There comes a time when you look at the world and decide you want to hide something. Where you hide it depends a lot on what you are hiding and when you think you will need access to.

It also depends on who you are hiding it from.

Every parent when I was a kid knew that they checked under the mattress for hidden things and on the top shelves of closets. As a 12yo I knew every hiding place in the house where my parents could hide Christmas presents.

And yeah, I did move the dresser from in front of the “unused” closet under the eves in order to peek in and see all the loot that would be mine on Christmas day.

For an even better and sicking look, watch the scene in Schindler’s List to see the German solders searching the ghetto for Jews that stayed behind in hiding. What you didn’t see and likely didn’t know was that the German’s had cleared that particular ghetto multiple times. They already knew all the hiding places.

When you are hiding something the best place to hide it is where nobody will be looking for it. The best time to hide it is when nobody is looking for it. The best way of hiding it is to hide it and never look back. If you need to get it out of hiding your hiding place isn’t going to be good for very long.

So what are we talking about hiding? Between you and I and the FBI dude monitoring, firearms. Yeah, assume anything I tell you is known by the government and by many evil doers.

You are out and about and somebody breaks into your home. They have a limited amount of time before they are discovered and they have to grab as much of value to them as fast as possible.

You aren’t hiding a gun in your safe, but your safe is likely to protect you a little. Just make sure they don’t just pick up that safe and drive away.

I do know of a dude that had a heavy safe in his garage. He couldn’t get it into the house. He stored his guns in it. One day while he and his family were out on vacation somebody broke into his home. They got the safe up on a few one inch steel rods and rolled the safe to the front of the garage.

They then drove a pickup into the driveway, tipped the safe over on to the tail gate and used a come-a-long to crank that very heavy safe into the truck, on its back.

Not nice to the stuff inside the safe, but they drove away with $20k worth of firearms and his wife’s good jewelry.

The guy didn’t think he needed to anchor the safe to the floor and wall.

Use safes to protect

Regardless of the horror stories of thieves stealing entire safes, it is much better to have your guns in a safe than not. If you are willing to spend $10,000 for a .50BMG semi-auto rifle, don’t you think you should spend $2,000 for a safe to hold it?

If you are willing to spend $1,100 for a Trijicon ACOG for your $700 AR, don’t you think you can spend $500 for a locking gun cabinet?

Safes are a way of hiding firearms from evil doers while allowing you to gain access to them when you want or need.

Hidden safes

I have gun safes, gun cabinets, and pistol safes. My gun safe is rated for multiple hours. My pistol safes? Not so much. It uses a simple mechanical Simplex push button lock.

This sort of lock requires no power. I can run it in the dark or with my eyes closed. If I need to reset the combination it is just a quick twist of the dial and I can try again.

Simplex locks have a limited number of combinations, only around 1000. But my pistol safes are bolted to things solid and don’t move. I’m protecting from bad guys, and children with limited access, not the government.

I’m not worried about my children breaking into it because if they want to handle or look at any of my guns, I’ll stop what I’m doing and get out the firearm for them. There is nothing in the safe that is forbidden treasure.

One of the nice things about pistol safes is that they be placed in out of the way locations that make them hidden. I had a V-Line that mounted to the bottom of tables/desks.

I was working at a job where firearms were frowned on and I didn’t really want to walk around the office with an outer layer on. So I stayed late, mounted that safe under my desk.

When I got to work, I’d transfer my firearm from my belt to the safe. At the end of the day I transferred back to my belt. In the four years I worked there, nobody noticed, nobody saw.

When I left, the most difficult thing was taking my safe with me.

There are safes that live between the studs of your wall. They come with mirrors attached so they look like a wall mirror. Others just mount between studs and they expect you to hang something over them.

I’ve seen people that just mount them such that when their bedroom door is open, it covers the safe. Door closed, safe is exposed, ready to open.

All of these are just safes that are not visible on first glance. They don’t stop the bad guys or the government from finding them. They just slow them down.

The next step up/out is the “concealment furniture.” This is the Flag wall decoration that is a little thick and holds a pistol or two and maybe a carbine. This is the coffee table that has a lift up lid that exposes a firearms cache. It is the headboard that dumps a gun into your hands when you open it.

All of these concealment furniture options only work as long as nobody knows to check. Once people know to check, they offer almost no safety.

Some do have “magic locks” where you have to put the strong magnet in the right place in order to be able to open them.

