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Advice for gear/gun storage in the apartment?


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  • Advice for gear/gun storage in the apartment?

    Hello all!

    I am beginning my academy in January and will be issued all of my gear on the first day. I will be living on the third floor of a local apartment complex and was wondering if anyone has any recommendation for a lockable cabinet or smaller gun safe? would one be preferable to the other(I have only used a gun safe for my privately owned weapons but will not have access to it during the academy)? I would like something big enough to store whatever else I may be issued after the academy even though I will only be issued a sidearm first, but I do prefer the "Buy once cry once" method of preparing. I do own a hunting rifle and an ar15 and have lived in apartments before, however my parents have allowed me to store them in their safe for as long as needed, but again I will not have access to it daily due to living in a different city. I am big on gun safety and I do not want to have anything laying around and not secured at least through a lockable cabinet. I am on a limited budget and this seems like a pretty great place to ask for advice on good equipment storage advice!.

  • #2
    This is a big subject.

    Gun "safes", are not safes at all- they are RSCs (Residential Security Containers). Almost all of them are now made in China, and the big thick heavy doors and walls that you see, are actually just several layers of drywall, wrapped in thin sheetmetal. They can easily be defeated by axes, splitting mauls, sledge hammers, pry bars, and cordless or corded angle grinders and circular saws. The really cheap ones can be defeated with nothing more than a large flat-blade screwdriver.

    And the thin steel locking cabinets are worse than nothing at all, because people tend to consolidate anything worth stealing into them, and they can be defeated with no tools at all, and/or simply carried away.


    • #3
      Sturdy Safe has some videos on YouTube that go into all this stuff.

      All those giant thick chromed steel bolts, are often attached to flimsy sheetmetal linkage. Most "gun safe" companies put all the money into fancy paint, stickers, and handles.

      You gotta be really careful when reading "gun safe" sales material too- they make it sound like they're selling you something made out of solid steel, when it's really not.


      • #4
        Go to Harbor Freight and get a small safe....................they are NOT dedicated professional burglar proof , but they will suffice for 90% of the commom drug addict thieves.

        The won't hold long guns........but will handguns & ammo
        Save your money for when you have a permanent home & then get a proper one sold buy a reputable gun dealer after asking HIM what he uses
        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


        • Aidokea
          Aidokea commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm gonna respectfully disagree- I have taken countless burglary cases where average crack-heads with absolutely zero skills, have easily been able to open all manner of steel lock boxes, even if they brought no tools with them. I have also seen many where two or more crack-heads were able to drag any safe under 1,000 pounds out the door and get it into the back of a pickup. I have even seen multiple cases of actual UL-listed safes (REAL safes) that were removed from the premises, opened via brute force/cutting torch/powered cutting tools at another location with zero safe-cracking skills, and then dumped in a ditch...

        • Iowa #1603
          Iowa #1603 commented
          Editing a comment
          And I disagree with you to a point.

          Yep NOTHING and I mean NOTHING is perfectly safe. So you plan for the "reasonable" events

          You also plan for what you can afford. A new cop just starting is like a new homeowner buying his/her "starter House"........not what you actually want to live in the rest of your life, but something that will make do until you can move up in life.

          Having scrimped and saved every penny for most of my adult life............I got by with band aides many times when full battle dressings were really needed. Yep I gambled a bit sometimes but I survived.

          Like Rat states below........the book vaults work great too

      • #5
        I would recommend just ponying up now, for the best you can get. They don't wear out- you could retire with the same one you buy now.

        If a refrigerator can be moved in and out of a third-floor apartment, there's no reason you couldn't get 1,000 pounds of steel up there.

        You could even move to a ground-floor residence...


        • #6
          No safe will keep them out forever- the idea is to make them take so long (and make so much noise) doing it, that they decide that it's not worth the risk of getting caught and they move on.


          • #7
            ...and don't let anyone know you've got it- if everyone that enters your house sees your gun safe in your living room, that information may eventually reach someone who decides to attack it.


            • #8
              How I would approach this...

              1. Buy a safe.

              2. Also buy some fake book vaults:

              Bulldog Deluxe Diversion Book Vault BD1180 | Jay's Sporting Goods

              3. Store your handguns in the fake books

              4. If you get broken into, the burglars will focus on the safe, and when they crack open an empty safe, they will just figure the contents are gone.

