and-grab thieves from finding their gun safe.  Their strategy is based on the assumption that “once they get their arms full, they’re out’ta there.”  This may be true for some percentage of burglars, but I’m not sold on it.  I’m listing it here in case you have ideas along these lines.

The idea is to leave some attractive but cumbersome valuables near the back door or other common burglar entry points.  For example, some larger tools or electronic equipment like a CD changer and DVD player.  The hope is that once the burglars have all the goodies they can carry, they’ll leave.

My mom’s last burglars ran right past a laptop computer, DVD Player, and other electronics straight upstairs to her bedroom to get all of her $20 earrings, and then left.  The research shows that most burglars go to the master bedroom first, so it’s doubtful that most thieves would leave without first checking it out.  Most smash-and-grab burglars would rather have cash, jewelry, or something valuable and small that is easy to carry.  They don’t want to be seen running through the woods with a TV set.

This strategy is dubious.  At best it will guarantee that something gets stolen and at worst it will help professional thieves get your stuff faster.  And, once a house is burglarized, the odds become much higher that it will be hit again.

Back to the Beginning

Protection from Flooding, Moisture, and Handling

Locate Your Gun Safe Intelligently

Put your gun safe in a place that offers good protection if you do have a flood.

Get Your Gun Safe Up Off The Floor

The higher your gun safe is, the better it will be protected from water damage due to flooding and firefighting water. Getting your gun safe off the floor is especially important if you decide to put your gun safe in your basement or otherwise below grade.

Concrete or steel is the best material for a platform.  Wood can rot, be damaged by fire and insects, hold water, and corrode the bottom of your gun safe.  It’s also harder to secure to the floor and gun safe.

With a little work you can build a concrete platform to put your safe on.  Some rebar can be used to anchor the platform into a concrete floor.  Once poured, a concrete platform is ideal for anchoring the gun safe.

If you’re a welder you can devise a platform which can be anchored to the floor and securely bolted to the gun safe, with steel plate to protect the bolts.  A nice feature of a steel platform is that you can probably bring it with you if you move.

Mount Your Gun Safe on a Moisture Barrier

Many gun safes, especially cheaper ones, have minimal paint and corrosion protection on the bottom.  If yours did have some, it was probably partially scraped off during installation.

If you’re locating your gun safe on a surface like concrete which may hold moisture, or in a non-climate-controlled location, it’s a good idea to put a moisture barrier under your gun safe.  Whatever you use needs to be strong enough to withstand the weight.

A hard rubber horse stall mat is a good choice.  Even a piece of vapor barrier of the type used in residential construction under vinyl siding will offer some protection against corrosion.

Seal the Holes in Your Gun Safe

Gun safe waterproofing is dubious, as discussed earlier.  But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to keep mosisture out.

If you have a tube of high temperature silicone caulk or RTV around, use it to seal all the holes in the bottom of your gun safe.  Don’t forget the electrical access hole.

Install a Gun Safe Dehumidifier or Desiccant

Moisture is a big problem in gun safes, especially for those installed in non-climate-controlled areas.  Don’t forget that the danger isn’t just from outside the gun safe, but also from the fire lining.

There are two strategies for dealing with moisture.

Heater-Style Gun Safe Dehumidifiers

Gun Safe in Office

Notice the floor mounted electric dehumidifier and fire safe inside.

One way to reduce humidity is to slightly warm the interior of the gun safe using an electric dehumidifier.  This raises the air temperature for the same dew point, reducing the relative humidity.

Heater-type gun safe dehumidifiers also reduce inside temperature fluctuations during the day.  Temperature changes can cause condensation if the temperature drops below the dew point.

If the dehumidifier is located in the floor of the gun safe, it will also create a small, helpful convection air current inside the safe.

A plug-in gun safe dehumidifier requires almost no maintenance as long as the power is on, and is the recommended approach.

Gun Safe Desiccant Dehumidifiers

The other strategy is to absorb the moisture in your gun safe by using a desiccant dehumidifier.  Desiccants, like the silica gel packets you find in consumer product packaging, are chemicals which absorb moisture.  Periodically you’ll have to replace the desiccant, or bake it out in your oven to recharge it.

The desiccant chemicals used in some dehumidifiers are corrosive.  This is not good if the container breaks and the chemical comes into contact with your guns.  If you do go with a desiccant style dehumidifier, check the chemical and make sure it’s not corrosive to guns.

Most of us have enough things to worry about, so electric dehumidifiers are a better choice.

Leave the Light On

If you have installed lighting in your gun safe which presents a very low risk of fire, you can leave the light on to protect from moisture.  The lights will produce a small amount of heat like a gun safe dehumidifier, which will help keep your gun safe free of moisture.

