“Why would I ever want to shell out extra cash on gun safe accessories, especially after I just dropped two grand on a brand new unit?”
“I’m on Fort Knox’s site, using their “Safe Builder” application, and every other page asks me if I want to add some extra sundry item to my cart. I’m about to spend a used car’s worth of money on one of their products…if it’s so freakin’ important, why can’t they just throw it in?”
These may be a couple of thoughts that have danced around in your head while safe shopping – they’re perfectly rational. See, gun safes indeed have a lot in common with cars (to the guy who had that thought):
They’re freakin’ heavy, each manufacturer offers three different packages of essentially the same product, and any “good” dealer will always try to upsell you. But secondly, there are a slew of products on the market after you make your purchase that you can add to pimp things out a bit; some functionally beneficial, and some…just obnoxious.
Fortunately, most of the following safe accessories fall into the first category; depending on your needs, you may find some of these items extremely useful – perhaps necessary. As always, if you’re reading this and agree with me, disagree, hate me, or feel I left something out, please leave a comment on the bottom…love to get your feedback!
Rifle Rods: I’ve ordered a ton of infomercial crap over the years, and every once in a while I’ll stumble on a diamond in the rough; a product that, not only doesn’t suck major nards, but also lives up to its outlandish claims. Rifle rods, produced by Gun Storage Solutions are one of these products.
They’re great for a number of reasons, on which I’m happy to elaborate:
First off, they claim to increase your gun safe storage capacity by 50-100%. If you’re willing to remove some of your safe’s convertible shelving to allow them to work their magic, this claim is absolutely true. They’re positioned completely vertically and can be placed anywhere, giving you extremely flexible options.
Most safe gun rests are fixed in place, and force you to seat the firearm at an angle; not only does this configuration leave you with few placement options, but gun owners with optic attachments and tactical modifications find themselves burning up a lot of extra space…that 20 gun capacity can turn into an 9 in a hurry. With rifle rods, you have a lot more breathing room.
They also cause less wear on the guns over time. Standard safe racks can keep firearms resting in the same position for years, causing noticeable mars on the barrel. Although rifle rods may initially appear to be invasive, they’re perfectly harmless; they have a durable rubber coating that won’t tear up your rifling, and your piece won’t suffer any exterior wear.
Another excellent, rather underrated feature they offer is the ability to turn any closet into an organized gun storage container. A while back I wrote a post on converting an old high school locker into a gun cabinet…these would be ideal for the job. Just cut the Velcro loop-backing to fit, mount it to the top shelf, and you’re in business.
Lastly, and perhaps even more underrated, is the potential that they offer in home defense planning. Although they’re marketed as a “gun safe” accessory, there’s no reason you can’t employ them throughout the rest of your home. You can easily keep a loaded 870 in the corner, behind furniture, or any accessible narrow space. Of course, as in the case of “The Back Up”, you should dismiss this option if your kids are still at home.
Again, in my amateur opinion, rifle rods are worth the hype. They’ll save you from having to purchase a second safe for just a little while longer.
|$79.99 might sound like a lot to spend on 20 sticks, but it’s a lot cheaper than buying a new 20 gun safe. You can buy them or get more info here.|
Door Mounted Pistol Systems: Some of the higher brow, more luxurious security containers, like the Browning Platinum, come “pre-pimped” with luxury interiors (remember the car package analogy?) – chock full of door mounted accessories to boot. Well, not all of us are fortunate enough to afford one of these, so we have to improvise. Fortunately, there are some gun safe accessories that can help us out. The two most popular door-mounted pistol systems are the following:
Hanging organizer – I don’t know the technical name for this, but they look the bag you use to protect your suit while you travel (I don’t know the name for that either – I don’t have a suit :)). Essentially, it’s a large, lightweight organizational system that hangs over your safe door. The advantage here is that they’re extremely versatile. You aren’t limited to stowing handguns; you can fit anything that will slide into the pockets and pouches – perfect if you can’t find room for your ear protection, ammo, or your Cold Steel machete collection ;).
