Showing posts with label Sentry Safe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sentry Safe. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gun Safe Discssion: Options I Have Used

TEOTWAWKI Blog asked about gun safes in a recent bleg. I thought it would be a good bridge to discussing different options for securing firearms (or I suppose other valuables). To keep the discussion more bout my personal experiences than something conceptual we will discuss mostly options I have used.

Before we start it is important to have a common foundation. In no particular order here we go:

-There are many reasons for wanting to lock up/ secure guns. The most common are to prevent them from being accessed by unauthorized users such as young children, preventing theft and protection from fire and or water damage.

-The reason you are looking to secure guns matters considerably in the methods and type of containers that make sense.

Case in point; when Walker was a tiny baby we went on a family vacation. Naturally a pistol, in this case my trusty Glock 19 came along. I needed a way to keep him from potentially getting his hands on my pistol while I was not wearing it when in the place we were staying. I purchased a small plastic case that closed tightly with two zippers you could slip a small lock through. Simply placed my (unloaded) pistol in this case, locked it and put it on top of a tall piece of furniture. A fine and very affordable solution for that specific situation. Honestly just putting my pistol 4 feet off the ground would very arguably be sufficient but I wanted an additional barrier in case say I took my pistol off and set it on a bed while changing and forgot to move it.

[Furthermore fundamentally in houses with small kids my fundamental belief is that guns need to be under the control of an adult or secured to prevent children from inadvertently accessing them. I know there are a multitude of viewpoints on this topic and what exactly constitutes 'small kids'. There are certainly a range of reasonable viewpoints. This is really all I plan to say specifically on this topic.]

However a couple years later with kids who can walk and get into all manner of stuff that option would obviously not work.

The solution for preventing unauthorized access may be entirely insufficient for preventing theft.  A solution that prevents theft might not work for fire.

You get the idea.

-In securing anything there is a give and take relationship between accessibility and security. More accessibility means less security and visa versa. This has to be balanced depending on your needs. In my mind this relationship leads itself to a split between primary defensive and very regularly used sporting firearms and whatever else may be in your collection.

-The hard truth is in the vast majority of violent crimes around the home you are not going to have time to go to the big ole gun safe, open the combination lock you probably mess up about half the time (when not under pressure), get a gun and load that gun. This already unlikely scenario is even less likely if your safe is in a less trafficked part of the home like a basement or garage and even worse if all ammo is stored separately. More on this later.

-When it comes to criminals of the burglar type or whatever. Typically they are not in a house for very long. If they can't carry it off strait away the odds they will bother are minimal. Of course sometimes they know you are gone for a week and the house is secluded or they know something particularly valuable is present at which point they will break into safe's, tear up walls and floors, etc all. Along these lines it is important to remember that people can break into anything if given sufficient motivation. Crooks regularly break into jewelry stores and bank vaults which have far better security than any normal person can afford.

- A sense of proportion both to what you want to secure in a safe and your overall financial situation is important. An average guy getting a several hundred dollar gun safe to secure several thousand dollars combined value in guns, jewelry, precious metals and cash makes sense. A well off enthusiast twenty thousand dollar safe to secure a high 5 to low 6 figure Class III collection makes sense. A twenty thousand dollar gun safe to secure Joe Everyday's 7-10k in stuff fails the common sense test.

- As a general rule it is smart to buy a bigger gun safe than you currently need or anticipate needing in the immediate future. The reason for this is many, if not all, gun collections grow over time and you cannot really add more capacity to a safe once it is full. Many people end up selling a smaller safe to fund a larger one or picking up an additional safe to close the gap.

I use the 'buying beer to take to a party' rule. If you(r group) want a 6 pack bring a 12, if you want a 12 bring an 18 or a case, you get the idea.

-Generally speaking I dislike electronic locks. The exception is if the speed of access they offer is needed for defensive weapons. Don't buy electronic locks from cheap manufacturers. Make sure there is a back up combo or key.

