Is it Safe to Use a Shipping Container as a Gun Safe?

In the world of firearms storage, security and reliability are paramount. As gun owners, we constantly seek innovative solutions to keep our valuable firearms safe and protected. One such unconventional option that has gained attention is the use of shipping containers as gun safes. But the question on many enthusiasts’ minds remains: Can You Use a Shipping Container as a Gun Safe? In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the pros and cons, security measures, DIY tips, and legal considerations surrounding this intriguing firearm storage solution. Join us as we explore the ins and outs of using shipping containers for safeguarding your firearms.

When thinking about shipping containers, we probably think of them as popular containers for storing goods and products to move from place to place. However, the use of these items is far beyond their intended purpose, which can be customized to become a gun safe.

The use of gun safes is advisable in households to protect children and firearms, but not everyone can afford them. So, if you do not have a big budget to spend on a brand new gun safe, you can consider turning a shipping container into a gun safe.

Can You Use A Shipping Container As A Gun Safe?

Using a shipping container as a gun safe is a topic that has garnered attention among gun owners and enthusiasts. The concept of repurposing these large, sturdy containers for firearm storage has some merits but also important considerations.

1. Feasibility: Yes, you can use a shipping container as a gun safe. Shipping containers are typically made of durable steel and offer a substantial level of security.

2. Security Measures: To convert a shipping container into a gun safe, you’ll need to reinforce its security features. This may include adding additional locks, reinforcing walls, and installing security systems to ensure your firearms are adequately protected.

3. Climate Control: One challenge with using shipping containers is climate control. Containers can become extremely hot or cold, potentially affecting the condition of your firearms. Proper insulation and climate control systems may be necessary.

4. Local Regulations: Before using a shipping container for gun storage, be aware of local regulations and laws regarding firearm storage. Some areas have specific requirements for gun safes, and using a shipping container may or may not meet those standards.

5. Cost Considerations: While using a shipping container can be cost-effective compared to purchasing a large gun safe, the expenses associated with reinforcing security and climate control should be factored in.

Please note that while using a shipping container as a gun safe is feasible, it requires careful planning, security enhancements, and adherence to local laws. Always prioritize the safety and security of your firearms.
Is it Safe to Use a Shipping Container as a Gun Safe? 1

Shipping Containers Are Partly Suitable For Gun Storing

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What Qualifies As A Gun Safe?

One gun safe that satisfies all or most of the necessary standards, including: 

A gun safe will be able to confine guns and safeguard their placement completely.

A securing system that includes at least an electronic or mechanical security door is required. The safe’s security lock must have a minimum of 10,000 potential combinations, each of which must require at least three digits numbers, characters, or signs. 

A case-reinforced (Rc 60+) drill-proof steel plate, or drill-proof material of similar strength, must be there to protect the lock.

Boltwork consists of high-strength steel securing bolts with a nominal thickness of ½ inch that protrudes from the safe’s entrance into the core and vice versa. They are controlled by a distinct grip and protected by the locking.

The gun safe must be able to withstand frequent use. Regarding single-walled gun safes, the external walls must be made of a minimum of 12-gauge steel, or the total of the steel outer must be more than 0.100 inches for gun safes featuring two walls. 

A minimum of one level of 7-gauge steel plate strengthened structure, or at least two levels of a least 12-gauge steel compounding structure should be present in creating safe doors.

To keep the door from being removed, the hinges must be covered. Hinges that are not visible externally, interconnecting door layouts, dead bars, jeweler’s studs, and active or passive securing bolts are only a few examples of protective characteristics.

Is it Safe to Use a Shipping Container as a Gun Safe? 4

A Typical Example Of A Container Gun Safe

Can A Container Stop A Bullet?

The quick appropriate response is that containers can occasionally be bulletproof. Although the container was impenetrable against weaker projectiles, the complete metal jackets and armor-piercing rounds will probably destroy the container shell. 

Hence, there may not be a one-size-fits-all response to the question: it all comes down to the bullet’s kind. Although we wish you’ll never get into a situation where you’ll require bulletproof containers, it’s still a fascinating subject to examine.

Are Containers Vandal-proof?

Anti-vandalism cabins are a construction intended for unprotected locations. These cabins often resemble containers or large metal crates, and they can come in the form of single-use or sometimes double-stacked to save storage. 

These cabins are also known as anti-vandalism storage or offices. The main advantage of an anti-vandalism cabin is that it is built to resist any break-in attempts. So you are not there, these shelters safeguard necessary items, papers, and data from thieves and intruders.

Is it Safe to Use a Shipping Container as a Gun Safe? 6

Shipping Containers Are Vandal-proof

Anti-vandalism cabins are put through an extensive evaluation to guarantee the robust, safe, and capable capacity of withstanding vandals and break-ins. 

Many producers also check them on fire protection assessments to ensure the utmost safety. Such cabins are remarkable since they are assured to be among the toughest structures on the property.

Are Containers Fireproof?

