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Old August 20, 2019, 08:25 AM   #1
rpseraph
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Cheap-Sucker Safes

Hey everyone,
The time has come to beef up my security for my guns a bit. I am looking at replacing a wooden cabinet that my long gun live in. My wife is concerned (rightfully) that the kids could get into the wooden cabinet too easily. Neither of us worry too much about OUR kids, but their friends that haven't been raised to respect firearms. The risk of an accident is too much!

Anyway... I am a cheap sucker, so I'm not about to go buy a Rhino Metal or Liberty Fatboy or higher end safes. I see a few options:

1) A cheap metal gun cabinet. Eg. Stack-On.

2) A serious metal gun cabinet. Eg. SecureIt.

3) A cheaper traditional gun safe. Eg. Costco Cannon safes

4) A lower end, but good brand traditional gun safe. Eg. Liberty Centurion 24

I would appreciate any experience or advice! Part of this will also be what my wife will feel 'safe' with and what she'll be comfortable spending
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Old August 20, 2019, 08:45 AM   #2
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I suspect any of your listed options would have the desired goal of keeping guns away from kids. For whatever it is worth in my opinion one of the "entry level" gun safes might be a better choice because they could provide some protection from burglars or even fire.
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Old August 20, 2019, 08:48 AM   #3
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I've used the Stack-On for many years and it suits my needs. It will not stop a determined person. However, if your primary goal is to simply keep firearms out of access of your kid's friends then it should do the job. If you go one step further and bolt that cabinet inside of a closet that you can keep closed (i.e. out of sight) then you significantly improve it's ability to do that job.
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Old August 20, 2019, 09:19 AM   #4
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Prior to July 3, 1994 I kept my guns locked in a closet. Punks broke into my house, used my screwdriver to break into the closet and wipe me out. I bought a Security Products safe(key lock) in 1994 and then a Liberty safe a couple years ago. I like the key lock better but it now costs at least twice what the Liberty costs, Liberty has a dial. Both safes would have kept my stuff safe back in 94. Both can be broken into by a pro but not a punk with a screwdriver. The tin box from Stack-On would be easy to break into.
You may wish to bolt the safe to the floor.
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Old August 20, 2019, 02:39 PM   #5
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I have had a Liberty for about 15 years now. There have been no issues with it. I run a little on the tall side so I left the shipping pallet attached to it when it arrived and this raised the height by a convenient four inches. It also makes it easier to move around when it is not attached to the wall.
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Old August 21, 2019, 09:28 AM   #6
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I have a stack-on locking metal cabinet. It’s not a safe but will deter a casual thief and delay a determined thief. Someone with knowledge, determination and basic power tools will be inside in a minute or two. That works for me.

The easiest route for a thief is to carry away your whole cabinet so use big lag screws and screw it in to wall studs.

It’s easy to slip a sawzall blade along the edge between the back edge and the wall to cut the mounting screws. Guys doing a remodel at my house did just that. Putting the cabinet in a closet, in a corner, or mounting furring strips to block access to the back edges will slow them down. Mounted in a closet has the advantage of “security by not advertising your goodies.”

I strongly urge putting loctite on the interface between the locking bar hub and the lock shaft. Over time, mine loosened up and one day my key turned the lock but the bars stayed in place. That was a real bother. I had to cut a hole in the rear panel, reach inside and move the locking bars by hand. It was shockingly quick and easy once I had easy access to the rear panel.

Anyways, my goal isn’t to stop determined career gun thieves. My collection wouldn’t interest them anyhow. A simple Stack On locking cabinet mounted securely to a wall is light years ahead of the old wood and glass gun cabinet my dad and granddad used back in the old days. It’ll keep out curious kids and stupid teenagers looking for whatever isn’t nailed down. It’ll keep out snatch and grab thieves. It won’t keep out the guys that come in through the skylight with harnesses and ropes and power tools and those diamond cutters that put a perfect circle in glass while suspended over laser beam security systems.

A good safe is better. But then, it might cost as much as the guns you are protecting and also lets people at a store and the guys that install it that you have something worth stealing.

Good on you for keeping your dangerous sporting goods safe from all but the most determined of idiots and bad guys.
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Old August 21, 2019, 11:20 AM   #7
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I use the SecureIt cabinets, and I really like them. They are easily expandable and reconfigurable as your collection grows and changes. I consider this ideal for limiting access within my home to authorized users, and to deter smash and grab individuals. They can be bolted to both the wall and floor.

