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Old November 8, 2012, 12:14 PM   #1
TheRaskalKing
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Best Handgun Safe?

Hey all,

I'm graduating from college in a month, and will be moving shortly thereafter. I'll be staying in the same city, just probably closer to work. I'm going to be in an apartment with 2-3 roommates, so I'm obviously going to need a way to keep my guns safe. I'll probably leave my rifles at my parents house, but I will have at least 2 guns, maybe 3 with me. I've been perusing the good ol' internet for some good lock boxes- Like www.gunvault.com but thought I'd use our TFL members' collective wisdom. Budget is between 200-300 bucks, and I'm open to whatever works best. Please advise, and thank you all in advance!
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Old November 8, 2012, 12:30 PM   #2
Gaerek
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Are you just afraid of dumba$$ roommates doing something stupid with your guns? Do you want something you can get into easily? Or is something with a key or combo lock sufficient? There are hundreds of safes out there that have different uses. I have a couple safes. One is a large floor safe that stores almost all of my guns. It cost about three times your budget, but is meant to keep everyone out. It has a big combination on it and takes some time to access. I then have a this Gunvault safe I keep very close to where I sleep (I can open it without getting out of bed) and mounted to make it hard to steal. SOmething like the gunvault might work for you, but I'd keep the backup keys at your parents house (to prevent roommates from finding them). I would also HIGHLY recommend mounting any safe you get, at least to a piece of furniture...but better would be to the floor.

Keep in mind that no safe is foolproof, and the less you pay, the easier they are to get into. The purpose of my small safe is to keep my 3 and half year old away from my loaded pistol. I would never trust it to keep a dedicated person from gaining access, so keep that in mind.

Your budget is enough to get something that will likely work, but again, depending on who you're trying to keep out, and how dedicated they are, it might not be enough.
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Old November 8, 2012, 12:55 PM   #3
shuler13
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I haven't seen a quick access safe for three pistols. My suggestion would be two safes. One small quick access safe like the ones made by gunvault kept nearby affixed to furniture to dissuade theft.

I would then get a second, more durable slightly larger closet safe (also mounted). I used a rotary combination fire safe made by sentry intended for documents found at Home Depot. Given limited space and budget, that's how I'd roll.
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Old November 8, 2012, 01:34 PM   #4
StainlessSteel215
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I actually OWN the perfect safe for your situation/conditions Raskal....and Im about to save you $200. Go to your local Sports Authority (or go online) and check this one out:

http://www.sportsauthority.com/produ...entPage=search

Its 20x7x14, weighs about 50lbs, has a decent quality keypad and is very durable. Not a heavy duty fire-resistent safe but perfect for what you need. Big enough to be bolted to a shelf or something...but also slim enough to be visibly concealed as well. Right now, mine holds my PLR-16 long range .223 pistol....2 other pistols....and about 700 rounds of mixed ammo...all for $99! This could house 3-4 pistols and a good amount of ammo.
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Old November 8, 2012, 03:27 PM   #5
Gaerek
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I just want to mention, that Stack-On safe that stainless recommended can be easily opened by dropping a corner of it on the ground. There's a video floating around of a three year old opening a model similar to it, without a code, that uses the same locking mechanism. The safe looks all high tech and stuff on the outside, but it still locks with a mechanical mechanism. Defeat that, and you're in, without even bothering with the electronic part. Also, whacking it with a hammer is usually enough for the locking mechanism to disengage. So it's at risk even if you have it mounted. If you're OK with that, go for it. The Gunvault safe I linked doesn't have that problem, but it is about $50-60 (retail) more. Like I said before, the less you pay, the easier it is to defeat a safes lock.

That one I linked, of course, isn't fool proof either. I actually know how to get into it without a key or combo, but it takes more work. Will it keep your roomies out? Probably (unless they look up how to open them). Will it keep a determined thief from getting your gun? No way. For me, there are only guns in it when I go to sleep, so someone fiddling with it is going to wake me up. I just don't want my daughter coming into my room a 1am, opening the bedside table drawer, and getting access to a loaded weapon, so it works perfectly for me.