An example of this sort of “good enough until people know to look” is the roll top desk my grandparents owned. My grandparents got it when my great-grandparents passed. It was the desk that my great-grandmother used.

For 20 years my grandmother used it, my mother and her sisters used it. One day, in my teens, I was looking at this beautiful piece of furniture and remembered a story about “secret compartments in desks” from a young person’s detective stories.

I looked at the desk and realize that there was this decorative column thing between a center cubical and the rest on that level. I grabbed the column and gave it a wiggle and it moved. I wiggled and move it a bit more and it slide out.

There in my hand was a secret compartment filled with the letters my great-grandmother had written to her son in a German POW camp, and his replies.

My mother didn’t know it was there, my grandmother didn’t know it was there. I found it because I knew to look.

Hidden gun compartments only work if nobody knows to look.

All the hiding places you can think to hide a firearm are known. The toilet tank, the rafters in your basement. Heck that one worked for my lady’s grandfather for 35 years until my lady got curious and took the package down to examine it and then panic called the RCMP to pick up that evil bolt action rifle from WWII.

Hiding it in the attic? Nope, people will look there. They will search every inch of your place.

Places that might work.

If you’ve ever seen a detective show where they remove the plumbing in order to check for blood, you know that a serious search is likely to look in hard to reach places. You need to put your firearms in places that can’t be reached.

In the walls is a good place but you need to realize that you will need to destroy your wall in order to get to them.

Take a drywall saw and cut an opening large enough to easily access all of your firearms. Prep your firearms for long term storage. Place them in plastic bags, place them in the wall. Put insulation around them to keep them from moving.

Now take wood slats and put them across the corners inside the wall and screw them in place. Take the rectangle you cut out and put it back in the opening. Screw it in place at the corners.

Tape and mud the joint.

Now paint the entire room.

Forget you ever put those items in that wall. Those firearms and ammo are for the time when you are ready to pull the trigger and not before.

Ammo issued for military use is normally good for 100 years or more. I have used ammo over 75 years old. It works. Sometimes it doesn’t but most of it will. When you prepare those firearms use something like Cosmoline. Make sure the version you get can be removed with some sort of solvent.

How good is this sort of hiding place? It only works if nobody knows they are there. It doesn’t take much equipment to find big chunks of metal in walls.

In the same sort of way, you can sometimes hide smaller firearms in walls under electrical boxes.

There are electrical boxes that use wings to hold them against the dry wall. You find a double box and remove that box and replace it with one of the wing box styles. Take a strong line, like paracord, and tie it to the prepared firearm. Make sure you can lift the firearm with just that line.

Lower the firearm through the hole and tie the line to something inside the wall. The line doesn’t have to be taught. You just want to be able to easily retrieve the line.

Then put the box in place, use the wings to hold it firmly. Put the cover plate back on and you are good.

This method is known but it takes some sort of drive to actually take every cover plate off and to move every box to check for that line. This is why it is important not to attach the line to the box. You don’t want somebody to be able to detect the line when they are looking into the box.

I might not be able to get an AR-15 into that hiding place but I’m sure I can fit a 16″ Winchester ’94.

All of these in the wall or ceiling hiding places depend on the person doing the search to not bother to look in the walls. If the police believe something is in the walls, they will pull the drywall off to check.

That rectangle you cut might be good, but is it good enough? You might want to remove and replace an entire sheet if that’s a concern.

But if they have the time, they are going to use the right equipment to do a through search.

Which takes us back to the beginning. Hide your gear where nobody will look for it. The best hiding place in the world won’t work if people know to look for something there. And remember, they don’t care if they damage things.

You hide a document taped to the bottom of a drawer? So what that it is a pain for you to get to. They will pull the entire drawer out, dump the contents to search and examine all sides of the drawer.

You think it is a pain to get to the thing attached to the back inside of a china cabinet? They don’t care if your good china cracks as they pull everything out.

Go read about the Gordian Knot. The gist of the story is that people used a fancy personalized knots on the outside of barred doors. If your knot was there when you returned then you could be sure nobody had entered while you were gone.

This worked fine until the dudes that wanted in just cut the knot off and went in. They didn’t care that you would know they had been in.

So how do you actually hide something in a way that it is extremely difficult to find?

You bury it.

You can’t use preexisting caves and such, others will either already know of them or they will find them later. You might consider putting it in a man made structure or a tree or something of that sort. The problem with those is that they don’t last and people will find the most amazing things.