For protection against a long-term sustained attack, a concrete filled safe, or building a strong-room is required. In my career, I've bought a lot of safes and designed vaults, so I'm knowledgeable on this subject.
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Old August 21, 2019, 02:06 PM   #8
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I appreciate everyone's input!

I like the idea of the Stack-On's low cost... and I think that if it is bolted down, it will serve the functions of no kids, slow burglars, and a place to store toys

Doesn't the key get annoying though? I worry about needing to run down to get a gun and not having my keys on me (not that I don't have a defensive firearm elsewhere or on my person) And expanding, doesn't that mean multiple keys?
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Old August 21, 2019, 02:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Doesn't the key get annoying though? I worry about needing to run down to get a gun and not having my keys on me (not that I don't have a defensive firearm elsewhere or on my person) And expanding, doesn't that mean multiple keys?
Yes, expanding does mean multiple keys. Although, I suppose you could contact the manufacturer and see if they would provide you with multiple locks using the same key number so that you could change them out to all be the same.

As to getting into one quickly, here is how I solved that problem. I got the little stack-on handgun box with the electric key pad and bolted that to the top of the stack-on rifle cabinet. I can open the little box in total darkness if I need to.
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Old August 21, 2019, 05:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpseraph View Post
...
Doesn't the key get annoying though? I worry about needing to run down to get a gun and not having my keys on me (not that I don't have a defensive firearm elsewhere or on my person) And expanding, doesn't that mean multiple keys?
Note the SecureIt cabinets have an electronic lock (with a backup key override). The nice thing there is if you have more than one cabinet, you could give a responsible kid access to the 10/22, while restricting access to other items.

But I agree with you, I dislike a mess of keys also.
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Old August 23, 2019, 10:39 AM   #11
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From the choice mentioned I would choose the Liberty Centurion 24 for $800. I think it's the best "value" for the money.

I think it would have the strongest door with 10 locking bolts although I don't like "composite" doors that don't disclose the true metal thickness. I'm guessing a couple layers of 14GA with a couple layers of sheetrock for fire their fire rating.

Also comes standard with S&G's UL Listed mechanical lock. The SecureIt comes with a Chinese made? electronic lock that who knows who makes it and can service it. I do not think they have a UL listing and I just don't trust inexpensive electronics to be durable and reliable.

As far as the 14GA steel goes, that is certainly "cabinet level" strength and all will have the same vulnerabilities. Where you place it and other security in place will help along with bolting them all down (floor and wall if possible).
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Old August 23, 2019, 11:05 AM   #12
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I can get in my key lock safe faster than the safe with the dial. I know where my car keys are, don't have to hunt for them.
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Old August 23, 2019, 12:00 PM   #13
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"...and basic power tools..." Most "gun safes" can be opened with a crow bar. No power tools required. Criminals don't tend to carry power tools either. They're stealing 'em so they should be locked up too.
"...their friends that haven't been..." Clearly need somebody to take the mystery away. Talk to the 'rents first though. Mind you, if a kid is a thief, he's a thief. Buddy of mine found that out when his son's buddies broke into the home office through the dry wall and stole a bunch of computers.
Anyway, decide on a budget and if you want fire protection as well.
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Old August 23, 2019, 03:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
I can get in my key lock safe faster than the safe with the dial. I know where my car keys are, don't have to hunt for them.
I didn't think the OP mentioned needing quick access, but I might have missed that. Neither is ideal for a home defense gun. That's what quick access handgun safes are for.
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Old August 24, 2019, 04:38 PM   #15
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Decent safe will work so long as you have a couple cheap guns laying out. Crack heads will grab the bait guns and shag.
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Old August 24, 2019, 09:38 PM   #16
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Several years ago I purchased a large Costo safe and it's rock solid. I looked at Liberty but the cost was way out of line for the expected threats of burglars, kids or the curious.

Define the range of threats that are likely, then go with the one that addresses those threats without being a checkbook killer.
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Old August 25, 2019, 11:24 AM   #17
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Here's a link that has way more information than you're likely to be able to wade through. Good stuff, though.




https://gunsafereviewsguy.com/

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Old August 25, 2019, 12:18 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Wag View Post
Here's a link that has way more information than you're likely to be able to wade through. Good stuff, though.




https://gunsafereviewsguy.com/

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Agreed! Most of the time I see reviews they are really just Amazon Affiliate ads and people aren't aware unless they read the disclaimer (and notice all the Amazon links ).

