November 12, 2010
Periodically, I haul out my guns to record their serial numbers on a spreadsheet I created and wipe them down with oil...
This rack from Campbell Industrial Supply holds 12 pistols and fits on the top shelf of one of the author's safes.
Periodically, I haul out my guns to record their serial numbers on a spreadsheet I created and wipe them down with oil. It's a big pain because I end up with guns strewn about the house. But for me, the worst part is all the new scratches I put on my guns as they go in and out of my safes.
Over the last two years, I've devoted many hours to surfing the Internet in search of products that would help me store, catalog, and protect my precious collection. The following are some of my most useful discoveries.
I have two conventional, square-bodied gun safes that must have been made by a bunch of big fat liars because they don't hold anywhere near as many guns as their makers claim they should. To help make the most of their limited space, I searched the Internet for gun racks that would fit inside my safes, and my search led me to www.gun-racks.com, the website of Campbell Industrial Supply.
The first product that caught my eye was Campbell's pistol racks. They hold four, five, or six handguns and can be stacked to double their capacity. I ordered a 12-gun unit that holds, believe it or not, 12 guns. The rayon-covered rack is easy on my pistols, and it fits neatly on the top shelf of my gun safe. It takes up far less space than 12 handguns spread out willy-nilly.
Campbell makes an interesting line of rotary long-gun racks that hold 10 to 22 long guns. The bigger models won't fit in many gun safes, but the smaller ones will fit in most. They won't increase your storage capacity, but the racks allow you to store your rifles without beating them up, and they make your long guns easier to access.
Rotary racks are also a great way to store guns in walk-in gun rooms. I use a pair of them to keep my most-used guns close at hand.
One Ingenious Safe
Shortly after I discovered Campbell Industrial Supply's rotating gun racks, a friend directed me to www.pendletonsafes.com. I visited the site, watched the video, and was blown away by Bruce Pendleton's innovative safe design.
The first thing that caught my eye was the ingenious rotary storage system. It stacks long guns two-deep on a rotating carousel. Handguns sit in slots arranged around one or two shelves. The entire shelf system, including the rack on top of the safe, rotates either manually or with the push of a button, depending on which model you choose.
All Pendleton safes have painted white interiors, which make the interior much brighter than carpeted safes. Most are equipped with 300 or 400 LEDs that come on automatically when you open the door. Those LEDS, combined with the white interior, do a fantastic job of illuminating the entire interior with bright, white light. An optional electric dehumidifier is hidden under the rotating carousel.
Pendleton safes feature a unique, round-body construction that allows them to fit more guns into a smaller space. It also allows the safes to fit into smaller spaces. And because the rotating shelves make your guns easier to reach, Pendleton's doors are much smaller. Smaller doors don't need as much room, and they won't fling open and ding your walls.
The King model from Pendleton Safes is as solid and secure as the proverbial bank vault. Pendleton safes allow users to configure the insides to fit their individual needs. You can choose a handguns-only design, or you can order a long gun rack with a mix of storage shelves and handgun shelves.
Each safe is made in the Diebold plant. If that name sounds familiar, it should, because Diebold is one of the largest ATM manufacturers on the planet. Consequently, every safe is made to bank-vault standards on ultramodern machinery. Pendleton's laser-cut, fully welded bodies are fitted so precisely the gap around the door is just 30 thousandths of an inch. You cannot fit a pry bar between it and the frame. Even if you were able to force a pry bar in there, the reinforced frame that surrounds the door frame would prevent you from doing any real damage.
Other security features include handles that break off when the safe is attacked; massive, cam-driven locking bars that prevent burglars from driving the locking bar back with a drill; a hardened disk that protects the locker and re-locker; and heavier than normal steel. All three models have 4-gauge (quarter-inch) tops and bottoms. Sides range from 11 gauge (1/8 inch) on the Knight Model to 7 gauge (3/16 inch) on the Bishop to solid 4 gauge construction on the King.
I was impressed enough with the website that I asked Bruce to stop by on his way through Texas. A few days later, he showed up with a trailer full of safes. They looked as good in person as they did on the web, so I ordered one on the spot.
I chose the 3272 King, which holds up to 54 handguns and 40 long guns. But I ordered mine with a 36 long gun interior to give me a little more space for bolt-action rifles. I also ordered it with a single storage shelf and two pistol shelves rather than three pistol shelves. That configuration holds 36 handguns and gives me a large shelf on which to store my suppressors and other valuables.
The quality and convenience features of my Pendleton safe are every bit as good as I imagined, and I can actually see inside my safe--it really does hold a total of 72 guns. Best of all, thanks to the two-layer carousel, I never have to remove more than one gun to get to another, which means no more dings on my guns' pretty wood stocks.
The Excel spreadsheet I created to manage my firearms was pretty lame. I didn't have a good way to sort my guns, and there was no way to value my collection and keep it up to date. I looked at several software products, and I chose the Blue Book of Guns Inventory Software Program (ISP) for its features and ease of use.
The ISP allows you to inventory all your guns. Most makes and models are listed, but you can create your own, too. Values are added automatically, but you can override them. And you can download updates annually with a subscription.
The ISP all
ows users to add optics and accessories and a value for them. You can also make detailed notes. I included things like special animals taken with specific guns and noted which of my children I want to have it when I'm gone. I also noted which load each gun was zeroed with. Finally, I added two images of each gun, though you can add up to seven.
The Blue Book software is incredibly easy to use. It has an excellent search function and can run reports about your entire collection.
Just as I completed this column, I learned that Blue Book (www.bluebookinc.com) has replaced the ISP software with a web-based application that has most of the same features and is just as easy to use. I haven't tried it, but I am very happy with the Inventory Software Program.