Options other than Vault doors
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  1. #1
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    Options other than Vault doors

    5 weeks ago I lost my house due to flooding in western Iowa. I only had a few hrs to gather my heavy equipment, vehicles, some tools and my gun collection to higher ground. I had to leave my big Browning safe behind. My house had almost 12ft of water in it for 3weeks and was a total loss. My family and I are checking our options and thinking of building a newer smaller house on another piece of ground I own and would pour a basement with a poured safe room. I always thought I wanted a vault door but they are heavy, costly and a challenge to install. I have been thinking of a layered system with hidden access, security and a heavy fire reinforced metal door with deadbolts. Has anybody used something like this short of a vault door? Open for ideas. Thanks Truman
    Colts are not an addiction, They are a commitment! Truman

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    Sorry for your loss. No words on vault doors. Others will chime in on that area. Prayers sent.

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    Sorry for your loss, that would be tough. An idea I always wanted to do, I saw one time. I went to a guys house, he wanted me to appraise his guns for him. We went to a building on his property, said come around back here. I saw it has what appeared to be a small basement. He unlocked the door, went in I looked wall to wall, and thought what the??? There isn’t any guns here, is this a rape attempt lol. He walk over to the middle of one wall, some stuff there, did something I didn’t see, I thought he was getting a key to take me somewhere else. All of sudden the wall opened, I walked in and was stunned. There was a room 2-3 times bigger than the front one (and most was underground to where you couldn’t tell it was anywhere that big), and it was nothing but a gun showroom with custom cabinets displays built just to show his guns. He is wealthy of course. I was like a kid in a candy, handling those guns, some I’d never seen in person, only pictures in books. I never told anyone about it either, but the guns and him are both gone now. I couldn’t do that but dreamed about a poor mans version. I only mentioned this cause you said you’d be building new. I never trusted vault doors, probably cause I’ve manned chainsaws and 90 lb jackhammers so a smart man, wouldn’t even worry about the door, be through the wall in 3 minutes flat.
    Last edited by big_gus; 04-21-2019 at 06:33 AM.
    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit such crimes... such laws make things worse for the assualted and better for the assailants: they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man" Thomas Jefferson quoting Cesare Beccaria
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  5. #4
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    Agreed I would at least double stack rebar and possibly plate steel on any exposed concrete. Truman
    Colts are not an addiction, They are a commitment! Truman

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    I'm inclined to think that a good solid dorr would suffice, much like described as steel reinforced with deadbolts.
    While a vault door seems logically it is in most cases a giveaway as to where the goodies are stashed.

    If I where building or re-building I'd certainly look at as many options as possible.

    Living in Florida flooding is not that uncommon especially during a hurricane. Where I lived in Ft. Lauderdale I wasn't that far from the New River and during a heavy thunderstrom the streets would fload during high tide where the water would be from door step to door step across the street, and actually I was in the flood zone and had to have flood insurance. Recently I guess when we where hit by the last hurricane here in St. Augustine, although I live in Hastings, the St. Johns river which flows north and into the Atlantic at Jacksonville, the hurricane storm surge backed up the river and flooded areas that normally never or rarely get flooded.
    Ken
    "I like Colts and will die that way"

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    Truman, Sorry about the loss of your home. Thank goodness you managed to get your valuables and guns out. My son in law designed a vault room when they built their new home that is the nicest I've seen. It has a concrete ceiling and is heavily reinforced. Humidity is always a problem with concrete structures so you need a dehumidifier.

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    The idea is to prevent a typical smash and grab burglar from being able to quickly get to your guns.
    If a professional burglar has time he WILL get them.
    The idea is to either slow down a pro so he doesn't have the time to open a really secure safe or to hide a safe from the amateur smash and grab thief.

    Another problem is preventing people from learning you own guns. This is nearly impossible since you probably shoot on ranges or near your house. The word gets out quickly.
    If people know you own guns and they break in and have time, they'll search until they find them. Fortunately most home burglars are addicts and young men looking for something they can grab fast and sell.

