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Home security for under $1000.


How long has it been since one of your customers asked for help in verifying an insurance claim dealing with a break-in where his firearms were stolen? Did it happen a month or a week ago, or was it yesterday? It occurs too often. Contrary to what some believe, the problem is not concentrated in the country's large metropolitan areas only. Statistics show that home burglaries targeting firearms owners are as likely to take place in rural areas as in most major population centers.

The FBI notes a private residence is entered illegally once every eight seconds. Most break-ins are done at random. Ninety percent of all home burglaries last five minutes or less. The chances of a home being broken into are as high as one in four during a five year period in some areas.

While the chances of a home being broken into are relatively good, the odds that it will be the work of a professional thief are low for owners with less than four dozen firearms. The biggest threat of firearms theft is from random break-ins. These crimes usually are preceded with little planning and are connected to drug use.

Such criminals enter homes seeking items that are easily carried and disposed of for money. Cameras and binoculars, coin or stamp collections, hand tools, jewelry, electronic items such as VCRs, stereos, camcorders, home computers and televisions, and of course firearms fit this bill.

Security experts acknowledge there is no way to totally secure a private residence, or anything else from professional thieves. However, given sound advice from you, most of your customers can devise strategies that provide them reasonable protection from break-in losses, and an acceptable cost.

Gun shop owners also can profit by providing customers with advice on home security to deter burglars. First strive to become knowledgeable with local crime rates. Display newspaper accounts of home break-ins. Familiarize yourself with different strategies for securing personal items like guns or jewelry for a cost of under $1,000. This figure is the key selling point for retailers to cash in on this quickly growing fringe portion of the firearms industry.

Suggest to customers that they make entry into their homes difficult for intruders. Many insurance companies offer homeowners who install deadbolt-style door locks lower premiums. Also recommend inexpensive devices for automatically turning on and off lights and radios in their homes. While gun owners may not be able to ward off all prospective burglars, injecting a healthy dose of doubt, and making entry difficult prevents many problems.

Safes and vaults provide outstanding protection against the majority of burglars. Most criminals lack safe-cracking skills, or the time and manpower needed for removing safes from homes. When confronted with a safe, thieves know the house next door probably will net what they seek at a fraction of the effort of wrestling with a safe!

In-home gun safes were rare prior to the early 1970s. Since then over a dozen companies have sprung-up that offer economically priced vaults designed for safely protecting firearms and other home valuables.

"Between 1980 and 1988 national sales for home safes and vaults rose an average of 10 to 15 percent annually. Since that time sales have risen better than 20 percent," said Chester E. Spangler Jr., National Sales Manager for the Tread Corporation. The country's largest maker and distributor of home safes, this Roanoke, Virginia based manufacturer recently made a major addition to it production capacity to meet consumer demand for their all-steel units.

"Despite quickly rising sales across all regions of the United States, it has been large, relatively sophisticated gun shops that have profited from this trend. Small shops have been slow to recognize the enormous potential of the safe market and how well offering these fits into typical gun shop settings," continued Spangler.

Like a number of safe manufacturers, Tread Corporation offers speedy delivery to stores and/or their customers. A retailers needs only to keep a single unit on their floor for demonstration and close examination by prospective buyers. When ready to buy, any of their units can be delivered within a few days. Such delivery schedules are typical of several safe manufacturers.

Most gun shop and sporting goods stores which exist by supplying the needs of shooters and hunters offer little in the way of home gun security. Sophisticated firearm owners with rare or other valuable guns usually have expertly installed security systems. However, owners having four to ten guns are at risk. Odds are, their firearms are inadequately protected by their home insurance policy.

Convincing customers they need additional security to protect their valuable firearms is not difficult if it is affordable. Several high quality safes are available for under $1,000; a magical figure many are willing to invest in keeping their guns safe. Sales personnel must couple prospective buyers with the security units that meet their needs and pocketbooks. Following is a round-up of some of the safes, vaults and security cabinets offered to deter burglars from strolling off with stolen goods.

