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August 29, 2016

Finding The Best Stack On Gun Safes: Reviews and Buyers Guide

While there are lots of weapons safe manufacturers around that offer a diverse range of expensive products for gun collectors, those who want a budget weapon storage solution often get sidelined with just a few gun safes geared towards them. Enter Stack On, a company that produces a huge range of quality products that also happen to be highly affordable. Naturally, these safes are not jam-packed with features as the pricier offerings from other safe makers are, however, they give budget restricted gun owners a great deal of choice in terms of firearm storage.

The best thing is that the company presents their products as is; they don’t sugar coat them with marketing ploys. This guide will help you decide whether Stack On’s products are suitable for you, and I’ll also include a bunch of Stack On gun safe reviews to give you some insight about their most relevant offerings, should you decide that you want to purchase a Stack On safe.

Stack - On: Company Overview

Stack-On has been around since 1972 – operating as a tool storage company offering solutions that include tool chests, work benches, toolboxes; assembled and RTA garage storage; drawer cabinets, storage bins and boxes, and of course, a diverse selection of secure gun safes that work with everything from small handguns to long scoped rifles.

Headquartered in Illinois, the company has its own manufacturing setup in Wauconda, and a storage/fulfillment facility close to Chicago. In other words, right from the beginning of their production process all the way to getting their product in the mail, the company maintains a presence, which ensures quality and satisfaction for their budget conscious clientele.

Best Stack On Gun Safe Comparisons

Model

Weight

Gun Capacity

Warranty

Price

Our Ratings

FS-14-MB-E

293 lbs

14 Gun

Limited Lifetime Guarantee/ Limited 5 years warranty

$$


rifle scope review of the vortex viper

SS-10-MG-C

146 lbs

10 Gun

Limited 3 years warranty

$


Top rifle scope

E-24-MB-E-S

492lbs

24 Gun

Limited Lifetime Guarantee/ Limited 5 years warranty

$$$


Top rifle scope

TS-20-MB-E

553 lbs

20 Gun

Limited Lifetime Guarantee/ Limited 5 years warranty

$$$$$

Top rifle scope

TD-14-28-SB-C-S

562 lbs

14-28 Gun

Limited Lifetime Guarantee/ Limited 5 years warranty

$$$$


Considerations for purchasing Stack On gun safe products

Fireproofing

Even though the company offers fire safety on most of its secure storage product lines, you should know that one of them doesn’t: specifically, the SS series. Because fire safety is a vital concern for any serious gun owner, I would advise you to avoid this particular gun safe series if there’s even a remote fire risk at your site.

Talking about actual fire safety, most of the fire safe offerings have been built to withstand temperature up to 1400F for 30 minutes. This is has been verified via third party testing. It isn’t a very impressive statistic, since fires can last longer than that sometimes; if you live far away from the nearest fire station, or in a wooden house, I would advise you to look somewhere else. Fortunately, the manufacturer does offer a couple of gun safe lines that are fireproof up to 1400F for 75 minutes, namely the Sovereign series and the Total Defense series.

It is commendable that the company is more explicit than most about the nature of their safes’ fire safety, by mentioning that while they are more than adequate to protect firearms from fire hazards for the stated time period, they are not suitable for securing sensitive electronic / optical data e.g. flash drives, CDs, video tapes, photo negatives. This is because the safe’s internal temperature can reach around 350F even with fire safety in effect, and the items mentioned above will get damaged at temperatures beyond 180F.

Theft proofing

In terms of fundamental burglary protection, Stack-On gun safes come with 2 way or 4 way locking systems, with the live action bolts ranging from 1’’ to 1.5’’ in length. If at all possible, I would suggest that you go with the 4 way locking gun safes, since they provide considerably greater pry resistance compared to 2 way locking ones. 2 way locking is only recommended if you’re certain that the safe will be in no real danger of theft i.e. you want a place to keep your guns away from children.

Besides the live action locking bolts, all Stack-on gun safes also come with 2 or more dead bolts (depending on the price), which augment the door’s pry resistance. Again, I’d recommend that you go for a product that has as many dead bolts as possible within your budget.

Most (but not all) gun safes from this manufacturer classify as a California Department of Justice approved Firearm Safety Device adhering to the stipulations of Penal Code section 23655 i.e. their locks incorporate drill resistant hard plates for additional theft protection. Stay clear of the product lines that are not classified as such, because they won’t be able to withstand a seasoned burglar.

Bear in mind that this is not the same thing as the UL penetration rating found in higher end products from other manufacturers – but then again, at this cheap a price, it would be difficult to achieve this.

Water proofing

The manufacturer understands that many of their customers will look for more than basic fire and theft protection. For instance, if you live in an area prone to flooding and store your weapons in the garage, you’ll need a safe that can handle partial water submersion. With that in mind, Stack On offers a couple of waterproofed options: the Sovereign series and the Total Defense Series are both waterproof for up to 2 feet of standing water, for 72 hours straight!