Look at GeoCaching. They hide caches in different locations. If you do a bit of reading you will find that people randomly find cache’s all the time. They weren’t actually looking for a cache, they just found it.

The first rule of burying something is that nobody can know about the hole you dug. If somebody knows you dug that hole, they are going to report it or investigate.

So make sure that nobody knows you are digging that hole. That also means don’t do things that attract attention. For example, going out into the woods at 0100 with your pickax and shovel to dig a hole might get people wondering why.

Next, holes are obvious, even after you fill them back. Not all of the dirt you took out will go back in. You will end up with a spot in the ground that might be softer or dip a little bit. Make sure that where you dig your hole the final result will just blend in.

Remember, those people that are out hiking in the woods might come across that sunken part and remark “Gee, that looks like a shallow grave.” Which is fine as long as they don’t tell people that are curious about digging up said shallow grave.

Don’t dig holes where they are easy to find. X marks the spot is a horrible way to place your cache. “Three feet north of the base of the old oak tree” is horrible. People look for things like “old oak tree”.

Your cache has to be in a place that has no natural marker(s).

Dig it deep! Ground penetrating radar is currently good to about six feet. If you are going to bury something you don’t want found, think 10 foot deep or deeper. Yes, that is a lot of dirt to move.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!

Remember to include directions!!!!

Just because you know how to do it and it seems simple, the person that recovers your cache might not know. This is one of the issues the Jews had in the ghettos. They didn’t have any firearm knowledge. They had to figure out how to load and unload the guns they had. They had to learn about all the different controls without ever having it go bang when they didn’t intend it to.

Marking your cache

In machining we talk about a “datum”. This is a surface or hole that other things are measured from. So we can say “Drill a hole 0.500+/-0.005 from the top edge and 0.500+0.005 from the right side.”

Both the top and right sides are datum in this case. We can measure from them.

Now consider that the top of the thing isn’t a flat surface but instead rounded. It becomes much much harder to measure from it.

In reloading you can see the same sort of thing with head spacing. If you are head spacing for .45Colt then you are measuring from the top surface of the rim. If you are head spacing for 9mm you are measuring from the mouth of the case.

But if you are head spacing for 5.56 you are measuring from a point somewhere down the slope of the neck of the case. And that makes things more difficult to directly measure.

Here is an example of how to create a datum that does not exist until you need it.

  • Tree 1: Large red oak
  • Tree 2: Medium maple
  • Rock 1: Granite outcrop north east of Tree 1 and north west of Tree 2
  • Rock 2: Bolder
  • Target: 37 meters south west

Now these instructions shouldn’t make any real since to you until you have a mental image, supplied by the diagram included. Diagram of datum construction

The trees and rocks are located. A line is crated between tree 1 and tree 2. Another line between rock 1 and rock 2. The point at which they intersect is your datum.

From there move 37 meters south west. And there is the cache.

Some considerations when you create this sort of datum. Your cache should NOT be inside the listed points.

The location of the target should not be listed with the landmarks. I.e. Let one person know how to find the datum, and another person knows how to locate the cache once the datum is located.

You don’t have to use a compass direction, you can use another landmark.

Don’t be afraid to have your landmarks some distance apart. If you know that the landmarks are 50 yards apart and the cache is 75 yards away from the datum you make it harder for people to spot your landmarks.

Finally, make sure that when the government agents show up to search your castle for weapons that they go away happy. Everybody knows you own firearms. Just assume that is true.

When the government comes in and wants to take your firearms, hand over some firearms. They are more likely to walk away assuming they took all of your firearms if they took most of them and found a couple badly hidden.

“Ok. I’m sorry, I forgot about the AR in the bedroom. But you have all of my guns. Why are you leaving me defenseless!!!!” is a much better sob story than “I’m sorry officer, I lost all my firearms in the tragic canoe accident of 2021.” Don’t assume they are stupid. Don’t assume they don’t know.

Push back but let them win. And be ready for them to come back the next day.

Many many stories of government agents searching a location. Waiting a few days and searching again, knowing that their targets would assume the place just searched was a safe place.


Quote: If it is time to hide your firearms, it is time to start using them.

I don’t believe that is where we are that point. We might be close, but we are not there. You have to decide how you are going to prepare for your future, for your children’s future, and for your children’s children’s future.

One of the things I considered was ammunition. In 100 years are people going to be able to purchase ammunition for firearms? If not, what can they do.

