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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
WalMart has these for about $65 right now, so I figured I'd grab one and post a quick review.



Let me start off by saying that this is NOT a gun safe! It's not even close. Given time and opportunity, this cabinet is easy to break into using nothing more than a crow bar. If you want to protect your valuables from the Bad Guys, get a proper safe.

What this does is provide a minimal amount of security to protect you from the curious, the bored and those with prying eyes. It does meet California's gun storage requirements. From the Stack-On web site:
"Approved by the California Department of Justice as meeting their standards for firearm safety."
So there is that.

This is a sheet-metal cabinet that is designed to be installed inside a wall that is built with 2x4 studs on 16" centers (giving a 14" space in between the wall studs. Installation is simple and straightforward. Find a section of wall that has two studs spaced on 16" centers (this can be difficult -- my builder seems to have put a stud wherever he felt like putting one -- 10", 18" whatever.) You probably want to put in somewhere inconspicuous like a cupboard or closet. According to my wife, in the wall next to our bed is not acceptable.

Remove the sheetrock between the studs. The portion of the cabinet that fits in the wall is 14"x53" so cut your cole to be 53" long.

If your studs are exactly 14" apart, lucky you! If its less, you will need to find another location (and hire someone to patch that big hole you just cut! Choose your location carefully!) If they're more than 14" you may need to shim one or both sides of the opening to make it as close to 14" as you can.

Slip the cabinet into the wall and secure it using 6 screws, installed through pre-drilled holes in the cabinet into the wall studs on either side. I recommend NOT using the screws provided. These are fairly large, but made of very soft material. The head WILL strip out and you'll be left having to remove them with a pair of channel locks and much swearing. I ended up using large deck screws.

The cabinet mounts flush with the wall and protrudes 3/16" at the most, meaning you can easily hide it behind a large mirror or other wall decoration.

The cabinet comes with three full-width shelves and one half-width shelf. These shelves are screwed into pre-drilled holes in the sheet metal back of the cabinet, using VERY short screws (if these were any longer, they're poke through the sheet rock on the back side of the wall into the next room!

Installation took about 90 minutes from unboxing to loading all my gear into the cabinet.


OK, now for some observations.

First, as I said, this is a cabinet, not a safe. It'll keep any but the most determined thief out.

The cabinet material is fairly thin. The flanges and door re made of a thicker gauge steel, but the back and sides are pretty thin. The back is not stiffened or supported in any way, making it quite flexible. This is an issue because the shelves are attached ONLY to the back of the cabinet, not the sides, Put anything heavy on them and they will flex quite a bit. Unacceptable. I fixed this by riveting the sides of the shelves to the sides of the cabinet in addition to screwing the shelf to the back of the cabinet. This makes the shelves rock-solid -- solid enough to support several boxes of ammunition.

The shelves and bottom of the cabinet are padded with open-cell foam rubber. VERY CHEAP foam rubber. Webster's dictionary had a puoto of thei stuff under "cheap" but the editors though "no one would believe something this cheap exists" so they replaced it with something that didn't look so cheap.

In other words, the foam rubber "padding" is crap and you'd do well to just cut up an dold piece of carpet and use that instead (which I intend to do.)

My last complaint is something I was well aware of before I placed my order -- shipping damage. If you order one of these it WILL arrive damaged. The product is VERY poorly packed. There is protective Styrofoam surrounding the cabinet, but there's not nearly enough to protect it. Especially the flanges that surround the door. One or more corners WILL be bent. My cabinet also had dents on the back and sides indicating something heavy had been dropped on the packaging. these were not bad enough to interfere with the cabinet's function, and I knew returning it would only get me another damaged one, so I didn't bother.

My conclusion? Since this is a VERY cheap solution that can hold rifles, and there are no competitors in this size and price range, I have to grudgingly recommend it, despite the poor design of the shelves and the high probability of receiving a damaged one. These shortcomings can be overcome with a little work.

If you have firearms to secure, especially long guns, this is about the cheapest way to do it. It does meet California's requirements for gun storage.

Recommended, but I'd only give it a 2 out of 10.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the review. You seem pretty hesitant to give this box any positives which, having seen one, isn't a surprise.
I tried, I really did. It's cheap, and it gets the job done, which is about it. If they'd just do a better job packing the thing, and drill holes for the sides of the shelves (they already include enough spare sheet metal screws to do the job,) It would be a MUCH better product. You can fix the damage (usually) and modify the shelves in a few minutes, of course, but I wonder how many would actually go to the trouble.

As delivered, its only saving grace is that its pretty much the only game in town. :(
 
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