Reinforced bedroom door instead of gunsafe?


March 24, 2003, 03:17 PM
Would there be any advantages to installing a reinforced bedroom door over just getting a gun locker or gun safe? What do you need in order to have a reasonably secure door? Would the frame have to be replaced?
Is this something that could be done as a DIY project, and about how much would it cost?

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March 24, 2003, 03:25 PM
First, it depends what you are using the safe for. Safes keep people in your house -- even people (and kids) who live there -- away from your guns 24/7.

How often will your bedroom door be locked? Will it even be locked everytime you leave the house, even for an instant? Will it be locked if you are out in the yard doing yardwork? Will it be locked if you are on the other side of the house doing something?

Furthermore, no amount of reasonable reinforcing on an interior house door is going to protect guns like a quality safe. No matter how good your door is, your door frame is made of wood studs and your walls are probably made of drywall.

Depends on your needs -- but I say go with the safe.

March 24, 2003, 03:37 PM
Here's the thing, I'm on a really tight budget, so as much as I'd like to get a really nice safe, I doubt that I could afford the four-figure pricetag. I'm kinda looking for lower-cost alternatives that are still secure, gun lockers, or the aforementioned reinforced bedroom door.
If the door idea isn't feasible, I'll just start saving for a locker.

March 24, 2003, 03:37 PM
It is very easy to bust through 7/8" of sheetrock. :p

Not fire resistant either.

March 24, 2003, 03:40 PM
How many guns are we talking about?

I just saw a nice electronic safe at my local gun show for less than $100 that would give quick access and safe storage to probably four handguns. The rest of your guns could be protected from theft by chain locking them through the action to something very solid or heavy in your house.

March 24, 2003, 03:43 PM
A better idea (for a low cost solution) might be to install a couple large screw eyes into the 2x4s in the back of your closet. Run a cable through BOTH screw eyes (so they can't be backed out) and then through all your guns, and lock the cable of course.

Ain't gonna stop a determined thief, but will slow down the casual burglar and discourage unauthorized use.

March 24, 2003, 03:44 PM
Is this something that could be done as a DIY project

Yes, but if you need to ask the question, it's not likely that you have the skills for the job. The standard framing in a bedroom doorway is pretty flimsy. You won't keep out anyone who knows you have guns there and wants them. If you reinforce the frame, you are into patching drywall, etc. It's not trivial.

And then they can just kick through your wall next to the door and come in to get the guns. (Assuming you have drywall.)

Or come in through a window.

You CAN get an exterior grade (solid core) door and a reinforcing plate for the frame where the locks engage the door frame. Not a big deal if you are reasonably good with your hands. Maybe a couple of hundred dollars total. That will slow down any intruders, and is not a bad idea. But it's not a substitute for a safe.

If your only concern is to keep your kids and their friends out, and you need to worry about reinforcing, you have other major problems!

Best bet is to buy the safe.

Here's some info on the door reinforcement:

March 24, 2003, 03:52 PM
This is gonna cost some bucks...

Get some durarock - the concrete drywall stuff. Do _all_ walls in a largeish closet. Do two layers of it, overlapping, with wire mesh laminated between the layers (easiest way is to use pressure from jacks (judiciously appplied - too much is bad) on the inside from side to side during construction). Ain't gonna be fireproof, but it'll be tough to break into - The existing layer of drywall, a layer of mesh, then the concrete, another layer of mesh, then the final layer of concrete... Liquid nails would probably be the easiest glue to use.

When you install the steel door, run MULTIPLE thick and long bolts through the studs - If you can get 'em long enough to run through 2-3 studs, that'd be even better.

Double Naught Spy
March 24, 2003, 03:53 PM
Aside from what has already been noted, how are you going to get all your windows in your bedroom secure as well?

Reenforced doors are nice. So you just go through the wall next to the door. Dry wall is easy to go through.

A strong door won't make much difference if you have dry wall and windows.

