By Trampas Swanson

With the current state of political and global threats to the United States, firearm sales are at an all-time high. More and more responsible buyers are purchasing firearms for a verity of reasons, whether it’s personal defense, hunting, competition or just to exercise their Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms. With the concept of owning multiple firearms being much more prevalent in today’s society than even a decade ago, this leads to more focus on other aspects of responsible ownership, such as secure firearm storage. New legislation has recently been passed in all 50 states holding the firearms owners to their responsibilities to keep unauthorized persons from unlawfully gaining access. Better and more thorough training from great pro-2A groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) have been put in place to help educate firearm owners and their families on proper ways to make firearm storage safe and secure.

With the current focus on firearm storage, a wealth of new products from well-established companies has blossomed onto the market to help facilitate the buyer’s needs. Firearms owners are always writing in to ask about smart storage options available and which of these would be right for them. These questions can only be answered by taking a look at different levels of secure storage in which most gun owners’ needs will fall into. In this article, we will address these needs and questions in order to point out a few of top choices currently available from reliable companies.

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To get started, we need to look at the main goals of any firearms storage device. First, any storage device should prevent unauthorized persons from being able to fire the gun when not in use. Secondly, the storage device should prevent harm from being caused to the firearm. Finally, the storage device should act as an anti-theft device. The trigger locks often accompanying most new firearms purchased are sufficient for preventing a round to be chambered and fired; they fall short in accomplishing all three goals. Often, new pistols are also accompanied with soft sided cases secured with zippers called “pistol rugs” or cheap plastic storage boxes. Again, these are good for protecting the pistol, but hardly secure the firearm even when built-in tabs are designed for a small luggage lock to be placed through them. For this article, we will address the two main types of firearms storage as outlined by the NRA’s great educational programs.

Lock Boxes

The first storage option we will look at is the lock box. Historically, these have been referred to as “strong boxes” which conjure images of the Old West, Wells Fargo and the Overland Stages shipping gold to the east. Today, our treasures are firearms and keeping them safe from unauthorized use and harm.

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Common generic lock box options from companies such as Sentry consist of a simple steel box as so know as a “cash box.” This style is offered in a variety of sizes to specifically fit a single handgun and secure it via the steel hasp on the outside and a reputable pad lock. For those looking to travel with their handgun on airlines, the steel lock box usually meets and exceeds FAA requirements. Starting at around $30 for a solid option, there are a few downsides to the “cash box.” First, these commonly will require padding or cushion to be added in order to prevent your handgun from rattling around. Secondly, this option is designed for portability more than an overall theft deterrent. Access to this style of lock box is limited by the time it takes to locate the lock’s key and remove the firearm from inside.

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Hornady

For the gun owner wishing to have faster access to their firearm when using a lock box for home storage, there are two products on the market of particular interest to look at. The first of these is from a long-time trusted name in the industry, Hornady. Better known for their great selection of ammunition, Hornady has a diverse range of products for the avid shooter. One item in particular is the Hornady RAPiD safe, a heavy duty 16 gauge steel single handgun lock box allowing access via an illuminated programmable key pad and 3 different RIFD chipped options.

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The gun owner has the luxury to choose between a rubber bracelet similar to the “LIVE STRONG” style bracelets seen commonly worn, a small, handy traditional key fob or a credit card sized access card to open the lock box quickly. Programming the RIFD chipped access device is fast and easy. The user only needs to wave the fob, bracelet or card over the face of the large Hornady logo located beside the key pad area to initiate opening the box. With a whirl from the locking bolts retracting and a “pop” of the lid, a mechanical carriage opens from the top and presents the firearm a sideways angle between two layers of padding, ready to be drawn.

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Measuring 15.5”x9”x3.5” on the exterior and 11”x8”x3”, a full size 1911 fits comfortably inside without issue. Unlike a cash box, the RAPiD safe is a mechanical storage device weighing in at 15.65lbs and comes with a 3 foot long coated, 15000lb rated security cable for tethering the box to fixed objects to prevent removal from its location. Power to the internal gas piston internals is provided by a standard household 110V power plug along with an 8 AA battery backup. Traveling with this option would cost a small fortune in overweight bag fees! Retailing at around $275, this is the first security option that would require a bit of an investment financially.

GunVault

Next, a company by the name of GunVault specifically offers a wide assortment of single handgun storage lock box products labeled as personal handgun safes. One particular GunVault product I would like to point out is SVB500. This innovative 18 gauge steel constructed box is made to be mounted to a night stand, desk or other solid object as a stationary and secure location to storage and quickly access your firearm. GunVault has taken the tools and codes out of personal storage and streamlined the process with a different style of technology.

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With the use of GunVault’s SpeedVault Biometric technology, the gun owner only needs to place his or her finger to the built-in finger print scanner and in an instant, the pistol pops down on a mechanical arm presenting the firearm in a safe and quick motion. The scanner can be programmed with up to 120 individual fingerprints, allowing a verity of authorized personnel to access the firearm and completely restricting those you choose. While this option is battery operated, there is a keyed lock override provided on each of their products. Retailing at around $349.99, the SpeedVault Biometric SVB500 is a bit more expensive than the Hornady RAPiD Safe, but eliminates having to keep up with bracelets, key chains and cards, but does not offer a secondary manual access other than the key override.