    To stop a pro you need a real safe door that will take too long to penetrate.
    To stop a typical druggy or kid, if you can't do a real safe door, the best option is concealment.

    First step is to plan the basement and safe room in such a way as it's not obvious that a hidden room is there.
    To hide the entrance requires an entry that isn't obvious and that's not really possible with bare concrete walls
    You'd need to at least semi finish the basement so you can use paneling or wall board so a door made of the same material will blend in.

    Tricks for this is to make the entry door as invisible as possible and paneling is good for that by using a type that has obvious joints all over, with two joins hiding the presence of a door.
    Next, cover the door with something like a large book case or display cabinet filled with books, trophy's, pictures, or other objects no thief would be interested in.
    The book case or display cabinet would be fastened to the wall and would slide or swing out of the way to open the hidden door.
    This needs to be locked in place with hidden releases.
    In order to enter the room the case would be moved out of the way so the door can be opened.
    This needs to be done in such as way that there's no signs of the case being moved, like scratches or disturbed dust.
    The hidden door has to be sturdily installed so a push on the wall won't feel any different than any other section of the walls.

    A real problem is in hiding the construction of the hidden room when the concrete is being poured.
    Construction workers do talk, and the wrong people might hear all about an odd basement with a hidden room.
    There are many ways a hidden door to a hidden room can be built, but it has to be something a smash and grab burglar won't have time to find.

    Among the hidden room designs and techniques I've heard of........
    A paneled room with hidden holes in the wall. A special tool has to be used to release the catches so the entire section can be removed to access the actual door. The releases are made to look like the nails or screws that attach the paneling, and they're just 4 or more among an entire basement of the same looking fasteners.

    A large counter room divider partially across a finished basement that has drawers and even a sink.
    On the other side of the divider panels can be removed and the guns are in a compartment. The trick is to make the divider in such a way that pulling drawers out or opening cabinet doors will not reveal that the divider is deeper then it looks.
    This hidden compartment that's deeper then it looks is an old magicians trick.

    A finished basement with a finished ceiling.
    The guns were up in the ceiling on padded hooks. To get to them a ceiling section had to be removed.
    Blocking the access to the actual gun compartment hatch is a fake heating duct that has to be removed to expose the door to the gun compartment. In fact, a real heating duct can be used if it can be disconnected and removed.
    Fake heating ducts can also hide guns inside.
    Most people don't look up.

    A hidden compartment in the floor.
    Just pour a hole in the basement floor and cover it with a flush fitting STURDY lid that won't give or make any sound if walked over.
    Carpet the floor or use a floating floor with a section that can be removed to give access to the lid.
    The lid has to be of a good enough construction that walking or stamping on the floor will not reveal the lid.
    This can't be put in an area near the edge of a carpet because thieves may pull up a corner looking for a small safe.

    Put an extra water fake heater in the basement.
    Design the water heater so it can be moved out of the way without leaving any signs, and put the hidden door to the gun room behind the heater that can be opened once the water heater is moved.
    To look legit, the water heater must be in good shape and wired and plumbed with fake pipes and wiring.
    These connections are removable to allow the heater to be moved.

    Hide the door to the gun room behind something too big to easily steal.
    A large gym machine and some weights stacked in front of the hidden room works IF you or a family member is the type to work out.
    Another good one is some large woodworking tools like a table saw, planer, or drill press.
    Most anything that is large, heavy, and not something the typical burglar can or would take or move.

    Give the burglars something else to be interested in.
    Buy cheap or defective power tools and electronics at yard sales and leave them in plain sight. Tools and electronics like large TV's and game devices are easy for thieves to sell so they may spend their limited time taking these.

    Alarms.
    Alarms are your friend.
    If you can buy an alarm system that connects to a security service or the police and one that sounds outside.
    If you have no nearby neighbors use a silent system that will bring the police.
    One trick I've seen is a hidden pressure pad under a carpet in a place that to get to the gun room a burglar has to walk over.
    The trick is to leave no signs any alarm is there.
    RIGHT beside the pressure pad that has to be stepped on conceal a large truck horn behind a fake air vent in the wall or ceiling.
    When the pad is stepped on the horn should be as close to the burglars ears as possible.
    If there are neighbors, put another in a hidden weather proof location on the roof.
    The blast in the ears and a blaring horn outside will usually have the regular burglar running.

