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The importance of gun safes in the home for responsible gun owners

Discover innovative solutions for keeping your guns both secured and accessible at home

It goes without saying that cops must secure their firearms in the home, especially if there are children in the house or if you ever have untrained friends over. We are responsible both legally and ethically to keep our firearms secured from unauthorized access or theft. Have a lock box or safe is a big part of that goal.

Do’s and don’ts

Rather than purchase a security box, some people choose to load and unload their duty pistol daily to make them “safe” in case their children gain access to them. I do not recommend that practice.

Even high-quality pistol rounds that are chambered repeatedly can suffer damage. That damage might be to the primer cup, meaning the round will not fire, which is bad. That practice also might result in the bullet getting forced back into the brass, creating an overpressure situation, which is really bad.

Lastly, doing so is a bit of a mental surrender that your unsecured firearm may be handled by someone who should not have access to it. A lockbox with proper key control is a better option.

Long guns

Rifles and shotguns are less of a concern in this regard since we don’t (shouldn’t anyway) carry them with a round chambered anyway. Still, they need to be secured.

The level of security you choose is largely dependent upon budget. I will tell you that none of the options I will offer you here will replace a 500-2,000-pound safe mounted securely to the foundation of your house. However, even those can be compromised with enough time, persistence and skill.


We need our guns secured, but also accessible. When we brought my daughter home from the hospital, I purchased an under-the-bed safe for long guns and pistol safe that I mounted on the top of our closet. I kept the keys in the pocket of my sweats or shorts as I loafed about the house. The lock boxes I purchased weren’t the most theft-proof equipment on the market, but my primary concern was my kid’s safety. A few years later, my decision to make that modest purchase was affirmed. Though I was certain I’d kept her prying eyes from seeing me put my guns up daily, I watched her toddle into our room and try to climb the shelf toward the pistol safe. Never underestimate the observation skills or ingenuity of a child.

With that in mind, here are some options for you to consider.

Ensuring safety starts at home. Learn how to effectively secure your firearms at home, balancing safety and accessibility. What steps do you take to protect your family and neighbors?

Stack-On GCB-500 Pistol Cabinet

Stack-On makes economical lock boxes for gun storage. At $96 (as of this writing), the GCB-500 Pistol Cabinet is a good option if your primary concern is keeping kids and unauthorized guests from accessing your firearms. They will be more vulnerable to theft than some of the higher-end options. It is key controlled and can be mounted by itself or in conjunction with the GCB-8RTA Steel 8-Gun cabinet, which sells for about $300.

Liberty Quick Vault Handgun Safe HD-200

Liberty makes quality stuff. The HD-200 is a quick access safe that can be mounted to a nightstand or other location of your choosing. Its 9-volt battery-powered “Soft Touch Combo,” pops the door open after the code is entered. The code can be modified from the old “1234” standard. The electronic lock is, of course, backed up by a key because regardless of quality, anything can fail. The interior lights up when the door is opened. This is a very secure design for only $140.

Hornady RAPiD Safe AR Gun Locker

The RAPiD Safe AR Gun Locker is a legit safe. It’s designed to be mounted standing in a closet or under a bed. Properly mounted, either to a surface or via its 1500-pound rated cable, it offers an elevated level of security for both unauthorized access and theft. There are no codes to set. Access is gained by either an RFID wristband, key fob, or decal. This safe is made of 16-gauge steel with four internal locking lugs. This is a slightly pricier option, but well worth the cost if it’s within your budget.

Make your guns safe

Locking up your guns is an integral part of home safety. When it comes to children and firearms, education is equally important. Below is a PSA I made several years ago for my community when I was even worse at speaking on camera than I am today. Please make the investment in both dollars (if you can) and time in making your guns truly safe.

Warren Wilson is a captain, training commander and rangemaster with an Oklahoma metropolitan police department. He is a former SWAT team leader, current firearms instructor and writer. He is certified as a De-Escalation Instructor and Force Science Analyst by the Force Science Institute. Warren has over 3,100 hours of documented training including multiple instructor certifications on firearms, active shooter and OC. He has been a full-time law enforcement officer since 1996.