I left a comment on my previous post that I thought I might as well turn into a full post.

I’ve talked about UL RSC (Underwriter Laboratory Residential Security Container) standards and double eye-locking before.

I am a nut for gun safes.  When you own a lot of guns, proper storage of those guns is important.

In long-range shooting, they say you should spend as much on the optic as the gun.  Why buy the most accurate rifle made, if you are going to mount a crappy scope with shitty rings and mounts?

I have a similar thought about safes.  Why spend $10,000 dollars on guns and then leave them sitting in a closet where they can get stolen?

$10,000 in guns deserves $2,000 dollars in safe to store them in.  A high-quality Browning or Liberty safe from Cabela’s is going to cost you that much.

Especially because most home insurance companies will only insure guns up to a specific dollar amount.  Ask, I did, and I was shocked that my upper limit was $2,500.

I have two safes, both are custom made by Fort Knox and are as overbuilt as I could get them.  Double-layer steel, outer body that is 1/4 inch thick, extra thick plate door, etc.

Yes, I am a security nut.

But let’s say that you don’t have an amazing shitload of guns.  Just a couple of handguns and maybe an AR or shotgun.  Or you don’t have the money to invest in a big fancy gun safe, but you want to keep your guns secured and locked up.  What do you do?

Here is my recommendation.

Do not buy a shitty made in China gun safe from Harbor Freight or Sam’s Club.  I do not for one instant trust the locking mechanisms on those.  I’ve had too many made in China LED flashlights die to trust shitty made in china circuit boards.  The last thing I want is my digital combo safe (they are all digital now) to die and lock me away from my guns.

I went nuts last Christmas during the Home Depot post-Christmas blowout and bought a great set of DeWalt 20V max tools.  Then I realized I had more than a grand worth of tools just sitting in my garage.  That’s like leaving a pair of 1911’s on my workbench, it’s a stupid thing to do.

I did some searching and I found a Ridgid portable storage chest.  Kobalt has one that is identical called a portable jobsite box.  I really love the locking mechanism on these, the padlock is very secure.

With all my coupons and sales stacked up, I bought mine for just over $100.00

It’ more than large enough to hold all my DeWalt tools, including my 20V chainsaw with the 12 inch bar.

It would be plenty large enough to told some pistols in their boxes as well as ammo, and even a few AR-15s if you broke them down and took the receiver halves apart.

But how do you stop some asshole from just hauling the whole box away.

The solution is two Redhead half-inch drop-in anchors, two half-inch eye bolts, and a Kryptonite U-shaped bike lock.

What I did was sink the two drop in anchors into the concrete with a rotary hammer (a hammer drill will work, but it takes longer and was an excuse to buy a rotary hammer) and a 5/8 inch bit.

I spaced the anchors so that they were on either side of one of the feet, which are metal loops welded to the bottom of the box.

I then screwed in the eye bolts and aligned them so the U-shaped bike lock would pass through two feet and both eyes and lock.

By doing this, the eyes can’t be unscrewed from the anchors without the bike lock removed.  There is about 20,000 pounds of holding force in the anchors, so it would be hard to pull it out with a pry bar.  And someone would have to cut both eyes, both feet, or the Kryptonite bike lock to free the box.

Altogether, the box, locks, anchors, and eyes cost me less than $200.

My handy-dandy Mitutoyo digital caliper (what, you don’t have a digital caliper in your arsenal of tools?  get one, it’s great for precision sight adjustment) the box is made from 14 gauge steel, which isn’t great, but is the same thickness as the body of most lower end gun safes in the $500 – $700 range, and thicker than the steel of those Stack-On gun cabinets (I have some of those too, but I installed shelves and use them for ammo storage).  The box feels pretty solid.

As a bonus, if you use one of these for gun storage, it doesn’t scream “gun storage.”

I have mine in my garage because it holds tools, but it’s small enough that it could be mounted into the floor of a closet using this same technique on a slab floor or using properly sized lag eyes into joists.

