> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Question for the Tribe: Safe Recommendations?



Question for the Tribe: Safe Recommendations?

Well, I need to get a safe.

Son #2 is fascinated by the "boom booms" and likes to go exploring for them. They're all stored in a safe/secure fashion, but having the toddler trying to get into gun cases is no good. There's nothing he can do with 'em if he does get to 'em, but its the principle of the thing.

And, of course, lots of other good things about having a safe.

So, a bit about what I'm looking for:

I've got a couple handgun safes, but need something for the long guns. 12-24 in terms of capacity. My long gun collection isn't that big and not growing that quickly, and I don't have space for a giant 100-gun, walk-in safe just yet.

Looking to spend somewhere in the ballpark of $1K.

We've historically moved around a fair bit. We own our home now, are more settled and have no imminent plans to move, but I'd put the chances of us moving within the next 3-5 years somewhere at 50-75%. And moving a 700lb safe would be a challenge.

For those who have moved with a conventional safe--how big of a deal is it? We could move across town or across the country.

Conventional safe, I'm looking at the AmSec safes - SF and FV lines. We've got a couple dealers 'round these parts.

But, the move deal has me a bit worried, which leads me to look at the modular safes - some assembly required.

Zanotti has been around a long time. They're a bit more than I want to pay, and the wait time is a bummer.

SnapSafe is another option I've come across new on the market. They're a bit less expensive, seem to be ready to order. A 7 gauge Titan would probably be the one I'd go with.

As far as I'm aware, those are the two main players in modular safes these days. If you know of another company making these things, let me know.

So--that's where I'm at. Looking for recommendations from the many who have been there, done that--fire away!

And, I'm not opposed to less conventional options - quality gun cabinet, for example, or something else.

Edited to add: I'm looking for a safe, or something that will be basically as hard to get into as a safe - so a really, really solid gun cabinet. Something that crooks would see and give up on trying to get into pretty quickly.

Fire resistance is a nice to have--generally, it seems that to get good fire protection, you have spend a fair penny extra. It's not worth it to me to drop an extra $1k out of the budget to go from 30 minutes to 60 minutes or whatever.


  1. Without knowing your AO, here's a link with some good information.


  2. If you have a tractor supply near you, they have safe sales every few months. A big one at Christmas time. I have an Amsec 24 gun I've used for 10+ years, but I've outgrown it. Upgraded to the cannon 48 gun safe and got it for 799 on sale from 1100 at TSC. digital entry, great safe.

  3. If you buy one with an electronic lock make sure it has a key back up. Think EMP or the key pad has been smash off during an attempted break in. Also make sure it is fire rated. Your 1000 budget should get you what you need without any problem.

  4. Buy larger than what you need now. You will probably add to your collection over time, as well as putting other items in the safe besides weapons, like jewelry, precious metals, documents, data drives, etc. Never moved with a safe, cannot comment on that.

  5. A cheap light alternative would be looking around for some old school/ gym lockers. It's significantly less "safe" but much cheaper and lighter. Cabling 2 together or to something solid or heavy could help a little bit with theft...

  6. My primary safe is an older dial combination Browning. I have moved it a couple times with a 2-wheel dolly truck straped on. In present position I had to remove the door off the hinges which was easier than I thought. Since, I also purchased several (4) steel gun cabinets by Stack-On. These I bolted to the wall studs in a walk in closet. If you need fire protection then you'll have to upgrade to that feature at greater cost. The steel cabinets will keep kids out and provide a reasonable measure of theft protection if bolted down. Hard to slash and dash these if located in a space confined spot, not out in the open.

