Do Gun Safes Need to Be Bolted Down

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The question of bolting down a gun safe is among the most common ones in the firearms community. A gun safe can be installed in your home with or without a bolt. While an unfastened safe will still operate, it is less secure since it may be toppled over or stolen.

For example, if the safe is tilted over, it becomes easier to pry open and break into via the door, with additional leverage. If a smaller safe is not fastened down, it will be much easier to remove. That being said, even a large gun safe should be bolted into place.

With that in mind, you should do anything within your power to make it more difficult to break into or steal your safe. Bolting down a gun safe is a huge step towards increasing its overall security. While it might appear to be a difficult and intimidating process, it comes down to investing in an adequate anchor kit and setting it to the ground. To help you, we have prepared a thorough guide covering the essentials and steps on how to do it.

Why You Should Bolt Down a Gun Safe

As mentioned above, the number one reason to set a gun safe in its place is to prevent robbery. Based on previous gun theft cases, the most effective way to steal a gun is to remove the safe from your house first, and then take it apart at a neutral territory.

The safes that are lighter on the scale are the most vulnerable to being carried away. This covers both business deposit boxes and regular gun cabinets in the house. With that in mind, locking your gun safe through bolt holes is an effective method of buying yourself a bit more time and reducing the chance of being robbed.

Another reason bolts are recommended is to stop the thief from lying the gun safe on its back and thus gaining access to the vault by using a pry or crowbar. It is far more difficult to get leverage to accomplish this popular safe assault when the safe is standing up rather than on its back, especially if you have a cheaper vault.

In addition to that, bolting down a gun safe will prevent it from falling on you or the other members of your household. Safe doors are the heaviest material of a gun safe, and they are usually the heaviest section of the safe. Because of this weight imbalance, the safe has a propensity to tilt forward when its doors are opened.

The fact that most safes must be as deep as they are is due to the need to counterbalance the door opening. If this happens, you or someone you care about might end up with a 500-pound safe on top of them, which is incredibly dangerous. This ceases to be a concern when the safe is bolted to the ground. Once properly secured, it will stay attached to the floor and will not tip, even if it wants to.

Last, but certainly not least, is that bolting down your gun safe will positively affect the deal you have with an insurance company.

Why Bolting Down a Gun Safe May Not Be Such a Good Idea

Commonly, apartment managers don’t allow you to bolt a gun safe to the floor, as it can result in physical damage to the floor. Before purchasing your gun safe, phone your apartment management and inquire about their policy. If you get a positive answer, then you can install the gun safe to the ground. If the apartment manager denies you such an opportunity, then you will want to reconsider how you’ll keep your firearms secure.

The second reason is the reduced portability. This isn’t a typical problem, but if you intend on moving the gun safe regularly, you won’t want to bolt it to the floor, since this is a very permanent solution. Keep in mind that if your gun safe doesn’t have pre-installed bolt holes you will want to consult with the manufacturer and ask them if you will void the warranty by drilling a couple yourself.

A metal gun safe.

Step-by-Step Guide to Bolting Down a Gun Safe

The first step is to prepare the flooring and identify an anchor hole. The bottom of most medium and large gun safes has an anchor hole. In smaller models, the anchor hole is usually found on one of the sides or the back. Traditional gun safes have anchor holes in the corners, whereas fireproof gun safes have holes in the middle.

Once you have determined the anchor hole, you should find an empty cement location and outline the anchor hole on it. Keep in mind that you should remove any carpeting or flooring first, as a gun safe is best secured to cement. To securely attach the gun safe to the cement below, a lag screw or cement bolt goes through the opening in the safe into the flooring.

Drilling Into Cement

Use a hammer drill, as it should have no trouble getting through cement and creating a hole that is between 3 and 4 inches deep. Begin by drilling at a leisurely speed, with a reasonable amount of pressure. Gradually increase pressure and speed as the hole develops, until you’re employing firm pressure at a moderate pace.

To clean up debris, regularly pull your drill out of the hole. The dangers of cement dust and particles are well known. With that in mind, you should always use safety goggles, work gloves, and an oxygen mask or respirator. Once you are done drilling, clean the anchor holes with compressed air.

Set and Adjust the Gun Safe

The next step is to move your gun safe to the anchoring location. Make sure that the pre-installed anchor holes (at the vault) are in line with the ones that you’ve drilled in the cement. In addition to that, you should ensure that all parts of the safe are on an even level. Get the bolt through the anchor and cement hole, tightening the hex nut with a socket wrench.

Improvising an Anchor

If you need to improvise an anchor, one of the most effective methods is to bolt your gun safe to a wall. With a pencil, mark where you’ll be fastening the gun safe to the studs. Drill a screw hole at the markings using a regular drill and a carpenter bit. Following that, align the gun safe with the drilled anchor holes and insert the anchor as usual.

A second alternative for improvising an anchor is to invest in a heavy chain, weave it around your gun safe, and tightly lock it to a couch or another heavy object. Last, but certainly not least, is to place a heavy block of cement on top of your gun safe.

Wrap Up

Bolting down a gun safe is a matter of personal preference. If you want to minimize the chance of robbery and protect the items in your vault, then it is your best bet.

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