Again, this is only my recommendation for a low costs option.

I personally wouldn’t store in $20,000 in guns in a large Job Box, but if all I had was a pair of Glocks and a budget-priced AR-15, this might be a cost-effective way to store them against theft.

Update:

I want to make this point crystal clear when it comes to any advice I provide on gun storage or security.

All security can be defeated. It is a matter of time and effort. You just have to make the time and effort to defeat the security not worth the investment of time end effort to the thief.

I’m data driven. Most home burglaries take a few minutes and are done by guys who want stuff they can sell or trade for drugs. They would rather spend three minutes lifting your TV’s off the wall and stuffing your wife’s jewelry into bags than trying to pry open safes and lockboxes.

The best thing you can have is an alarm.  That automatically limits the criminals’ time the have to take your stuff and they will prioritize easy over hard.

I put a lot of security into my guns because they have meaning for me.  I have no emotional attachment to my TVs.  I will be very pissed if my guns are stolen because I put time into customizing them and loving on them.  If my TV is ripped off the wall, I’ll get a new one from Best Buy.  The most upsetting thing about that is the deductible.

I want the thief who breaks into my house to say “I have three minutes, I’m not going to fuck around with his Fort Knox safes, I’m going to help myself to his electronics.”

I have made personal decisions as to the cost-benefit analysis of how much some of my stuff is worth and how much I am willing to spend to secure it.

If you chose to have a higher or lower security cost to item value ratio, that is entirely up to you.

I’m only telling you what I see as reasonable.

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By J. Kb

23 thoughts on “The non gun safe gun box”
  1. That is a good thought on securing a few guns. Security needs layers to be successful and this is several layers, hidden in plain sight, locked, secured to the floor. If the eye bolts are inaccessible it would keep a hacksaw from cutting them loose.

    1. Or a bolt cutter. That is the biggest concern I can see: a reasonable bolt cutter would but that loose from the floor in a few seconds. Perhaps machinery lifting bolts might be better, I’m not sure.
      If the box doesn’t need to be moved after installation, it could be attached with lag bolts screwed through the feet, perhaps with the bolt heads rounded off afterwards so they are hard to unscrew.
      By the way, this “don’t let them carry off the whole box” thing applies to safes as well. A safe less than 1000 pounds or so can be carried away, so it needs to be bolted to the building.

      1. Could bolt cutters be worked in the confined space behind the lock box there? If so, it wouldn’t be too difficult to make it too confined.

      2. Decades ago I worked at an indoor range and gun shop. We sold safes. We’d remind people to bolt them down at delivery. They’d often ask why, so we’d point out two guys and a dolly just delivered the thing, two guys and a dolly could take it back out.

  2. Because I also look at security as “what tools and how long”. Rather than attempting to pull those bolts out, I’d take a 10-20lb sledge and just hit the bolts a few times to attempt to drive them into the ground, breaking threads, stripping the holes.

    Last time I looked, those anchors are made out of lead so I’m not sure how they would hold up.

    As somebody else said, the eye bolts are your weak point, would a sledge coming in from the side just shear them off?

    Regardless, there are a number of things out there that are designed to lock things up. I think one of my favorites is when I drive past a high crime area with construction and a crane. They have all the walk away stuff 40 ft in the air hanging from the crane hook. Takes a person able to start and operate the crane in order to get to the walk away stuff.

    Of course around here there are people that have driven off with construction equipment during the dead of the night. 🙁

    1. To not worry about the eye bolts pictured above; unlock it, move the box 6” to the right so the eye bolts are under the box and re-lock.

      1. The reason I didn’t do that was I wanted to be able to move the box. When I use my tools, I unlock the bike lock and pull the box out from under the workbench its mounted beneath. Otherwise I can’t open the lid all the way.

    2. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the box is installed under a 250 lbs work bench. You’d have to lift the work bench over the box to hit it with a hammer.