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Floor Safes

Moving from the subject of single handgun storage to long guns and multiple gun secure storage, a larger investment needs to be addressed in the form of traditional floor model gun safes. This is one area often pushed back to the category of “someday I’ll purchase one” which is home to other terms like “one day, I’ll build a man cave” or “I’ll eventually clean out the garage.” All these are great intentions, but only one will really smack you in the face if someone gets hurt or your home gets robbed!

Two of the biggest mistakes a home owner with multiple firearms can make are waiting too late to purchase a quality gun safe and buying one too small due to cost. As I have mentioned why you don’t want to wait until it’s too late to purchase a safe, I would like to discuss size and cost. While there are great gun safes on the market for around $500, if you are anything like my family of gun owners, the safe that perfectly houses your 5 or 6 gun collection may only last a year or two before you realize your collection as quickly outgrown its capacity. Once this happens, you will be in need of a new $800-$1000 safe which leads to eventually having to purchase a $1500-$2000 later. Now, you have moved safes in and moved them out, tried selling safes to make room for new ones and spent twice the budget as just purchasing the larger safe to begin with. This not only saves money in the long run, it saves on the back and damage to the floor of your home from a half ton of weight being moved back and forth.

Liberty Safes

The best values for top quality and pricing that I have found in the gun safe industry over the years have been products from the Liberty Safe Company. This company has a celebrated history of providing great safes and customer service across the United States since 1988, having now sold over 1.9 million since starting production while retaining a 98% customer satisfaction level. For anyone having worked in the customer service industry, this is a phenomenal rate!

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I have personally seen how much damage one of Liberty’s fine safes can withstand on several occasions. The most personal of these first-hand accounts came when one of society’s “less than desirable” citizens decided to break into my grandfather’s home while he was away. Other than a few pry marks and scratches to the finish, absolutely no entry was gained. The Liberty certified technician who arrived to inspect the safe damage within 24 hours after the police report was filed, was very knowledgeable and professional in making sure there was no hidden damage to the safe’s internals. Throughout my law enforcement career, when I arrived on a breaking and entering crime scene in which there was a failed attempt on gaining entry on a gun safe, it was very common to see a Liberty Safe still standing strong.

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The best recommendation I can offer for the Liberty line of products is not be afraid of going “big.” The buyer must keep in mind that all safe companies rate how many guns that can be stored in their safes about like camping companies’ rate how many people can fit into their tents. As general rule of thumb is the cut that number in half and start from there. A personal choice I made just over a year ago was the Colonial 64. I was told by several experts in the field when I was searching the Colonial was a definite “best buy” if you have the space for a larger safe. Liberty lists nicer finished safes that are shorter in height to fit in tighter spaces in a home or office, but none with any different features to make it more secure or hold more rifles, shotguns or pistols. With the added electrical kit, dehumidifier and LED lighting kit to illuminate the safe’s contents when the door is open, the entire endeavor was professionally delivered and installed in less than 45 mins and came in at just over $2000. Whether it’s a payment plan, credit card or small loan, monthly payments would run less than the regular ammo cost of training and help with your insurance premiums. Additional items to look into are the fire rating times, interior accessories and paint finishes from basic granite to beautiful glossy marble facades.

Final Thoughts

Regardless if you own one firearm or 10, the fact remains, the responsibility and liability rests on you and you alone. The image of firearm owners rests with everyone who chooses to own one and as soon as one person’s failure to secure their firearm in which it leads to harm to someone causes a black-eye to us all thanks to liberal media, who stop at nothing to demonize our Second Amendment Rights. If you are going to spend your hard earned money to own and carry a reliable firearm, it is a smart move to budget the finances to responsibly and securely store it as well.

Factors such as space, types of people in the home such as children and intended purpose for the firearm should be taken into account in order to make an educated decision on which is right for you. In many cases, these options can be used in conjunction for keeping your firearm collection safe and secure in a quality floor safe while keeping your immediate personal protection handgun close by and in a quickly accessible lock box such as a RAPiD safe or GunVault style lock box. In my home, there is a RAPiD safe on my bedroom nightstand, a GunVault under my office desk and a floor safe in the corner of both the bedroom and office to house our training and hunting firearms, loaner guns for review and family classics passed down through the family over time. While we are not by any means wealthy, my wife and I do realize it is cheaper to protect the guns we do have than to try and replace them in the event of being robbed while on one of our many family and business road trips. If you own a firearm and haven’t acquired a safe and secure way to store it by now, do yourself and the 300 million gun owners you represent a favor and make your plans now for which route is best for you. Check out the best options for you at 1800GunsAndAmmo.com and feel free to leave us a comment on which product you chose and why!