-The biometric (finger print) safe's are a nice idea but I dislike depending on a fairly cheap electronic device to read a finger print AND myself to present my finger print onto the scanner the same way as I entered it at 3am when men are talking in the living room. I'd rather have a combo type electronic lock. 

Now that we have that stuff out of the way lets get to some specific products.

For readily accessible defensive use:
-The GunVault NV200 NanoVault with Key Lock, Fits Full Size 1911 Style Pistols as well as many similar products is a little locking metal box that holds a handgun and some stuff like a light and a mag or two smaller handguns.

My GunVault NV300 NanoVault with Combination Lock (several manufacturers make very similar products) opens with a 3 number dial combination lock akin to a bike lock. This is handy to me because it avoids the 'where is that #*$*#*' key' problem which could be devastating in a crisis.  Access is fairly quick. Security is good for small children and keeping from getting shot with your own gun though a crook would likely take the whole thing and sort it out later. I find these quite handy for traveling. Their affordable cost and compact nature makes these ideal to securely stash in a hall closet, behind some books on a shelf or in a drawer. A couple of these paired with your back up .45 and the J frame you got for a great deal are an excellent way to have some defensive options around the home.

In our bedroom we keep a Sentry Safe HDC11E Home Defense Center 2.1 Cubic Feet with my 870P and Glock 19 with a light as well as Wifey's revolver. This is an excellent product that lets you have a long gun and a pistol (or two) very quickly accessible. The downside is it's expensive. If a long gun  being secure AND very accessible is not a deal maker for you the expense would be hard to justify.


There are lots of small quick access type pistol sized gun safe's like the Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe that can be mounted by the bed or whatever. These can often be mounted to a floor or piece of furniture. These can be easily concealed or obscured due to their small size. If money was less of an object I would have one in every room of our house.

There are other products available but these  are generally representative of  the general types of containers I like for securing primary (grab at 3AM, etc) type weapons.

For a more bulk storage of guns you do not need to access immediately a larger container is the answer.

For smaller collections and budgets a 'gun cabinet' is a good option. These are basically steel cabinets (think industrial filing cabinets) with a lock that can be screwed/ bolted in place.

In college I purchased a Stack-On GCG-910 Steel 10-Gun Security Cabinet, Green when I lived with a couple guys and there were often people over. These are a good option to keep several guns locked up away from unauthorized users and have some theft deterrent, A normal sized guy can carry one, even full of guns, but especially if secured to the wall/ floor, it is a lot harder than shoving a handgun in your pants or a few handguns in a pillow case and wrapping a couple long guns in a blanket. Still I would say the primary benefit of these is security from unauthorized users with theft a distant second.

The biggest benefit of these is cost. As a broke college kid when the local 'Mart had em on sale for $88 I crapped up the cash. Today at $130ish to secure a few long guns and as many pistols as you can shove in these are a smoking deal. With a little bit of prioritization anybody can afford one of these. cabinets and prevent small kids from accessing their guns while also deterring theft.Also being (relatively) small and light these can fit discretely in a normal sized closet and are easy to move which is handy for young people as well as folks who are semi nomadic or in transition.

For a bigger and more expensive collection a real safe makes sense.

It is worth mentioning a gem I found on ARF.

Safe threads are always fun, I'll give you the cliffs notes for the next twelve pages:

1> Someone will post that you need to spend $25k on a real safe, everything else is just a big coffee can
2> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
3> Then someone will post a video of that $25k safe being broken into by a toddler with a toothbrush in 13 milliseconds
4> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
5> Someone will post that you need to spend $50k on a real safe, everything else is just a big coffee can
6> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
7> Then someone will post a video of that $50k safe being broken into by a toddler with a toothbrush in 13 milliseconds
8> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
9> Someone will post that you need to spend $75k on a real safe, everything else is just a big coffee can
10> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
11> Then someone will post a video of that $75k safe being broken into by a toddler with a toothbrush in 13 milliseconds
12> He'll be plus one'd for a few posts
13> ...

