Editor’s Note: This is the sixth installment in a series about home gun safes. The series will dive into detail about safe technology, mounting/hardening you safe, increased fire protection, specialty safes and higher-rated safes, and buying used safes. There is a lot of information to consider when buying a safe. Follow along with us as we take a deep dive into this subject.
- Part 1: Introduction to Gun Safes
- Part 2: Electronic/Biometric/Manual Locks
- Part 3: Anchoring Your Safe
- Part 4: Fireproofing Your Gun Safe
- Part 5: Understanding The Threats
- Part 6: Specialty Safes & Remodels
- Part 7: Quick-Access Safes
- Part 8: Buying & Selling Used Safes
- Part 9: Moisture, the Constant Battle
This article is about special safes for special needs. We’ll discuss how to customize your safe to your specific requirements. Also covered are various safe accessories to help you upgrade an enhance your current safe.
Specialty safes are designed around the space where they are going to be placed. Size is not the only factor; how the door swings, and mounting methods must be considered. Once you’ve solved the questions of “Where?” and “How?”, all safes have one thing in common: The inside of the safe holds your property. Everyone has different requirements for what their safe will hold. The good news is that there are plenty of products to keep your valuables organized.
Types of Safes
Vault-Door Home Vaults These are perhaps beyond the reach of most, however, if you are building a new home or office this could be a reasonable addition to the budget. If the room is built with reinforced concrete, and with proper wiring and ventilation, a vault door (like this one from Liberty Safe) could make perfect sense. You can choose from virtually endless swing, size and locking choices.
Floor Safes These are mounted in the floor, and are designed to be surrounded by concrete. This makes them secure and well-hidden. The steel plate above them can easily be covered by a rug or other covering. The floor safe is a natural fire safe, due to being ensconced in concrete. While floor safes offer great security, these same features also make them extremely susceptible to moisture problems. Anything other than short-term storage should undergo extreme caution and preparation against humidity, mildew and corrosion.
Wall Safes offer great security, being easily hidden and surrounded by wall studs. They offer the ability to flush-mount a safe anywhere with two studs to mount to. This keeps valuables out of sight and moderately secure. If discovered, the wall safe is vulnerable to prying or simply being ripped out of the wall. Fire and water are huge concerns for the wall safe.
Under Bed Safes offer quickly accessible and secure long gun and gear storage under the bed. This offers the ability to keep all the gear you need when something goes bump in the night. This is not a safe for all your needs, unless you only have one or two long guns. An under bed safe will offer little fire protection, and moisture could be an issue as well.
Chest Safes offer a different take on the traditional safe concept, comparable to the difference between an upright freezer and a chest freezer. Chest safes offer the ability to be placed in locations other than simply pushed against a wall. I have seen these hidden in plain sight as a hope chest at the foot of the bed. I’ve also seen a coffee table in the middle of the room that I had no idea was a safe, until I was shown.
Hideout Safes are not so much safes as they are secure hiding places. This could be as simple as a hollow book on a shelf or as elaborate as you can conceive. I have seen all manner of such spaces created out of soft drink machines, refrigerators, and of course, furniture.
This Old Safe
If you’re like me, you have a safe that always seems to be just a bit too small and could use some upgrades. Well, this problem can often be solved by a safe makeover. There are six common themes to a safe makeover, detailed below. I know that some of you are super handy, and you could make the most of these yourself and save a few bucks.
Lights Not seeing what you have in your safe can be very frustrating. Battery-powered systems are the easiest and least expensive upfront method of lighting your safe. They can be motion-activated, or with a simple on/off switch. However, you have to deal with dead batteries from time to time. If you want something a little more permanent, a good option is the Clearview Electrical LED Wand Light Kit. It is 110v LED strip lights. These offer the brightest solution with easy to mount peel and stick backing. They are motion activated with the opening and closing of the door.
Power Management As soon as you decide to install anything that requires house electricity, you will need to manage that power coming into your safe. I recommend doing the wiring one time, and doing it correctly. To that end, I recommend the Power-Outlet Kit. This kit has a six-foot power cord with a 90° angle to plug in anywhere. It has more than just 110-volt outlets (of which it has three); it includes a USB port and CAT-5 Ethernet port. All of this may sound like geek stuff, but it opens some future possibilities you might not have considered. A backup PC running in the safe could be useful.
Long Gun Organization This involves two basic methods. One method can be the Rifle Rod System, where you staple or tack industrial grade loop fabric to the underside of a shelf, and then stick a Rifle Rod down the barrel of your long gun and adjusting the rod so the Velcro top reaches the fabric. This setup can add 50% more capacity for gun storage to the space and keeps them upright and tidily organized. The next method is the Magnet Gun Caddy, which can mount to any flat surface inside or outside of your safe.
Pistol Organization This breaks into four different potential categories. The first is a handgun rack system that holds the pistols vertically and allows for them to be stacked tightly and take up less space. Another is Handgun Hangers, which involves a rod that is secured to a shelf, with the muzzle of the handgun inserted over the rubber-coated rod. A mount-anywhere solution is to mount a magnet and then simply stick your gun to it via the slide. Finally, there is the pouch method. This usually involves attaching a series of nylon pouches via Velcro or door hangers.
Magazine Organization This breaks down into two primary options: magnetic strips or pouches. The Mag Holder Magnet Kit method holds your magazines via a flat strip you can mount to almost any surface. Pouch systems usually employ Velcro, or are part of a larger door system. I have found a unique system from Liberty Safe called the AR-15 Mag Holder designed for AR-15 magazines. It is a plastic assembly that mounts with screws or magnets, to hold six metal or plastic loaded magazines.
Small Items Storage I keep more than guns in my safes, and I find that the Liberty Under-Shelf Jewelry Drawers work perfectly to keep watches, rings and small valuables secured and out of the way. They come in varying sizes: 6.5”, 8.5″, 11.5″, and 15″, to fit your needs.
So, as you see, you have some interesting options out there when it comes to storing your valuables. There are numerous options out there ranging from the exotic new options in safe types to simply sprucing up you old safe you already have. So, take a look and decide what works best for you and your needs.