    3. Those eye bolts are cheap mild steel. softer than rebar, usually. A battery portable recipro saw and a Milwaukee Torsh blade will have one of them cut in about a half minute. Then flip the U lock round to clear, and drag the box away.

      Far more secure would be to calculate the length of bolt it would take, make them about 5/8 grade eight, (that would wear out two or three of rhose “Torch” sawzall blades), put three of them through the floor of the box and into the concrete lag anchors placed into the concrete slab floor. Before you bolt them down, make a long piece of 1/4 inch steel plate and centre tht on the inside of the box, on the floor, with three holes bored through it.. matching the three holes through the floor of the toolbox. Now, before you fit the bolts down through the 1/4 inch olacte then the floor of the box, cut pieces of 3/4 inch iron pipe, about 1/8 inch shorter than the distance between the bottom side of the job box and the concrete floor. Now you have three anchors, too tough to cut with your thief’s sawzall, UNDER the centre of the box, AND eash currounded by a iec of steel pipe that will want to spin round the bolt passing throuigh it, thus requireng the operator to somehow grab it tightly enough to first cut through that then the hardened steel bolt.

      Unless the dude finds your plasma cutter and commandeers that, he ain’t getting that job box off the floor.

      Then there is y friend Stephen, who kept a HUGE gun safe at his business.. loaded with lots of fun things. He figured that was safe inside there. Came back after a weekend to find his place broken in to, a forklift moved, his entire gun safe gone, and a three tonne bo truck stolen. Cops found the box truck twenty miles away, left there sometime SUnday night, empty He surmises that they fired up the forklift, picked up the safe, opened the lift door of the hooipe, slid the safe inside, closed the badk door, stole the truck, delivered the safe and guns therein into either another truck or a barn somehwere, parked the telltale bit yelow box truck, and cleared the scene.

      Instell the safe, through bolted to the concrete floor into bedded nuts, then pour in place concrete walls closely enough crowing the safe it cannot be gotten through the widest openint…. and not sufficient space surrounding the sage to access it well enough to sut it. Basically embed the safe into a ssafe rooom. Added bonus would be to build a fake pony wall that hides the entry to the safe toom from normal view.. so it just looks like part of the wall.

      Then ope the volcano or meteor doesn’t hit!!!!!

      1. As a welder/fabricator of over forty years, all I have to say is: that setup would be simple to defeat (providing the the thief isn’t a moron) And no, I’m not even thinking about a torch.

      2. 1: The box is only 14 gauge steel. There is no reason to sink it into concrete when it can be cut open with plenty of carbide saw blades. The whole point of this was to be cheap. If I’m going to sink a safe into concrete so it can’t be moved with a fork truck, it’s going to a TL-30 safe.

        2: I would put money on that safe theft being an inside job by a disgruntled employee. Who else would know that it’s there and know where the boss kept the forklift and truck keys?

  3. A storage locker is one thing but I always recommend looking on Craigslist eBay or Facebook marketplace to buy a used tl rated safe. You often can find them in the 1000-2000 range delivered and they all typically have locks that the combo can be easily changed with a $10 tool or manually if necessary.

    Most gun safe are overblown shit barely if at all better than a simple locker that can be easy opened with an axe.

    The biggest threat for a “safe” is usually the back/sides have thinner steel and a thick door so if you can get to the back or sides it can be easily accessed.

    In addition if you can push the “safe” over onto it’s back you now have significantly more leverage to pry at it. Always anchor it to the floor and/or wall and if you can stick it in a spot that protects all sides but the door even better.

    Security is certainly layers and how much money you have and are willintg to spend will buy you more time. Certain decisions like what I talk about above are virtually free.

    An alternative if a safe or “safe” is not possible is beefing up the security of a closet with a proper doing and lock etc.

    In your setup as others have pointed out I’d be most worried about the eye bolts they can easily be cut with a variety of power tools very quickly though that definitely is not the MO of the average burglary.