Good luck in your search for what will work for you.
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Old November 8, 2012, 04:22 PM   #6
dave9969
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if you are looking for a simple and practical safe that has both keypad and a key lock hidden behind a plastic cover in the middle you cant see it on the picture but its there.

I own this one: http://www.harborfreight.com/037-cub...afe-93575.html

its big enough for a few pistols
and you are not going to open it by dropping it on the floor
the bolts are over an inch long recessed into the side.
no its not going to stop a pro, but it will keep your stuff where you left it most of the time.
and the price, is simply the best you will find on this

NO safe under 500 dollars is going to keep out a real thief. Many of these safes are meant only to secure a gun from the hands of kids. Yeah, you can defeat them, usually by beating on them with something, and if its locked beside your bed, I think you just may hear them doing it. I use mine for securing my pistol when I am home. I use a proper gun safe if I am gone from the house. But it requires much longer to gain access to for me to use my weapon. So, the quick easy open one keeps me safe and secure against accidents.

Last edited by dave9969; November 8, 2012 at 04:30 PM.
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Old November 8, 2012, 05:46 PM   #7
Gaerek
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Actually, that Harbor Freight safe likely uses the same mechanism as the Stack On safes. It's a common mechanism. The stack on's have those same steel bars, and they can be opened by dropping one corner, or banging with a hammer. I wouldn't trust any safe that costs $30 to do anything, besides being a paperweight.

Here's the bottom line, buy the most expensive safe that fits your needs, and fits in your budget. Don't skimp.

Last edited by Gaerek; November 9, 2012 at 11:39 AM.
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:13 AM   #8
TheRaskalKing
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Thanks for the info fellas- the safe would mostly be to keep potentially idiot roommates out. But then again, I don't plan on having idiot roommates. I mostly just want it to keep people away from my guns, and also away from little ones when the Wifey and I start having kids. I understand that without investing serious $$$, keeping a pro out is difficult to do. I would absolutely plan on mounting it to something like the inside shelf of a closet or somewhere else it can be hidden. When I find myself somewhere more permanent, the big safe will come along.

It's kind of the nature of the beast when you live with roommates that you can't control who is in your house. My USP is my EDC, so that one is nearly always on me, and would rarely spend time locked up.

My folks were good enough to pony up the cash for this one as a graduation gift. It will hopefully be able to fill a need now as well as in the coming years.
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Old November 9, 2012, 05:25 AM   #9
Ozzieman
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I picked up one like this one only bigger for the wife. Nice price and well built for 330$.
The nice thing about a larger stand up safe is that you’ll have more room for other things.
The other thing about a safe is where you’re going to put it. Even this bigger one if you don’t have a good place to bolt it down its nothing more than a carry on/off suitcase.



http://www.menards.com/main/safes/pi...342-c-6979.htm
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Old November 9, 2012, 11:30 AM   #10
Hal
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One thing I'd like to see these types of security containers rate is how long it takes to open them with a sawzall.
My mother in law had one she paid mid -$300-ish for that had an electronic keypad.
The keypad went out and we had to get it open.
My brother in law beat on it with a sledge and it didn't do anything to it.

I cut it open with a lightweight (DeWalt 10 amp) reciprocating saw using a Lennox metal cutting blade in under 90 seconds.
It only took that long because I took my time making sure I didn't damage anything inside.

The ease it cut really redefined in my mind the definition of a "determined" person.
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:18 PM   #11
TheRaskalKing
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You bring up a good point about what constitutes a "determined" person, Hal. A well equipped pro isn't going to be stopped, but I'm not as worried about theft as I am about somebody foolish or very young getting hold of one of my guns. A pro with any amount of time on his hands is going to be able to get lots of other goodies too- TV, Xbox, laptop, etc.
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:43 PM   #12
Gaerek
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Quote:
You bring up a good point about what constitutes a "determined" person, Hal. A well equipped pro isn't going to be stopped, but I'm not as worried about theft as I am about somebody foolish or very young getting hold of one of my guns. A pro with any amount of time on his hands is going to be able to get lots of other goodies too- TV, Xbox, laptop, etc.
In that case, the Gun Vault or even the Stack On would probably be sufficient. Like I said though, make sure to keep the backup keys out of the house, probably with family close by or something, make sure it's securely mounted and set up a schedule to change the batteries. I change mine every 6 months, whether they need it or not, just like a smoke detector. I'm ok dropping a few bucks every 6 months to make sure my gun is accessible when I need it, and not finding out the battery ran out of juice the same night I need it.
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Old November 9, 2012, 01:42 PM   #13
StainlessSteel215
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Listen, lets not make this a huge hypothetical situation.

