If you are a gun owner, you know that keeping your piece in a safe place is a must. But in many cases simply buying a safe or a locked storage unit might not only be an expensive choice but it might actually make them a prime target for anyone who might think that there are valuable items hidden in them. If this is an idea that frightens you, then a hidden gun storage unit might be for you.
Installing your very own hidden gun cabinet is not only a sensible idea, but it can also be surprisingly cheap and it will always guarantee that you will not only have access to your weapon of choice in an emergency situation but you will also keep these guns away from people who should not have access to them (mostly kids and intruders).
We will show you how to decide where you should install it, what materials you should use, the locking system that is best suited and if you should start with a DIY approach or go the pre-manufactured route and buy a readily available one.
What Are the Influencing Factors?
First and foremost, after you decided that you want good weapon storage, you will have to take into account some factors that might influence the way you implement your new plan.
Most times these are not legal requirements but only best practices or things that might be good to keep in mind for everybody’s physical safety. Don’t forget that you are not planning a new bookshelf, but a firearm storage that might look like a bookshelf, so safety should be always first.
Who and when can get access to this tool is of crucial importance and this is why it is always a better idea to be well prepared and take all of this into consideration. So let’s look at some of those factors that we believe should shape your decision-making.
Your Lifestyle’s Influence
This might sound like a fairly obvious idea to throw in, but we only need to look at a handful of factors to make a decision in this case. The first one would be if you live alone or have a family.
Obviously, in a family where there are no kids, this should not represent a problem, but what about where there is one or several kids or toddlers? In this case, you are pretty much required to implement good locking systems that will make the storage place impenetrable.
Placing the storage higher than usual might also be a sensible idea. Low-situated hiding spots (like coffee tables or electric outlets) might be easily accessible for a child and even if it is secured, this could still mean that you are one mishap away from a potential tragedy.
But even if there are no kids in your family, you will still have to ask the question, of who you want to have access to the weapon you are hiding. Never boast about the spot in front of people, as you might not know when that spoiled information gets out and haunts you in the future.
Be extra cautious with choosing the hiding space, if you are a social person and tend to organize parties in your house. Don’t forget that alcohol and weapons are never a good combination. This is equally true for you and your friends as well.
What Hardware Are You Packing?
After you figured out the spot, it’s time to figure out the size of the storage space. The question is what kind of weapon you want to hold (or how many of them) and obviously how much ammo you are planning to store in it.
If you are planning to store a simple Glock 19, then fairly small storage space can be enough, one that you could easily camouflage as a couple of DVDs or a small portrait on the wall. These can be made fairly easily even by yourself as they usually do not require a lot of material or effort.
On the other hand, you might own something like a Remington 870, and this is when things get tricky. A shotgun or a rifle can take up a whole lot of space and in this case, a couple of DVD boxes simply won’t do it. In this case, you will need to completely modify something that has the size of a drawer or a bench.
You might also want to think forward a bit, and maybe add more space from the get-go, as your gun collection might grow and you may want to pack more heat than before. Adding extra ammo or magazines might be a sensible idea. Adding more space is usually a better solution than cutting back on it.
Worst Case Scenario
Another factor to take into consideration is the reason you are building or buying this hidden storage unit. Some people live in very friendly neighborhoods and do it just in case, others choose it as a hobby project while some people live in regions where this might be a must (as home invasions are frequent).
People usually choose the type of weapons they own keeping this in mind, so these two factors go hand-in-hand. This also influences the room where you are adding it. If you are not afraid of a potential home invasion, then you could place this anywhere in the house. Otherwise, you should put it in the bedroom, so you can easily reach it in the middle of the night.
Whatever you go with, just keep in mind that reaching it without putting your life in danger is the most important thing, when equipping your house with a hidden weapon storage.
The Choice between DIY and Pre-built
One thing to always keep in mind is your own DIY skills and if you have the necessary time and skills to finish a project of this scale in a timely and in a good enough manner. This is something that you do not want to be half-done or easily noticeable by anyone.
Pre-built solutions, on the other hand, might cost you a pretty penny and most of them still need to be installed by you. Also as good as they might be, they are by no means 100% secure. Always double-check what you buy, no matter how good the reviews are.
But if you are confident that you might pull it off by yourself (or maybe with the help of a friend or two) this could be both a fun and practical activity for your spare time and one that might help out your pocket quite a bit.
There are plenty of available hidden gun safes that are purchasable online, and plenty of brands that offer dozens of models, hoping to grab your hard-earned cash.
These range from cheap and small (usually the size of a book or desk clock) cases to downright large pieces of furniture (grandfather clocks, mirrors or even doors). There are several good options, and as always the community will be there to help you out with reviews or more general tips and tricks.
If you want a more personalized option, you can opt for a specialized company, like Covert Cabinets or you can simply ask for the help of a carpenter. The second choice is only good if you truly trust the person you are hiring or if you actually bring someone from a different location.
This might sound a bit paranoid, but it is always best to take as many measures as possible to keep your storage locker hidden. It might also help to actually have it installed by someone who is a great handyman and then add the lock system on your own.
But these pre-built solutions have one big flaw, and that comes down to their price. Sure if you are going for a simple wall shelf solution, it could cost you under 100$. But if you decide to go with something fancier and add in the price of the installation, you could potentially pass the thousand mark.