End quote

I ended up with a few hundred dollar  Field and Stream 24 gun safe. It has a manual lock and a 30 minute fire rating. This safe is big enough to hold a pretty decent stash of guns, especially if you really organize it well. I will get a few G.P.S. Pistol Soft Foam Cradle Holder to help with that as the safe fills up. Beyond that when the safe gets full I will likely set up another cache someplace.

You can certainly spend more money on larger and fancier safes. Personally the 500 pound range is about the top limit I am going to be able to move with a good dolly and a buddy so I do not want a larger one. At that point I would likely just get another safe.

The last option if you are pretty permanently settled is to build a gun room. If you are going to have 2-3 big heavy duty gun safe's the cost is not really that different. 

So those are my thoughts on that. What do you think?

Friday, January 24, 2014

RE: Debate: The Handgun as the Primary Weapon

Max Velocity wrote  Debate: The Handgun as the Primary Weapon.

Personally I think the conversation got too bogged down in the term "primary". The comments section was disjointed with people talking apples and oranges because they were all using generic terms like SHTF to describe different scenarios. I do not plan to weigh in on whether a handgun can be "the primary weapon". Instead I plan to discuss the times and circumstances where one might choose, if only by process of elimination, a handgun vs when they might choose a rifle.

Before we go any further it is worth noting that any firearms battery that is smaller than a basic 4 of handgun, shotgun, .22 rifle and a centerfire rifle is a compromise that is inevitably missing some important capability. One could take that a level further and include the next logical 3guns (dedicated CCW pistol like a 642 (presuming the first pistol is larger) or a baby Glock, a bolt gun if your first rifle is a semi auto or opposite if rifle #1 is a bolt gun and a .22 pistol) in that argument. Anyway this isn't a what to buy first discussion though I am on the record about that. Also a lot of that sort of discussion is touched on in my basic guns series.

For a home defense gun Chris Costa makes an interesting case for the utility of handguns.  Personally in our Sentry Safe Home Defender I keep a Glock 9mm with a light and a Project AR which has a light as well as Wifey's .38. Next to the safe sits my plate carrier and battle belt. In any case for home defense use whatever you prefer.

So when does a handgun make sense? A handgun makes sense all the time. I carry one as much as I am functionally and more or less legally able to do so.

To further define that question. So in what SHTF/ disaster type situations does being armed solely with a handgun make sense? Basically being out and about in any sort of situation on the continuum between normal everyday and Mad Max thunder dome time. This could include riots, natural disasters including large regional ones, economic collapses, etc all.  While my default answer to most problems is to avoid them by staying home that is not quite realistic. Say the figurative drunk driver that is our current economy takes a turn a bit slow then over corrects and ends up in the ditch. I am almost surely still going to work and will be seeking to continue purchasing food, etc all. In this case I might upgrade from the S&W 642 to a Glock with a light. Might add a couple extra mags to my belt or even stash a couple of those big 33rder's in a cargo pocket. I might even choose to wear soft body armor or a stripped plate carrier. However I'm not going to get away with walking into the store to buy $20 milk and $5 banana's with an AR-15. I'll keep the AR handy at home and might even start keeping a long gun in our vehicle but when I part and go to do errand's it is going to be the pistol that I'm relying on to defend myself.

Conversely when is a rifle useful during a SHTF type scenario? Well they are always handy things to have around the house. For fun shooting as well as a handy capability to throw accurate hate down on somebody multiple football fields away nothing beats a rifle.

Having one at home is handy. Having one in a vehicle can be quite comforting. I like my odds against the EBT deprived hordes much better if my AR and battle belt are sitting under an old blanket in the floor of the back seat. 

When would a person carry a rifle around? I have heard of people doing it during various Hurricanes. Folks doing neighborhood watch type patrols armed with long guns during Katrina and the like. We all know the Korean grocers found rifles and shotguns pretty handy during the LA Riots.


Obviously in your Red Dawn/ Mad Max/ Civil War type scenarios rifles are pretty darn important. If you are in a fight with a person who has a rifle and have anything less capable you are at a real disadvantage. Also a rifles range is pretty darn handy. At this point the odds are you won't be going many places anyhow. The issue of taking my AR to the grocery store is moot if the store is empty and closed down if not burned. Also if things genuinely got that bad folks would probably carrying guns a lot more anyhow.

