Fifteen places? That’s at least one in every room!
Not me, unfortunately; I’d have to be a psycho with a much higher paying job to pull that off. Until I reach such a pinnacle in home defense, I’m just your everyday, run-of-the-mill freak, forced to wear a pistol when I walk from room-to-room. Believe me, if I had the money to safely scatter two dozen pieces around the house, I would. I realize it’s totally overkill and far from necessary, but so is putting potpourri plug-ins in every room, and with all the headaches and nausea they cause, they’re arguably just as dangerous…
The objective of this article isn’t to brag about how many firearms I have hidden around my house, it’s to demonstrate that with the right pistol safe, and maybe a few surplus Makarovs, I could secure them just about anywhere with very little logistical trouble.
I had to choose a unit that could be tucked away in the corner, and mounted virtually anywhere. After a healthy dose of research, I settled on the V-Line Desk Mate for the project. I chose the Desk Mate for a number of reasons:
The Simplex lock
Attaching a pistol safe to the bottom of a love seat, or underneath the stairs can be very tricky when you’re tethered to an AC adapter. Due to the hidden and general freestyle requirements of the project, I decided I was best suited with a powerless unit…green, if you will. One of the primary reasons I chose to use a V-line product is because everything they make operates using the Simplex locking mechanism.
In addition to the unit’s leash-less lifestyle, it also has a better reputation for reliability than the majority of its electronic keypad and biometric counterparts, and it beats the inconvenience of fumbling around looking for a key. I decided that this time around, I wanted to stray away from electronics, particularly after a recent, rather nasty breakup with my previous bedside pistol safe.
Remember the post I wrote a couple months ago, bragging that my Winchester Evault was “still ticking” (of course you don’t)? Well, regardless, it’s no longer ticking. After a decent run of four years, I’ve joined the ranks of other Evault owners who know first-hand why Winchester stopped making them.
The Simplex lock is a workhouse. It’s nothing fancy; no lockout threshold, multiple user profiles, or one million possible combinations (I believe it has 1,081 to be exact); it’s just a five-button box that I know is going to open up the same 10 years from now as it does today. For a quick access pistol safe under the coffee table, it has pretty much all I’m looking for.
For this project, almost as important as the locking mechanism, was mounting versatility. Included with the Desk Mate was a “quick release” mounting bracket. The bracket can be installed just about anywhere that will support 10-12 lbs (more on mounting details in a moment), and once it’s on the surface, the Desk Mate can be securely fastened in about 30 seconds. I only have one bracket, but others can be purchased separately. With multiples, say one at the office and one at home, you could transport the safe back and forth without any effort, other than the initial set up.
By employing some super strong neodymium magnets (more on that in a second) and the said quick release bracket, I was able to mount this pistol safe with more up-down, and left-right configurations than the Contra code. I haven’t tried it yet, but V-line also produces an optional “Universal” mounting accessory, which offers a little more support and flexibility.
I wanted a pistol safe small enough to mount in tight spaces, but large enough to house a full-framed handgun, and possibly a spare magazine or flashlight. At 7.5” x 10.5” x 2.5”, the Desk Mate fits the bill. I was able to fit it between the driver’s seat and my center console, and after removing the optional sliding steel tray, I didn’t have any issues locking up a standard Glock 17. With the tray, my compact M&P 40 fit, along with a 15 round magazine with no problems.
The Desk Mate’s dimensions worked out well for me, but if you want a little more room, and want to stick with a V-Line product, you might consider their Hide-Away. It’s virtually the same pistol safe, but roughly 150% larger. You could fill it with more ammo, tactical gear, a bigger hand cannon, or possibly a backup gun. Definitely something to consider, depending on the contents of your arsenal.
As implied, short of reliability, the V-line doesn’t have a lot of fancy features, but there are a few more selling points worth noting:
The glossy black finish with the gold trim not only looks sharp, but it holds up very well. While I’m not generally concerned with aesthetics, during the length of this project, industrial adhesive, self-tapping screws, and rare earth magnets didn’t leave a mark on this thing.