I have firearms in .45Colt and 45-70 for exactly this reason. These are cartridges that were designed for black powder. I might not be able to get smokeless powder. But I sure as heck can make black powder.

So think of creating caches with something like a Lee Precision Hand Press Kit. It is small enough to fit in a cache. This plus some primers, bullet molds, and instructions might be enough to let your descendants create ammunition for those ancient firearms you have in your cache.

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By awa

11 thoughts on “Where did I put that?”
  1. A very thoughtful and in depth article as usual thankya for the tips. The bit about marking the cache was especially appreciated.

    Someone once said when staying in a non-secure location to think of ten places to hide things, then throw all those ideas out because they’d be the first places the baddies would check. Repeat as many times as needed.

    The idea of caching reloading or casting equipment is a very good idea I hadn’t thought of before. Goes to reason that maintenance and carrying gear should go in with weapons.

  2. One tiny issue with burying something in some areas- you will need it in the middle of FEBRUARY after 2 an a half months of below zero temperatures. You better have a way to dig thru 4 feet of solid frozen dirt. Go scrapping and get a bunch of steel pipe and such- bury THAT in your yard all over. Give the boys with the metal detectors something to do. Hide your stuff right out in plain site…. Good article!!

  3. The cache location piece reminds me of the cache in Bracken’s “Enemies foreign and domestic”. Worth reading not just for that but for many other things.
    Re making your own powder: I’ve been wondering if it’s practical to make smokeless powder. It would be interesting to study that. I know how to make nitroglycerin, which is a key ingredient. Along the same lines, unless you’re planning to use flintlocks, you’ll need primers. I recently found an online treatise on home made primers (if I remember right, that means both the metal shell and the percussion material inside). Also worth reading.
    On all these “how to” things: you’ll want to have those in paper form, not ebooks. And it might be worth while keeping a copy in your cache, just in case the forces of evil start to confiscate not just weapons but also information on how to make them.
    And that brings up another notion: read, and consider keeping some of that in paper form.

    1. It might be possible to create smokeless powder but you need to know how to get the precursors without raising suspicions. Sulfur is so common in so many different things that it isn’t tracked as a precursor. And as far as I know, it is not used in making recreational drugs. That leaves KNO3, this you can make yourself though it takes a while, but it is also used in creating bio-diesel. Thus you can buy it in bulk for that purpose. Charcoal is easy to make at home and only requires a source of hardwood chips. Maybe I’ll do an article on home made black powder at some point.

      I thought I said to include primers in the cache. I know I was thinking it, not sure my fingers got the message. I’ll add it if I don’t already have it.

      About those instructions… Think about teaching whatever needs to be taught to somebody that is truly ignorant. The other day I asked my lady to bring me a 3/8″ ratchet. It took her 5 minutes to locate a ratchet. Once she did, she was looking at sockets and trying to find a 3/8 socket before I got her to bring the ratchet she had to me. Which was 1/2″ drive.

      She is ignorant of all parts of “tool identification”. When you write your instructions for your cache you will need to write instructions for somebody that has never used a tool before. That is difficult.

      1. The key precursor is nitric acid. Is that considered suspicious? I know it can be made if you can’t buy it, but I don’t remember the procedure or how hard it is.
        Yes, you mentioned primers (I missed it). My comment was partly thinking out loud wondering which parts of what you need can be made, and which parts need to be stockpiled and you’re SOL once they run out. The goal would be for that second list to be as small as possible. That applies to prepping generally, of course.

      2. Go to your local whatever big box store, go to the gardening/yard department. You’ll discover that many forms of tree stump remover are Potassium Nitrate. The pharmacy section will have Flowers of Sulphur as well as activated Charcoal, and both may also be in the gardening department.

        1. Neat, thanks!
          I was wondering if ammonium nitrate could be substituted, but given that the classic ingredients are readily available that sounds like a good thing.

  4. I work on a lot of cars as a shade tree mechanic. I never let a bad alternator go to waste. I have so many brake drums and metal parts buried at varying depths it would take a LOT of time to dig them all up. There is bedrock at varying depths with iron that adds to the fun. They may still get my stuff, but at least it will buy others a week or two!!!

  5. “There in my hand was a secret compartment filled with the letters my great-grandmother had written to her son in a German POW camp, and his replies.”

    What a cool family discovery.

  6. In regards to precursor ingredients: potters/glazers, painters, your friend with the pool, that guy with the backyard forge, or that nice lady who etches and paints glasses are your friends. Build a community trade goodies.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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