  7. Just my $0.02 worth, I have a small "safe" from Academy (was $99 back when I bought it), it holds 8 long guns and a few handguns. It looks like the closest thing now is the Stack-On Security Plus 18-Gun Convertible Steel Security Cabinet for $169.
    link http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/stack-on-security-plus-18-gun-convertible-steel-security-cabinet/pid-29471?color=Black&N=838464442&Ntt=gun+safe&Ntk=All
    I have mine in a coat closet that I converted into a "poor man's safe" by putting a keyed lock doorknob on the closet and building racks for gun storage along the walls. From the outside the only thing to see is the doorknob has a house key slot. Not really something you would notice because I went to the effort of matching the other internal doorknobs as close as possible. It is the "hide in plain sight" principle. This would probably work well for you since it seems that you are more concerned with unauthorized access than theft prevention when no one is home. At some point, I should replace the door with a better one(it's on my to do list)
    For the price of a locking door knob at Home Depot, you have a reasonably secure place for your guns. A good safe is BETTER, mind you, but every little bit helps. I did this same thing when I lived in apartments and the landlord never knew I modified the closet. (I put it back the way it was when I moved) Hope this helps.
    BTW, off topic. Looks like I will be going home in 3 weeks or so from my cancer treatment. I'll still be on meds for a year or two but it looks like I have won the battle. (thank you my darling sister for the bone marrow donation for the transplant)

  8. I'm planning on getting one soon, too. Liberty and Cannon are two brands I've researched some finding tons of good reviews. For anti-theft purposes, I plan on going heavy. A 200 to 300 pound safe could be carried out by two or three meth heads if time allowed. Then they could work on it at their leisure. I plan to go with one that's at least a 600 pounder dry weight.

    1. BTW - I'm also taking into consideration the previous comment about manual lock back up in the event the electronics ever get damaged.

  9. I would stay away from the stack on type safes. They only slow down a crook by a couple minutes at the most. The doors can easily be bent with a crow bar popping the lock. Get one with a heavy door and that uses locking pins all the way around door similar to a bank vault door. The bottom line is you get what you pay for, but fire rating is a must.

  10. When I left New York for freedom I had to leave my safe behind. Too heavy for me to move myself, and I did not take anything I could not move myself. Sold the safe to a local FFL who removed it.

    Told myself I would get a new safe at my new home , but procrastinated for 10 years before finally replacing it with a Zanotti. Had to wait 11 months for it but worth it. The time to plan is years before you move. If I had had the Zanotti then it would have come with me. They are expensive but well made.

  11. Correction on the stack on comment. Some stack ons do offer the upgrade locking system that have the locking pins.

  12. Floor safe. Out of sight, out of mind.

  13. I don't remember where you live, but if you're anywhere in tornado country, consider a steel tornado room with the built in safe. They run about $4000-5000...

    But before you say, "$5000...WTF????".... this was my consideration:

    1) You can get a longterm govt loan for a very low interest rate that will have very low monthly payments.
    2) You can get a tax rebate in some locals
    3) You can sell it with the house, probably recovering all your money
    4) The safes can be huge, from 2x8x8 to even half the size of the safe room (usually total about 12x8x8), so you can secure a lot of stuff.
    5) If you put them in the garage or one of those 1/2 basements and cover it with sandbags, it could even make a NBC shelter.

  14. I got this, its decent, but made in China if that makes a difference to you (I didn't find out until after I got it):


    But I would highly recommend going bigger if you can.

  15. Last Thanksgiving I bought a 24 gun field and stream safe. It was a black Friday deal. Think it is made by Stack On but it is a big heavy safe so it suits my purposes just fine. In no particular order I would consider:
    -Locking mechanism. I distrust electronic locks. At a minimum have a key or mechanical back up to an electronic lock.
    -Size. Get one at least a bit bigger than you think you will need. Also consider the other stuff you might want to put into a safe if you say leave for vacation. PM's, laptops, small electronics, important papers, etc.
    -Cost. Be sure to factor in shipping early in the equation.

    Finally I will leave you with a gem I found on ARF.

