Gun Safe Overview: The MonsterVault

Is there a monster under your bed? There should be! The monster vault is a new and innovative under-bed safe designed specifically to keep your firearms close by, secure, and hidden. It’s like the little brother of the bed bunker and another highly effective way to manage and store your firearms (or anything for that matter!). The monster vault brings an interesting take on the gun safe and presents a unique solution to the gun owner’s dilemma. Firearm owners have always wanted 3 basic things when it comes to a safe: security, proximity, and space though typically they have had to compromise for two out of three but not anymore. Here we’ll look at some of the basics of the monster vault and the details of what makes this a unique and interesting solution for gun owners.

Dimensions

Outside: 7” H x 48” W x 28” D.

Inside: 5” H x 44.5” W x 26” D.

Interior Cubic Feet: 3.35.

Weight: 140 pounds.

Build Details

The monster vault is constructed with a double wall design of cold rolled steel with a minimum wall thickness of ⅛”. The basic design is a shallow box with a single drawer that slides in and out on rollers (it is important to note that the drawer’s glide capacity is limited to 100 pounds). The monster vault comes with a programmable digital combination lock and two half inch steel rods for a secure locking mechanism. Additionally the monster vault comes with pre-drilled access holes for floor mounting. Finally the monster vault is finished with a black powder coating inside and out to give it a cool sleek design. The bad news, however, is that the monster vault has no protection against fire or water damage. There is no fire rating and while it shouldn’t have any trouble with light condensation it will not react well to submersion in liquid.

As for burglar protection the monster vault has surpassed the California Department of Justice’s construction standard for gun safes. This is a good sign and bodes well for the quality of the monster vault’s construction.

The Perks

There’s a lot of great things about this safe that can be attributed to its very clever design. Finally gun owners have a secure way to store their long guns without investing in a 1,000 pound stand up gun cabinet. This is a pretty big development and the monster vault is poised to fill this gap in the market with style. Additionally, and a very important point to make, is that the monster vault can be easily placed into most SUVs or trucks with relative ease. Again, there is a lack of serious security options when it comes to vehicles so it’s great to see another innovation available. All in all the monster vault presents a breath of fresh air in a world where the basic design for safes hasn’t changed in 100 years. There’s a lot of potential uses for the monster vault and so far reviews have been positive.

Long Term Gun Storage

If you’ve got a firearm collection that you are planning to store for extended periods of time there’s some important details about maintenance that you should heed to make sure your guns will make it to the future unhindered by damage or rust. When it comes down to it one of the most important parts of storing firearms is the initial condition they are in when you put them into storage. Of course there’s some basic regular maintenance and checkups to ensure all is going to plan but the crux of long term storage is about the maintenance and cleaning before you even begin storage. Here we’ll look at some of the problems that may appear during long term storage and how to prepare your firearms for storage with thorough cleaning and maintenance beforehand.

Humidity Control

Controlling the interior humidity levels in your gun safe is an important aspect of antique firearm storage that is especially critical for older antique guns. Moisture over time can cause rust on the metal parts and cracks in wooden stocks. The simplest solution is to store your antique gun with desiccant packs that will absorb moisture and keep the humidity under control in your home gun safe. Another option is to keep a dehumidifier with your antique guns. This will have the same effect though will be more expensive than desiccant packs. As a bonus though, unlike desiccant packs, you won’t have to replace an electric dehumidifier periodically.

Temperature Control

While it may not be practical for most gun collectors to diligently control the temperature of their antique guns; the most important aspect is consistency and stability. Drastic changes in temperature can be damaging to antique firearms. Rapid swells in temperature can cause expansion and retraction in wood which may cause cracks and other damage.

Protective Coating

There are a lot of different products on the market to protectively coat the exterior of your antique firearm. Most experts recommend a thin coat of wax to create a protective layer that will not harm the gun. Different oils will often be advertised for this purpose but have the potential to seep into a wooden stock and cause damage. A thin layer can be used on both wooden and metal parts of the gun without damage.

There are a lot of different ways to keep your gun in pristine condition. The above offers only a short insight into the world of proper care and maintenance for firearms. Seasoned gun collectors will likely be your best resource on the matter; so if you’re new in the game find a club or a group of enthusiasts and you’ll have no problem finding information to help secure your investment and keep your hobby alive.