In conclusion.

1)You genuinely need a pistol. Right now the hard truth is that it is the weapon you are most likely to defend yourself with given that it can be readily carried outside of your home/ property.

2)There are many realistic situations where even though you might WANT to carry a rifle you will not be able to do so. One could argue these numerous realistic situations are more likely and more of a concern than the largely apocalypse porn fiction based  'Mad Max without rule of law shit hit the fan time'.

3) All of that being said you do need a rifle. Look at it like this. Most of us probably carry a folding type knife to do normal everyday tasks. However sometimes that knife will not cut it and we need a big butcher knife. The butcher knife is the rifle. You don't need it very often but when you need it you really need it. However while you do need to own the butcher knife you don't need to carry it around all the time to open envelopes and cut string, that is what your folder is for.

You need a rifle to TRAIN now while you still have the chance. If the day comes when you need to grab a rifle and a chest rig/ battle belt to go protect home and hearth then no other gun will substitute and the pistol takes a much less important role.

Thoughts?


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Home Defense Weapon Locations and Hearing Protection

Yesterday's discussion led to some interesting follow on topics.

1) Locations of home defense weapons.

2) Hearing protection in home defense.

I will talk them both.

Locations of home defense weapons. In the last post we talked guns but didn't really touch on placement/ locations of guns. Rodger T astutely mentioned "One problem I see in my setup is that most of the time I am actually not in my bedroom. If I am in living room watching tv, I should probably have a firearm there with me too, right? Do people do this? I'm starting to think I should stow one near kitchen/living room so I don't have to run to the bedroom."

My answer is yes Rodger a gun in the bedroom is really only handy if you are in or near the bedroom. 

Broadly speaking there are two answers to this problem. The first answer is to carry your handgun of choice, whatever it may be, from the moment you wake up to when you go to sleep. Tactically and logistically this is really the best option. You have the same weapon immediately accessible in the same location all the time. Great idea but many people will not do that. Why you ask? Maybe they just don't want to. Maybe they like wearing stretchy pants, or no pants, when at home.

A shoulder holster is a good option here as you can carry a full sized gun with 2x reloads comfortably without being dependent on pants/ a belt to hold them up.  Smaller guns are also an option here. A fellow who hangs out here carries a little S&W J frame with a clip grip in this role.

For people who will not carry their handgun very consistently at home the best option is to have multiple weapons located around their residence. One in the bedroom, another in the kitchen, a third in the garage, whatever. The first issue is this requires multiple weapons which not all people have. A 4 gun plan doesn't work with 2 guns. The second issue is you are going to be slower to react than if the weapon is on your body. Third if you have children or otherwise potential unauthorized users these guns all need to be secured. There are options for this across the price range from $30 to several hundred dollars. Security and access are better on the higher end with the lower end really being good for keeping kids out as a small lock box could be carried away in a pillowcase then broken into with a pry bar at the burglar's convenience.

What is the right answer for you? I cannot really say without a lot of information. It could be one or the other, maybe even a combination of the two. Personally I split the middle carrying a weapon in my home a lot but do have plans in place for the times I just don't feel like it.

Hope that answers the question.

Second to the question of hearing protection for home defense. Anyone who has fired or been near a weapon being fired in an enclosed space can attest to it being really, really loud. I have been in this scenario multiple times. A pair of reasonably priced electronic ear muff's sit on top of my Sentry Safe Home Defender. If I have a second to get them on I will do so. This will let me retain my hearing to not be at a disadvantage in case other (presuming the gun shots stop Goblin #1) Goblins are in my home.

Yes I would encourage ear muff's, particularly electronic ones, being incorporated in home defense.

What are your thoughts on locations of home defense weapons? What about hearing protection for home defense?


