Lloyd Pattison looks at some of the options for shooters looking to store their guns securely and legally
As a current or potential certificate holder, the safety and security of your guns should always be one of your chief concerns. Your responsibility as a gun owner is to always comply with the guidelines laid down by your local police force when storing guns in your home, or taking them with you on the move.
The home office guidance on the subject of firearms security and storage can be found in full at bit.ly/firearms-handbook.
The brief guide leaflet, which can be found at bit.ly/firearms-security is particularly useful, and I would recommend anyone looking for guidance on security when applying for a new certificate read that first.
The most immediately salient point it makes regarding storage at home is this: “The safekeeping condition attached to firearms or shotgun certificates requires that the guns and section 1 ammunition must be stored securely to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, unauthorised people taking or using them.”
The home office does not, however, prescribe what exactly this secure storage should consist of, and leaves it to individual police forces to review the security arrangements of applicants for shotgun and firearms certificates in their area.
This unfortunately leaves some shooters at a loss as to what they need to do to comply with the law. Some forces may insist on a certain type of lock fitted to exterior doors, and a burglar alarm. Others in more rural areas with lower crime rates may not be as stringent.
As a rule of thumb, your guns should be stored in a cabinet of an appropriate design, affixed to a structural wall or surface and hidden from sight. This should be kept locked at all times, with the relevant keys accessible only to the certificate holder.
If you are interested in the “appropriate design” go and look up the firearms security handbook linked above, which goes into great detail around hinge and lock design, and even covers the construction of safe rooms for the storage of larger numbers of guns.
Most of us, however, will normally just get a bigger or maybe even second cabinet to house the inevitably expanding collection.
All of the cabinets listed below are manufactured to at least BS7558, which is the recognised minimum specification for gun cabinets.
The Buffalo River range is finished in all black and looks very businesslike. It starts with the Bronze safes, 5-18 gun models that feature two nine-lever locks, a carpeted floor and foam dividers. The Silver models are good for 7-18 guns, have carpeted interiors with rubber gun racks, and a single-key opening.
The Gold range comprises fully carpeted 10-22 gun safes, featuring digital keypad entry with manual key backup. Finally, the Black Diamond 10-24 gun cabinets are basically bank vaults, including digital keypad entry and three-spoked handles.
Lokaway have a huge range of safes – far too many to list here. All of their safes feature a rather nice black powder coat finish, full carpet lining and Swing’n’Slide anti-pry locking systems.
The range goes from the LOK1K – a four-gun, single-key model – all the way up to the LFR36D, a fireproof 36-gun vault with an internal power supply in case one of your guns wants to charge its phone.
As with the Brattonsound and Buffalo River’s premium offerings, these cabinets treat the British Standard as a bar to be surpassed rather than a target, so they should very much impress your FEO as long as you get the installation bit right.
Dirty Pro Tools
Dirty Pro Tools offer a very reasonably priced selection of safes ranging from a simple, three-gun version for just £79.99 up to their lined, eight-gun deluxe model, which is still pretty easy on the pocket at £189.99.
They may not be as impressive as some of the other offerings here, but these will do the job admirably and are definitely worth a look for the budget conscious.
Bespoke Gun Cabinet Company
This outfit offers a range of bespoke and off-the-shelf cabinets for the shooter with deep pockets. Their range, which is offered in a selection of high grade timbers to match your décor, doesn’t encompass anything that looks like a gun cabinet.
Instead, these cabinets are more like fine furniture; guns are concealed in a model resembling a working grandfather clock, or another in the form of a bench seat with coat rack.
Should you prefer, they can also be displayed behind 28mm, triple-laminated bandit-proof glass. They can even feature interior lighting to really show off your collection.
The can feature pull out, leather covered shelves for you to assemble and disassemble your guns, carved wooden gun racks, lockable ammo safes, and remote control electric blinds should Chris Packham pop round for tea.
I personally have a Brattonsound Sentinel Plus extra tall cabinet and I love it, as much as it is possible to love a metal box. The Brattonsound range starts with the basic Sentinel, a twin lock safe that will hold 2-4 guns.
The Sentinel Plus is available from a 4-9 gun capacity (all models up from the basic sentinel actually exceed BS7558) and has a double-skinned vault-type door. There’s a single keyway for a seven-lever double-bitted key, which is a lot more convenient than bending down to unlock a bottom lock.
Brattonsound has two other ranges: the Titan are larger safes built to the same specs as the Sentinel Plus.
The top of the range Atlas can store up to 28 shotguns in fully-lined luxury, and can also be fitted with a digital keypad, which replaces the eight-lever double-bitted lock fitted as standard.
Note that the largest model weighs 180kg empty, so you’ll probably need to enlist a deadlifting champion to get it up the stairs.
Master Lock Key Safe
Master lock don’t make gun safes, but they do make this little combination key safe, which is what I use to store my cabinet keys. Available from Amazon for £16.50, I think these are a great solution to the question of where one should hide one’s keys.