Velcro Mounted Pistol Holsters – You can’t really get any simpler than these. Nearly 90% of gun safes that I’ve observed have an interior door panel covered in material perfect for mounting Velcro. Just slap the Velcro backed holster anywhere on the door, and slide your pistol inside (that’s what she said). These are great if you’re only concerned with space for your handguns, but they have two potential downsides; you might be hard pressed to find big bore gun holsters of this type (for your dual Desert Eagle carrying mall ninjas out there), and you’re out of luck if you’re looking for a place to store anything other than handguns. If neither of those sound like a problem, go for it.
|In addition to being America’s number one safe manufacturer, they also make a pretty solid door organizer (they actually include it with the majority of their safes). Liberty safe door organizers have a lot of pockets, and they’re made to fit. A great investment for a little more than $100. Want one? Buy it here–they start at $80.|
Handgun Racks and Hangers: Also popular are standalone handgun racks which are generally designed to either rest on your shelf, or hang on the top of the safe door. Both styles are effective ways of organizing your pistols – it just depends on your current configuration.
Handgun hangers are another popular product made by Gun Storage Solutions, the folks who brought us rifle rods. They essentially work the same way as their big brother, only instead of sitting upright, they clip to the bottom of your shelving. As in the case of rifle rods, they’re totally harmless to gun, and they’re perfect for increasing accessibility, both within as well as outside the gun safe.
Jewelry Boxes: As I’ve preached before, gun safes aren’t just for gun owners; a well-built, steel storage container, particularly one with fire resistance, is a fantastic solution for storing anything valuable, jewelry included. Jewelry boxes are a popular accessory for this very reason. Their primary function is organizational – they don’t really have any security perks. They’re simply a convenient place to keep your jewelry in one secure location. They come in a fairly wide variety; some manufacturers will build form-fit jewelry drawers into the safe for an extra cost (as in the case of Ft. Knox, Liberty, and Browning), but the majority are of simple design, easily removed when needed.
Document and Media Fire Safes: Contrary to popular assumption, it’s really not a good idea to keep your paper documents and computer media (disks, CDs, tapes…) sitting loosely in your safe, regardless of whether or not it’s fire resistant. The conditions aren’t ideal for long term storage, as they can potentially shorten the lifespan of these often irreplaceable valuables.
If you plan on storing financial records, data media, or even photo albums (especially photo albums) in your safe, including a compact fire safe can be an excellent addition. You’ll help extend the life of your sensitive valuables, and you’ll have an extra layer of fire protection, as most of the less expensive models will give you at least an extra 30-60 minutes.
I’d recommend a simple keyed entry Sentry or Honeywell safe. They’re relatively inexpensive and very effective for our intents and purposes. Just make sure that the model you choose is specifically rated for storing the media that you plan to lock up.
|Yes, I realize that it’s technically a safe and not a safe accessory, but getting some extra UL-rated fire protection wrapped around those important documents isn’t a bad idea for $75. A model like the Sentry also leaves a small footprint, so you shouldn’t have any trouble easily fitting it on the floor of your gun safe. Here it is with free shipping.|
Dehumidifiers: Your guns may be safe from fire and burglars within those steel walls, but unless you take preventative action, they may be subject to rust. Metal’s worst long term enemy is condensation – in turn, rust. Condensation tends to occur when warm temperatures meet lack of airflow, particularly in an already humid region of the globe (or in the house). Luckily, the solution is rather simple, and relatively inexpensive; dehumidifiers. There are two popular breeds of dehumidifiers, each effective in its own right.
Electrically powered dehumidifiers operate by drying out and heating up the air in the safe. Warm, dry air circulation prevents condensation buildup, therefore aiding in rust prevention. As effective as they are, they obviously require an electrical source, so be sure to only use them if your safe includes manufacturer pre-drilled holes for such purposes. If they don’t, consult the manufacturer before drilling your own.
Also an effective solution are those dehumidifiers that don’t require electricity. The compact, powerless Eva-Dry EDV300, for instance, sits in your safe and sucks up moisture for up to 10 years (5 year manufacturer’s warranty). It uses crystallized silica to absorb water – up to six ounces at a time – which it self-regulates, and evaporates in 10 hours after it’s full. Units like the Eva-Dry are ideal for those with safes that lack holes for running power. Even if you have the required hardware configuration, this is an install-and-forget method that has proven itself to be very effective.
On a side note, silica gel packets are also great for storage in pistol and jewelry drawers to further isolate corrosion prevention.