Locking options

You’ll find both electronic and combination locking options for most of the manufacturer’s offerings, but remember that you’ll be stuck with either option once you’ve chosen it: Stack On clearly states in their FAQ section that the lock is not interchangeable once installed.

The electronic locks are battery operated and backlit, supporting 3-8 digit programmable codes. A backup key is included in case the electronic functionality fails.

Storage features

All gun safes from this manufacturer have fully carpeted interiors, and most also have one or more removable shelves for customizing their storage capabilities to your taste.

As far as gun capacity is concerned, you’ll find options starting from a lowly 8 gun limit to a mammoth 60+ gun storage capability. In other words, Stack On has you covered regardless of the size of your gun collection.

Warranty

Stack On safes come with a limited lifetime warranty, under which the manufacturer promises to repair or replace their product if it is damaged due to theft or fire. They also promise that their product will be free from defects for as long as it is owned by the customer. In case of a flaw or damage that cannot be handled by a Stack On approved local workman, the company will pay the freight (both ways) for the product to be shipped to their facility

Note that this policy is restricted to the original owner of the safe only i.e. it is non-transferable.

Top rated Stack On Gun Safe Reviews

FS-14-MB-E Stack On 14 Gun Safe

  • Weight: 280 pounds
  • Gun Capacity: 14 gun
  • Dimension: 55 x 19 x 20.25 inches
  • Fire Rating: 1400F/30min
  • Lock Type: Electronic w/ hard plate
  • Locking Mechanism: 2 way w/ 3 1’’ live action bolts
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Guarantee/ Limited 5 year warranty

The gun safe from Stack On’s FS series has been made to provide moderate theft and fire protection for the average gun collector. It uses an electronic lock with operation lights indicating open, invalid entry and low battery statuses; the lock is protected by a drill resistant steel hard plate for enhanced burglary protection. You’ll also get an emergency key for accessing the lock in case the electronic mechanism fails.

The safe employs 1’’ steel live action locking bolts to create a 2 way locking system, with a total of five locking points. The fire rating for this safe is 1400F for 30 minutes, and has been confirmed through ETL testing, making it a viable option for fire safety if you live relatively close to a fire station. You can fix the safe to your floor for extra safety thanks to its included fastening hardware.

In terms of aesthetics, the lock has an attractive black epoxy finish with chrome accents, and a silk-screen logo up front. The store’s quoted capacity is 14 rifles, and while this may be a far stretch, it can easily store a healthy amount of assorted weapons and ammo boxes for its size.

At its incredibly low cost, this an excellent choice for budget conscious weapon owners looking for a secure safe to store a small firearms collection.




What We Liked

  • Low cost solution that provides decent burglary protection.
  • ETL rated fire protection.
  • Aesthetically appealing.

What We Didn't

  • Fire safety isn’t reliable for those who live far from a fire station.


SS-10-MG-C Stack On 10 Gun Safe

  • Weight: 146 pounds
  • Gun Capacity: 10 gun
  • Dimension: 55 x 15.9 x 15.125 inches
  • Fire Rating: n/a
  • Lock Type: Combination w/ hard plate
  • Locking Mechanism: 2 way w/ 3 1’’ live action bolts
  • Warranty: Limited 3 year warranty

This safe from the manufacturer’s SS series is designed to be a barebones, ultra-low cost solution for storing a very small collection of weapons in a secure place that cannot be accessed easily by intruders or children.

It is rated as a Firearm Safety Device by the California DOJ, and employs a drill resistant, hardened steel plate in conjunction with a 3 number combination lock. The safe utilizes 3 live action locking bolts as well as 2 steel dead bolts to create a total of 5 locking points for decent theft safety protection. This is further augmented by its concealed door hinges, which also provided enhanced door movement.

The interior is completely carpeted, and carries patented barrel rests and standoffs for optimizing storage space, even when you’re storing scoped weapons. One of the shelves is made removable to give you even more freedom of customization.

Note that the SS series of safes does not carry a fire safety rating, so it is absolutely not recommended for those who want to secure their weapon collection from fire hazards.




What We Liked

  • Extremely cheap.
  • Fair theft protection.
  • Reasonably customizable interior.

What We Didn't

  • No fire safety.


E-24-MB-E-S Stack On Elite Gun Safe

  • Weight: 492 pounds
  • Gun Capacity: 24 gun
  • Dimension: 59 x 29.25 x 20.25 inches
  • Fire Rating: 1400F/30min
  • Lock Type: Electronic w/ hard plate
  • Locking Mechanism: 4 way w/ 5 1.5’’ live action bolts
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Guarantee/ Limited 5 year warranty

The Elite 24 gun safe is one of the most secure offerings from Stack On, incorporating a 4 way locking system with extra-long 1.5’’ live action bolts and a whopping 8 locking points that provide ultra-reliable burglary protection.