Try to Do It Yourself
If you do feel up to the task and think that you have the necessary skills, you might want to do it yourself. Not only is this the safest and cheapest way to go, but it might also be a fun little side project that will help you pass the time and learn a skill or two.
Before even starting this project make sure that you have everything that you need, so the messy part can be finished as fast as possible. These are the steps that during the preparation and building phases you will have to think about:
- Find the right storage space and modify it
- Choose the best lock
- Buy all the supplies
- Build the storage box
- Mount the door
- Finishing touches
As a side note, these steps are written for hidden gun lockers that actually need some form of house modifications. If you only want a small locker or safe box, you can always place it in a spot that is most convenient for you without any serious headache.
Find the Right Storage Space and Modify It
The most used room for a hidden gun storage is the bedroom. Some people prefer places like the kitchen or bathroom to store their weapons as these are spots that seem less obvious in the eye of a home intruder.
No matter where you decide to build it, make certain that if it needs some intrusive modification (like cutting the insulation) it will not affect the structural integrity of the house or if you are going with a furniture modification, that it will not suffer any functionality issues because of this hidden place.
Don’t forget, hiding it in plain sight also means that everything around it has to work as intended, otherwise it might be pretty obvious that there is something there that maybe at one point was not intended. And with that, you are losing the element of surprise.
As soon as you figured it out start cleaning out the space and make all the necessary modifications that are needed. Cut out the insulation, modify the wiring or the extra wood that won’t be needed. Be sure that you will have a clean space to work with and no extra things will take up space. Try to make every step as streamlined and as clean as possible.
Choose the Best Lock
This is a bit tricky as many people are actually against complex lock systems. They might either break down or if they are electronic, then the wiring might fail on you (dead chip or batteries might do that). We would also recommend a simple lock system as well, and there are plenty of ingenious ones out there.
The best that money can buy and the ones that are pretty much fail-safe are the magnetic locks. These make certain that no visible element remains in plain sight (like a keypad or a keyhole). You can pretty much “hide” the key in anything like a book, a cell phone, novelty items, or even a postcard.
Not only they are easy to install, fail-safe, and pretty good at keeping the storage hidden, they are also very affordable and can be bought at pretty much any hardware store. You do not need any custom-made item either as there is almost an infinite number of size options to choose from.
The downside that it has is the fact that if someone figures it out, unlocking it can be done easily with any magnet that is powerful enough. In this case, you could always double down and add to the magnetic lock an extra layer of protection with an internal key-based lock system as well. It might take you a couple of extra seconds to unlock it but it’s the best bet for it to remain impenetrable.
Buy All the Supplies
As soon as you have chosen the locking system, make sure that you have all the materials that are needed to build the storage box itself. Most people opt for wooden pieces but you have the option to make it from PVC or even steel if you want a truly secure one.
There is no shortage of materials that one can make gun storage from. But if you are going for easy assembly and fair price we mostly recommend using plywood. This way it will be easy to install and cheap to change it anytime you want. You can buy exact-sized plywood at pretty much any hardware store or simply order the desired ones online.
Be sure that you also buy everything else that is needed. The interior should be made from plastic foam and depending on how you want to store the weapon in the foam you might need a good form cutter and a set of high-quality magnets, hooks, and glue, so you can have several options to lock down your guns.
You should also take into consideration all the tools that you will need. Most households have a pretty well-equipped toolbox that will suffice, but if yours does not don’t forget to buy nails, hinges, a hammer, clamps, heavy-duty glue, and depending on the desired finishing, maybe even a painting set.
Build the Storage Box
As soon as you have everything that is needed get ready for the dirty work and build the storage box. This will be arguably the hardest step and the one that will take the most time.
We highly recommend building the storage outside its intended resting spot, as it is not only easier to do it this way, but it will be easier to change it as soon as parts of it or the entire structure becomes non-functional. Installing it should be less of a hassle anyways.
After you are ready with assembling the unit, get ready to install it. The high-grade glue will be perfect for this task, and if applied properly it could last you decades. Installing it should only take a couple of hours and once it is done you are ready to take the next step.
Mount the Door
The mounting of the “door” is one of the trickier parts of the process. It’s not because it’s a physically daunting task, but mostly because this will make or break the ability for your storage place to actually remain hidden.
No matter what the door segment is (a painting, mirror or just a piece of canvas) always make sure that it will cover the storage place entirely. No loose ends should be left when doing this.
Also, make certain that the hinges work well and it won’t be difficult to open and close the door. The opening part is especially important when it’s a question of life and death.
After the entire build and installation process was finished make sure that everything around the locker piece looks as natural as possible. If it’s a bookcase has a couple of books on it, real ones that you would be interested in.
If it is a makeup mirror, try to use it as such. Have makeup, combs and every other usual item lying around it. This way it will not look out of place and a potential intruder won’t even think that there might be a firearm hidden behind it.
Taken all of this together…
And with that, you are now in the possession of the basic knowledge needed to make the best hidden gun storage that you can have, regardless if you are going with a DIY project or searching for something that was readily available and easy to install in less than a day.
By no means is this a small challenge no matter which you choose, but if done right, this could be a real-life savior, or as in most cases, it will simply help you sleep easily during the night, knowing that no matter what happens during the late hours you are fully prepared to face an intruder.
If you went through a similar project before, feel free to add some of the insight that you have gathered during the process, or if you did go the retail route, if there is one that you would recommend please share in the comment section below as we are always curious to see how other people manage similar situations.