What's a good, affordable gun safe?

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by Paincakesx, May 23, 2011.

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  1. Paincakesx

    Paincakesx Member

    Mar 22, 2011
    I'm looking for a gun safe that is of good quality, but affordable.

    I'm generally looking for one capable of storing 5 or so handguns, and hopefully around $500 or less (can be more than $500, but not too much more. Funds are tight).

    Any good recommendations?
  2. docnyt

    docnyt Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    HeArT of DiXiE
    You can search this site for lots of threads.

    Some unconventional ideas:

    Water heater disguised as a safe.
    Fusebox door with high voltage warnings cut into the wall between studs.
  3. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    The North Country
    In Canada Costco has some First Alert 14 gun safes for $339.00
    This is a bargain compared to every other safe around.
    Whenever I'm in the USA I check out the safes at Gander Mountain, Cabella's, Dicks Sporting Goods and I see much lower prices than up here so I would assume that Costco may have some very reasonably priced safes south if the border.

    This is the safe I got minus the stainless door covering.
  4. Black Knight

    Black Knight Member

    Jun 19, 2006
    Charlottesville, VA
    Instead of an actual gunsafe you may want to consider an idea I saw a couple of years ago. Someone had taken an old soda machine, gutted the inside hardware except for the lock, and used it as a gunsafe. Who would look for guns in an old drink machine?
  5. desmo21

    desmo21 Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    South FL
    craigs list... :)
  6. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

    May 22, 2009
    Charleston, South Carolina
    I saw an interesting idea on a home improvement show a while back. The crew took a room with one side that had no windows on that end. They built a second wall 3 or 4 feet off the main wall. They sheetrocked in the wall and painted the room as normal. In the middle of the new wall, they added a bookcase on hidden hinges and casters. With the book case closed it just looked like a book case that was embedded into the wall. Swing it open though, and you had access to a fairly large enclave for storage.

    I'm planning on moving into a new home within the next 2 years. I still will likely keep them in safes, but I think I'm going to put the safes themselves in a hidden room like this.

    Now if everyone did this I'm sure the thieves would eventually catch on, but my guess is not a lot of people will.
  7. carbuncle

    carbuncle Member

    Nov 11, 2009
    Nashua, NH
    I've had a Harbor Freight safe for a couple of months now and it's working out very nicely for me. Regularly $389, I picked it up for $249 on sale. Has an electronic lock with a keyed override, can be configured to have one shelf, the lock box in the top and a few long guns or three shelves + the lock box. I have 1300 rounds of centerfire ammuntion on one of the shelves right now and it is holding up with no significant bowing, so they are pretty sturdy. Four holes on the back and bottom are provided for wall and floor mounting and four concrete anchors are included. Weight is about 240 pounds.

    Some will have a gripe about Harbor Freight in general and inexpensive safes in particular, but this model will do what I need it to do (deter children and overly curious relatives and make a casual smash-and-grab bedroom burglar move on) at a price I could afford to pay. Later, if I am able to upgrade, I will use it as an ammo and components locker.
  8. RichBMW

    RichBMW Member

    Apr 7, 2011
    Tampa FL area
    I'm happy with this "Stack On" from Dick's Sporting Goods. It was a close-out and a steal at $299.99.


  9. rellascout

    rellascout member

    Dec 22, 2004
    In general anything under $500 is a container not a safe IMHO. They have thin sides, foam insluation for fire proofing and 90% of their weight is in the door. My research has led me to the conclusion that most of the safes in this price range are all the same. They are all made from the same materials by the same people. They are often just rebranded...

    That does not mean they are not good enough to house and protect a small collection. Simply look around and find something that is on sale at a big box retailer or wholesale club like Sams, Costo or BJs. Often some of the big box sporting goods stores, Bass Pro, Gander, Cabelas etc, run specials on safes to get people in the door.

    You really need to push the $$$ up a bit to get into something of higher quality. I think the next step up is http://sportsmansteelsafes.com/ followed by http://www.amsecusa.com/Gun_Safes/

    These recommendations and sentiments follow a lot of good info posted by a1abdj who IMHO is our resident safe expert.
  10. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

    May 6, 2008
    You can have it good, or you can have it affordable, but you can't have both.

    The good news is this. You'll never regret spending the money on a better safe.
    (If you can.)