    A good gun safe is very effective against both pros and smash and grab "blitz" burglars.
    This can be installed in a concrete alcove in the basement in such a war as to prevent enough access to the safe to allow the usual break in technique.
    The usual way to get into a gun safe is to peel it.
    This is done by using a sledge hammer to hammer away at a corner until it fails, then using pry bars and hammers to peel the outside of the safe down until the contents can be pulled out.

    The alcove should be just large enough to get the safe in, then it should be bolted through the floor and walls so it can't be rocked or pulled.
    Once the safe is in, use concrete and steel to put thick barriers or frames around the top, bottom, and sides that prohibit access to the corners.
    You'd want nothing exposed except the actual door. Use heavy enough steel and concrete to frame the safe so that it can't be hammered through easily.
    One I saw was deeply inset into a steel reinforced alcove that was so deep you couldn't get enough room to swing a sledge hammer even at the door.
    The door could open, but the rest of the safe was shielded by heavy steel reinforced frames around the safe.
    You couldn't move it, and you couldn't peel it.
    The only exposed part was the actual heavy vault door.

    Most all gun safes that are burgled are either peeled or simply stolen intact, to be opened later.
    I have a relative that had a huge, expensive safe that was 6 feet square and tall. It was very heavy once loaded.
    He was the type that bragged about his expensive guns and jewelry.
    One week end while he was out of town thieves broke in and used a lift and pipe rollers to just roll the entire safe out the door and into a truck with a lift.
    Nothing was ever recovered.

    In a typical basement dampness is a deadly danger to guns so a dehumidifier is needed. The wiring to this also has to be concealed.
    A wire running to an apparently blank wall looks "off" enough to lead thieves to the gun compartment.

    The possibilities of concealment are endless, but all depend on making the access to the gun room or compartment undetectable by a fast search.

    One of the most burglar proof safes I ever saw was one sitting in a front room window with spot lights that lit the room.
    The owner would pull the drapes when he wanted access to prevent anyone from seeing what was inside.
    The rest of the time the drapes were open and well lit.
    He asked the police to drive by as often as possible, and he told the police and neighbors that if his car was gone and the drapes were shut there was a burglary in progress.
    He got the idea from some jewelry stores and banks. It's hard to break open a safe when everyone can see you doing it.
    Last edited by dfariswheel; 04-21-2019 at 01:11 PM.
    Kerz and Colt-SL like this.

  9. #8
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    I needed to add a better door to my storage room. I considered getting a commercial exterior metal door and ran across this:

    https://www.gunsafes.com/store/p/644...hoCIRUQAvD_BwE

    I have a large heavy safe in the room and didn't want to go through the hassle of moving a full blown safe door into the basement. I have a good alarm system and insurance so my needs were less than most, plus my collection isn't that extensive.

    This door met my needs well. It's essentially a commercial door weighing in at 350 lbs but with nine locking bolts. I installed it myself (pretty easy actually as it was prehung in the frame, but removable for moving) and it's solid. I'd call it medium security but certainly a step up from a typical metal door. I'll add that I did talk to Hornady and they were very helpful. If you consider getting one and have questions give them a call.
    EDIT: I just checked, I got mine at Graf and paid about $1,000 for it.
    bob
    Last edited by bczadnm; 04-21-2019 at 07:39 PM.

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    I like this a lot. Thanks Truman
    bczadnm likes this.
    Colts are not an addiction, They are a commitment! Truman

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    I've done business with these folks. Only good things to say about them. You might consider a phone call and discuss options with Doug Smith.
    Vic
    https://www.smithsecuritysafes.com/
    Last edited by Kerz; 04-22-2019 at 04:10 AM.
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