Because cargo containers consist of exceptionally strong, durable material, they are often extremely robust and watertight, and notably fireproof. Even the fire department uses shipping containers in training sessions since they can endure ferocious bushfires.

That said, a container must be insulated-resistant to be fireproof. Hazardous material or dangerous goods cargo containers, on the other hand, were designed specifically to hold combustibles like explosives and dangerous materials like toxic substances.

Pros and Cons of Using Shipping Containers for Gun Storage

Shipping containers have gained popularity as an alternative for firearm storage due to their unique set of advantages and disadvantages. In this section, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using shipping containers for gun storage.


  1. Security: One of the most compelling reasons to opt for a shipping container as a gun safe is its inherent security. These containers are built to withstand harsh maritime conditions, making them incredibly resilient against break-ins and tampering. Their robust steel construction provides a formidable barrier that deters unauthorized access.
  2. Cost-Effective: Traditional gun safes can be expensive, especially when you have a sizable firearm collection. Shipping containers, on the other hand, offer a cost-effective solution. They can often be acquired at a fraction of the cost of high-end gun safes, making them an attractive choice for budget-conscious gun owners.
  3. Spacious: Shipping containers provide an abundance of storage space. This is particularly advantageous for gun enthusiasts with extensive collections or those who want to store other valuable items alongside their firearms. You won’t find yourself struggling to fit all your firearms and accessories into a cramped safe.


  1. Climate Control: Perhaps the most significant drawback of using shipping containers for gun storage is the challenge of climate control. Shipping containers are not inherently climate-controlled spaces. Without proper insulation and ventilation, they can experience temperature fluctuations and humidity buildup. These conditions can lead to rust and damage to firearms and ammunition.
  2. Modification Costs: While shipping containers are cost-effective when compared to traditional gun safes, there are additional expenses involved in modifying them for firearm storage. Reinforcing the walls and doors, adding climate control systems, and installing security features can all incur costs that need to be factored in.
  3. Legal Compliance: Depending on your location, there may be legal considerations to take into account when using a shipping container for gun storage. Local laws and regulations vary, and it’s essential to ensure your container storage setup complies with all relevant firearm storage laws. Failure to do so could lead to legal issues and penalties.

In summary, shipping containers offer a secure, cost-effective, and spacious option for gun storage. However, they come with challenges related to climate control, additional modification costs, and the need to navigate legal compliance issues. Before choosing a shipping container for gun storage, it’s crucial to carefully weigh these pros and cons and take the necessary steps to address their limitations.

Is it Safe to Use a Shipping Container as a Gun Safe? 8

How to Secure a Shipping Container for Firearm Storage

When considering a shipping container for firearm storage, ensuring the utmost security is paramount. Here, we’ll delve into the essential steps to secure a shipping container effectively for firearm storage.

1. Reinforcing Walls and Doors:

To enhance security, start by reinforcing the container’s walls and doors. Shipping containers are typically made of sturdy steel, but additional security measures can be beneficial. Consider:

  • Welded Steel Plates: Welding steel plates to vulnerable areas of the container, such as door hinges and locking mechanisms, can add an extra layer of protection against forced entry.
  • Security Film: Applying security film to windows, if your container has them, can prevent smash-and-grab attempts.

2. Locking Mechanisms and Security Systems:

Choosing the right locking mechanisms and security systems is crucial to safeguard your firearms. Options include:

  • High-Quality Locks: Invest in high-security locks, such as deadbolt locks or disc-detainer locks, for the container doors. Multiple locks can be used for added security.
  • Security Alarms: Install a security alarm system with motion sensors and door/window sensors. These alarms can alert you to any unauthorized access attempts.
  • Surveillance Cameras: Consider installing security cameras both inside and outside the container, allowing you to monitor the storage space remotely.

3. Climate Control:

Maintaining a controlled climate within the container is vital to prevent moisture-related issues and rust. Here’s how to do it:

  • Insulation: Insulate the container’s walls and ceiling to regulate temperature and humidity. Closed-cell foam insulation is an excellent choice for this purpose.
  • Dehumidifiers: Use dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from the air inside the container. Desiccant dehumidifiers or electric models can be effective in controlling humidity.
  • Ventilation: Ensure adequate ventilation by adding vents or fans. Proper airflow can help mitigate temperature fluctuations and moisture buildup.

4. Interior Layout:

Organizing and securing firearms within the container is essential for safety and accessibility:

  • Gun Safes and Racks: Invest in gun safes or racks designed to secure firearms. These safes can be bolted to the container’s floor for added stability.
  • Ammunition Storage: Store ammunition separately from firearms in locked containers or safes. This reduces the risk of accidental discharges.
  • Firearm Placement: Place firearms with the muzzles pointed in a safe direction and ensure they are not in contact with each other to prevent damage.
  • Inventory and Documentation: Keep an inventory of your firearms and their serial numbers, along with any necessary documentation. This can be invaluable in case of theft or loss.

Securing a shipping container for firearm storage involves a combination of physical security measures, climate control, and careful organization. By following these steps, you can create a secure and reliable storage solution for your firearms, providing peace of mind and compliance with firearm storage regulations.