  4. J.Kb, thanks for giving us another way of looking at securing our firearms. All good. The discussion we are having here is not “it is a bad idea” but more of “What are the attack vectors and how can we easily improve things.”

    Assumptions: That I don’t have lock picking skills, not even enough to use a BiC pen to open a bike lock. I’m in a garage with multiple tools and I have 30 minutes of time before the home owner gets home.

    As everybody has pointed out, the eye-bolts are your weak point. I loved the simple answer of “Put the box over the eye-bolts to protect them”.

    I think if you fed the Y through the eye bolts and then out the feet of the job box, you could still lock it on the outside and protect the bolts.

    Upgrading from simple eye-bolts to forged eye bolts would help. A big pry par against the 3/8″ soft steel would open those eyes pretty quickly, at a guess.

    I move multi ton equipment with pry bars and iron pipes for rollers. It is scary and time consuming, but it can be done.

    You said there was a heavy workbench protecting the bolts, what’s to keep said bad guy from just tipping the workbench over?

    Regardless, thank you for kicking us out of the box to look at other answers.

  5. RE: Therefore’s comment (above) – Don’t leave burglary tools out in your garage for the bad guy to use – lock them in the Job Site Box. I cringe every time I see tools on pegboard over the workbench, espcially pry bars and big hammers.

    Got a big roll-around tool chest? Jack it up and space the wheels off the floor with pieces of 4X6 cut to fit under the chest, or at least drill through the caster frames AND the wheels and put in a 5/16 Grade 8 bolt with a locknut on the inside (extra points for using castellated nuts and cotter pins). If you need to move it it’ll take another 10 minutes, which is 10 minutes a burglar won’t have because of the alarm system you installed (you do have an alarm system, right? That also covers the garage?) and the burglar won’t have the wrenches he needs to remove the bolts (you do keep your tool chest locked, right?) .

    It’s all about time – if you can keep the bad guy outside your house for 3 minutes with locks, reinforced door hinges, secured windows, visible cameras etc. you’ll stop 97% of burglaries. If you limit his time inside – requires a decent, and properly configured and installed alarm system – you restrict what he can go after to the easiest to steal (and easiest to replace) stuff.

    Know what else will fit in the Job Site Box? Magazines. Count up how much money you’ve invested in magazines. A sheet of 1/2′ plywood screwed to 2X4 pieces (flat or on edge, depending on how much space you need) creates a false floor in the box. Magazines go under, tools, etc. go on top.

    Think about the stuff that’s easy for you to do but hard for a bad guy to counter – locking your car in the garage seems stupid, but it takes you seconds to unlock, the BG will have to break into it to rummage for you rphone or GPS, which takes time and makes noise; the rope-and-T-handle emergency release for the garage door – replace it with a straight piece of tubing or closet rod so it can’t be “coat hangered” from outside. Make your place as difficult as possible so your neighbors’ houses are easier targets.

  6. The lockpickinglawyer youtube site shows that bike locks are depressingly easy to defeat. You could probably come up with a quick solution that would involve a more secure locking mechanism but still use a Ubolt type assembly.

  7. Another thought – RE: buying a safe on Craigslist, newspaper ad, etc. Do NOT have the seller deliver it to your house. Best way is have seller deliver it to a bonded safe & lock outfit and have them install it; 2nd best is rent a public storage unit for a month and have seller deliver it there, then contact a bonded safe & lock company and get it delivered and installed. The average seller will show up with the safe in a pickup and his buddies to help, you know nothing about them, do you want them to know where a safe full of guns now is? The bonded lock co. will – or should, it always pays to ask – run background checks on their employees. In either case, park your vehicle where the seller cannot read the tag, and your name is “Joe.” It’s ALWAYS “Joe.”

    And, needless to say, with either a new safe, and especially, a used one, CHANGE THE COMBINATION. Take all the usual precautions about securing the combination info someplace. Pro Tip: manual Sargent and Greenleaf combination locks do not use batteries, and come in several security and precision levels.

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