I just finished some state-mandated training in firearms and the old thought of you always learn something whether is how to do it or how not to do it is very true. One of the things I learned is that some people take securing their firearms a tad too cavalier which is to say, they don’t. I will not go into specifics but there is no reason for anybody to leave a weapon unsecured or barely so. The amount of options to properly secure a firearm in almost any situation is plentiful, affordable and with a good level of security.
I am not endowed with a high paying job (actually I am ‘in between jobs’ at this time) but my firearms are safeguarded. The system is not top of the line, Houdini-proof, fire resistant to the flames of Hell for eternity but your average thief will have tough time trying to break in and steal the guns.A bit of research can provide you with the best level of security according to your budget. Remember: you do have a sizable investment in guns, may it be a $500 Glock or a $5,000 AR-clone with all the bells and whistles. Invest in security wisely. With that said, I am gonna focus on the budget-minded gun owner that does not have a vast arsenal or a vast budget but still wants to properly secure his or her handguns.
Handguns at home: If you are only in possession of handguns, your best bet is a small safe. And no, the night table with a lockable drawer is not a secure location for your handgun and the same goes for that “secret” place in your attic, basement, under the bed or old shoe box in the closet. A quick search in the net brings a great variety of small document boxes & safes and from stores like Walmart to Cabelas. But I recommend buying without actually examining. One cannot appreciate craftsmanship on a website so it is imperative that you take the time and actually go to a store to check them out. Stack-On and Homak make great pistol safes in price ranges starting well under $100. In fact, the Stack-On Medium Personal Safe With Electronic Lock can be bought at WalMart for $68 and is big enough for several handguns and even documents. Small safes are a great for handguns only if you properly bolt the darn thing. Invest in long lag screws, epoxy, more screws and whatever else you can imagine to make life almost impossible for a burglar. If by any chance you happen to know somebody in the hotel liquidation business, you can get your hands on a hotel room safe for almost peanuts (usually under $50) and it will be big enough for guns, ammo, laptop and may other things. I personally own one and right now it has 2 handguns, 5 magazines, and about 500 rounds of ammunition in boxes and still has plenty room to spare.
Handguns in the car: Securing a weapon in a vehicle is and it is not easy. I am still amazed that anybody would consider leaving a handgun in the glove box, center console box or just under the seat. The issues with securing a handgun in the car is comprised of space, ability to access the gun and our desire (or lack of) to modify the inside of the vehicle to accommodate the box and risking depreciate its value at trade-in or selling time. A simple solution is Center Of Mass Gun Safe. The COM Safe are one-gun, well built safes that come with a 3 foot long security cable that can be looped or secured to any hard point inside your car. The COM safe comes in three flavors: Lock & Key, Combination Lock (both under $40) or Biometric Lock ($180) and they can even be used as airline/TSA approved gun containers for air travel.
Please remember this: there is no 100% secure method to keep the guns out of the hands of a determined burglar if he has time and tools. Our best bet is to make it difficult so he must invest time that does not have and force him to choose a softer, faster target. Thinking otherwise is just fooling ourselves.
There is one more layer of security that you can use to protect your handguns and it is the one between your ears. I already mentioned that a safe that is not properly installed is rendered useless and the same applies if you leave it open or visible to anybody. Securing a handgun is not only to protect it from burglars but also to protect your loved ones and even curious visitors that should know better but still have the stupid need to irresponsibly manipulate a gun. If you have kids, keep the safe locked at all times. If you have visitors, do the same. At the end of the day you are the only one responsible if a firearm ends up in the wrong hands and hurts people. Be safe and keep everybody around you safe.