bought my first gun safe today....


January 11, 2013, 07:18 PM
a few words ahead: I live by myself, do not have kids in my household and used to store my guns in a cheapo "Sentry-Safe" from Wal-Mart to keep apartment maintenance guys out.... that was until I heard today that the people living below me got burglarized :what:

Aside from a Wilson X-Tac and a P226 Elite in Stainless I do not own "very" expensive guns... mostly Glocks, Steyr and a 10/22. That being said: with the current AWB discussion and the market situation I would be devastated if any of my guns would be stolen as I would have a very hard time replacing them...

So I ended up going to the dealership and buying an entry-level gun safe. $700, tax-free. That's about the max I can get into my apartment. Yes, it won't be bolted down and yes, with the right tools someone could certainly crack it open... but the salesman was also stating that most residential burglars do not want to waste their time and certainly do not carry a lot of tools with them... more like, in ... grab the iPad, money, medications and ... out....

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January 11, 2013, 07:34 PM
In this case I would agree with the salesman. Given your situation, your new safe will serve you just as well as a $3000 model. Good choice.

January 11, 2013, 07:51 PM
Good stuff. I need to get one as well... I have a gun cabinet and live in an apartment. My wife and I are looking at homes (in another state) and I keep thinking "when we get our *real* home I will get myself a *real* safe" - something about carrying a 500lbs safe up 3 flights of stairs and finding where to put it in our small apartment is goading me into waiting... but I know I probably shouldn't.

What type of safe?

January 11, 2013, 09:10 PM
"Amsec TF5517 Gun Safe - with the electronic keypad" I got it for $661 - tax-free as all gun safes.

"Made in China" as most "entry level" safes are... but it's 30min fire-rated and it's still a solid piece of steel you would need to crack open. It's pretty tall so I can fit my 10/22 easily in and it's big enough to store my handguns and documents. It has some nice padding inside and I will install more shelves for my handguns. At 286lbs is too heavy to be carried away easily (not to mention the size) and I live on the second floor. I feel pretty good about it. Beats the $249 Sentry Fire-Safe from WalMart.

Once I get a house I want to get a US-Made and sturdier safe, bolted down and everything. But for apartment living I think this is as much as I can do.

January 11, 2013, 09:13 PM
Nice. I just picked up a Winchester at Academy myself. It was $800 + tax. 24 gun safe, 60 minutes fire pro, includes door pockets.

January 11, 2013, 09:22 PM
they charged you sales tax? they shouldn't ... I had to sign a piece of paper with the safe number and no state sales tax applied :)

I like the idea of gun safes being exempt from sales taxes. now we need to get the same for ammo and guns....

January 11, 2013, 09:26 PM
I'm a believer in gun safes.

Congrats on your new purchase

January 11, 2013, 11:47 PM
Texasgun,what state do you live in that exempts gun safes from state sales tax?
With your handle being "texasgun it would almost have me believe you are from Texas where the state sales tax is 8.25%.
Where ever you are from that's a great idea.

4v50 Gary
January 12, 2013, 12:12 AM
How are gun safes tax free? Is it by state or fed law?

January 12, 2013, 12:31 AM
good purchase

January 12, 2013, 01:35 AM
I do live currently in WA State ;) but I used to live in Texas prior to that... from what I've heard is that the Feds will "pay" the state sales tax on gun safes - hence making them "tax free". That's the reason for the paper-work the store is filling out AND you have to sign it (saying that the safe is for gun storage and you are buying it). I'd be very surprised if only in WA state gun safes were tax free. sales tax around is here 9.x% i think....

January 14, 2013, 04:43 PM
Sorry to jump in with my first post being a dumb question but texasgun, where did you get your safe from? I'm a WA resident as well and have been looking. I recently setup my gun cabinet I picked up months ago and realized just how light and flimsy it is. I don't really have a good spot in my townhouse for a full size safe but I'm thinking I should probably make the space. Especially after having bought a Sig 522 and WASR 10/63 over the last few weeks knowing they may become hard to get in the future, I would not want them stolen.


January 14, 2013, 08:54 PM
The sales tax levied by RCW 82.08.020 does not apply to sales of gun safes. RCW 82.08.832 defines gun safe" as "an enclosure specifically designed or modified for the purpose of storing a firearm and equipped with a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or similar locking device which, when locked, prevents the unauthorized use of the firearm."

I wrote the WA Department of Revenue to clarify "modified" since I was looking for a commercial safe retrofitted for firearms storage. Their reply is:

RCW 82.08.832 provides an exemption for gun safes provided they are specifically designed or modified for the purpose of storing a firearm and equipped with a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or similar locking device which, when locked, prevents the unauthorized use of the firearm. For purposes of modification the modifications must occur prior to the consumerís purchase of the safe from the vendor. If you have purchased a gun safe that was modified for storing firearms by the manufacturer or the retailer prior to your purchasing it, you may request a refund of sales tax directly from the Department of Revenue.