    Safe threads are always fun, I'll give you the cliffs notes for the next twelve pages:

    1> Someone will post that you need to spend $25k on a real safe, everything else is just a big coffee can
    2> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
    3> Then someone will post a video of that $25k safe being broken into by a toddler with a toothbrush in 13 milliseconds
    4> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
    5> Someone will post that you need to spend $50k on a real safe, everything else is just a big coffee can
    6> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
    7> Then someone will post a video of that $50k safe being broken into by a toddler with a toothbrush in 13 milliseconds
    8> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
    9> Someone will post that you need to spend $75k on a real safe, everything else is just a big coffee can
    10> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
    11> Then someone will post a video of that $75k safe being broken into by a toddler with a toothbrush in 13 milliseconds
    12> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
    13> ...
    End quote

    1. Edited to include: I looked at take down safes but the cost was off putting. A normal sate in the 500ibs and under pound range is not THAT hard to move with a good dolly and a friend. Of course hat depends on where you want it in a house. The garage or open den is a lot easier to do than a basement or a 3rd story attic.

      Another option I looked into is 2 smaller safes. I rejected the option because it did not quite make sense money wise but it would have advantages in moving, having one readily available and another more concealed etc.

      As you know I move a lot and after looking at all the options ended up with a 24 gun approximately 500lbs safe.Baring me failing to lock the darn thing kids are not getting into it. As to criminals it will certainly stop the usual smash and grab type robbery. Could a couple of moderately knowledgeable criminals with a 6' rock bar and a sledge get into it in a few minutes? Probably. However the same could be said for just about anything short of a big city bank vault.

  16. Not clear from the original question if you want something uber childproof or criminal proof. Lots of cabinets will achieve the former. The latter is always a question of how much time and effort the thieves are prepared expend

    1. Childproof, criminal resistant. Fire protection is a nice to have.

  17. I bought a Winchester Ranger almost a year ago. Weighs just under 1000 pounds empty and is 72 inches tall. Plenty of room for what I have with the shelving and barrel guides. It cost less than $1000 delivered and set up. Winchester has also returned to making their safes in Ft. Worth, Texas again as well. Not the Browning safe that I really wanted but I wasn't going to spend an extra grand+ for a smaller safe either. By the way, I went with a combination lockset instead of the push button stuff, just in case one of those solar flares does make it to us and does some damage.

  18. Depending on overall size, you may need to trade off fire protection for movability. A decent fire rating will increase the safe weight by 50 to 100%. For paper & data you may be better offer making a second, later purchase of a much smaller dedicated fire safe. Other posters have already alluded to a security hierarchy, which works well with a time-and-budget plan. Electronic (incl. biometric) locks are convenient & fast but obviously have liabilities. If your safe is for truly for storage (not emergency grab) then go with a high-grade combo. Good luck!

    1. Apparently you have not ever seen what a fire does to firearms within a non rated safe. Fire rating is a non option unless you want to claim the loss on your homeowners insurance.

      Aftermath of a fire with a fire rated safe:

      Good post on understanding fire ratings for your gun safe

      Here is what they will look like if not using a fire rated safe

    2. Thank you for bringing good information to the discussion. As it happens, I did buy a fire rated safe. But this discussion isn't about me: my reply was addressing the OP's desire for something he could move and/or disassemble *and* not spend a lot of money all at once. I hope he can use my input and yours. Be well.

  19. I am thinking about a modular when I finally go for a bigger one than I have (stuffed) now. However local gun store I deal with has good selection of safes AND a contract mover with a robot. This robot has tracks and can negotiate stairs and is run by a remote control tether. The guy does a real good job, nobody gets injured, and if something gets damaged, he is insured. Can't believe if there is a dealer close to you, somebody would not have similar equipment.

  20. Now days you can buy a safe with an electronic key pad or a traditional wheel mechanical lock. My advice is to buy the wheel mechanical lock. Can you imagine an EMP and not being able to open your gun safe?