March 24, 2003, 04:03 PM
I know of one person with a strong room and I plan on building one in our new-to-us house as it has a perfect candidate. Having said that, I don't believe a strong room is a replacement for a safe. We just bought a three story house (sounds bigger than it is) and we have one good safe downstairs and one StackOn 2 door steel cabinet screwed down upstairs. I've seen the smallest cabinets for as little as $130 or so. I know budgets are tight but it is part of the cost of gun ownership in urban invironments, esp if children are a present.

Silver Bullet
March 24, 2003, 04:37 PM
Try Homak for very reasonably priced gun cabinets. Gun safes will cost you ten times as much, but safes are much stronger and heavier.

March 24, 2003, 04:39 PM
Oh yeah - the best safe is one that never gets noticed. If you can put the door behind an armoire, a wardrobe, a bookcase, whatever, that'll be a major plus.

March 24, 2003, 04:58 PM
I had a real hard time with the safe idea. Never seemed to have the money. I mean, I REALLY hated to spend the money on a safe when there were so many other places to put it

finally broke down and put one on payments. Had it paid off in 4 months.

You can't believe the feeling you get when you know your "babies" are being taken care of

also, there is less chance of rust if you oil them well, then use a heating rod

I bet you'd have $20 a week for something you really want (cigarettes, beer, lottery tickets, etc). heck, you've probably got a car payment for $300-400 a month. The car will be gone in a few years but you should have your guns forever.

Move the safe to the top of that list. Trust'll be real glad you did.

I have a friend that tried to make a "safe room". Once the thieves get inside, they have all the time they want to work on the security. He found out the hard way. About $10,000 worth of guns gone and the insurance company paid $1,500 IIRC.

March 24, 2003, 05:15 PM
As a frequently-moving apartment dweller back in the day, I would often replace the door on the walk-in master bedroom closet with an inward-opening solid-core one and install two long-throw deadbolts.

If they wanted my guns badly enough to access a second-floor apartment, disarm the security system, tunnel through a wall and not alert the neighbours, they could have 'em.

March 24, 2003, 06:55 PM

A solid core, metal clad door slab costs about $80, deadbolt $15, misc hardware on top of that...could be done, but others have pointed out how easy it is to kick in a sheetrock interior wall, to get into a bedroom if desired.

The homak/stack-on metal box (about $80 for a small one) can be bolted inside a closet, but its door isn't very pry resistant.

Take a look at the metal contractor lock boxes (chest style, about $227 new, at Lowes)...when secured with two big padlocks, I'd say its about as secure as the low-end sentry gun safes, and gives much more volume. If you store cases of ammo (or concrete blocks for that matter) in the bottom, it quickly becomes too heavy to carry out. But I'd bolt it down anyway.

I see these contractor boxes at pawn shops frequently...I really like them.

Ditto what others have said about disquising the gun safe, whatever style you choose.

March 24, 2003, 07:08 PM
Actually, why are you interested in reinforcing the bedroom door versus a closet? If you have a closet in the house that uses a regular door, you'd be better off reinforcing THAT door. You could also bolt metal sheeting (gun cabinet thickness) to the studs inside. Obviously not as good as a safe, but better than a cabinet since closets are usually surrounded by lots of walls. The crook would have to break through the drywall, then also try and bust through the metal sheeting with 2x4s in the way. If you then also follow the advice of running steel cable through your guns, you've created a lot of steps a crook has to go through to get the goods.

March 24, 2003, 08:43 PM
You can buy a very nice small gunsafe for $300.00.

Sentry gun safe, Model #R3920. Advertised as a fourteen gun safe. Holds half a dozen rifles and a dozen pistols if you add a couple of shelves. Weighs around three hundred pounds empty. I can fit twenty three firearms and a wad of magazines into mine. Doing that is a very tight fit, but if I am going away for the weekend, it can be done. Dial combination lock.

To properly reinforce a door you will spend an equal amount of money, and if you move you will not be able to take the door with you.

March 24, 2003, 09:19 PM
I have one of those Sentry safes as well. I doubt that they will stop a truly skilled and determined burglar, but lets face it, most burglars can't be described in those terms. The safe will easily deter your standard burglar and will absolutely prevent unauthorized access.