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Keeping Home Defense Guns Ready And Secure: The Sentry Safe Home Defense Center

How to keep defensive weapons ready but secure from small dangerous children is something we have put a bit of thought into. The answer that guns need to be in the physical control of an adult or secured is pretty obvious. Normal cabinets and safes are good for security (to keep guns  away from small kids anyway) but leave a lot to be desired in terms of access. If you honestly think that getting into a combo safe and rummaging through it's contents to find a gun is something you can do quickly in the dark I wish you the best. Key safes have their own issues that you either need to keep a key in the room, kind of a security no no, have it on your neck which is a hassle or on your key ring that will inevitably be forgotten in the living room just that one time.

There are a lot of good options for securing a handgun or two in a quickly accessible way with numerous many key pad and finger print type safes out. These are a fine option if you are only concerned about accessing a pistol. However if you want ready access to a secure long gun options haven't been great.

Enter the Sentry Safe Home Defense Center.  These things are designed to hold a shotgun or rifle and a pistol in a secure but readily accessible way. They are to the best of my knowledge a pretty unique safe if not the only such safe on the market today. The safe is opened by a 4 button punch code which is nothing novel. It really just takes existing technology used in pistol safes and brings it to a safe that can hold a long gun. Aside from being the only (to the best of my knowledge) such product on the market there are some cool features. The corner door is a really novel idea. It gives wide open access without having a big door that requires a lot of space to open. There is a recessed shelf with a grippy foam insert that would be perfect to hold a few key defensive items or some EDC stuff. The long gun is held in place by a couple foam covered rollers so it is secure but can be pulled out easily. The pistol shelf has a nice angled tray that holds a pistol at the ready. There is room for another handgun in there on the opposite side of the tray, not quite as fast as the first one but the space is there. Now that we have the basic stats it is time for some discussion.

These things are definitely a niche item. They are very useful for folks who are concerned about preventing unwanted firearms access but none the less want their weapons readily accessible. Typically this is folks with young children. Also since these things cost $400 and only hold 2-3 guns you have to be willing to spend a few bucks. I'm not saying they are for everybody but for the right folks these seem like a great option.

Inside are my EDC Glock 19 and Wifey's .38 on the pistol tray and my BCM 14.5in Middy AKA Project AR Upgrade for the long gun. Some folks would debate the need for a long gun for home defense. Personally the inherent accuracy (much longer sight radius and multiple points of contact) of long guns combined with their capacity and lethality makes the long gun a logical choice for home defense. Some folks would say a short barreled shotgun with OO Buck is the way to go. While they are a fine weapon personally I think in terms of defense anything a shotgun can do a capable semi automatic magazine fed rifle can do better. A modern semi automatic rifle like an AR or AK (or I suppose a Mini 14) holds 30ish rounds and is effective out to a a few hundred yards or further while a shotgun holds 5-8 rounds and is effective to 25-40ish yards. Also common affordable (which means pump) shotguns require manipulation between shots while rifles do not. Not saying a pump shotgun isn't a fine home defense weapon, just that if legal and financial considerations are not entered into the equation a semi auto mag fed rifle dominated any semi realistic scenario I can think of.

[For anybody dumb enough to question the effectiveness of 5.56/.223 as an anti personnel round I offer two things. 1) Small arms (let's say anything under .50 cal/ 14.5mm) are iffy stoppers with less than perfect shot placement. Imagine a dinner plate centered on the sternum and a saucer centered between the eyes. Hit these and somebody will be out of the fight in a hurry. Miss them and results will vary. Believe it or not everybody shot in Korea and WWII as well as prior when pretty much everybody carried .30 cal "battle rifles" in rounds like 7.62x54R did not die immediately. Lots of people got shot in the arm, leg or less essential parts of the torso and did not die. Heck a lot of them kept right on fighting. 2) As a civilian I can use hollow point ammunition. If you are so stupid as to argue that 5.56 JHP is not an effective man stopper then I have little interest in talking with you.]

So far I am pretty psyched about this product. It has seriously improved our defensive readiness. Certainly not cheap but for us I think worth the money. Will do more of a formal review once I have some more experience with it.

Are your defensive weapons readily accessible at a moments notice? To anybody or just you? Something to think about.






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