I recently modified my gun safe from a digital lock to a manual combination lock. This will ensure that no one has a back door code to get into my safe. The downside to this is that the mechanical lock is a great deal slower dial in than simply typing in a combination, and the lock is harder to manipulate in the dark, meaning it’s more difficult to enter my safe in a hurry. Additionally, my gun safe is quite large and won’t fit in my bedroom closet without the wife getting pissed at the loss of storage space.

We are moving to another house (under construction) within the next few months. Now is a great time to consider how to meet security storage needs. How can I store firearms to protect them from a diverse set of threats while still making firearms accessible for access in the event of a break-in?

I have been looking at my options, and I think that I have the answer. See the title above for that. My large gun safe will be the “cold safe” and is located on the other side of the house from the bedroom- in the man cave.

The “hot safe” will be in the master suite, and will contain loaded firearms available for fast access. It will likely be an electronic one with a fingerprint lock. I am looking at a Vaultek RS 500i for that. Fast access, and secure enough against most thieves. Even if it IS compromised with a backdoor, I won’t lose but a gun or two. The bonus is that it is only 14 inches wide, so it will not steal much room from the suite, but it can simultaneously hold a shotgun, a couple of ARs, and 2 or 3 pistols, all with magazines and ammo. This allows for EDC to be locked away and also means I won’t have far to go for heavier weapons than my bedside handgun.

For staging, I already have the means for securely keeping a handgun and a long gun in my truck, along with a couple of hundred rounds of ammo. All of it secure, unobtrusive, and out of sight, while still being readily accessible.

For caching, we all need to give thought into a weapons cache or two. Put a couple of off paper firearms in each cache. Say, a handgun, a cheap AR, some ammo and a few magazines. All sterilized of fingerprints and any other means of tracing back to you.

Categories: Gear


Joe Blow · November 14, 2023 at 7:14 am

Did you know that in TN cash-transactions between adults is still permitted for firearms? True story! Won’t tell how many I own that way….
Sadly, I will never buy another gun at a gun store, so long as I have to put my name on a dotted line somewheres.
You know, I know, we all know, they have a list. That’s one way to get on it.

D · November 14, 2023 at 9:49 am

I handle things in a simpler way.
When we arrive home, the gun safes get unlocked and the door gets opened. Every single time.
No combos, no worries. Just reach in and grab a gun.

When we *all* leave, they get closed and locked.

Of course my wife and I are always armed…so the worst possible situation would be someone following us home to attack us. My wife and I would have to hold them off with the combined combined ~100 rounds we carry while one of the kids opens a safe. We wouldn’t have access to medium and long-range weapons for about a minute.

Elrod · November 14, 2023 at 10:12 am

I’ve been using the hot/cold 2-safe solution for years and it works well. Both have S&G mechanical locks, my experience tells me to never, ever, no way, no how, trust any electronic lock. Is the dial slower? Yes, but…if I’m at home there’s a Suitable Tool always within reach, and if I’m out of my jammies there’s also one on my hip, so even if everything’s secured when I’m not at home I’m never unarmed when entering or leaving.

Max Wiley · November 14, 2023 at 10:27 am

If I might be so bold as to make a couple of suggestions….
Bravo for removing electronic keypads and recognizing that increased security comes along with reduced accessibility.
Personally, I would want more armament than a pistol a little closer than the other side of the house. Your pistol is to get you to a rifle, that is much easier if the rifle is closer at hand. For the purposes of rifle for home defense, let’s also include a well set up shotgun with appropriate ammo for the purpose (I suggest #1 buckshot, Federal Premium if you can get it).
A word on biometric pistol boxes: I am unfamiliar with the particular brand you linked but Lock Picking Lawyer over on YouTube has tested several and has shown that many are at best child resistant. Still, there is an absolute tradeoff between security and accessibility.
For a long gun accessible in the master bedroom it might be better to consider stealth as a means of security. I have seen headboards with a hidden compartment that practically drops a long gun into your hands. I could also recommend Tactical Walls built hidden gun cabinets. If your house is still under construction adding something like this should be relatively straight forward, although you might consider waiting until the construction is finished before either doing it yourself or having someone you personally know is reliable install it. These rely on stealth and that means the fewer people that know about it the better.

    Mitchell · November 14, 2023 at 4:45 pm

    I have a gun vault in the master bedroom closet. It is not as secure as a safe but it keeps out casual visitors. It fits between the studs in the wall so it’s low profile. Easy enough to plan for in a new build like yours. I added mine when we remodeled the adjoining shower. They share a common wall that we had open anyway. It has a simple mechanical push button lock and optional key system.

    Jen · November 14, 2023 at 8:38 pm

    Agree. No safe, it’s just attractive. Unobtrusive home modifications are easy.

      Divemedic · November 14, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      That isn’t an option once you approach 100 firearms.
      As far as attracting thieves, I have a burglar alarm, security cameras, and I am armed and at home more often than not.

    Divemedic · November 14, 2023 at 8:58 pm

    The bedside pistol safe has a full sized handgun with a light mounted, along with a spare magazine.
    The hot safe will have at least my EDC, a shotgun, and an AR. Spare mags will be in there as well. I also have an IFAK, body armor, and ear pros in there.

TRX · November 14, 2023 at 10:37 am

Some of my firearms reside at other people’s properties.

Not all of the firearms on my property are mine.

Yes, it’s possible that the Feds or a “fusion center” could provide a prosecutor with a list of “known associates” based on phone records and network monitoring, and that a judge would sign a stack of warrants, but that sort of thing seems to be very rare.

Joe · November 14, 2023 at 1:02 pm

May I suggest you reconsider the fingerprint lock? I had very bad luck getting a safe to recognize my print and I sold it. Consider if your finger is wet, or bloody, or dirty when you find yourself in an emergency needing access to your safe. A digital numeric keypad is only a second longer to operate and is much more failsafe than a print scanner. That is my experience anyhow.

nones · November 14, 2023 at 5:46 pm

Fingerprints are a big deal. I have used gloves to handle my ammunition so that I do not leave any prints on any casings that might be found. I have also made sure that my prints are not on the inside of the gun. My EDC was given to my by a deceased friend who bought it from a dealer. I’m comfortable carrying it but if I have to, wipe off the outside of the gun and throw it out the window.

Crematorium · November 14, 2023 at 6:54 pm

As long as you can get at them quick to make good commies.
A glorious time will come when you can march down the street locked and loaded.

SoCoRuss · November 15, 2023 at 1:02 pm

DM, can you expand on what you use in your truck? Myself and son are currently trying to figure truck storage option.

Brass · November 17, 2023 at 3:11 pm

I went with the “hidden” option for my hot guns. I got a couple of their shelves.


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