The guy is looking for an average safe to protect the gun from adult roommates, potentially being drunk, whatever the situation is. Any of those small safes are PERFECTLY fine for achieving that goal...and can be easily tucked away to further prevent curiosity in the event of an unlocked/broken into room. Dont get too caught up in the $1000 indestructible Sentry safes for this simple purpose fo hiding 2 pistols.
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Old November 10, 2012, 04:37 AM   #14
UpstateGlocker
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With all due respect, if your electronic lock/keypad freezes (a fairly common problem, especially with safes in basements or other high humidity rooms), instead of taking a reciprocating saw to it, try calling a locksmith. A pro can get into any safe in about 10 minutes and replace the defective electric lock with a S&G or other mechanical lock for a lot less money than having to replace the whole safe once you destroy it with your saw. I know this based on personal experience; I was amazed at how quickly the locksmith was able to break into my $900 10 gun safe when the electronic keypad died.

As for the OP, aside from the dying in humidity problem, I would avoid the electronic safes since they start low battery beeping at inopportune moments and basically advertise themselves "hey, valuable stuff here..." when you aren't around. I had two of them and gave up. On the other hand a mechanical tumbler lock (classic S&G) takes too long to open during an emergency. You don't want a keyed safe in an emergency for the same reason, plus the fact that bad guys/drunk roomates might find the key. Therefore, I'd look at an old fashioned, 3 or 4 number mechanical lock. There are plenty of models out there, fairly cheap (under $200) with 16+ gauge steel walls. Not enough to stop a pro (nothing is) but enough to stop or seriously slow down the threats you are likely to be worried about.
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Old November 10, 2012, 05:07 AM   #15
Hal
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Quote:
With all due respect, if your electronic lock/keypad freezes (a fairly common problem, especially with safes in basements or other high humidity rooms), instead of taking a reciprocating saw to it, try calling a locksmith. A pro can get into any safe in about 10 minutes and replace the defective electric lock with a S&G or other mechanical lock for a lot less money than having to replace the whole safe once you destroy it with your saw.
In my case, there wasn't a thing to salvage.
My brother in law worked it over pretty well with a sledge.
I believe all a locksmith would have done @ that point would have been to take a recip saw to it.


Still - this isn't about that.

I simply made the comment I'd like to see some sort of system put in place that would rate residential secuity containers on how well they resist a brute force attack.
They rate them for fire, so why not some sort of system that rates them for forced entry?

My best guess would be that most of them, even the high priced ones, would have extremely low ratings.

I have a $900 Browning in the family room that I'm pretty sure could be cut into with a recip saw or an angle grinder w/out any problem at all & proabably in a time frame measured in seconds.

Last edited by Hal; November 10, 2012 at 05:16 AM.
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Old November 10, 2012, 06:42 AM   #16
mrt949
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I have two home thiefts in my lifetime .It's not a good experience to arive to your home and find out you have been broken into. Both times it was someone I knew .First wives cousins, second time neighbor . Only one pistol survied each time a ruger security six .It was stashed in a shoe box both times. NO ONE knows what I have .I have a safe (HOME SECURITY CONTAINER) Everything is scattered all over the home in the wifes shoe boxes . Out of sight out of mind.
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Old November 10, 2012, 12:37 PM   #17
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FAS1 SAFE These are 7GA steel construction and are pretty secure when you bolt them down.