I can tell you from personal experience that he does his own research and then posts the info. that he finds. Last year he added my products to his blog on small gun safes and I never had a discussion with him and he never asked me for anything.

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Old September 2, 2019, 11:32 AM   #19
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About any decent safe will keep your guns safe from kids. But any self respecting burglar can probably breech your safe with enough time.

My buds brother had a house in south east Oklahoma. He is gone a lot but said everything was OK there because theives were not a problem. He was wrong.

Two guys broke in to his house that had 5-6 safes full of guns. The pushed one safe over on its side and cut through the bottom and got the guns out. I guess they panicked and instead of breaking in to the other safes or just leaving they decided to burn it all. They set his house and separate workshop on fire.

The fire was so hot in burned the wood stocks off the remaining guns in the other safes. In the work shop he had two brand new Polaris type 4 wheelers and a brand new Kubota tractor. All paid for. They took a few tools but that and the guns was all.

He had no homeowners insurance. Everything was paid for. He has a very good paying job as a construction supervisor and had paid cash all the way. It was a 100% total loss for him. He estimates the total to be close to $500,000. Safes are good but not as safe as you might think.
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Old September 3, 2019, 10:58 AM   #20
rpseraph
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My buds brother had a house in south east Oklahoma. He is gone a lot but said everything was OK there because theives were not a problem. He was wrong.

Two guys broke in to his house that had 5-6 safes full of guns. The pushed one safe over on its side and cut through the bottom and got the guns out. I guess they panicked and instead of breaking in to the other safes or just leaving they decided to burn it all. They set his house and separate workshop on fire.

The fire was so hot in burned the wood stocks off the remaining guns in the other safes. In the work shop he had two brand new Polaris type 4 wheelers and a brand new Kubota tractor. All paid for. They took a few tools but that and the guns was all.

He had no homeowners insurance. Everything was paid for. He has a very good paying job as a construction supervisor and had paid cash all the way. It was a 100% total loss for him. He estimates the total to be close to $500,000. Safes are good but not as safe as you might think.
That was incredibly depressing. Thanks!
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Old September 3, 2019, 11:17 PM   #21
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This is why I say don't bother with "gun safes" and stick to cabinets, unless you're willing to put some real money into a real safe. A good TL 30 concrete composite safe will be ~4-8 thousand, therefore you should have enough assets that need protecting to justify the purchase. The next step down would be heavy gauge steel like a Sturdy Safe, however these are still susceptible to a cutting wheel. In all cases whether a safe or cabinet, they need to bolted to the floor or wall to be effective.

All safes and cabinets can be broken into given the right equipment and enough time. The purpose is to buy time until the police or you can react, and you can accomplish this by having multiple layers to your security "onion". The first layer is your exterior doors and windows, followed by an alarm system or electronic monitoring, followed by the room the safe or cabinets are in, and finally the safe or cabinets themselves.

You can have a pretty good home system by first strengthening your entry points. Add an alarm system to cover your outside entry points and the gun room that alerts you directly if tripped. Finally placing the cabinets in a walk-in closet with a strong door and frame will add another layer. None of these things are prohibitively expensive. It all depends on how much you have invested in your stuff, and then layer appropriately. Finally, be careful who knows what you have. Safes in open view to everyone is advertising, and increases risk substantially.

Again, it all depends on what your goals are. If the goal is just to keep them secured from unauthorized household members, the solution is much more simple.
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Old September 4, 2019, 08:43 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by ratshooter View Post
Two guys broke in to his house that had 5-6 safes full of guns. They pushed one safe over on its side and cut through the bottom and got the guns out.
Safe placement is a big factor in buying some time with thieves. Place it where the sides are protected by walls and then BOLT IT DOWN.

Not all RSC's are created equal and you can't compare the door strength of a simple cabinet that is 14GA to 16GA steel to a RSC that has something like a 3/16" minimum or even heavier solid steel door. Combined with other security measures like cameras and a monitored alarm just might be long enough to keep your guns secure.

No safe is impervious, but you also have to buy quality and use some common sense when trying to outsmart thieves.

Also, lay a $100 bill on top of your safe for the common crackhead to grab and go.
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