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I recently inherited a 22 Ruger and am taking this as an opportunity to become more familiar with guns. Specifically, I am currently looking at options to secure the weapon in my home. I'm also going to provide a bit more information about my background and goals at the end of my post to solicit other advice if you feel generous.

For securing my weapon, I don't have kids but do occasionally have nephews over. So some sort of safe seems appropriate. Some desired features that I think I would like:

  • A bio-metric lock. Seems a great way to avoid fiddling with keys or entering numbers in a hurry (i.e. during home defense needs).
  • Fire and water proof, so I could also store a few items that are not valuable but a pain to replace (passport, etc.).
  • Small and portable, so it easily fits under the bed. Also, if I travel with, it would be nice to have that extra guard against someone misusing it. Depending on the state I think a locked box in your car is sometimes legally required.
  • Extra space, I currently just have the one gun but with time this could expand into a few more. I don't ever see myself going whole hog. An ideal safe might be able to store 2 or 3 guns.
  • Ideally I would like the safe to be below $100. I could go up to $200 if it had everything I wanted. If it's going to be more than $200 then I'll probably start trimming my wish list to keep it in budget.
I have looked at various safes on-line and have some questions:

  • Most of the portable safes I look at don't advertise any fire proofing. I assume that means it is not fire proof?
  • If the safe is in a fire is the a chance of the bullets exploding? I don't plan to keep the gun chambered but I would like to keep a loaded magazine or two for home defense purposes. I assume at some point during the fire (depending on how fireproof the safe is) it can reach a point where it would explode. If this is the case what is the damage here? Is the damage contained in the safe? Or could it possibly hurt my neighbors (I live in a subdivision)? Also, I don't want to harm a firefighter that might be trying to save my house.
Now a bit of my background goals so I can solicit any additional advice not related to safes. If you don't have time feel free to just focus on my primary questions regarding safes.

I did not grow up with guns and can count on both hands the number of times I have gone to a target range. I am hoping to change that. I don't ever see myself being a gun enthusiast. But I would like to be knowledgeable enough and safe. Towards that goal:

  • What is critical to know? Right now I have been focusing on understanding the law, how the actual gun works and general tips for handling a gun at home and at the range.
  • I am planning to visit my local range probably about 2-3 times a month to become both comfortable with the weapon and mildly proficient in using it. Do you think this is too much, too little?
  • I am considering purchasing a BB gun so I can practice targeting in my backyard in a cost effective manor in between range visits. My research indicates this is legal (I live in Paulding county outside Hiram and Dallas). Is this correct? Do you know of any restrictions I should know about related to this? Would this provide a decent substitute for targeting with a real gun? Is there any specific BB gun you might recommend for this purpose? How loud is a BB gun? Since it is air, I assume quiet (like a paintball gun). I don't want to be a nuisance to my neighbors.
  • I like to travel and do fairly often. I realize I will need to research the laws of each state if I choose to bring my weapon. I travel to SC a lot (family). My best research on it indicates the only requirements for SC are that the gun must be locked in the car (i.e. portable safe or trunk) and I must inform a LEO of the gun even if not asked if I am pulled over. I also must unload the weapon if taking it out the car. Anything else? Anything especially tricky for other nearby states (FL, AL, TN, NC)?
  • Would it be useful to get a weapons carry permit? It doesn't seem very costly. I don't see myself packing heat around town. I just figure the extra freedom that comes with that permit could help me avoid problems complying with gun restrictions (obviously a permitted person still has restrictions but they have less than a non-permitted person). Also it might help make things easier when traveling to another state.
 

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Get yourself one of these:
http://www.amazon.com/GunVault-NV20...8&qid=1404626945&sr=8-3&keywords=handgun+safe

Not a "safe" but will do the trick for your current needs. When you grow out of it, move it to your car and use it there. We have one in both of our cars.

As for the biometric, I would caution against it. Our timeclocks at work operate this way and are $5k+ units and are still slow and occasionally finicky. My rec. is to keep the safe open at night anyway.
 

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This meets all your storage requirements except biometric, which I personally would advise against anyway:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/SentrySafe-H0100-.66-cu-ft-Waterproof-Fire-Chest/19490422

When a cartidge gets hot enough, it will "cook off" (the gunpowder will ignite). If the cartridge is in the chamber of a firearm, the bullet will leave the barrel with essentially the same energy as if it had been fired. If the cartidge is not in a chamber, the bullet will have some amount of energy, but not significant. Enough to hurt someone if they were to be in the path of the bullet, but not nearly as much as if it had been fired from a firearm.
 

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The above listed option from Walmart is interesting and just as the poster said, it pretty much meets your requirements. I also agree with the others who've recommended staying away from safes with a biometric feature. The small Gun Vault type mini-safes with four button, quick opening mode are a good option to consider. I bought one of these for the wife before I deployed to Iraq in '07 and she is still using it to this day.

Probably a good idea to consider a larger, dedicated home safe if you plan on aquiring more firearms at some point later on. Stick with the fire rated models and don't go cheap. Like many things in life, you get what you pay for.

Two or three trips to the range per month is not excessive. We have several regular customers to our range who're there on a weekly basis. Especially since you're just starting off into shooting, the more learning and practice, the better. Seek out some good training from experienced instructors. Take that training and build upon it. Don't reinforce bad habits learned early on.