Understanding and adhering to legal requirements for firearm storage is crucial to avoid potential legal issues and ensure the safety of your firearms. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate these regulations effectively:

1. Research Local Laws:

Before using a shipping container for firearm storage, it’s essential to research and understand the local firearm storage regulations in your area. These laws can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another, so it’s crucial to be informed about the specific rules and requirements that apply to you.

2. Safe Storage Laws:

Local laws typically have specific provisions regarding how firearms must be stored. These provisions can include requirements for:

  • Locked Containers: Some areas may mandate that firearms be stored in locked containers, such as safes or secure gun cabinets, within the shipping container.
  • Ammunition Separation: Regulations may require that firearms and ammunition be stored separately, each in its locked container.
  • Access Restrictions: Laws may dictate who can access the firearms, typically limiting access to the firearm owner or authorized individuals.

3. Compliance Tips:

To ensure compliance with firearm storage laws, consider the following tips:

  • Secure Locking Mechanisms: Use secure locking mechanisms on the shipping container and any internal safes or cabinets. These locks should meet or exceed local requirements.
  • Access Control: Implement access control measures to limit who can enter the storage area. This can include electronic keypads, biometric locks, or secure key management.
  • Documentation: Maintain documentation that demonstrates compliance with storage laws. This may include records of firearm purchases, storage equipment receipts, and any required permits or licenses.
  • Regular Inspections: Periodically inspect your storage setup to ensure it continues to meet legal requirements. This includes checking the condition of locks, security systems, and climate control measures.

4. Penalties for Non-Compliance:

Non-compliance with firearm storage laws can result in serious consequences, including legal penalties, fines, and the loss of firearm ownership rights. Penalties can vary widely depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the violation. It’s crucial to be aware of the potential consequences and take steps to avoid them.

In conclusion, staying informed about local firearm storage regulations, adhering to safe storage laws, following compliance tips, and understanding the penalties for non-compliance are essential aspects of responsibly and legally storing firearms in a shipping container. By following these guidelines, you can ensure both the security of your firearms and your compliance with the law.

What Tips To Use A Shipping Container As A Gun Safe?

When undertaken step-by-step, installing a gun safe is pretty simple. Here are a few additional pointers to help you with the installation of the safe. 

The gun safe might be risky to install if it is not securely fastened or cared for. However, attaching one to a wall is rather safe in general. Bolting hefty firearms safe to the door is by far the most frequent and typically safest storage method.

Use The Right Tool And Hardware

To create a hole for a nut or bolt, you’ll most likely need a power drill. Because a nut or bolt would not pierce the surface itself, you will frequently need to create a hole in concrete and certain other materials.

When properly mounted, power drills enhance reliability and effectiveness. Items are secured using bolts and screws. Screws are self-contained and do not require extra support.

Bolts need a fastener or a nut on the other side to increase security. When piercing into a surface without nuts or fasteners, it is less feasible.

To completely install the safe, you’ll most likely need a spanner, screwdriver, or power drill. This implies that you won’t need a power tool to install the safe correctly, but you will need suitable tools and some other bolts to tuck it nicely into position.

Get Some People Over To Help

It would be best to get assistance in moving and installing the safe. Even getting somebody to give you the drill will assist you in the most basic of situations. 

Not only that, but getting someone else to accompany you may make things a lot easier, and keeping two sets of eyes on a job is preferable to one, in case someone gets it wrong. You also have a chance to flaunt your armament, don’t you?

Picking A Less Targeted Safe Area

When thieves see a safe, they will not immediately think of weapons only if it’s written on the front, which isn’t often the case. So, as a thief-prevention strategy, the ideal spot to hide the safe should be somewhere discreet but not too far away, as they probably go looking for it. 

Theoretically, burglars are less interested in targeting a building’s underground or cellar, so hiding your container down there is not a bad idea.

_     Basement Is Less Attractive To Intruders

Basement Is Less Attractive To Intruders

Don’t Utilize The Wall And Floor Bolts At The Same Time

Though the safe can have bolts in-ground anchors and wall anchoring, you might not need to use both. Though much more secure, you risk greater issues, including a mismatched door mechanism. 

This can occur as metal bends or twists, forcing pieces to misalign and producing a significant issue with the locking system.

The Final Words

We hope you have found the answer to the question: Can you use a shipping container as a gun safe?

Yes, you can. But it would be best to bear in mind that a shipping container can not share the same characteristics as a standard gun safe. Hence, applying the tricks mentioned in the post can help you maximize the performance of the container.

Last update on 2023-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Lisa J Thompson
Lisa J Thompson

Hello, my name is Lisa Thompson and I’m the Founder of Safety Hub, your go-to resource for all things home improvement. In this day and age, security should be your top priority, and that’s exactly why my dedicated team of writers and I offer reliable information pertaining to gun storage, home safes, and so much more. When I’m not running the blog, I enjoy gardening and homesteading. As an avid nature lover, I also love going on camping trips. Currently, I happily reside in the heart of Los Angeles.

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