If the consumer purchases a safe and thereafter modifies it for the storage of firearms, the purchase of the safe does not qualify for the gun safe exemption from sales tax under the cited statute.

State of Washington


Basically all purpose-made gun safes are tax-free in WA. Also by the response, if you buy a commercial safe and have the retailer "modify" the safe, it appears to satisfy the "modified" requirement in RCW 82.08.832 to be tax-free. I am curious if simply buying a few pistol racks from the retailer would satisfy "modified".

January 16, 2013, 01:24 AM

I got mine at Bonafide Safe in Kirkland. I think they have several locations in WA. I spent just under $700 for an entry-level "american security" gun safe which easily would fit 3 ARs, a few handguns.

"made in china" ... but it's still a bunch of steel, 10 locking bolts on the door and 30min fire-proof. 265lbs. so for the average burglar too much work to mess with.... especially without the right tools...

January 16, 2013, 07:42 PM
That sounds like what I would want, maybe the next size up. I want room for 6-8 longguns and shelves to hold 4-6 handguns, magazines, and some hard drives.

I may have to go check them out in the near future, though I really need a better house with a "man-cave" or something similar that has concrete floors to attach it to.

January 16, 2013, 11:46 PM
If you're storing hard drives and expecting them to survive a fire, think again. If you're keeping them in a gun safe for physical security, no problem.

January 16, 2013, 11:58 PM
I thought long and hard between getting the AMSEC "made in china" $700 safe versus an "u.s. made" $1,500+ safe.

it depends what scenario you expect: a) average burglar with no or limited tools and "in a rush" or b) sophisticated burglar with the right tools and plenty of time....

given that I life in a very low crime neighborhood and in an apartment building with neighbors left and right.... I assume a) is much, much more likely....

if you live in a remote house I probably would go for b) ... but still....

January 17, 2013, 06:11 PM
Those 3-400lb RSCs are easier to steal than you'd think. If you can put it in a closet, it's better than out in the open. You can also bolt it down in a closet without upsetting the landlord - especially if the closet has carpet. Use lag bolts to floor joists if you are on a wood floor, or these if you are on concrete. When you move, the carpet covers the holes. You can fill the holes if you like.

January 17, 2013, 06:15 PM
BTW, I just had a 1700lb RSC installed - and it got bolted to the concrete slab. The safe experts will always recommend bolting them down.

January 17, 2013, 06:15 PM

In your case it is a Washington State thing:


January 18, 2013, 10:00 AM
You do not need to modify a safe to make it a gun safe. I would argue that any safe capable of storing your guns is a "gun safe" if that's how you choose to use it.

Let's say you just stored pistols. What is a production line gun safe going to offer you in terms of storage ability that a commercial safe would not? You'll use shelves in both of them.

Same as long guns. You don't need a rifle rack to stack them in there.

January 20, 2013, 06:28 PM

thanks! I will think about bolting it down in my apartment. currently the safe should be around 350lbs with all the guns and 1,200rds of ammo in it.

I live on the 2nd store of an apartment complex and with neighbors all around. the safe delivery guys took quite a while to move that thing up the stairs and into my unit. the ammo is on the bottom of the safe for weight reasons and given current ammo prices it's not cheap either. I might consider putting diving weights on the bottom of the safe under the ammo... that would add another 50lbs....

January 21, 2013, 03:02 AM
If you don't bolt it down, it's much easier for a burglar to lay it down and pry on it - leverage. It's also easier to get DOWN the stairs. I moved my 550lb safe yesterday by myself - a hand truck and a four-wheeled dolly were all I needed. My 1700lb safe is bolted down, too.

Many years ago, when I was in Sacramento, two guys showed up at a supermarket wearing coveralls and used a handtruck to carry off the store safe. The store cashed payroll checks, and had about $250,000 in cash in the safe. The guys hauled it out of town and got it open at their leisure. It wasn't bolted down, either.

January 21, 2013, 09:32 PM
You do not need to modify a safe to make it a gun safe. I would argue that any safe capable of storing your guns is a "gun safe" if that's how you choose to use it.

Understood, but that's a common sense definition! My quip was to satisfy the WA Department of Revenue's definition which is quite different.

Gun safes or "modified" safes to store guns are tax-free. Commercial safes are not tax free. I can't buy a commercial safe with the intention of storing firearms to avoid sales tax. It has to be "modified" by the manufacturer or dealer for me to purchase it tax-free.

January 22, 2013, 04:22 PM
If you don't do anything else, at least bolt it down. Safes (or RSC's) are easier to move/steal than most people realize and it doesn't take much time for a thief with some prybars to get one open after its been pushed over onto it's back. Just watch the countless youtube videos demonstrating such tactics.

January 22, 2013, 05:25 PM
As long as you know that its not a "safe" per say it is really a RSC.

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