Guide to Storing Ammunition

Have you ever wondered what the shelf life is for ammunition? While it can last a long time it’s definitely not eternal and one of the biggest factors for the shelf life of your ammunition is how well you store and care for it. Also important to note is that the type of ammunition is also going to determine how well it keeps up with time. For example, the US Army used .50 caliber rounds left over from WWII during Desert Storm. However, paper cased shot shells won’t have the same chance of lasting so long. Modern smokeless powders and primers are chemically stable for 20 years but again it is important to care well for ammunition if you plan to keep it for a long time. Here we’ll look at some basic tips for ammo storage and how to make sure the ammo you have will last as long as you need it.

Rotation

One very simple but effective technique for managing your ammunition to make sure that it won’t spoil is to continually refresh it and use the oldest available ammunition first. In order to turn this into a reality it’s important to mark your ammo cans with the date of purchase so you can effectively keep track of how old it is. There’s usually no noticeable difference in performance for ammunition depending on age; it typically comes down to a situation where it works or it doesn’t without the middle ground of poor performance.

Humidity Control

One very important factor for the longevity of your ammunition is the amount of humidity in your storage space. When possible you want to limit humidity and keep it as low as possible. There are a number of good ways to go about this. Electronic dehumidifiers and desiccant packs are very effective and even cat litter will work in a pinch. Depending on the local climate will really dictate how much you need to heed the dangers of humidity.

Vacuum Sealing

This is a relatively new idea for ammo conservation but vacuum sealing your ammunition has a lot of potential to protect it from various forms of decay. Vacuum sealing will protect your ammunition from rust, water, and even let you bury it underground if that’s your desire.

 

In general ammunition is pretty sturdy and will hold up under even surprisingly bad conditions. Typically you can get a good idea for the condition of your ammunition simply by looking at its condition and gauging the basic conditions of storage. If you treat and store your ammunition well it should last you decades.

Gun Friendly States

In a country built on diversity there is no better example of this than American gun law. While on the federal level there is some uniformity to American gun law there are also a lot of minor differences from state to state that can add up and ultimately make a fairly noticeable difference in local gun culture. Some states are renowned for being more controlling and strict while others have much looser definitions of gun control. Here we’ll look at some of the main differences for state gun laws and hopefully figure out which states are the most friendly and welcoming for gun owners.

What Makes a State Gun Friendly?

In order to make a good assessment for how friendly a state is with gun owners it’s important to define the criteria which we judge a state on. Some of the basic guidelines to consider:

Right to carry: Can citizens carry a handgun? Does it take a permit? Must it be concealed? Are there additional regulations in this state? How easily can a citizen attain a permit?

Modern Sporting Rifles: How does this state control modern sporting rifles (semi-automatic) that are not regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA)? Are there extra restrictions on magazine capacity or aesthetic features?

NFA: Are there further regulations concerning firearms controlled by the NFA? Are machine guns, suppressors, short barrelled rifles and shotguns subject to additional control?

Castle Doctrine: Are citizens allowed to defend themselves in their home? Do they have an obligation to retreat when possible?

As you can see gun law can be quite an intricate thing. There are a lot of details that can actually be quite important. So, without further ado let’s look at some of the states that stand out as both extra strict and extra free when it comes to firearms.

Extra Strict States

When it comes to extra regulations for firearms there seems to be a basic trend pointing towards the metropolitan centers of the East coast as the strictest part of the country for firearm ownership. Washington D.C. New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts are all notorious for extreme gun laws.  In general these states make it quite difficult to get a carry permit for a handgun (if possible at all) and there are typically additional restrictions for magazine capacity and NFA gun ownership. In general these states have a less vibrant gun culture and might not make for the best destination for gun enthusiasts.

The Friendliest States

When it comes to friendly gun legislation it isn’t much of a surprise to see the states that excel in this area tend to be a bit more rural than the strict metropolitan counterparts. A few states that stand above the rest include: Alaska, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Utah. These are the states that can generally be classified as very gun friendly and demonstrate a strong willingness to let their citizens possess firearms as freely as possible. Most of these states have no limitation on NFA guns nor sporting rifles and tend to issue carry permits relatively freely for residents.