Quality name-brand Florescent or LED lights are good for this purpose.  Incandescent bulbs or light ropes can get too hot.  Over time, hot lights degrade their electrical insulation, increasing the risk of starting an electrical fire.

Air out the Fire Lining

Most fire lining used in true safes and gun safes contains moisture that can damage your guns.

The moisture level is highest when the safe is brand new, so it’s a good idea to leave the door open as much as possible when the safe is new to dry out the fire lining a bit.

Store Your Guns in Gun Socks

Padded gun sleeves, especially those which impregnated with silicon and rust preventatives like Bore Stores, are a great way to protect your guns from corrosion.

The padding helps prevent handling damage like scratches and dings when you’re taking your guns in and out.  These sleeves can also help you fit more guns in your gun safe or job box, allowing you to just stack the guns like cord wood.

You can also keep your guns in the sleeves and bring them with you to the range.

Get Organized

The more efficiently your gun safe is organized, the better protected your guns will be from nicks and scratches due to handling.

If your gun safe came with an interior that isn’t optimized for the types of guns you have, take it out and modify it.  The time you spend with be more than repaid in convenience and prevented damage to your gun over the years from taking them in and out.

Even if you purchase a commercial safe with no interior, fabricate or buy your own shelving and racks.  A number of companies offer long gun rotary racks or door racks that can make better use of the limited space in your gun safe.  Many provide better protection and more convenience at a cheaper price than the factory interior.

Use a Rust Preventative on your Guns

Coating your guns with a rust preventative before storing them in your gun safe will help prevent corrosion.

If this is your primary method of rust prevention, keep in mind that it will also need to be applied to the inside of the bore, and surfaces you can’t see like under the stock and forend.

On the recommendation of Nathan Foster, I started using marine lanolin-based grease Lanocote for longer-term protection of gun finishes.  It holds up well, so now I give all of my long guns a thin coat before reassembly.  Note if Lanocote is used to treat a barrel bore, it must be cleaned out before firing.

Install Handgun Racks and Drawers in Your Gun Safe

Most gun safes come with some sort of long gun rack, but only shelves for your handguns.

If you don’t want to use handgun sleeves, a handgun rack can help protect your guns from handling damage.

Another option for handguns is drawers.  Because handguns are thin, even a shallow drawer will fit them and keep them safe.

Use Waterproof Containers in your Gun Safe

If you have some papers and manuals for your guns that you really want to store in your gun safe, put them in a waterproof container inside your safe.

Ideally the container should have a melting point above 350 °F, otherwise when it melts or ignites it will do more damage than the water would have.

Seal your Gun Safe Door

You can improvise a door seal to help keep out moisture, especially on the lower portion of your door.  It should be made of high temperature material like silicone if you want it to be any help in a fire.

A word of warning on door seals:  Be very careful with anything that holds pressure against the door when closed, especially on cheap gun safes.  Tension on the back of the door acts against the locking bolts, requiring extra force to retract them and open the safe.  This pressure can cause problems with your gun safe lock, especially electronic ones.

Many gun safes use shear pins and clutches in the locking mechanism to prevent or limit extra force from being transmitted from the door handle to the locking bolts.  If the shear pins or clutch fail, or prevent you from applying enough force to retract the locking bolts, you’ll need a locksmith to open your safe.

Seals that work against the outer edge of the door instead of the back are less likely to cause bolt work issues.

Back to the Beginning

Protection from Fire

In addition to protection from theft, there are many money-saving ways to keep your guns safe from fire.

Fire Extinguishers

The majority of home fires are put out without calling the fire department (sources for fire statistics).

Spending hundreds of dollars on a fireproof gun safe is pretty foolish if you don’t have $20 fire extinguishers in both your kitchen and bedroom.  These are the most common origins of fire.

A fire is likely to break out in the kitchen, bedroom, living room, garage, laundry room/area, and attic.  You should have an ABC fire extinguisher accessible in all of those locations.

Install a Fire Sprinkler Head over your Gun Safe

Sprinkler heads are relatively inexpensive and come in a variety of styles.  You may already have a water line above your gun safe feeding a bathroom in the floor above.

For those of you with well water, keep in mind that if a fire is bad enough, the electricity will get cut off and your well will stop.  By that time though, the fire department will hopefully already be there fighting the fire.

Fireproof your Gun Safe Yourself

The majority of cheap gun safes use about $20 of gypsum drywall for fireproofing and offer minimal fire protection.  These units unfortunately also have minimal burglary protection.

For most people burglary risk is about 5X higher than fire.  So, rather than buy a cheap RSC which has minimal protection from both burglary and fire, you might take a different approach.

