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DIY GUN (AND TOOL) SAFE…SORTA — 26 Comments

  1. I remember your admonition about safes in The Truth About Self Protection. Thieves can get your safe out of the house, just as easily as you brought it in. Unless you buy heavy-duty safes, and sink them in concrete, you’re just fooling yourself.

    I have basic boxes to keep kids from getting their hands on things.

    I think most gun safes are mental masturbation for gun owners.

      • Two men with an electric powered dolly brought the safe in. They then bolted it to the concrete floor, with four, six inch bolts. The safe also weighs a few hundred pounds more with the guns, ammo, and cases of bullets I bought for reloading. I’m not worried about someone stealing thousands of bullets, but they do make nice ballast. Of course, someone could, with enough time and effort, remove the safe. I’ll get video of it from the security cameras that are uploading to the cloud. The burglars might want to wear ear protection because the siren on the alarm is pretty loud. It’s going to get a lot louder if I catch them in the act.

      • Chuck Booher,

        I believe you are correct. We have to attempt to keep guns out of unauthorized hands. Imagine someone keeps their firearms unlocked in a closet, and teenagers steal them. What will a judge think of that gun owner? Now imagine that same cheap gun owner stores his guns in the closet, but puts trigger locks on all the guns (of course he carries his duty gun on his person). At least it appears to a judge the gun owner made an effort to keep those guns out of unauthorized hands.

        I love gun safes. So what if they are not perfect. Nothing is perfect. The only thing better than a gun safe is a hidden gun safe, which I don’t have.

      • On one of the gun forums about ten years ago, a member posted pictures of the aftermath of the burglary of his home.

        They used his chainsaw to make a handy hole in the wall, then used his truck, which had the keys conveniently hanging on a hook in the kitchen, to yank the safe through the wall. His come-along served to get it up into the bed, and they drove off with that and other valuables already loaded into the truck.

        He said, “about the only thing I could have done to make it any easier would have been to be home and help them load everything up.”

      • TRX,

        Yikes! Too bad the thieves didn’t cut an electrical wire when they were using the chainsaw to cut a hole in the wall. That story makes me wish I could afford to live in a stone house. It also shows it may be a good idea to keep car keys in the gun safe. I keep one car key on a chain around my neck in case I lock the other set of keys in the car.

  2. I come from the days of making a gun rack in shop class for your rifles and shotguns to hang on the wall. My son gave me his old gun cabinet, when he got himself a very nice safe. I only have a few long guns, including a .22 semi auto, a pump shotgun, a Mauser type rifle in .308 for deer hunting, and an old,non working bolt action shotgun that was my dad’s.
    I have several handguns, which keep in a couple of different places, including the cabinet. But we have no small children in our home, so my options are different than they would be for a parent with small children.
    I have perhaps 1,000$ worth of firearms, or slightly over that. All of my guns, save the broken shotgun which is a keepsake, are working guns, with me having 2 carry guns, in case one should break or be confiscated due to a defensive gun use. For those who have even 4-5 thousand invested in guns, a safe is certainly a good idea, in fact an essential idea. Plus, the saying discretion is the better part of valor can be applied to not over sharing your valuable guns that you own. A savvy thief might hear, or his friend might hear and pass it on, and the thief would have incentive to target your home, on purpose, instead of just being a crime of opportunity.

  3. I also come from a time when guns were displayed in the home and nobody thought anything about it. With all the recent laws that attempt to force responsibility on those who are otherwise I finally purchased a gun safe – and attached it to the nearby wall. That would at least make it more difficult to steal.

  4. I remember the glass-front cases, and I really liked them. If you walked by and there was a blank slot it was, “Hey, where’s the shotgun.”

    Besides secure storage for safety reasons, an excellent protection against theft is a complete inventory, stashed in your bank safety deposit box.

  5. Funny thing, sorta, the my state of CA virtually requires one to own a safe to buy a gun. Some say, including my wife, the idea is to have all one’s guns in one easy-to-locate place for near-future confiscation. She suggested a John Wick floor of the basement style “key-less” safe. Wish I had a basement.

    I also grew up in a house where the guns were in racks for display. A time where after Christmas vacation every year Grammar School kids brought their new shotguns to school for show and tell. . .on the school bus! Where the pick-ups in the High School student parking lot all had guns in the back window rack. Where I, as a Middle School teen, after school dropped my books, grabbed my dog; hung my shotgun over my shoulder, and walked to the broom straw and dog fennel choked fields at the end of the neighborhood to hunt rabbits. Neighbors waved and wished me luck, and no SWAT teams showed up.

    • Bruce Frank,

      Sounds like you lived on a different planet (and that would be a better planet). Someone on this blog once left a link to a YouTube.com video of 1950s TV commercials selling toy guns to boys. It was fascinating and jaw-dropping. One commercial had an actor dressed as a cop, who approvingly remarked how real-looking the toy gun was.

      In the 1970s I used a military ammo can as a lunch box for two days. The Vice Principal said it was inappropriate. I live 50 miles west of NYC, so that explains that. Speaking of NYC, Michael Savage said all the high schools there have rooms in the basements that used to be gun ranges. High school kids would bring their .22 rifles to school on the subway, and shoot them in those basement ranges as part of a rifle team after school. So, the good old days really were the good old days.