  21. For what it's worh I feel that Liberty makes the best safe on the market. Disclosure..I sold liberty safes for years. That being said you would be amazed at what you can move with a hand cart! My number 1 concern when I bought my Liberty Fat Boy 64 was the fire rating, second being the security as I live well removed from town. I've moved twice since purchasing the safe and have had no issues in regards to the weight. Once you unload it and pull the door you will be amazed at how light it truly becomes. In the safe world all safes are not creat equally. After dropping them, burning them and even blowing them up with dynamite most other safes pail in comparison. Hell dont take my word for it, it's all on youtube. Just remember you truly get what you pay for in this case. Another side point is that a safe dealer worth his salt will haggle on the price. The Margins on a gun safe is HUGE when you get into the top end! Good luck with your purchase.

  22. Watch craigslist etc. for commercial safes. Several years ago I picked up 2 double door safes. Just under 1" thick steel all around. Required three separate keys to open bolts. Holds 28" barrel shotguns easily. I finished the interiors myself. The size is like a large chest deep freeze that is 5 feet tall. Got both for $500 because I could move them.

  23. I have an American Security and love it. Bought it from Dean's Safe company in Los Angeles and they installed it for me. All in it came to $1500 but it's worth it.

  24. Just moved three safes 750 miles, no big deal for reputable mover but budget some extra money for moving them. We needed a crane to get the three were they needed to go. I've gone more security and fire capability with each new safe. Spend the money for piece of mind.

    1. How much extra? We talking $200-$400 or $1000?

  25. I bought a Liberty "Franklin" model (about 700 lbs) about two years ago and love it. When I was doing some research I was talking to a guy at a local sporting goods store and he always said that "You can't go wrong with a Liberty safe". (They didn't sell them either) Go to their website and look for the 200 foot drop test they did, that pretty much convinced me that they make a very good quality product. I had them move it down a few steps, then I bolted it to the concrete floor. It's not going anywhere. If some crack head tries to pry it up, it's set in such a way that it will probably fall on him and crush him. :)

    I don't plan on moving it if I ever leave my current house, but if I did, I'd either hire the movers again or try to rent an "Ultralift". That is what they used to move it in. One tip, have them install a good light kit, it's worth the extra money.

    Hope this helps.

  26. Agree that you should keep an eye on Craigslist. In particular look for a used TL-15 or TL-30, often when Jewelry store is going out of business. That protection confirms it is certified to withstand 15 or 30 minutes of dedicated attack respectively with hand and power tools. Those safes, however, weigh several thousand pounds and must be moved by a professional.

    If you insist on getting a "gun" safe, at least get one that is Underwriter Labs (UL) certified as a Residential Security Container (RSC), which means it can withstand 5 minutes of attack with hand tool. You will need to bolt it to the ground as anything under 1000 pounds is quite easy to move.

    Save money with getting a used safe. Also don't buy any fancy interior upgrades. You can buy all the LEDs and storage bags online much cheaper.

  27. A real gun safe has some disadvantages, in that they are hard to move and expensive. A less expensive gun locker can be a good interim option if child proofing and smash and grab resistance are priorities. These can be anchored to the wall studs, and if you put them in closet behind a locked, solid core door you can easily add another layer of protection. Not theft or fire proof, but kid-proof and much portable if moving is a 50/50 possibility in your future.

  28. I got a really nice "Cannon" brand long gun safe at Tractor Supply for less than $600. It will hold 12-20 guns depending on what/how you pack them in, has door pockets for handguns and such. Has a 30 minute fire rating. Not the best but better than your closed.

    Edit: I just checked it's on sale for less than $500!!!!


  29. Buy the biggest you can afford and don't worry about weight. Unless you rent the safe doesn't need to come with you when you move. Just add the cost to the sale price of the house. You'd be surprise how many people value having that as an extra in the sale.

  30. Gonna throw in another vote for Liberty Safes, I currently own their Colonial model and I love it.