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Old April 11, 2019, 09:46 AM   #1
Swifty Morgan
Join Date: September 13, 2018
Location: FL
Posts: 18
Stories About Gun Safes That Worked?

Last week I had to travel, so I lugged my guns to a neighbor's house for storage. His garage has a built-in gun room. The walls are rebar and concrete, and the door weighs 500 pounds. Very nice.

I would like to have some kind of security for my guns in my own home, but I have been discouraged from buying a safe because an angle grinder can open most safes in a few minutes. Whenever I see a forum thread about safes, I see numerous messages telling about safes that failed. "They pried it out of the floor and rolled it out." "They cut the steel with an angle grinder and peeled it back like a sardine can." You know what I mean.

I thought it would be good to post a different kind of question. Instead of asking for recommendations or stories about safes that failed, I want to know if anyone has a story about security measures that worked when criminals showed up. Obviously, a hard core jerk will be able to defeat any enclosure given enough time, but there must be things that work most of the time.

I feel like the best thing is to spend moderately, photograph all my guns and record their serial numbers, and get insurance.

I also think it may be a good idea to take my guns to a storage unit when I go on vacation. For $30, they will keep them for a month, and presumably, thieves are less likely to fool with Public Storage than my garage in the woods.

Here's a video of a guy (selling gun cabinets) opening a Liberty safe in about two minutes, using a circular saw.
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Old April 11, 2019, 10:33 AM   #2
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I think this guy does a very good job reviewing gun safes. I'd start here, if I were in your shoes.

In fact, I'm in your shoes right now because I need another safe. That said, I'm seriously thinking about hardening one of my closets or even the entire spare bedroom to the point where breaking in would require a stack of C-4 :-)

Keep us posted on what you decide.

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Old April 11, 2019, 10:55 AM   #3
Swifty Morgan
Join Date: September 13, 2018
Location: FL
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I am not sure what's going on with the NRA's insurance. They used to insure members for nothing, but I can't find a current reference to that. I know I can get $6000 worth of NRA insurance for $50 per year, without the hassle of replacing a destroyed safe every time I'm burglarized.

I sent the NRA a message to see what the story is.

The guy who destroyed the Liberty safe in the video sells safes, and he admits he thinks Amsec BF-series safes are good. Maybe the ~$7K cost would provide reasonable assurance.

I feel like maybe I should get a top-quality safe just big enough to hold my heirlooms and then trust insurance to handle the others. I will get over it if someone takes my fungible 2018 S&W .22 pistol, but I would like to keep my grandfather's shotgun.
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Old April 11, 2019, 01:52 PM   #4
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Even a concrete wall isn't hard to crack up and any common metal lock ive seen is no match for tools ether. My guess is although its probably really sweet, common tools and a little time would nix that concrete room quickly too.

An alarm system IMHO would be far more helpful than a slightly better quality safe, as would a safe thats hard to find - if they can't find it they aren't gonna be breaking it open in the first place..

No matter what though, any safe is going to deter most thieves. To forgo a safe completely since someone might break it open is giving up a lot for an obscure possibility. Most commonly im sure guns are stolen when they are found unsecured.
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Old April 11, 2019, 02:01 PM   #5
Swifty Morgan
Join Date: September 13, 2018
Location: FL
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I have no doubt that a serious criminal could get into my neighbor's gun room, but his walls are not just concrete. They are full of rebar, which would make the job harder. Also, the 500-pound door would be difficult to remove.
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Old April 11, 2019, 10:58 PM   #6
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Even a well placed, bolted down, stack on brand locking cabinet can buy some reasonable time. Even more so if you add a channel iron locking bar. Then add a good security system with cameras, which protects more than just firearms. This limits the amount of time a would be their has to operate in your home. This offers a level of protection to the whole house and is much cheaper than concrete bunkers.

Don’t get me wrong I would love a room that was a vault, or a nearly unbeatable safe. Those are out of my budget.
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Old April 14, 2019, 10:15 AM   #7
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I hate thieves and that's why I make my handgun safes as strong as they are. Buy as good as you can afford and if you can place it between some walls and bolt it down. Mine is in a cubby hole in the closet so the sides have an extra layer of protection and the wall next to the door opening also works against someone trying to pry the door.

This is real story from a customer that had a gun cabinet:

"Wanted to let you know that a few weeks ago we had a burglary and the dude found the FAS1 by my bed and it appears he tried to pry it open and failed. He got away with plenty of stuff, and the Stack On security cabinet didn't keep him from some of my long guns... but he didn't get my pistols, thanks in part to your product."
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Old April 14, 2019, 10:54 AM   #8
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My home was burgled about 5 years ago. I had a relatively cheap medium sized safe with several guns in it. The thief found a large sledge hammer and some prying tools in my garage and used them to cause a lot of damage to the safe but never got it open. After that, the safe was too damaged to be opened normally. I got a locksmith with a large cutting grinder who worked for maybe 45 minutes to get the safe open, causing tremendous noise and smoke.

I also had two small handgun safes, each with 2 guns, which were bolted to the floor in a closet. Using the same sledge hammer mentioned above, the thief knocked these loose from their mounting and carried them away. Four collectible revolvers were never recovered.