Even if you never intend to carry a handgun, I highly recommend applying for a Georgia Weapons Carry License. The GWCL has many other benefits besides allowing firearm carry.
 

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I have a biometric safe and a combo safe. The combo is faster to get into than the biometric and more reliable. If you're going to get a gun safe, get a gun safe. A fireproof safe for your personal documents is cheap. If there are no kids over the house at night I'd recommend leaving the safe open. I used to have pistols in various places that I knew I could access but were out of sight... Then I had a kid. Now my pistols are in basically the same places, just inside of safes.

This is the safe I have I really like: http://www.thefirestore.com/store/p...igital-Safe/?gclid=CJDBjr_bsL8CFc3m7AodKjgAwA It also comes in larger sizes that have a second shelf for other stuff (papers, more guns, ammo, etc)
If you have somewhere to mount it this one is good too: http://www.thefirestore.com/store/p...dVault-Safe/?gclid=COmMpMDbsL8CFSwS7AodIGsAhQ
Here's the biometric one: http://www.wayfair.com/Barska-Mini-..._sku=Brq1435&gclid=CL2v6PzbsL8CFTJo7AodHCwAPg
 

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If the safe is in a fire is the a chance of the bullets exploding?
Yes, but it will be of no significant danger unless chambered.


I travel to SC a lot (family). My best research on it indicates the only requirements for SC are that the gun must be locked in the car (i.e. portable safe or trunk) and I must inform a LEO of the gun even if not asked if I am pulled over.
Your GWCL is no good in SC. Your weapon may be loaded, but it must be in the glove box, console, or trunk. Those locations are specifically named in the law, and there is no provision in the law for a portable safe. When I cross the bridge, I pull it from my holster and place it in the armrest console.

Your family's house is not your house. As such, you many not legally carry there.

Only SC CWP holders must inform. You are not a permitted person and have no obligation to inform.

For car storage, the NanoVault works well.
http://www.gunvault.com/nanovault-200.html

For storing a few pistols, this works well. I added a shelf and have 4 plus mags a the ready.
http://www.harborfreight.com/electronic-digital-safe-45891.html
 

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The trigger lock looks interesting, although that Google search led me to a cable lock which seems even safer (gun cannot be loaded) and just as cheap. A safe still seems better, but the cable lock might be a good stopgap.
Our local PD gives out cable locks for free. Check with yours and see if they do the same.
 

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Learn the four basic rules of firearm safety and always be mindful of them.

1. treat all firearms as if they were loaded
2. never point firearm at anything you're not willing to destroy(even when doing dryfire exercises)
3. keep your finger off the trigger until you have a target and are ready to shoot
4. be aware of what's beyond and in front of your target

You can also try a cheap airsoft pistol for practice and safety training. They're likely not as accurate as a pellet/bb pistol but can be shot indoors with less chance of damaging something. Wear safety glasses. I have a Beeman p17 break action pellet pistol and it's pretty accurate at 50 feet with no recoil and a decent trigger. It sounds about like a pneumatic nail gun.
 

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cheap safe

It sounds like a cheap "home fire safe" would be good enough for your needs.

None of them in the $100-$200 price range offers real protection from burglars with pry bars and hammers and cordless drills. They are good enough to discourage sticky-fingered house guests and visitors (contractors, meter readers, etc.), lazy thieves, and such a safe will keep out curious kids and juvenile delinquents who don't know how to use tools or aren't willing to make that much noise, etc.

But these safes are reasonably good at stopping or slowing down some criminals, and they're pretty good at protecting valuable documents from being burned up in a house fire.

I've only owned ones with dial combination locks, so I have no experience with push button models.

If the push-numbers are programmable to anything you want, I'd consider that better than a dial safe, and either one should be way more reliable than a cheap biometric safe. I might trust a $1000 safe to scan my fingerprints and open on command, but not a $150 safe.

You could set the push-button combination to something easy to hit in the dark, just by feel, using only the buttons on the exterior edges and corners of the keypad. (But I'd keep a small flashlight right next to the safe anyway. A little LED light that isn't so bright that it would ruin your night vision. Inside the safe you could have both a gun AND a powerful tactical light.)

Here's an inexpensive fire/light duty anti-theft safe at Wal-Mart for a little over $100. It's big enough to hold a couple of pistols and ammo, your passport and some money, some jewelry, some other documents.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/First-Ale...bucket_id=irsbucketdefault&findingMethod=p13n
 

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I have one of these, which I use to store my and my wife's everyday carry handguns at night, along with important documents and papers:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/SentrySafe-1-23-cu-ft-Electronic-Lock-Fire-Safe-SFW123GTC/203079466#certona_recommendations

It meets your requirements except for biometric, and I concur with the other posters who recommend against it. It opens with a combination you set yourself, and the keypad lights up for easy access in a dark room. It's small enough that you could put it in a car trunk, but it's not what I'd call portable, and portability isn't really a good quality in a safe anyway because someone could just steal the whole safe. It'd be better to bolt this one to your floor, and then get a safe specifically designed for cars that you can attach with a cable to a part of the vehicle to secure it.
 
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