With burglaries, fire, and floods destroying billions of dollars in losses each year, protecting your valuables is crucial in modern times. Items from jewelry, important documents and of course firearms should be protected if at all possible. Add to that the responsibility we all have as firearms owners to keep our firearms in a manner that are not accessible to unauthorized persons and you have a strong need for a quality safe.
I was recently picking out safes at a local retailer and stumbled onto Stack On’s Total Defense Series. The idea of the safe intrigued me. With the exception of some inexpensive locker style cabinets, nearly all safes boast fire ratings showing a certain temperature and a time period. I had not seen any safes though in my time looking that boasted a flood protection. Now I do not live in an area prone to flooding but I have had a leaky gutter cause water in my basement. I have also heard several stories of people who were on vacation when a pipe burst or their hot water tank rusted through and their basement became flooded. The idea of this extra protection had me sold!
I ended up receiving a 24 gun combination lock Total Defense Series safe within a couple weeks of my initial discovery and have since had a chance to set it up to my liking. There are a few nuances to this safe (as with most other safes).
First since the flood protection is what sold me on the safe I will go over some of that. The First thing is that the safe is certified to sit in 2ft of water for up to 72 hours without damaging the items inside. This is certainly not to the levels of flooding during major hurricanes or regional flooding that we have seen in storms such as Katrina or Sandy. It does however offer protection against your normal flooding of a basement that I have seen in the past. The safe must be mounted to the floor or the waterproof feature is voided. There is also a warning in the manual that the safe will float as water rises if it is not secured to the floor. This makes sense as the air chamber in the safe would create buoyancy.
The 1400° for 75 minute fire rating is in line with most major safe companies. This will protect most items, but it is important to note that the manual cautions on it not covering electronics. Even though manufacturers of safes suggest electronics as an item to be placed in fire safes, the inside of the safe is going to be an oven by the time the fire is over. I have seen data from some manufacturers showing that the inside got to 350°. This is a normal baking temperature. Just imagine putting your cell phone in with a batch of cookies. Probably not the best of ideas. This protection will however protect your firearms, jewelry, important papers, etc from the damaging heat of a fire.
Like most large safes, the thought of fitting the number of guns in that the safe is rated for is under very ideal conditions. This safe comes with 1 horseshoe barrel rest and 2 row shaped. The Horseshoe shaped has offset spots on the back for scoped long guns. Once I placed a scoped rifle in first side rest was blocked by the butt of the scoped rifle. Fitting in rifles on the sides of the rest was rather easy other than moving around the rifle in the back. I also have a few youth rifled for the kids that I was easily able to fit and adapt into that side.
On the other side I am using the shelving for various ammunition, ammo boxes, and other items. There is plenty of room for my current supply and I am resisting the urge to buy more to fill it.
On major benefit to me, since I mainly focus on handgun, is the factory installed door storage. The 24 gun version comes with 4 holsters built. I can easily store the handguns I routinely bring to class in an area that is easy to access. There is also MOLLE straps just below the holsters for attaching other gear as well as several pockets at the bottom.
The Total Defense Series also comes with a power outlet inside the safe. This is great for dehumidification rods or other items you may want to keep charged.
The safe features a dial style combination lock which is my preference on longer term storage safes. The dial is more reliable than electronics. I have seen on many forums where people’s electronics have failed. This is not a ready access safe for home defense, so the extra time spent to open is far worth the reliability. That being said it only take a matter of seconds to access.
The lighting I am currently using in the safe is also made by Stack On and works on 6 AAA batteries. It lights this size safe very well but I would suggest multiple for any larger of a safe. The light is mounted at the top of the safe and turns on as soon as the door is opened by using a motion sensor allowing easy visibility and access to the contents.
Securing the safe is not overly difficult and should not be skipped for reasons even beyond the flood protection. I have heard of people saying the safe was so heavy nobody would ever steal it. The truth is taking the extra time gives a much greater guarantee. The thought that someone cannot get the safe out is a stretch unless you built your home around your safe. Also I have now heard of some cases from a LEO friend where burglars have tipped the safe to compromise it with an angle grinder.
The warranty on the safe is great. If installed properly Stack On will cover up to $15,000 worth of valuables lost due to fire, flood, or theft. They will also cover replacing the safe free of charge if it is damaged by fire, flood, or theft. There is also a limited 5 year warranty on workmanship covering the safe.
Overall I am very impressed with my new upgraded safe. I still have room to expand some in my collection and I know all of my firearms are well protected.