How Does Bullet Resistant Glass Work?

Bullet resistant glass is a fairly modern invention with a lot of interesting uses. While it is marketed as protection against bullets that is only because that’s the most effective metric to properly convey its true properties: shatterproof, strong, and see-through . In truth there are a number of different modern uses for bulletproof glass though admittedly the most common fall under protection, self preservation, and safety.

History

Bullet resistant glass was first discovered, interestingly by accident, by French chemist Edouard Benedictus. As the story goes while working with a liquid nitrate solution he dropped a beaker which while broken had not shattered. He attributed this interesting find to the thin layer of plastic coating the beaker which would go on to lay the foundation for bulletproof glass of the future. In 1909 Benedictus filed a patent in France for laminated safety glass which was composed of a layer of celluloid between two sheets of glass. From there the story is one of regular innovation until we get to what we see and use today.

Uses

Historically war has been the great driver of innovation and this may not be too far from the truth for bulletproof glass as well. During World War I bullet resistant glass was used for the eye holes of gas masks to prevent the glass from shattering or breaking and exposing soldiers to harmful chemicals. Later, in World War II a stronger and bulkier innovated bullet resistant glass was used in vehicles to protect soldiers in trouble areas. From there it’s seen uses for high profile potential targets of assassination. The Popemobile is one example. Bullet resistant glass was used during the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Additionally all of the windows of the White House were equipped with bullet resistant glass after Pearl Harbor.

How Does it Work?

The basic idea behind bullet resistant glass is a polycarbonate material that is layered between two ordinary panes of glass in a process of lamination. Polycarbonate is a basic tough and flexible plastic that you might know by some of its brand names: Lexan, Tuffak, or Cyrolon. All bullet resistant glass uses two panes of thick glass because the first is designed to absorb the initial impact and distribute the force among the flexible plastic between the two panes so that the projectile doesn’t have enough energy to make it through the second pane. Bullet resistant glass because of its multiple layers is usually at least 4 inches thick but may be thicker depending on what power of rounds it needs to be able to stop.

How Are Safes Fireproofed?

Fireproof safes are quickly becoming the industry standard and can offer a great amount of utility in the preservation of documents and other potentially flammable materials. However, have you ever wondered exactly how these safes are fireproofed? It’s not quite as simple as it may seem and there are a lot of different methods as well as regular innovations to the fireproofing methods. Here we’ll look at some common ways a safe is fireproofed as well as the pros and cons of particular methods. Next time you are interested in purchasing a fireproof safe you can be more informed and make a better decision to get exactly what you want out of your safe.

 Fireproofing safes has a bit of a history and has been a primary concern for safe manufacturers since the late 19th century. Henry Brown is credited with the first fire retardant safe in 1886 built from forged metal. Since then we’ve come a long ways and pioneered a lot of different techniques to maintain low internal temperatures.

Gypsum Board

The most common method for fireproofing safes is the use of gypsum boards (drywall) placed between sheets of metal on the exterior of the safe. The reason why gypsum board is so effective in combatting fire is because it contains hydrates that when exposed to sufficient heat release in the form of vapourized water or steam. This means that so long as the gypsum board contains hydrates the internal temperature of the safe will not exceed the boiling point of water. Interestingly, when a fire resistant safe is exposed to fire the water vapor will fill the inside of the safe and act as both a way to maintain a low internal temperature (raises the flash point) but also works as a pressure seal against the external heat of the fire. The trick here is maintaining a proper balance between humidity and heat inside the safe for a predetermined amount of time.

Concrete Composite

In addition to gypsum boards there are a number of more high tech solutions to build effective fire resistant safes. Another method that is becoming more common is using a concrete based  composite material to fill the voids in a fire resistant safe. This offers a very different approach to the fireproofing method and usually relies on sealing the safe with intumescent tubes rather than venting it like with gypsum. Basically this material is engineered to seal off the interior and conduct heat very slowly and thus protecting the interior of the safe for enough time.