First, you’d buy an “Exceptional Gun Safe” or True Safe with better burglary protection but no fire lining.  The savings can be significant, and this also opens your options for finding a used true safe.   Then, you can buy $20 of Sheetrock and add fireproofing yourself.  If you want to “splurge” find some glass fiber reinforced drywall instead.

Gypsum isn’t the best fireproofing in the world, but most people’s fire risk is much lower than burglary.  At least now the relative expense you’ve spent protecting from the two will match their risks better.  In addition it will be easier on your wallet.

Install the drywall the same way they build houses.  “Hang the lid” first by measuring and cutting the top sheet.  Then hold it up top and measure the sheets for the side walls so that they support the top piece.  Cut and install them, followed by the back.  Try to get some drywall around the door frame as well.  Then do the bottom.  You can do as many layers as you want in this fashion, which will stagger the joints for the best coverage.  Remember the top gets the hottest, so you want the most sheets higher up.  Don’t forget the door.

The better you support the drywall the better the fire protection it will offer.  Picture the gypsum crumbling and then think about how to hold it together.  Glass fiber reinforced drywall has fiberglass built in for support.  You can also line the interior with wire mesh, sheet metal, lauan plywood, or regular plywood.  The better sealed the interior lining, the better.  You could caulk the panels with a high temperature silicone caulk.  To make it easier to see inside the gun safe, use a reflective or light color material, or paint the interior white.

Homemade fireproofing complicates the interior shelving and racks but can save you even more money.  Similar to new car dealer options, gun safe interior upgrades have higher markups than the gun safes themselves.

If you get the safe with no interior, you have more freedom to install unconventional options like a rotary rack or rifle rod storage kit.  Or you could fit more guns inside and avoid handling damage by stacking your guns in BoreStores silicon treated padded sleeve or soft cases.

In most cases you’ll have to figure out the shelving yourself.  A nice feature of lining the interior with metal, lauan, or plywood is that it gives you something convenient to mount the shelves to.  The metal can be pop-riveted to and the wood can be screwed into.  Instead of fixed shelves you can mount adjustable shelf brackets on the sides from top to bottom.  Inexpensive adjustable wire shelving is another option you may already own, which will also help with air flow and moisture inside.

Buy a Small Fire Safe

Don’t use a gun safe to protect things it isn’t meant to protect.

If you want some fire protection for important documents, photos, electronic media, jewelry, and other valuables, get a UL 72 Fire Endurance safe with an appropriate rating for the contents.

This safe can usually be much smaller than a gun safe, and so will be much cheaper.  It will also help you divide your valuables into different locations.

Put a Fire Safe in your Gun Safe

Fire Safe inside Gun Safe

Fire Safe inside Gun Safe (Should be stored at the bottom)

If you have a really expensive handgun or other valuable and you really want it protected from fire, you can layer fire protection.  Put it inside a real UL 72 rated small fire safe in the bottom of your fireproof gun safe.

This will give you layered protection from fire, although make it more likely to get stolen by burglars than if it was hidden separately.

Store Ammunition Intelligently

As discussed in Myth: Ammo is safe inside a gun safe, don’t put your ammo in your gun safe.

If you insist on putting ammunition in your gun safe, or you’re storing it in your decoy gun safe, store it at the bottom.  The bottom has the lowest temperature and most protection from fire, but the highest risk of flooding and water damage.  Moisture will damage ammunition over time but it is relatively waterproof for short periods.  So the bottom of your gun safe is the best place for it.

Store Fuels Far Away from your Guns

Gun safes located in garages are often near gasoline cans and power equipment, paint thinner, aerosol cans, lumber, and other fuels.  Some gun cleaning products are flammable, and shouldn’t be stored in a gun safe.

Moving these fuels far away from your guns is cheap protection against fires.

Clean Your Chimney

If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, coal, or oil heat, have your chimney cleaned.  Confined chimney or flue fires are the third most common cause of fires.

The buildup of creosote and other flammable compounds can lead to fires.  Also, parts of your firebox, chimney lining, flue, or crown may need repair or repointing.  Chimney cleaning is the most common time that these problems are found.

Screen Your Chimney

If you have a wood burning stove, embers can blow up your chimney and start fires on your roof or in neighboring vegetation.

Installing a chimney screen will reduce this risk.  It also reduces the risk of an animal making a home in your chimney during the warm months.

Back to the Beginning

Is there anything I’ve missed?  If you have a great idea or picture of your great idea, share it.  Leave a comment or contact me and let me know.

If you’ve decided you want a traditional gun safe then Where to Put a Gun Safe is the next article in this series.

At this point you may have decided that you don’t want or need a conventional gun safe.  If you have, I’m happy I could save you some money.

You can check the Buyer’s Guide for ideas on inexpensive non-traditional gun safes like Buried, Hidden, Diversion, and even Motorcycle Gun Safes.

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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
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  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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