Sorry for the cheesy title, but there isn’t much that can make you feel cooler than pushing a painting aside, swiping your finger over a biometric fingerprint scanner, and pulling a ready to rack Benelli M4 out a secret hole in your wall. That Hollywood action-flick dream can become a reality with with the magic of a wall safe (that and $1500 to buy a new Benelli Super 90). Let my explain what I intend to do in this post. First, in my typical fashion, I’m going to tell you what I don’t like about wall safes, particularly for valuables, then I’m going to tell you what I do like.
The number one reason why I’m not a big fan of wall safes is that no matter how well you disguise the safe, no matter how thick the steel is, and no matter how advanced the locking mechanism on the door, if a thief finds it, all he has to do is rip it out of the wall, walk out the door, and figure out how to open it on is own terms. Sure, it’s mounted between two studs…it doesn’t matter. There are professional burglars across America cracking complicated locks, prying open 500 lb safe doors, and punching holes in 3/16″ solid steel on a near daily basis – if you don’t think there’s a chance they’re going to bother going through the trouble of ripping that sucker out of the wall, I think you’re wrong.
One could make a valid argument that they can’t rip it from the wall if they can’t find it, or that it would be extremely difficult to remove it from a wall constructed from concrete, reinforced plating, and mounted to steel beams, and I would agree with this argument. However, I think that if you were going to go through that kind of trouble and expense, you’d be better off buying a full sized gun safe, anchoring it to the floor, and covering it up with false walls for concealment (false walls really aren’t a bad idea in any case). There’s certainly a time and a place for elaborate wall embedded security solutions, but they’re typically found in an office, or a bank setting. I just hate to see people spending absurd amounts of money on gun safes with extraordinary security features, when in most cases, there’s really no point.
Now, onto what I like. In almost any home defense situation, you’re going to be better off armed with a rifle or a shotgun (I personally prefer a shotgun). That’s not to say a pistol is no good – it certainly is – with a long gun, however, you tend to have more firepower, higher capacity, better accuracy, and for you tactical geeks out there, more efficient modifications. Of course, none of this boasts any real advantage if you can’t access your weapon in a moment’s notice. You can’t fit an AR-15 in the pistol safe under your nightstand, and you’re putting your children in serious danger if you just leave it out. If only there was a way to lock it up inside your bedroom wall…
There are a few wall safes available on the market that make it possible to gain quick access to long guns and SMGs, while also providing the convenience of concealment – burglars may not find it at all, and you don’t have to look at it all day when you’re not using it. This may sound like I’m reaching for content, but I think that another benefit of a wall safe is that it can potentially distract burglars from your most expensive valuables. Let’s assume you have a $5000 Liberty Presidential gun safe in your basement loaded with cash, documents linking you to tax evasion, and the bulk of your gun collection…stuff you don’t want anyone getting into. A Presidential can fend off a serious attack on its own, but if the burglars don’t discover it in the first place, even better. If they find the wall safe first, and get greedy, chances are they’ll spend so much time uprooting it from you wall that they won’t even think to look for anything else. Yeh, you’re out a shotgun, some rounds, and have a huge hole in your wall, but you won’t have any fear of being blackmailed by the thieves who stole your tax forms.
For all practical purposes, I see a wall safe as two things: a way to have a killer bedroom arsenal while keeping your kids safe, and a great distraction to keep burglars out of your real valuables. As far as firearm storage is concerned, I wouldn’t even mess with a pistol wall safe. You’re better off with a personal biometric gun safe next to your bed. I recommend a relatively inexpensive wall safe with a size adequate enough to hold a long gun, protected by either a keypad or a biometric scanner (let me know if you find a rifle wall safe with a fingerprint scanner). I’m not totally against keyed entry wall safes, you just don’t want to spend too much time fishing for keys in a disoriented state. I understand if you’d rather cover the safe up with a picture, or a light piece of furniture, but just make sure you can move it in a hurry. And if you’re going with the distraction tactic mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t even bother hiding it.
Make sure that before you buy any of these you measure twice first. Not all homes are the same. Typically, your studs will be spaced 16 inches apart, and the majority of wall safes are built accordingly. This, however, isn’t always the case. You’ll also want to consider the depth of the safe versus the thickness of your wall. You don’t want this sucker falling out the back.
Now that you know where I stand, here are a few of my favorite wall safes.