Cannon Safe

One of the safes I protect my hunting guns and pistols in is made by Cannon Safes. Our home was broken into two years ago, but none of the items stores in my Cannon (or, my Tread Corp.) safes were disturbed.

Cannon Safe's high quality, heavy guns security vaults are surprisingly inexpensive for the storage capacity they offer. The Model 23 features 450 pounds of 10-gauge steel that measures 3/16-inch thick. It has a volume of 12 cubic feet and will hold up to 23 long guns. The recessed door features three large steel lugs that prevent its removal even if the hinges are cut. It is operated by combination lock and key with a spy proof ring. Its built-in spring-loaded relocking system is backed by a second spring loaded relocking device.

Cannon's new Model 14 is made to fit snugly into corners. It has the same sturdy design features of the Model 23 and weighs 475 pounds with a 14 cubic foot volume. The smaller Model 12 weighs 330 pounds and has a volume of 12 cubic feet.

American Security Products

American Security Products Company offers one of the largest safes available for under $1,000. The RLT 6030 weighs 500 pounds, and stands five feet high. It features a 1/8-inch steel body and a 1/4-inch recessed door under a triple coated, mar-resistant finish. The door secures by throwing three 3/4-inch chrome plated locking bolts. Its combination lock is protected against drill attack by a hardplate. Two relocking devices protect contents.


Browning Pro-Steel gun safes are among the most respected in the industry. Almost half of the gun safes they offer retail for $1,000 or less. The Gold Series RL2436 "L" with 20 gun capacity, or "Trimline" with 11 gun capacity, are economically priced. They have 1/4-inch steel exteriors and reinforced 3/16-inch doors. Independent, active locking 5/8-inch, cold-rolled steel locking bolts that are chrome plated for smooth, quiet movement secure the door. Bank-type Sargent and Greenleaf Group II heavy duty combination locks are used. Each has a relocking trigger to protect against drilling and punching the lock.

Browning's lower priced "Silver Series" safes priced under $1,000 include the 20 long gun capacity "S-300" and 11 long gun capacity "S-200." Each features a 1/8-inch steel plate body, and 3/16-inch door. Locking is accomplished by four active and four dummy deadbolts.


Treadlok gun safes come in a variety of sizes, several of which are available for under $1,000. Safe bodies are made of continuously welded 1/8-inch steel, with double reinforced door frames. Doors are 1/4-inch hot-rolled steel, reinforced with 10-gauge steel channeling. Detent Locking systems are used. Shear pins on a machined handle break off if excessive force is used, thus preventing access to rack and pinion mechanisms.

Treadlok's top of the line Model 2415 features triangular bolts for added security. It holds 15 long guns. Treadlok's Model 1908 is an economical, small safe that holds eight long guns. The Model 2215 is larger, with a 12 cubic foot volume capacity, and holds 15 long guns.

National Security

Safe Company

When discussing home security for under $1,000, one does not expect to find National Security Safe Company listed. However, investigation of several retailers near my home revealed the company's smallest unit, the "Mini-Mag" often sells for $1,000 or slightly less.

Boasting 16 cubic feet of volume and weighing 450 pounds, the "Mini-Mag" rates among the best home safes available. Specially hardened steel is used in the 1/4-inch thick door and heavy single-wall construction on the unit's box. It locks when its six one-inch locking bolts penetrate both the top and bottom of the recessed door. Its full hardplate and double gear drive assembly resist outside attack, and smoothly operate the bolt system.

The "Mini-Mag" is available in six, eight, or 14 gun configurations, or with "Executive" shelving, and is available in seven colors. All National Security Safe Company units have a satisfaction guarantee. If forcibly entered, safes are replaced at no cost (less freight cost).

Zanotti Armor

The most innovative gun safes shown at the 1990 SHOT Show in Las Vegas were the new interlocking design system of Zanotti Armor. Moving and placement of large in-home safes has long kept many buyers, especially those who move frequently from purchasing these heavy items, said company spokesman, Mark Zanotti.