I replaced my damaged larger safe with a better one. I will never again rely on small handgun safes.
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Old April 14, 2019, 11:04 AM   #9
Aguila Blanca
Join Date: September 25, 2008
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Originally Posted by riffraff
Even a concrete wall isn't hard to crack up and any common metal lock ive seen is no match for tools ether. My guess is although its probably really sweet, common tools and a little time would nix that concrete room quickly too.
Don't confuse "concrete" with "concrete block." Concrete blocks (i.e. masonry) are hollow and fairly easy to break through with a hammer (unless the cores are grouted solid). A monolithic, poured concrete wall with reinforcing steel running inside it? You are NOT breaking through that with common tools.

Unless your house is really, REALLY isolated, any burglar who breaks in wants to be in and out in three minutes -- five at the max. They grab and go. The likelihood that a thief (or even a team of thieves) would take the time to try to remove a gun safe or to carve it open with tools they found after poking around your workshop to see what you've got is extremely remote. Has it ever happened? Yes. Is it what usually happens? No.

In cases where a gun safe has been opened, most likely the house was in a remote location and there wasn't an alarm. Any time an attempt is made to actually steal a gun safe, it's almost certainly a targeted burglary. To move a gun safe you need multiple people, and you need a truck to haul it. That doesn't describe the average residential burglar.
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Old April 14, 2019, 08:04 PM   #10
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Gun safes work, but not as stand alone protection. They need to keep a thief out long enough for the alarm to be responded to. My house got broken into a couple years ago. I had 3 guns out being cleaned. They are gone. The thieves never tried tforce entry into the safe, and it was a cheap, cheap safe. (My 3 good safes are not at my house.)
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Old April 15, 2019, 08:03 PM   #11
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With so few 'good' safes in circulation, finding a story where they defeat the criminal would be even more rare.

That said, layers seem popular to aid in securing your valuables. Alarms, dogs, and hard to find safes all delay intruders and they may just move on if they think yours harder than most.

I have a couple of small safes that are not too hard to find and can fairly easily be removed from the wall. As they are portable, I would hope they take them and open them later.

And they are welcome to the C clamps that are inside.

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Old April 16, 2019, 01:07 PM   #12
T. O'Heir
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"...take my guns to a storage unit..." Most of 'em don't allow firearms as I recall. Liability issues.
"...safes that failed..." Wasn't the safe that failed. It was the home security system, if there was one, that failed. If a thief wants in and has the time, he'll get in.
Most safes are not, they're just steel boxes and can be popped open with a crow bar. Locks on 'em are really cheap.
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Old April 18, 2019, 07:00 PM   #13
Swifty Morgan
Join Date: September 13, 2018
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U-Haul doesn't mention a firearms prohibition on its storage FAQ, but Public Storage does.
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Old April 19, 2019, 01:32 PM   #14
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I have three safes, all are Stack On. The small one is up stairs for handguns. The large ones are in the basement in a narrow concert room. I figure they will keep the neighborhood kid from walking away with my guns and I am sure the meth head looking for a quick score is not getting in. The professional thief will get in, how long it would take I don't know. But I do the best I can. When I go shooting I try and load the truck in the garage so everybody doesn't see what I am putting in the truck. I would not trust a storage unit. We have older dogs so we hire dog sitters to stay at the house with the mutts. This is a great added level of security.
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Old April 21, 2019, 01:29 AM   #15
Metal god
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I think most of us with moderately strong safes ( not the cheap $500 Walmart or Costco safes ) should not have any issues with thief's breaking into our safe .

1) Bolting the safe down makes it much harder to pry open . If you can't get the safe on it's back . All prying is based on the strength of the individual rather then body weight .

2) Putting the safe in a corner to where if you try to pry on the door the wall gets in the way so even less force can be applied . That also only leave one side to cut into and I keep my important stuff on the far side of the safe away from that open side wall .

3) The bad guy would need to know there is a safe so he/they can bring the proper tools .

4) If they don't know there's a safe in the house they are not going to have the tools ( 4' crow bar/s , grinders , saws with metal cutting blades or the time to break into it .

I'm personally not that worried about anyone getting in my safe .
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Old April 22, 2019, 11:09 AM   #16
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My garage contains all the tools necessary to break into my safe.

When I bought my safe I stopped using the cheap metal gun cabinet. I think I’m going to move it to the garage and store my pry bars and grinders in it.
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Old April 24, 2019, 10:20 AM   #17
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You get what you pay for...especially when it comes to safes. If you want to truly protect your valuables, you will need a large, well made safe that is anchored into flooring that will take dynamite to loosen. The modular and cheap safes that are nothing more than a gym locker will not prevent theft. My safe weights about 1000 lbs and it took four men and a robot to get it into my house. The flooring had to be stressed to over 3000 PSI. I bought it over 20 years ago and when it was installed the dealer said, "It will take a small nuclear bomb to get this open." Maybe a slight exaggeration. I was told that to replace my safe today it would cost about $15K. Would I spend that much today? Youbetcha. But you have to weigh cost of the safe vs. the value of what you have inside.
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Old April 24, 2019, 10:35 AM   #18
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My safe just barely fits inside of a closet, with less than 1 inch on either side, and the back flush with the wall. I actually had to demolish part of the closet and rebuild it to get the safe inside. It's also bolted to the floor, and the closet has doors that close so you can't see the safe.

It's just about impossible to use a large 4' crow bar on it - I have one and played around with it to see if you can even get it near the door, and you really can't. I worry more about someone who has one of these:

The ITL2000 is a robotic safe dialer, which when left set-up and alone on a safe will dial all the known combinations on a safe lock until it finds the right one and opens the combination safe lock. Average opening time is quoted as around 6 hours. But with basic safe manipulation skills used before hand, opening times can come down to 40 minutes.
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