The recessed door is a nice addition, acting as a sound pry deterrent. As demonstrated in the image below, I couldn’t even begin to fit a quarter in between the door and the frame. Your common knucklehead snatch-n-grabber is going to need more than a flat head screwdriver to get this open in a hurry.
The piano hinges are also a nice touch. They certainly don’t make the unit bullet proof, but a continuous hinge adds additional reliability in both security and everyday function.
To open, you pull the door outward, so it hangs down below the hinges. This adds a little more than an inch to the overall length; not generally a problem, but it’s a factor you’ll want to consider if you’re mounting the safe in any snug locations. You’ll also want to consider the extra space you’ll need to remove the gun in a hurry. While it’s technically possible to mount this model in a drawer, you’d probably be better off with their Top Draw unit (shown below), if you plan to keep a burner in your desk or nightstand.
If you’re mounting the Desk Mate as originally intended–right-side up, and directly underneath a sturdy surface–there’s nothing to it:
Drive four screws into the mounting surface to fasten the quick release bracket, slide the pistol safe into the two tabs in the rear, and tighten the thumb screws inside.
The method mentioned above is probably going to be perfect for 95% of the customers who purchase this product, but for the sake of the project, I made a couple simple modifications.
I didn’t want to drill 200 holes in my house just to take a few pictures–CORRECTION–my wife didn’t want me to drill 200 holes in the house…
I drove screws for a few shots, but I primarily relied on heavy duty mounting magnets to hold the pistol safe in place for most of the pictures. These aren’t the toy magnets you use to put a beard on Wooly Willy; this is a rare earth monster, capable of holding almost 60 lbs (only 1.5″ long). It’s very strong for its size…ants have nothing on this thing. I got it from K&J Magnetics. They have some crazy stuff for sale on their site…for $1000, you can get a magnet strong enough to hold a 1200 lbs steel safe to the wall.
Anyway, I used a combination of Gorilla brand duct tape and mounting magnets to secure the safe in places where I wasn’t allowed to drill. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this method for the long term, as the duct tape will almost certainly lose its grip (100 MPH tape might work, but I didn’t have any to test with). Doing so, you’ll also negate the added security provided by the quick release bracket when it’s screwed down. If, however, you’re not terribly concerned with someone walking away with the pistol safe, you can screw down the mounting magnet, leaving only two holes in a small pattern.
As you’ll see in a moment, I mounted the pistol safe in quite a few unorthodox positions (vertically, sideways, reverse cow…). The obvious concern here is that the gun could fall out when you open the door. For the safety of the gun, and ourselves, we don’t want that to happen. I implemented a low-tech solution for this issue, again employing the help from my dear friends, magnets and duct tape.
The objective of this modification is to keep the handgun fixed until it’s ready to be removed. Again, it’s only necessary if the safe is mounted non-traditionally. For this, I purchased a $2.00 square, flat magnet from K&J (13 lbs pull force), and stuck it to a small piece of duct tape, sticky-side up. Next, I placed the non-sticky side of tape on the pistol slide, removed the tray from the pistol safe, and pressed the duct tape securely to the bottom of the interior.
I’ll begin by showing you where I put it in the bedroom (giggity!). Looking at it through a home defense lens, the room in your house or apartment where you’re the most vulnerable is the place where you sleep…ok, maybe the shower.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m usually wearing a gun on me, even in the house. If an armed lunatic kicks down my front door while I’m eating dinner, I’ll likely have time to draw from my holster and defend my family effectively. However, being unarmed, in the dark, and woken up from a dead sleep is an entirely different story. For this reason, I’m starting with the bedroom; it’s perhaps the most important place to have a quick access pistol safe in your home.
Whether it’s a V-Line Desk Mate or otherwise, mounting under the nightstand drawer is always a crowd favorite. No tricks here–just the quick removal mounting bracket set up as it was originally intended. This position allows for the sliding tray to stay in the unit, and it leaves ample room for any other crap that you want to store underneath.
Not much going on here. It’s very similar to the above configuration, only the bracket is mounted to the bottom of the nightstand, and the Desk Mate is fastened upside-down. Due to the setup here, you’ll probably want to employ the magnet method discussed above to keep the gun from wearing down its finish on the steel interior.
