When it comes to getting a gun safe, installation of the gun safe can be a little daunting as they’re big, they’re heavy, and they’re awkward to move. Don’t worry; we know this can be a problem, and hopefully, some things in this guide will help you find out how to install the safe without having to worry about missing anything.
Types of Installations
Depending on the type of safe you have, you may want to opt for a few different kinds of installation, such as a shelf install, wall install, or just putting it in your garage or basement.
Usually, gun safes are moderately large and heavy, so are generally not wall-mounted; however, you can get the single rifle options, which means you may want to wall-mount it or even on the floor. The rest of the guide will work for all the options; however, the type of wall you will want to use would be either brick, stone, or concrete. With that said, anything softer may lose strength and or pulled from the wall, which can be a huge concern to a potential burglar.
Although it may not be a wise idea, Wood sits between both of these categories. Mounting a safe to a wood beam or some kind of hardwood will help you anchor the safe into the floor. Obviously, you don’t want to be putting too much weight onto it, it’s a good idea to anchor using specific wall plugs that can be buried deep and expand to ensure that the safe isn’t going to move.
Where should I put the safe?
As mentioned below, putting the safe in a specific place is down to preference, but you may need to consider some prerequisites.
Along with that, a gun safe that takes too long to open may not get used very frequently. When installing a gun safe, convenience should be taken into consideration, as long as it’s in a secure area. If you have difficulty to access gun safe, i.e., having difficulty accessing the safe quickly with either locks or running all over your house to find it, then the safe may not be being used for its purpose.
Commonly, larger gun safes are usually put in a cellar or basement or somewhere on the ground floor and often in a corner. Things that need to be a consideration are the size of the safe, the door open size (to ensure that you don’t hit anything when opening the safe), and the floor, as you may read below. If you find somewhere that fits all these criteria, you will need to ensure the safe can get there. Can it fit through the doors and the height limits of your house? If it does, then read below to see what else you may need to consider when you’ve gotten past this point.
You may also want to consider the humidity in your region and installing the safe. The reason we mention this is because it is one of the more common problems you will get is moisture in your safe, which can lead to safe lock failure, rusting, and also mechanical problems with your firearms. With that said, you can get things like dehumidifiers, but simply positioning the safe in the correct place can help with this.
Commonly, garages and basements are not climate-controlled environments with AC, etc. and this would mean you may need to find a new place depending on where you are in the US. You may be lucky and have some kind of thermal mass to help stabilize the humidity, but finding a way to avoid this is crucial as this can be the invisible killer of your firearms.
When installing a safe, you need to think about a few things. When you install a shelf or floor or wall safe, make sure your area is available i.e., a hole in the wall or a smooth wall. Other than that, make sure you have a smooth journey path.
When installing a large gun safe, it can be challenging to move around, and using a dolly is recommended by all large gun reliable manufacturers to ensure you don’t hurt yourself by touching it. We suggest that multiple people are there to help you move it, so it’s more spread out. If you have a pathway up to your house, a smooth surface will help you massively when moving the safe from your curb or truck over to its final place.
It’s also probably a wise idea to make sure that the path is clear so you don’t have to keep stopping and starting as this can get very tired very quickly.
Finding a suitable floor area
When you install a gun safe, you must find an area that has a smooth and stable floor. Depending on the size of your safe, anything over 500lbs may be risky, putting on a second floor. Usually, safes over this weight will be best on a concrete floor to ensure that it can be secured down as well as maintain it’s level all the time without sinking or damaging the floor. Along with this, the floor has to be level and can’t be slanted; otherwise, the weight distribution on the floor could cause damage to both the floor and safe.
Placing it where power outlets are
When you get a gun safe, you may not think it, however, when you are using the safe problems do start popping up. Things like dehumidifiers can be installed in safes that will help the moisture in the safe (if you live in a humid environment) but will need power, so putting your safe where a power outlet is not a bad idea.
The Right Tools
As mentioned above, you might need some tools to install your safe. Most gun safe manufacturers will provide instructions on how to drill down and install your safe correctly. However, there are some general instructions and guides that will help you install the safe precisely, such as this one. We recommend that you have a few friends or family members around to assist with moving the safe. We also suggest that some kind of dolly to make moving the safe easier.
Along with that, if you do plan to mount your safe and or secure it to the ground, you will also need a beefy drill along with all the necessary drill bits to secure the safe to the ground. Most safes come with pre-drilled holes through the steel, so you may not need metal drill bits. When tightening up the bolts, most manufacturers suggest hand tightening them with a wrench to avoid over-tightening of the bolts, as they are quite long and thick, so it may cause a few problems if inserted incorrectly or with difficulty.