While concrete composite safes are generally considered to be higher quality they are also usually much heavier and much more expensive. It’s a reasonable trade off and something to consider when you are interested in purchasing a fire safe. One last important detail to note is that fire safes constructed with gypsum board need to be replaced after being exposed to fire. Usually the manufacturer will guarantee a free replacement but just another thing to keep in mind.

Supplemental Home Security

Home security when used properly should be a thorough network of tools and preventative measures working together to keep you, your family, and your home safe and secure. A good security system is the sum of a variety of small and simple precautions. There is no catch-all when it comes to home security and there are always additional supplements that can bolster your security system. Even if you have an all inclusive security system there are a lot of ways to further secure your home. Here we’ll look at some easy ideas that you can implement to keep your home and family safe.

Get a Guard Dog

Owning a dog can be a great way to deter intruders and give you some advance warning if there is an intruder. You don’t need the toughest dog around but you do need your dog to be well trained and loyal. If you have young children it is important to find a dog breed with a mild temperament and ensure that it is comfortable and not aggressive around your children. Most breeds will work fine as a backup alarm system but some breeds may be better suited for home security because of their protective nature and natural loyalty.

Prepare for Self Defense

A personal firearm is one form of security that can be effective in protecting your family in a dangerous situation. If you do purchase a firearm be sure to take the appropriate training courses to be able to use it safely and always keep it locked up in a secure gun safe. If you are squeamish about the fatal potential of a gun there is a wide assortment of non-lethal ammunition available. Additionally there are a number of non-lethal firearm alternatives like pepper spray or tasers that can be equally effective in thwarting a home invasion.

Join the Neighborhood Watch

One great preventative measure for home security is to maintain an active presence in the security and protection of your neighborhood. Joining or creating a neighborhood watch is a great way to get your neighborhood interested and active about home security. Doing so will both discourage theft and crime in your neighborhood as well as help you develop positive relationships with your neighbors. Good neighbors can be one of the greatest assets in supplementing your home security and you never know when you’ll need them.

Concealed Carry Permits

While the majority of firearm owners may have no need for a concealed carry permit there are some that desire to exercise their freedom or have reason to need a concealed carry permit. As with most gun laws there is a lot of variation from state to state. While the majority of states in America handle concealed carry permits via the ‘shall issue’ licensing stipulations there are some states with no restrictions and others that simply will not issue a concealed carry permit.

Unrestricted

This means that there is no permit required for a concealed carry permit. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘constitutional carry.’ These states are Alaska, Vermont, Arizona, Wyoming (for residents only), and Montana (outside of city limits).

Shall Issue

A ‘shall issue’ stance on concealed carry permits means that gun owners that desire a concealed carry permit need only to meet the requirements and pay a small fee in order to get their permit. There is no need with the ‘shall issue’ stance to demonstrate a good cause or give any reason for wanting the permit. The basic guidelines (bear in mind these may vary from state to state) are:

Residency in the state of application

Fingerprints must be taken and kept on file

A clean background check

Attend a firearm safety class

Pass a firearm proficiency test

Pay a fee

May Issue

A ‘may issue’ stance on concealed carry permits requires the same qualifications as the ‘shall issue’ states but with the addition of proof of good cause. The issuance of a concealed carry permit in ‘may issue’ states is partially at the discretion of the local law enforcement. However, some states are much more willing to issue a concealed carry permit than others. Permissive ‘may issue’ states include: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, parts of California and parts of New York.

No Issue

There are only 2 states that are strictly ‘no issue.’ These states include Illinois and the District of Columbia. However, there are some more states that, while technically, are ‘may issue’ in practice are ‘no issue.’ These are referred to as restrictive ‘may issue’ states and include: Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, certain counties of California, and certain counties of New York.

Furthermore there are some places where it is illegal at all times to carry a concealed weapon regardless of permit. These places include: federal government facilities, state government facilities, venues for political events, educational institutions, public sporting events, amusement parks, businesses that sell alcohol (night clubs), hospitals, churches, mass transit vehicles or facilities, and airports.

As a responsible gun owner always remember to stay informed and take note of local laws pertaining to gun ownership. The above information should offer a brief overview of concealed carry permits in America but be sure to consult your local authorities before going in public with a concealed firearm.

