I recall visiting the home of one world-traveling hunter who had installed beautiful oak gun cabinets that had beveled glass doors and interior lighting. Such things are now a distant memory, and traditional gun display cases have been replaced by modern gun safes that are fireproof, waterproof and highly theft resistant. I guess it’s a function of our changing society. For better or worse, gun safes are here to stay.
I have had my safe for about six years now, and it really does give me greater peace of mind than I got from my glass-doored gun cabinet. It’s not as pretty, but is far more functional. Recently, I’ve gone online to examine the range of gun safes available, and I’ve also checked them out in the retail shops. As with everything else, when it comes to securely storing your guns, you get what you pay for.
There are lockable metal gun cabinets available for as little as $100 and gargantuan gun vaults that exceed $5,000. Which one may be right for you is largely a function of individual tastes and differences. If all you want to do is make sure that an 8-year-old doesn’t get his hands on a gun when you’re not around, then it’s possible some of the lower-end lockable gun cabinets made of sheet metal would do the trick nicely. They don’t protect against fire, flood or a determined burglar with a crowbar, but your insurance should cover the loss. If all you do is prevent an inquisitive kid from shooting somebody, you might have saved a life.
If, however, you collect antique guns, or if you have guns with sentimental value that can’t be replaced at any price, then the fancier models may be what you need.
In checking the various brands of safes on the Internet, many safes carry a U.L. rating from Underwriters Laboratories. Safes are usually rated for a 1,200-degree fire for 30 minutes, 60 minutes or 90 minutes. I saw a video clip of a fellow who lost his entire home and everything in it during the California wildfires east of San Diego a couple years ago. His safe had been on the second floor of his home, and just before he fled the flames, he also tossed some family papers and small artworks into the safe before running for his life. Days later, he sifted through the ashes to find his safe intact, and although things were tossed around some when the safe fell to ground level during the 2,000-degree fire, all of the contents survived. Other gun safes have survived force-4 tornados in Tennessee and flooding during Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast.
A good-quality safe that will protect against natural disasters, as well as theft, will run you between $750 and $2,500, depending on size and features. Heck, I even know one guy who designed his walk-in gun vault first, and then built his home around the vault. Of course, he has flintlocks from the American Revolution and muskets from the U.S. Civil War. Most of us ordinary folks probably fall somewhere between needing the metal locking cabinet and the walk-in vault.
Check it out online and at your local retailer, or you can always e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’d be glad to chat with you. It might give you honest-to-goodness peace of mind.
Until next week, tight lines.
• Don Moyer, outdoors columnist for the Tracy Press, has been writing Tight Lines for more than 30 years. His book, “Tight Lines: Observations of an Outdoor Philosopher,” is available online at www.createspace.com/3452025, and he will be doing book signings at local bookstores and libraries in the area. He can be reached at email@example.com.