Where to Put a Gun Safe
Whether you are looking to purchase a gun safe or already have one in your possession, it is important to choose the proper location for it to be installed. Often you are balancing the need for personal accessibility with points like visibility and better security. However, you also need to consider issues like the conditions surrounding the safe and even if it would be accessed through an exterior wall.
Before you bolt your gun safe into place, here are some pros and cons you need to know about some of the more popular installation locations.
Bedroom: 9/10, particularly if spare bedroom is chosen. Close by, secure.
Home Office:9/10, but only if it’s hidden well, otherwise 7/10.
Living Room:2/10. If installed in a coat closet, 6/10.
Family Room/Den: 7/10.
Kitchen:1/10, high risk of damage.
Bathroom:2/10 in full bathroom, 7/10 in half bathroom.
Basement:4/10, moderate risk of environmental, flooding or humidity damage
Attic:6/10, floor will likely need to be reinforced to hold safe
Garage:1/10, high risk of theft, high risk of fire/environment damage
Bedroom (Recommended – Score of 9/10):
A bedroom is the most common choice for installing a gun safe. First, it means the firearms are close by at night for instances when home protection is a concern. Second, these areas are typically private. Most homeowners limit access to these rooms, making it less likely a visitor or service professional will end up in the space accidentally.
For homes with children, or where all bedrooms are in use, the master bedroom closet can be an excellent choice, especially if it is adjacent to interior walls only. In most cases, only the homeowner will access the closet regularly, so it is less likely to attract the attention of a child or other person living in the home that doesn’t need access to the gun.
However, in cases where a spare bedroom is available, it can also be an outstanding choice. While it may be less accessible during a night-time break-in when you are asleep, it could offer more protection in cases where you aren’t home. Thieves often check the master bedroom for valuables but may be less inclined to check a guest room if their time is limited.
In either case, if the home is built on a slab, installing a floor safe in a bedroom closet can make it harder to spot for those who aren’t aware of its presence. This is especially true if the top of the safe can be covered by a removable piece of flooring that matches the rest of the space or even a laundry hamper. Otherwise, the safe needs to be bolted down to make sure thieves don’t simply pick up the entire safe and take it with them to open later.
If a bedroom is being used by a child, it is never a good choice for a gun safe regardless of any other factor.
Home Office (Recommended – Score of 9/10, but only if it’s hidden well):
Another room that can often be a good choice for a gun safe is a home office. Like bedrooms, it typically doesn’t experience a lot of foot traffic, so guests and children might not spend much time in the area. However, a home office may not feature a closet, requiring a different installation location for suitable security.
When installing a gun safe in a room, it is important to choose a discreet spot. If you have a large safe, make sure it isn’t visible from a window. Smaller gun safes might be able to be concealed by other office furnishings, while some even mount directly to well-constructed pieces of furniture, like solid wood desks.
Similarly, diversion gun safes, such as those that resemble books or picture frames, often blend in well in a home office. Just make sure it won’t accidentally be picked up by a household member or a housekeeper and that it’s secured to a wall or piece of sturdy furniture.
It is important to note that home offices are often sought out by thieves. They typically contain electronics, like computers, and include items adults in the home wish to protect. In cases of a home business, there may be financial records or even cash boxes in the room, both of which can have value to someone breaking in. So, if you do choose this space, the gun safe must be well secured and as hidden as possible.
Living Room (Not recommended, 2/10):
The living room is normally the most public space in your home; it is shared by family members and commonly hosts visitors. Additionally, it is often adjacent to the front door, making it the first stop to thieves who break-in using the door and easier to scope out for people considering breaking in. It also may be more difficult to access your safe for home protection, making it less ideal than other choices.
Often, there aren’t many options for discreetly placing a large gun safe in the room. Closets and storage areas are typically limited, so even smaller gun safes could be hard to disguise. Diversion gun safes might be appropriate if they blend in with other décor and can be secured to either a wall or sturdy piece of furniture.
However, if your living room or entry hall has a coat closet, you can store a gun safe in that space. Coat closets might not be targeted by thieves and, if it is somewhat covered or installed in the cement slab in the floor, it might be overlooked even if they do open the door.
Family Room or Den (Recommended, 7/10):
A family room or den might not see as many visitors, but it is often used by household members. Depending on who lives in the home, and the location of the space, a family room or den can provide benefits similar to a home office.
While the space might not have closets, built-in storage areas could offer a suitable amount of discretion, especially if there are solid points for bolting the safe down. If the home is built on a slab, and the floor can be reached from within the built-in, then it could be a good location for a floor safe that won’t be quickly noticed.