Civil War Weaponry

The Civil War is an incredibly important part of American history and with it comes some interesting wartime innovations, tactics, and weaponry. This war, above all others, yields the most American casualties and has a definitive part in defining some of the basic principles of equality that this country is founded on. To this day there are still very popular reenactments and trade shows to go along with this piece of history. Here we’ll look at some of the basic weaponry that would have been used by both Union and Confederate soldiers alike and what they meant for the wartime effort.

The Springfield 1861

This is one of the favorite weapons of most civil war enthusiasts due to its prevalence, accuracy, and reliability. With a 40 inch barrel that fires a .58 Minie ball this rifle weighed a total of 9 pounds and was the most common weapon used during the civil war by the United States Army and Marine Corp. Originally called the Springfield due to its place of manufacture there were over 250,000 produced between 1861 and 1863. It has an effective range between 200 and 300 yards and came equipped with a triangular socket bayonet. Though this weapon did not see much use in the beginning of the war it came to prevalence over time to be used later for much of the war. In terms of sheer impact this may be the most important weapon during the civil war simply due to its prevalence and widespread use during the later battles.

Cannons

The Civil War saw a lot of unique use of cannons with some modern innovations to make them more accurate and effective. The principal innovation was the ability to mass produce rifled bores which greatly increased the accuracy and range over their previous smoothbore counterparts. Some of the common cannons used include the ‘6 pounder’ gun, the M1857 12 pounder ‘Napoleon,’ the 12-pounder Howitzer, and the 10-pounder Parrott Rifle. An additional innovation was the double barrel cannon which fired two simultaneous payloads connected by a chain. This cannon, however, is more famous for backfiring and causing more friendly casualties so it never saw much use and is famous for little more than its novelty.

The Minie Ball

This ammunition was a revolutionary advancement that allowed for more range and accuracy for many civil war rifles. The basic idea was a payload that expanded during its trajectory through the barrel (due to its composition of soft lead) which allowed for a much higher muzzle velocity. Though it was actually conical and not a ball at all it retained such a name due to the commonality of round ammunition of the time. Many historians attribute this advancement as one of the main reasons for such high casualties during the civil war.

Seasonal Gun Storage

For any gun owner it’s important to be aware of how a changing climate can affect the integrity of a weapon in storage. This means changing temperatures, humidity, dryness, and other factors that come with the changing seasons. The last thing you want is for some summer humidity rusting your firearms or fluctuating temperatures warping your pistol’s grip. Here we’ll look at how to care for your firearms in light of changing seasonal weather changes and what you need to know to ensure your firearms remain in top notch quality.

Humidity

One of the most detrimental elements one has to deal with when storing firearms is humidity. Humidity has the potential to rust metal parts of a firearm as well as deteriorate wooden stocks over time. It is imperative for all gun owners and especially those that live in humid climates to combat humidity in their gun safe. This may become more important during the summer time when humidity has a tendency to rise. It’s also important to note that very few climes have no humidity and a small enclosed space will exacerbate the little humidity there is. How does one do this though? There are a few common and very effective methods to managing humidity that you can use to rest easy knowing your firearms will remain in good condition for extended periods of time. The most common method is simply to put in desiccant packs. These are small packets filled with an absorptive material that will ‘catch’ any moisture in the air. These need to be replaced regularly and it may also be a good idea to use more during especially humid months. Another option is investing in an electronic dehumidifier which is a bit more of a permanent solution but does require a power source. These can be picked up relatively cheaply at most places that sell safes. Lastly, in a pinch, cat litter will work though it might add a weird smell that’s not especially ideal.

Temperature

Another important factor to consider is the inside temperature of your gun safe. While hot and cold are not ideal the most important factor is limiting drastic swings in temperature. This will mostly affect wood as it can cause it to contract and expand which may eventually lead to warped wood. Typically this isn’t as much of a concern so long as your safe is located indoors but it does warrant mentioning nonetheless. One example of a situation that may cause damage is keeping your safe in the attic with direct sunlight during the day and especially cold temperature at night. The best you can do is keep your home at a reasonable temperature and your safe will be fine. The thick metal will already make temperature a bit slower but it’s important to mention nonetheless.