Unsafe Safes

Safes are one of the most commonly purchased accessories for firearms. Be they full size rack safes or small hanging units.

When gun owners purchase a safe, they do so usually for one of two reasons.

1) To protect their firearm from theft.

2) To protect young family members from gaining unsupervised access.

But how would you feel as a gun owner if you found out that your gun safe could easily be opened by a 3 year old or a thief?

Uncomfortable yet?

This article details an investigation into a number of safes which were easily opened by small children. Often with such simple endeavors as just trying to lift one end of the safe and dropping it. Imagine if that was all that kept your toddler from wielding your loaded handgun?

As a father, that thought makes me very very uncomfortable.

Story here with video

The story above features a video which is disturbing in it’s simplicity at times. Sadly, this investigation was inspired in part from the tragic death of a 3 year old son of a law enforcement officer. Who was trusting the Stack-on safe to keep his family safe.

What is more disturbing, when the investigators approached Stack-on for comment, they were very dismissive. This is something I experienced when dealing with a potential design issue for a DeSantis Nemesis holster. In which the retort was “We’ve sold thousands of those holsters and haven’t ha a problem.” But when it comes to guns, one problem is enough to feed our enemy’s cause for years. And maybe you have more than one problem. You’re just not listening because you’re arrogant twits. And are missing all the warning signs for a potential tragedy.

A few things I would recommend when it comes to small safes based on the above article:

1. Do the drop test. The lifting one side up and dropping as demonstrated in the video. This is something you could do with a store display model. If it fails, show the store manager. Manufacturers will change when they start receiving merchandise back.

2. A lot of these techniques are eliminated if the safe is securely mounted. Consider bolting the safe to a structural element.

3. Consider a larger higher end safe when feasible.


I do want to ad that I differentiate between various locksmithing techniques used in the authors videos (such as determining combination of combination locks via slips of plastic) vs inherent failures of security as simple as raising and dropping a safe and moving the solenoid mechanism.

The former requires some level of training and is expected to be beyond the means of a toddler. Where as the latter requires zero training or insight and is easily achieved via basic toddler play activities.

Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 6:41 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Take a look at their video feed. They have a very comprehensive review of a number of safes, including a variation of the GunVault that I own. This morning I pulled the rubber keypad off and opened the safe with a paperclip.

  2. I proudly owned a 800+ pound Ft. Knox safe. ‘They’ took it!
    Bolt those puppies down!
    They never got it opened, though.

    • Yikes….

      They took the entire safe. That takes some work…

      • Yep. After they moved it, scarred the floor and pried off the combo dial and lock handle (which I still have).
        They got 50+ firearms, personal papers, credit cards, rare coins, but nothing has EVER surfaced.
        Great safe!

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