              5. Be creative about storing long guns. Vacuum cleaner box? fake Christmas tree box?
              Instinct is something which transcends knowledge.

              -Nikola Tesla


              • #9
                Those "heavy" safe doors can easily be defeated by cutting through the side with a cheap cut off wheel / angle grinder.


                • Aidokea
                  Aidokea commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yup. That's because those "safes" are not safes at all- they're just thin sheetmetal wrapped around several sheets of drywall...

              • #10
                I don't store mine; I always keep that thing on me. Do you know what I am saying?


                • Aidokea
                  Aidokea commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I like that answer...

              • #11
                You can't put a price on knowing that you did everything you could, to prevent any of your brothers or sisters in blue from having to face your firearms on the street...


                • #12
                  With any security plan you have to do a cost, benefit analysis. The security system and the safe I want is out of my price range. But given the risk level for me, I can get by with a security cabinet, locked doors and windows and basic insurance. My deadbolt locks are bump proof and it would probably be easier to kick it in on the hinge side of the door. But if they gave a K tool like the fire department has, it probably wouldn't be hard to get in. I do have plans to upgrade in the near future. wnll

                  Get the best safe you can afford, just understand that nothing is 100% security protection. Yes all safes can be compromised in one way or the other. But anything is better than leaving it unsecured.

                  Of all the burglaries, entering autos (thefts from vehicles) etc. I've only seen one case where the subjects brought a cutting torch. Some have carried screw drivers and a small crowbar. But the majority used bricks or rocks they found nearby to break windows to get in. About 98% of all entering autos we're done in unlocked vehicles in the cities I've worked. The last few burglaries I've worked, the houses were entered through an unsecured or poorly secured window. Of the last three the suspect had been in the victim's house (invited) before the burglary. I've had two cases were the burglars went through the wall of the business. In my hometown they went through the roof of a bank once.

                  My point is... Given the general criminal element in my area locking your doors, windows and a decent security cabinet can greatly reduce your chances of your stuff getting stolen. While other areas of the country you may need a high grade security system and the best safe possible to protect your stuff.

                  If I lived in an apartment now I would get a gun safe, minimum, even a Harbor Freight one if that's all I can afford. In an apartment complex the manager, owner and their staff have keys to your apartment.


                  • #13
                    True story:

                    In 1993, back in the final days of the wheel gun, I was issued a S&W Model 66 .357 magnum. My supervisor then proceeded to tell me how it was once used in a homicide.

                    The backstory: a couple years prior a training exercise took place where the officers stayed at a hotel and one room was designated the firearms storage room (don't ask. Dumb agency with dumb rules). Well, one night the occupant went out for dinner and upon return, forty revolvers were gone. No sign of forced entry.

                    The Febs and few other agencies got involved and ultimately no arrests were made. The assumption was a hotel employee stole the guns, or aided in the theft.

                    Six months later, one of the guns was recovered at a homicide scene two states away. Eventually it was returned to my agency. And issued to me.

                    Not sure how many guns have been recovered over the years but did hear that two more showed up at other homicides....

                    So yes, secure your weapons.

                    But... like others have said... safes only slow the criminals down.

                    Give an ape a sledge hammer and ten minutes and there's practically nothing they can't bust into pieces.

                    BUT: hide it well and the ape will scratch it's head and then move on to somewhere else.

                    I pose this thought to those of you who have executed a SW or two: what gets most of the focus? safes? Locked drawers? The box of Nilla Wafers in the pantry? Not so much....

                    Smartly hide your guns:

                    Instinct is something which transcends knowledge.

                    -Nikola Tesla


                    • #14
                      We have guys who live in apartments and keep their duty gun and rifle in the lockers at work. They change at work and only take home their off duty handgun...in an apartment setting...not a bad idea. No one sees you in uniform coming and going. Something to consider until you get things set in your apartment.


                      • #15
                        Well in the academy please use a garment bag, preferably one that is blank or from the Men's warehouse. Use a regular bag if possible to carry your gear in. Everyone knows what a cops gear bag looks like. If you want to "liked" get a turn out gear bag and put your gear bag in that. Or a military bag like this:
                        I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

                        It should be noted that any and all post that are made are based on my own thought and opinions. And are not related or implied to represent the department I work for.


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