Temperature and Humidity Sensor: While you can generally trust your dehumidifier to do its job, it never hurts to double-check. Installing a humidity sensor will allow you to maintain a level of moisture ideal for preserving your firearms collection. A level of 45% (give or take a few) is what you should shoot for. Too high, and you’ll find rust on your weapons. Too low and wooden stocks will start to show their age. For around $25, it’s a worthy investment.
Rust Inhibitors: Place a Browning ZeRust or a BullFrog Rust Blocker in your safe for a little extra corrosion protection. They release VCIs (Volatile Corrosion Inhibitors) into the air within the safe, giving your firearms an extra protective layer. I’ve heard a couple folks call these gimmicky, but I’ve never had any problems with rust on my guns (I have the Bull Frog Rust Blocker Shield)…just sayin’.
|They look simple, they cost a little more, but Goldenrod dehumidifiers keep the warm air flowing longer and more efficiently than any other brand on the market. Spend a couple extra bucks, and buy the crowd favorite. This 36″ model is perfect for most large RSCs.|
Lighting: Having lights in your gun safe are one of those things you don’t know you were missing until you have them. If you’re like me, you have a natural gift for stuffing tons of stuff into a disorganized, compact location. Sure, you sift around long enough, say “I know it’s freakin’ in here somewhere” a few times, and you’ll eventually find it, but when you can actually see where you’re looking…wow, what a surprise!
If you’re fortunate to have a safe with manufacturer installed lighting, great – enjoy it, if you don’t, I’ll make a suggestion; motion activated stick on lights.
They may not look or sound glamorous, but they work like a charm. The simple battery powered LED bulbs are bright enough that a couple well placed units will light up your whole safe upon opening. And due to the motion sensor, they’re only on when you open the safe – like the little gnome that turns your refrigerator light on and off. Due to the infrequent power draw, they’re incredibly low maintenance – I’ve had mine for a couple of years, and have only had to change out the batteries once.
Mirror: While certainly not a necessity, mirrors can add to your safe on both functional and aesthetic levels. As illustrated during my interior lighting pitch, safes get cramped in a hurry, and stuff in the back can be a pain to find. A mirror not only give you an extra set of eyes, but adds some nice depth to your safe as well. If you do decide to make this reflective addition, I highly recommend a lightweight, easily mountable acrylic mirror. Acrylic material won’t shatter when the butt of your 700 Nitro crashes into it.
I’ve heard the argument that a huge box full of guns is a burglar deterrent in itself…rubbish – when you’re not at home, a gun safe might as well be a trunk full of money (sometimes it is). A well-constructed security container, particularly one with a UL listing, will obviously include robust security features. That said, it never hurts to take it an extra mile.
Auto-Dialer Alarm: More elaborate units, particularly those protected by high end locks (like the S&G Z03), can include a security alarm system fully integrated into the safe. I don’t know about you, but I’m not that freakin’ cool. A poor man’s solution to alerting the cops when someone is breaking into my safe is a motion detector alarm system with an auto dialer built in.
Mount the alarm inside or outside the safe (I recommend inside, so you don’t have to disarm it every time you walk by), set the code, record a message like, “My name is Jack Burton, and there is a douche bag in my house, robbing me of everything I own…help please”, plug it into the phone line, and you’re done. Again, just remember to disarm it every time you open your safe, unless you want your local police department to hate you (on most units, you can program it to call your phone instead of the police directly – I just prefer cutting out the middle man).
|For $30, this little auto-dialer alarm device is a nice little supplemental security piece. Hide it in the back of your safe (don’t cover the motion sensor though), run your land line through the power hole in the back, and connect it to the device. Cheap, easy and effective. Again, $30–buy it here.|
Security and High Voltage Signs: Are you too cheap to pay for a home security service? Do you compensate by staking a sign in front of your house that says do? If you answered yes, this next gun safe accessory is just for you.
Slap a security system or “danger – high voltage” sticker on the front of your safe, and regardless of whether or not you actually booby-trapped the sucker to fry intruders, you’ll probably have that jerk second guessing himself at least once or twice.
Dummy Cameras: For less than $10, you can purchase a fake security camera, and mount it in plain site next to your safe. Obviously, a real security camera can be mounted as well, but again, I’m not that cool. Combine this with the security sign on your safe door, and you might just bluff that burglar right off your property.