It is important for shooters to store their guns in a safe manner. A gun in a drawer or on a shelf does not qualify as safe in any way, even if it's unloaded and the ammunition is stored somewhere else. Guns stored in this condition leave the owner open to all kinds of trouble, including legal trouble in some states. But not everyone's storage requirements or living arrangements are the same.
No single gun storage option fills every role, or fits each budget, so it’s helpful to be able to compare them side by side. These storage options are intended to perform one or more of the following tasks, and they do so with various degrees of effectiveness:
• Prevent a gun from firing
Please remember, no storage or safety device can replace common sense. Storage systems that will easily defeat the efforts of a 2-year-old armed with a plastic spoon may be no match for a teenager with an understanding of power tools. It's important to evaluate the cost/benefit ratio of each of these options against your specific gun storage needs. The following list starts with simple and less-expensive choices and moves up from there.
Trigger and Cable Locks
Plastic & Fabric Gun Cases
This kind of storage case is easy to find, inexpensive to buy and lightweight enough to carry from point A to point B with relative ease. When locked, they can keep the gun from being touched or loaded by unauthorized users. However, the same padding that protects the gun from bumps and bruises can also retain moisture. This can cause the gun to rust if left in the case for extended periods of time. The materials these cases are made of are easily defeated by ordinary edged implements. They also have a low theft deterrence value unless you lock them inside of a larger container or attach them to some fixed object. Price Range: $10- $150
Strong Boxes & Metal Gun Cases
Both strong boxes and metal gun cases offer a much greater level of security because of the difficulty in opening them without the key or combination. They will also protect a gun's finish. The trade off for greater security is a higher price, plus you may need to buy some batteries or extra mounting hardware to take advantage of all the available features. Price Range: $25 - $350
Locking Steel Gun Cabinets
Cabinets offer a much larger capacity and more configuration options than metallic gun cases, and they can be bolted to a wall or floor like a safe. They are a big step up from a case, but they are not as theft-resistant as a safe. If you have the cash for a high-end cabinet, you may want to spend a little more and purchase a less expensive safe. Price Range: $150 - $450
Shopping for a gun safe is a lot like shopping for a car. You have a variety of makes, models and feature sets to consider when making a selection. Considering how much they cost, it makes sense to think of them with a life-time commitment in mind. The features that drive the cost of a safe should be kept in mind while shopping, including: the gauge (or thickness) of the steel used to construct the safe, the strength and reliability of the locking mechanism, the level of fire resistance (if any), the extent of the warranty, shelf and rack configuration options, as well as the color and quality options for the exterior finish. The most common mistake is to buy a safe that's too small. A unit that's a perfect fit for your collection today may not serve your needs 10 years from now.
The disadvantages of a gun safe are known to anyone who has looked them over. They are large, heavy, difficult to move and install, and expensive to buy. With that in mind, they are well worth the trouble.
How do you know it's time to buy a safe? If your gun collection is worth more than the cost of the least expensive safe you would buy, then it’s time to start shopping for one. Price Range: $500 - $2500+.
Gun Storage Options Photo Gallery