Kitchen (Not recommended, 1/10):
The kitchen poses problems both in the areas of accessibility to others as well as environmental risks. Often, kitchens are at risk to both fire and water damage based on the activities taking place in the space. Many home fires start in the kitchen.In fact, cooking-related fires are the most common starting place for fires in the home. Failing to turn off a stove, issues with grease, and issues with small cooking appliances can all lead to fires, making it a poor choice for a gun safe already. Add the risk of flooding due to burst pipes or other plumbing issues, and you have even more reason to choose another location.
And, while kitchens might not be targeted by thieves as often as other rooms, they are used by every member of the family and typically by visitors.Additionally, repairmen and other service professionals may access the kitchen should you need work done on your home.
Bathroom (Recommended if half bath, 7/10):
Most people wouldn’t assume a bathroom could be a good location. However, it can be depending on the details of the bathroom. While any room with plumbing could potentially flood, an upper floor ½ bath only presents a low risk, and a lower floor one only has a moderate risk. Additionally, ½ baths don’t contain showers or bathtubs, making the humidity in the space less of a factor. So, a ½ bath attached to a master bedroom can be a suitable location for a smaller gun safe if space permits. Just understand that a heavy safe can damage tile flooring, so it is important to find one that won’t cause that issue.
Full or ¾ baths will have humidity issues whenever the shower or bathtub is used, so it isn’t going to be a strong choice unless you live in a particularly dry climate and have suitable methods to remove the moisture in the air before it builds.
Basement (Not recommended, 4/10):
Basements often aren’t ideal in situations where the gun is intended for home security, as it isn’t very accessible during an emergency. However, firearms purchased for other uses, like hunting or target shooting, might be fine in a basement. Generally, thieves aren’t going to spend time rummaging through basements, especially if the space is used to store other household items and isn’t organized, which might lessen the risk of theft during a break-in.
It is important only to choose a basement if the environment is somewhat well controlled. In some regions, a basement can have a fairly stable internal temperature, but issues of moisture can be common.If you are considering your basement for your gun safe, make sure the temperature and humidity fall into the proper range before you install the safe.
Additionally, basements can be especially problematic if there is a fire or natural disaster. During fires, earthquakes, or other scenarios where the integrity of the structure is compromised, the building could collapse and fall into the basement. This increases the risk of your firearms being physically damaged, as gun safes aren’t typically designed to withstand that level of weight. Further, if a fire is involved, the heat may also damage the safe and its contents.
In cases of flooding, the basement may fill with water. If the safe is submerged, it could be completely inaccessible.The water could also penetrate the safe, damaging electronic locks and other mechanisms, including the contents.
Attic (Recommended, 6/10):
An attic can have accessibility issues similar to a basement, both to you and potential thieves, but may also present less risk in cases of fire or other natural disasters. Your first consideration before selecting the attic is the location of the access point.Attic access may be in a somewhat public space, like a hallway, or a fairly controlled area, like a bedroom closet. While thieves might bypass an attic entirely, other family members or tradesmen might need to get into the space on occasion.And that can present a risk on its own.
There also may be issues with temperature fluctuations in an attic depending on how well insulated the space is. Often, insulation is concentrated on the floor of the attic to keep the home comfortable. However, there might not be much insulation between the roof and the attic, which can make the space very hot or cold depending on the weather. Additionally, the attic floor may need to be reinforced before installing a large gun safe as it might not be designed to support that amount of weight in a single location.
Garage (Not recommended, 1/10):
In general, the garage is one of the worst locations a person can choose for a gun safe. Not only is it inconvenient for home defense, but it is also easier for thieves to breach without being detected. It isn’t uncommon for loud noises, especially those associated with the use of power tools, to emanate from a garage, so it is less likely neighbors will assume a break-in is in progress if they hear sounds coming from the area. Most people also store their tools in a garage, making it easier for thieves to find the tools they need onsite.
Garages may also have a variety of flammable substances stored in the space that wouldn’t be kept in the home. Fuel for lawnmowers, paint thinners, and a variety of other chemicals are often stored here for safety. This means the risk of a fire is higher in this space.
Finally, temperature fluctuations are common in garages, making the environment itself less than ideal. Most people don’t insulate their garage, or at least not well, and rarely install climate control options like air conditioning and heating vents. The area may also be more prone to excessive humidity which isn’t good for long-term storage of items like firearms.
Ultimately, there is no perfect location for a gun safe. While certain areas, like kitchens, children’s bedrooms and garages, are particularly bad choices, many of the others can be appropriate depending on your living situation and the construction of your home. Just consider your circumstances and personal priorities and select an option that fits your needs.