The regular size safe has room for at least 1 gun in the holster and 1 laying in the bottom backwards with the grip up. The FAS1-Magnum is a little longer and wider and could probably accomidate 2 guns in the bottom (1 on each side of the primary HD gun). Holster styles are interchangeable. While the safes aren't currently lined I am working on offering a lining kit made from speaker box style carpeting as an option. This would also allow me to offer it without a holster attached to the door so you could put a 6" or maybe even an 8" revolver on the FAS1-Magnum safe just laying inside.
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Old November 10, 2012, 12:59 PM   #18
1-DAB
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just live in this and keep everything secure:



ok, may be a little over your current budget, keep saving!!
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Old November 10, 2012, 03:30 PM   #19
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a lot of really interesting comments here

I like my little safe like I said, I have a larger one that is more difficult for long term and more effective storage of my valuables.
the harbor freight safe is just to tuck my hand gun in when I go to bed and it lets me in quickly if i Need to get it. If properly mounted to a book shelf or a wall, you would certainly have a higher level of protection, as you wont be able to just walk out with it or toss it on the ground to bust it open. But as I said, its merely to secure the weapon and keep me on the rite side of the law, as they do frown on unsecured loaded guns. I have kids, teens but just the same, this way if for some reason they had reason to be in my home(cops etc) I am good. Anyway, its really up to the original poster to decide the content of his belongings.
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Old November 10, 2012, 05:17 PM   #20
Jaxxxa
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I had a gunvault, and now stay away from any handgun safe with batteries. Too unreliable for quick access (batteries died every 3-4 months). Went with this instead: https://www.ftknox.com/store/index.p...&product_id=57
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Old November 10, 2012, 06:15 PM   #21
marine6680
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To be secure against cutting torches and mechanical cutting tools like saws and rotary type grind/cutting wheels...

You need very thick steel... over 1/2 inch thick minimum, 1 inch plus is best.

But you are looking at several thousand dollars ($4000)for an average sized 10 gun safe.

Those small safes will keep the curious out, and if mounted well, will deter the opportunity or smash and grab thief, but not one who comes prepared with tools because they know they need to break into a safe.
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Old November 11, 2012, 01:34 PM   #22
dave9969
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about batteries in a safe keypad

you do realize they come with KEYS? Good old fashioned metal keys, never fail battery or not. The one I posted has a plastic cover over the middle, that hides a real old fashioned lock that uses a KEY.

again, nothing will keep out a determined person, who came to get in a safe, no matter the cost of it. I worked in a bank vault manufacturer for a few years actually building bank vaults. We only had to pass a minimum test of a 18"x18" hole in under 45 minutes to get a UL certification. As they had a guy that could actually get through a 18x18 hole and be INSIDE the vault. And we were building embassy vaults, that were installed around the world. Some filled with concrete and re-bar, with concrete having added steel fiber to it for burst pressures against explosives, some with just old fashioned wood panels and expanded metal(think bbq grill) between the wood panels, but again, for a particular threat, as wood wont cut with a torch and the metal to foul saw blades. Nothing is perfect given infinite time and resources you will gain entry to any vault.

Locks are for honest people. A lock keeps you honest. A thief, will only see a obstacle to over come.
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Old November 11, 2012, 05:25 PM   #23
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Yeah even inch plus solid steel will succumb given enough time and proper tools. It can only slow down the one trying to get in.

The high end safes, even the ones not made of solid steel, will keep out most thieves, as they don't have the time to get into one.

If they know they have hours to work and little chance for curious neighbors causing them problems, they can get into just about anything if properly equipped.
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Old November 12, 2012, 09:16 AM   #24
Lawmaker
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I agree stay away from the quick access ones. I have a gunvault also. Batteries died and I could not get into it. Luckily I found the key to it. Why not just go with a security cable and a padlock. About the best budget good security that you can get.
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Old November 13, 2012, 11:16 AM   #25
Gaerek
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Quote:
I agree stay away from the quick access ones. I have a gunvault also. Batteries died and I could not get into it. Luckily I found the key to it. Why not just go with a security cable and a padlock. About the best budget good security that you can get.
Bolt cutter? Inexpensive tool, about a second to get through. Terrible security, even at the price.

I've never had the battery issue that people are talking about in the electronic safes. But now that I'm reading this, I might up my battery change schedule to every 3 months, instead of 6 months.

HINT: If you're waiting until your battery dies to change it, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.
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