    Call all the safe dealers in your area, and visit them. Many have used safes. People move and moving a safe is a B*, so folks trade them in.

    Scrimp on fancy paint, not security.

    No safe will deter a determined safe cracker. But why would he target me? Hardly anyone knows I even have guns, let alone see them.
    I worry about the smash and grab junkie. He's not moving my safe.

    Look at places that have safes. Coin dealers, jewelers, pawn shops. Most of those safes look like they've been dragged behind a truck, but they have a very thick door and many bolts. They know what matters.

    I have a closet, not a walk in but the kind with sliding doors. I thought about a false wall on one end. Add a electrical panel on the drywall and you have a secret compartment. I don't think many people would notice the wall isn't matching the outside wall. My fear is if something would happen to me, no one else would ever find the stuff in there.
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  11. heeler

    heeler Member

    Dec 18, 2007
    Speaking of Craigslist..If you live in a large metropolis better deals can and do happen.
    I actually saw last week a nice gloss paint Liberty Lincoln for sell in a more upscale part of town for a mere $800.00 as the owners were relocating.
    Unfortunately we dont all have the time to wait on these types of special deals.
    Although if I had needed another safe that one would have been a true deal.
  12. Keizer

    Keizer Member

    Oct 1, 2009
    Probably lots of people since it's becoming more common to store guns in one.
  13. RichBMW

    RichBMW Member

    Apr 7, 2011
    Tampa FL area
    I can respect the opinions of those who say that spending thousands on a gun safe is money well spent. But here's my list of requirements:
    1) Affordable. That's under $500. I could afford to spend more but I don't want to spend more.
    2) I can move it. My son-in-law and I took mine home from Dick's Sporting Goods in the back of my station wagon. It weighs 250 lbs. and full of firearms and ammo is now over 400 lbs. Larger safes must be moved by professionals and the moving fee can add hundreds of dollars to the cost.
    3) Keeps all my firearms in one place that is safe from 8 curious grandchildren.
    4) Stronger than a metal storage cabinet. Must have a serious combination lock. Seriously thick metal all around. Three large, live action locking bolts and 2 solid steel dead bolts (on the hinge side of the door).

    Most thefts of firearms are performed by the "quick in-and-out" burglar who is not going to waste time (or have the know-how) required to get into a safe. And I live in a gated community in a low-crime area. So my affordable safe is just fine for me.
  14. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Contributing Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    Norra Texas
    A steel locking storage cabinet (like the low-end StackOns) bolted against an interior wall in a guest bedroom closet is about as good as you can get for under five hundred dollars, at least insofar as theft protection is concerned.
  15. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

    Jul 21, 2005
    St. Charles, MO (St. Louis)
    You can spend less, and achieve similar results. See #3.

    If you can move it easily, so can a bad guy. Anything less than 1,000 pounds should be bolted, although bolting a light weight cabinet is going to offer limited protection as the steel can tear around the bolts. In many cases, you're just wrapping up your valuables in an easy to carry off package. See #3.

    You could put a $20 deadbolt on a closet door and keep your grandchildren as well as most of your smash and grab criminals out. If you want to get fancy, you can obtain a solid core wood door, or a steel door, and perhaps screw some plywood inside the closet.

    All of this can easily cost less than $500, offer you the same (or better) protection than a $500 "safe", and give you more storage space. It is also not portable, and will never be carried off.

    Don't be confused by the optical illusion. Just because it is square and steel does not make it the same as other things that are square and steel. Most $500 safes are not going to have serious combination locks, as alone, they would add over $100 to the manufacturing cost.

    The metal will not be seriously thick. Steel is expensive. The last time I bought 1" plate, it cost me over $50 a square foot. Using this plate, and average size gun safe would have about $5,000 worth of steel in it.

    I would give serious consideration to the reinforced closet.

    If you absolutely must have a free standing unit:

    Consider this. You will also spend less money, and you're not giving up much in terms of protection.
  16. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    0 hrs east of TN
    Doesn't exist new out of the box. You might be able to find something used if you're lucky.

    Read this thread and you may come to the conclusion that you're better off putting a good steel door and padlock on a closet and attaching welded wire to the wall than wasting your money on a residential security container mis-marketed to the uninformed as a gun "safe".

    The whole gun safe market is illusory until you actually get into TL 15 rated safes.
  17. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Luling Texas
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