When it’s upside down, twisting the knob to open it will also take a little bit of practice, as you’ll be turning it in the opposite direction; if you turn it the wrong way, it will reset the combination, and you’ll have to punch it in again…not fun when there are threatening footsteps approaching.
Personally, I prefer the nightstand method to hanging the safe underneath my bed, mainly because I don’t have to fish around in the dark to find it. That said, mounting it under your bed is a perfectly reasonable option. If it’s tough to find an even surface, consider securing a small piece of plywood to the bed slats, and installing the bracket to the proxy surface. That’s the quick and dirty way–if you have a better suggestion, please share.
The kitchen may not be the first place you think of for gun storage, but with all the cabinet, drawer and pantry space, it’s a prime location for a hidden pistol safe. In addition to concealment, the kitchen, in most houses, is centrally located and often accessible from two, if not three entrances. If I’m unarmed, hanging out on my first floor, and butt mud hits the fan, I’m running to my kitchen cabinet to set the heating arrangements.
I’ll admit, a gun safe on the refrigerator isn’t wildly practical, but help myself I could not. In addition to showing off the versatility of the V-Line, I wanted to showcase the power of the neodymium magnets.
The Family Room
I found quite a few ways to stay strapped in the family room. To begin with, the entertainment center provides a nice little cutout under the TV to install the unit–right in the midst of perhaps the most awfully awesome movie collection of all time.
The surface underneath the coffee table also provides a subtle, however, accessible mounting location. My coffee table sits centrally between a couch and two chairs, so even from a vegging position, I can get to it in a hurry…as long as I’m able to bend over my ever-growing gut.
Again, one great advantage this safe offers in concealment is its compact dimensions. I can dress it up just about anyway I want in order to keep it in relative plain site. While it would be nearly as easy to drive screws under one of the bookshelf shelves, I took a different approach…
You can play like Dwight Schrute and keep your desk drawers full of nunchakus and pepper spray, but when you’re done screwing around, pack some proper protection in the office, and mount this pistol safe the way its namesake suggests. Of course, Dwight, I’m only kidding around–I would never mess with a guy who possesses the strength of a grown man, and a little baby.
The Living Room/Dining Room
I don’t spend nearly as much time in the dining room as I do in the kitchen, but that isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of decent places to keep a gun in the room that I’m not allowed to play in. One place, also applicable in other rooms, is under the couch. The couch that I used as an example has wooden slats, and I was able to drive screws into them through the fabric. Without the slats, however, you may have to get creative.
My wife about shut this whole project down when she caught me mounting the safe to her piano. I’m not allowed near it anymore, which is a shame because I think the Desk Mate would fit perfectly inside the bench next to the sheet music.
The coat closet is probably the ideal location to store a pistol in the hallway, however, I noticed that the picture frame in our entrance matched the V-line’s dimensions perfectly…I couldn’t help myself. This was very easy; I simply removed the back of the picture frame, placed the safe in between, and duct taped everything together. Between bastardizing our wedding photo, and defacing the piano, I’m not sure which one my wife loved more!
In the bathroom, the unit can be mounted easily under the sink, or even behind the toilet, depending on the model. I also came up with the awesome idea of placing the safe inside the medicine cabinet. The result; well, it worked, however, it wasn’t nearly as rad as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, I went through the trouble of arranging it, so here it is:
The garage has 100 places to keep a handgun stowed away, but for the picture, I decided to install it underneath a landscaping junk shelf (all I have is junk shelves). Here’s another example of how the Desk Mate is designed to be installed–secured to the shelf with the quick release mounting bracket.
Finally, we arrive in the basement. Like the garage, an unfinished basement offers a plethora of pistol safe mounting opportunities. That said, the crap in my basement is at critical mass, and if I put one more thing out on the floor, I would have trapped myself in. Having said that, I opted to hide the unit under the staircase, keeping it plenty accessible, but out-of-sight.
This was a fun project. I learned a lot, and fell in madly in love with my black and beautiful Desk Mate. Seriously though, the 15 locations I covered only scratched the surface. With a decent pistol safe, the only limitation on where you can mount it is your imagination .
Oh, and if you’ve found a reasonable way install a pistol box in the shower (eg – not having to rip out tile), please let me know.