"Our vaults feature six easy-to-handle interlocking panels (including the door) that can be assembled in 15 minutes without the use of special tools. They can be assembled in closets, or other small areas, then later disassembled," said Zanotti.

At least half of the six Zanotti Armor units, ranging from eight to 30 long gun interiors, are available in under the $1,000 retail range. They all feature reinforced seven-gauge steel construction and five 3/4-inch, nickle-plated, cold-rolled deadbolts that extend completely across the door.

Omark Industries

Very economically priced in-home gun safes designed for the budget minded firearm owners make-up Strowline's four models. Manufactured by Omark Industries, these rugged units range from the largest, the Model H83-10 Safe which weighs 112 pound and is designed to hold ten long guns, to the Model H82 Safe which weighs 96 pounds and holds eight long guns. These lightweight safes bolt to the wall for added protection against theft.

Seam-welded, cold-rolled, 14-gauge steel is used in the construction of the door panel, sides and back panel. Strowline gun safes feature burglar resistant, key operated Medaco locks that conceal the door handle. The hidden handle operates the double deadbolts that latch completely. Buyers of Strowline in-home gun safes get free $1,000 firearm and firearm accessories insurance for the first 12 months they own any H-80 series safe.

Sun Welding

The Sun Welding Safe Company has nine models priced under $1,000. Two fast moving models are the Model A.R.L. and the Model 2100.

The A.R.L. is a small (48"x17"x17") gun safe that holds up to 12 guns. The A.R.L. has a 3/16" plate steel door that houses a Sargent & Greenleaf Group 2 lock.. The door also sports a full-length hinge and is recessed into the body to prevent prying.

The Model 2100 is larger at 60"x30"x20" but uses the same lock and 3/16" steel door plate. A secondary relocker adds security.

The 2100 uses six active 3/4" locking bolts on both sides of the recessed door. The body plate is 1/8". In addition, a shear pin prevents entry if the handle is broken off. The door can even be removed for ease in transportation.

A carpeted interior is included with your choice of 12 or 24 gun interiors. External colors can be chosen to match the interior. The 2100 comes with a five year warranty.

Smaller Alternatives

There are many small security product manufacturers providing other options for the firearms owner. Here are a few possibilities.

Palmer Metal Products

Another solution that offers a higher level of security, yet fast access, is the Palmer Metal Products PistolPAL[TM]. Made of Tig-welded 14-gauge steel or aluminum, with either a push button or a combination lock, the 14"x14"x4-3/4" box will hold four to five handguns. The PistolPAL is also available in a Courier[TM] version that can be moved from car to home and secured to a wall or trunk mounting plate with quick-release fasteners.

Lion Empire

Other low-cost solutions for keeping firearms out of sight and secure, yet easily accessible are small storage containers. The Gun-Away handgun storage box from Lion Empire is one example. It allows easy access for the owner but will stymie the person who doesn't understand the operation of the box. Gun-Away has two models that rely on pressing a hidden pressure point to open the box. The cherry finish and fine wood construction give the appearance of a fine jewelry box, not a gun storage container.

Gun Locks

One final gun security measure, affordable by all, is the use of a simple lock on the firearm itself. These locks won't prevent theft, but may stop negligent use. They include models from NSG, Safariland, Master Lock and Brown Manufacturing.

Many customers are overwhelmed by the variety of products available for their use. But with a little homework and an in-store sample or two, you can sell security with confidence and success.

Mark VI

Even the most budget minded customers can be interested in Mark VI's new "GunBar" and "GunCable." (Suggested retail is under $70 for the "GunBar" firearm locking system, a case hardened steel bar that runs through the trigger guard of a gun, and mounts directly to any corner). The "Guncable" utilizes the same concept, except it uses saw resistant steel cable, instead of a steel bar. Aside from costing a fraction of a safe, these items boast easy access for the owner.
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Title Annotation:marketing of gun safes by gun shops
Author:Rivers, Ed
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Jun 1, 1990
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