The major issue I can see is making sure you adequately secure it to the floor. Remember, anything that can be wheeled in by two skinny guys and a hand truck can be wheeled out by two skinny guys and a hand truck.


March 25, 2003, 12:53 AM

If money is really an issue and a safe is really out of the question, consider devising a clever hiding place -- such as installing a false 'wall' in the back of your closet or elsewhere in the house.

If it's invisible and the thieves don't know it's there, it is as secure as you could hope for -- and more secure than a small, visible safe that can be carted away to work on elsewhere.

So after you devise a good hiding place, don't go bragging about it to your friends (they're probably ok, but their brothers, cousins, and friends' friends might not be), and be circumspect about entering & leaving the house with guns.


It doesn't make any difference how much money you make, your wife can spend it all. -- Bill McDaniel

March 25, 2003, 02:05 AM
With Tamara and pax-

Out of sight, out of mind. Mum's the word. Anything that appears suspicious - 'is' to a thief. "Normal" repairs are not (like a New solid door).

I don't even advertise to and from apt...just another backpack...sack of groceries...

March 25, 2003, 03:03 AM
Thanks for all the replies! :)

It looks like getting a locker or small safe is probably the way to go. I've done some looking around on Cabela's website, and have found some products that would probably make for a good fit.

I also like the idea of reinforcing a walk-in closet door.
Unfortunately, I don't have a walk-in closet. Maybe once I find a place that can be truly deemed the Fashionable Bachelor Pad.

March 25, 2003, 03:54 AM
When I was young my Father just took an old metal footlocker and bolted it to the floor in his closet. That and a lock for the outside and he had the ultimate cheapo gunsafe.
He had the footlocker so the whole project cost him probably $10.
Just an idea.

March 25, 2003, 08:50 AM
I suppose if you really wanted to do it cheap put all your rifles on a metal rack and then wire that rack up to an old ignition coil attached to a car battery........zap.

March 25, 2003, 09:23 AM
an old ignition coil attached to a car battery........zap.

<cue Debbie Boone - off camera>

"Yooooooo light up my life......."


Sportsman's Guide has some cheapos that are a whole lot better than nothing. Uh, safes, not ignition coils. ;)

Be warned that you WILL get on a jazillion mailing lists if you get on his!

Mike Irwin
March 25, 2003, 10:57 AM
Door reinforced?

Go through the wall beside the door.

March 25, 2003, 01:16 PM
How about one of those metal, lockable gun racks? It could be installed in your closet behind your clothes and therefore mostly hidden. I know nothing about them except that i have seen them in the store and they look fairly secure. I think they run about $40 or $50. You'd prolly have to reinforce the wall it was attached to to keep it from being ripped off the wall and all your guns carried away. Just another option...

I can't seem to find a picture...the one I am talking about is a black rack with a yellow locking bar that runs vertically down the rack. I'll keep looking for a pic

March 25, 2003, 01:23 PM
Do you have a friend with a pickup or small trailer? Watch local paper and find person who is moving and buy thier safe for cheap. Many chain stores have fair safes for reasonable prices. Get S&G combo locks at min. Heck Sam's , Menards, Fleet farm, etc all have $500 safes . No fire rating but secure.
Still put a good lock on bedroom door for when you are at home so you have time to access the safe.

March 25, 2003, 01:30 PM
All great advice above,and I'd concur with Hammer4nc regarding the construction boxes. I coudn't afford a good safe,went to Home Depot,and bought a Greenlee construction box home for just over $200. 2 heavy duty padlocks,and I was good to go. Now that I have a proper gun safe,the Greenlee box is for ammo,holsters,targets. etc,all the stuff a shooter collects over time.

Mike Irwin
March 25, 2003, 01:47 PM
I know people who have made very workable gun safes out of old upright or even chest freezers.

They're insulated, so have some fire resistance, and the freezer aspect gives them some camouflage value.

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