      • We were allowed to take rifles to shop class to fix them up, no hemorrhoid flair ups from officials.
        The school my boys attended had a shooting range in the basement, railroad ties backed by sand but was only for the school’s rifle team and rifles.
        The good old days when we could order guns using a coupon from a page in an out doors magazine, you’d have to fill in the part that said “I am over 18 years of age” and include a money order for $19.95.
        2 weeks later your gun arrives .
        I am so very fortunate to have live while the U.S. was still normal and for the most part, happy.

  6. Are there any suggestions as to where firearms are best stored when you are out of town or on vacation?

  7. That kryptonite bike lock can be readily opened with a bic pen following instructions on the web. Consider keeping the bolts or slides in a different location so items stolen are useless without obtaining parts that would also help police locate the perpetrators by inquiring with gun shops i.e. who’s been looking for a 1911 slide and barrel or AR bolt or Mauser bolt or Glock mags etc. and also keep ammo separate from complete firearms.

  8. I wonder if the locking security box option would suffice when applying for a NYC carry permit (“special carry” option)? This is pertinent to law enforcement retirees who must upload a photo of their safe as part of the online process if they possess four or more guns.

    In case anyone is interested in seeing the the the NYC CCW application process- the equivalent of a complete rectal exam:

    https://licensing.nypdonline.org/new-app-instruction/

    Hope the link works. Many of you will appreciate living in a free state all the more.

  9. I remember the days when the guns were in the back of the closet with the ammunition up on the shelf, and the power tools were locked up in a cabinet. We as kids knew the guns were made of deadly radioactive plutonium and you would die a horrible death if you touched them. Dad’s circular saw on the other hand, sure would come in handy to build our fort! I’m sure we could find enough extension cords to reach out into the woods. Of course that would have lead to horrible injuries I am sure.

    It is society that has changed in so many ways, not the firearms.

  10. Hi Mas, Guys and Girls,
    Jut a word. From looking at those photos a 3/8 drill bit could take out those lock very easy. Seen it done to a neighbors club on his truck. I recommend getting a welder buddy to weld on a 4″ long piece of angle iron with gussets over the lock. Just enough room for you key and no room to drill.
    You will need to paint over the welded area.
    Just saying.
    Yes, I used flush shells through the bottom of my safe, as a zip disc will make short work of anything outside the box. eye bolts or bike locks.

    BTW, Thanks for all you do Mas.

  11. I’ve been suggesting the job site box for decades as a better substitute for the common flimsy “gun locker”. There are better grades of the boxes than those mentioned in the article, but they’re still a good deal.

    Yes, securing the safe/job box/whatever to something solid in a manner that makes it time consuming to defeat will go a long way to help out. This is especially true against the common smash & grab burglar. It does help to lock up all the tools the thieves might use to defeat the fasteners/locks.

    Pros, however, are different. I can recall a sub division down the road from where I grew up. There tended to be a fairly frequent turnover of some of the houses. So, no one paid any attention when a moving van pulled up to a house (family on vacation)and started loading. Everyone figured they were moving. The thieves stole everything in the house including the wall to wall carpet and the second car.

    Some years earlier, a home in the other direction got hit. The owner had an extensive gun collection hanging on the living room walls clearly visible from the street. As Ron White has observed: “You can’t fix stupid.”

    Decades ago, there was a book out by a former professional burglar. I believe titled “Thief”, made very interesting reading.

  12. A good gun safe, bolted to the floor is much better than a “security” cabinet. The latter can be pried open with many common tools found around the house.

  13. I pick locks as a hobby (to be clear, only my own). Most “security boxes” have locks that can be opened with little or no skill. Tubular locks with a round key, if the keyhole doesn’t touch one end of the plug, if the “pins” inside are flat instead of round…the lock is probably junk. What’s sad is that a lock core that is legitimately difficult to pick can be purchased for under $4 retail.

  14. > job box

    Off at a slight tangent, I have one of the big blue Kobalt job boxes lag-bolted to the concrete pad (it’s not really a porch) at my front door, with the house number and “DELIVERY” in those stick-on reflective letters.

    Most delivery drivers (and my regular mailman, at my request) will put packages inside the box. Yes, the box is big and obvious; it’s also not apparent if there’s anything in it, so porch theives can’t just cruise the street and look for packages sitting by the door.

    The box has a lug for chaining or cabling a padlock to it. If it came down to it, I was going to add a lock and put a “please lock box after delivery” note nearby, which would have prohibited multiple deliveries, but as far as I know I’ve not (yet) had anything stolen.

    The box is only a few shades off from the blue siding on the house, so it’s not screamingly obvious, but there’s no reason you couldn’t paint a box to match your house, or decorate it somehow.

    Most gun parts vendors use the proverbial “plain brown box”, but some have large and colorful logos… as my neighborhood demographics have changed, not something I want on my porch all afternoon.

    • Great idea TRX. I have a large metal box bolted to my concrete porch floor, not visible from the street behind a row of low bushes. This box is equipped with a spring lock and the lid is kept from closing completely with a small piece of cardboard. The container is large enough for most boxes that are delivered to my house and once the lid is fully down, it’s automatically locked. I do use caution when opening the box in case a joker or malicious scumbag may leave a snake or some other nasty surprise inside.

  15. Good article. I only wish more articles were written about gun safes and securing guns/weapons.
    Thanks