Once you have all of the above, you can start to move your safe into your house and get everything ready.
Installing the Safe
At this point, you’ve probably already put the safe in the correct place. However, if you’ve not, then it’s probably good to get it in place, ready to install it or just in the right area. Sometimes, the safe manufacturer will provide instructions on how to fit with the correct dimensions so you can pre-drill your holes before moving the safe into its position. If not, simply take a measuring tape and measure the distance between each hole as well as the size of the bolts that will be installed with the safe. Pilot holes can be drilled as you don’t want to over-size the holes; otherwise, your positioning will not work, and the safe may need to be adjusted to fit somewhere else.
Once you’ve figured out where the holes need to be drilled, you can drill the pilot holes, and t double-check, move the safe into position before bolting it down or in wherever the safe will be. Once in position, you can anchor the safe down and drill the bolts to ensure the safe won’t move in the event of an earthquake, or just to add a little more security to ensure someone can’t move it. As a side note, if you have a concrete slab floor, you may want to check the floor warnings before drilling as some concrete slabs, called ‘post-tension concrete slabs,’ cannot be drilled. This is because of the high-strength steel cables running through them, which are made to tension thousands of pounds of pressure. Upon damaging a cable, it would rip right through the concrete, and it will destroy pretty much anything that’s in its way. However, the slab should be marked “Post Tensioned Slab, Do not Drill or Core,” just make sure you don’t!
It’s probably also good to note that the gun safe manufacture should provide concrete anchors should you be drilling into the concrete ground. However, if this isn’t the case, it’s highly recommended that you go out and buy several concrete anchors of around ½ “ bolts; otherwise, you could run into problems down the line. Along with this, it’s a good idea also to use galvanized or zinc-plated steel as concrete can give off moisture, which you don’t want to be worrying about whilst drilling into your floor.
Once the safe is in place and the bolts have been drilled, the safe will no longer wobble in an earthquake and very probably can’t be moved, but you can always try it to make sure this is the case.
Tips on installing the safe
Installing a safe is relatively easy if done step-by-step. Here are some more tips that might make your life easier when installing your gun safe.
Get some people over to help.
Getting help over to help you move and install the safe is not something to be overlooked. Just having someone to pass you the drill will help you in the simplest of positions. Not only this, but having someone to help you can also mean moving it is a lot simpler, and two pairs of eyes on a project is better than just the one, just in case someone makes a mistake. Plus, you can show off your arsenal as well, which let’s face it, who doesn’t want to?
Picking a ‘less-targeted’ safe area.
Although it might not be at the front of your mind when criminals see a safe, they don’t instantly think guns unless stated on the front. With that said, usually, the best place to put your gun safe from a thief-prevention measure is somewhere hidden, but not too much because they will go search for it. Statistically, it’s proven that thieves don’t tend to target the basement or cellar of a house due to what is usually down there, but hiding it wouldn’t be a bad idea down there.
Don’t use the wall and floor bolts together.
Although your safe may come with both bolts for the floor anchors as well as wall anchoring, you may not want to install both. Although more secure, you can have bigger problems, such as the door mechanism being misaligned. This can happen when the metal twists or warps so parts don’t line up correctly, causing a massive problem for the lock mechanism.
Do your checks first.
The most common reason for refunded gun safes is because people don’t check the size of the safe, or the ideal position for the safe. Simply taking a measuring tape with you to the store and around your house will take about 5 minutes and can save you a long trip and explanation. Within these checks, you may want to check your floor as well just to ensure that the safe can be transported, anchored or positioned where you want it to be.
I can’t install my safe.
If at the end of this and you’ve attempted to install the safe, don’t worry – a lot of people have difficulty installing their safes because of the size, weight, and time it can take. Luckily, there are professionals who can help you install your safe. You may want to consider paying a professional if possible.
- The gun safe weighs more than 500 lbs.
- You’ve never moved something of the weight or scale of the gun safe.
- You have any medical problems that may worsen if moving the safe.
- It has to be moved up/down stairs or elevated.
- You don’t have the correct tools to install the safe.
- You don’t have enough time (4-8 hours) to install the safe.
Although this may mean you’re paying for another safe in installation costs, it will make your life a lot easier as they will listen to what you say and suggest a possible workaround to any problems that your ideas may bring. Along with this, if you make a mistake when installing the safe such as drilling through a power cable, you wouldn’t be liable as the installation company would be.
We hope that when you got your safe, it was relatively easy to install. If not, we hope this guide has helped you install your safe. With power tools and a few friends, installing the safe can be very easy and simple.