Like all other Stack On offerings, it has a California DOJ Firearm Safety Device rating, and is accessed by means of an interactive electronic lock protected by a drill resistant hard plate. A key is available for emergency access in case the electronics fail. In terms of fire safety, the safe doesn’t offer any improvement over the standard 1400F/30 min rating.

This offering builds on its 24 long gun storage capability by means of a door storage system with removable zippered bags and pistol holsters for quick and easy access. 4 adjustable shelves allow you to customize the interior to match your personal storage requirements, whether it’s long guns, or firearms, or ammo, or a combination of these.

All in all, an excellent budget product for those who want premium burglar safety.




What We Liked

  • Robust theft protection features.
  • Economically priced
  • Customizable interior.

What We Didn't

  • Weak fire protection.


TS-20-MB-E Stack On 20 Gun Safe

  • Weight: 553 pounds
  • Gun Capacity: 20 (4 tactical / 16 standard)
  • Dimension: 59 x 35.25 x 26.75 inches
  • Fire Rating: 1400F/30min
  • Lock Type: Electronic w/ hard plate
  • Locking Mechanism: 4 way w/ 7 1.5’’ live action bolts
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Guarantee/ Limited 5 year warranty

The Tactical Series is specifically designed for the variable storage needs of modern tactical weapon owners.

It incorporates 6 adjustable shelves, and special adjustable barrel rests that can be extended to make room for customized firearms. In total, you can store 4 tactical and 16 standard long guns in the safe, and the interior can also be modified into a storage space for pistols, ammo and other smaller items. Also present is a door panel organizer to store items for easy accessibility.

As far as theft protection goes, the TS-20-MB-E is California DoJ rated, and utilizes a formidable 4 way locking system with seven 1.5 inch live action bolts as well as three dead bolts, giving you a total of ten locking points. The electronic lock is strengthened by a steel hard plate, and is pretty much the same as those present in Stack On’s other offerings.

The safe has a 1400F/30 minute fire rating from ETL, which, again, isn’t anything to write home about.

What We Liked

  • Internal storage optimized for tactical weaponry.
  • Customizable interior.
  • Strong burglary protection features.
  • Affordably priced for its features.

What We Didn't

  • Fire safety is still subpar.

TD14-28-SB-C-S Stack On 28 Gun Safe

  • Weight: 562 pounds
  • Gun Capacity: 28 gun
  • Dimension: 56.69 x 26.89 x 19.29 inches
  • Fire Rating: 1400F/75min
  • Lock Type: Combination w/ hard plate
  • Locking Mechanism: 4 way w/ 5 1.5’’ live action bolts
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Guarantee/ Limited 5 year warranty

Stack-On produces its Total Defense line for those who want substantial protection, both from burglars and natural elements. In my opinion, this is one of their rare offerings that is up to par with what other gun safe makers offer.

Instead of their regular 30 minute fire safety rating up to 1400F, this gun safe can handle the same temperature for a far more assuring 75 minutes. This yields greatly enhanced protection for your prized gun collection, making the product suitable for gun owners who looking for a solution that covers all bases.

The safe also happens to be waterproof – capable of withstanding 2 feet of standing water for 72 hours straight, so you may want to consider it if you’ll be stacking your weapons inside a riverside cabin or a garage that fills up during flood season.

A 4 way locking system, packing five 1.5’’ live action bolts and three dead bolts for 8 locking points in total, provides robust theft protection. This model has a combination lock, and it is secured by means of a drill resistant hard plate just like other Stack-On products. A pre-installed electric socket allows you to power accessories such as lights and dehumidifiers.

The fully carpeted interior is setup to store 28 long guns by default, but the safe can also be configured for holding 14 guns and other small items, or small items entirely: the 6 adjustable shelves allow for a great deal of customization. Also included is a door storage system with removable bags for items that require quick access and storage.

What We Liked

  • Affordably priced, complete weapon storage solution.
  • Hefty 1400F/75min fire rating.
  • Waterproof for 72 hours in 2 feet of standing water.
  • Flexible interior and commendable storage features.

What We Didn't

  • none


Conclusion

Now that you’ve reached the end of this guide, you will undoubtedly have realized that this company aims to provide value to those gun owners who can’t afford to spend big bucks on fancy, top-of-the-line gun safes. While most of their products end up being limited in their applications due to the budget constraints imposed by the manufacturer, there are a couple of lines which actually do manage to achieve Stack-On’s goal of a completely secure yet affordable weapon storage solution:

The TD14-28-SB-C-S that I’ve reviewed above is an exemplifies this perfectly; for me it is the best Stack On gun safe around right now because it provides incredibly strong theft protection, excellent fire safety, extended waterproofing and a great deal of customizability; all this at a price that even hardcore budget shoppers will be pleased with.


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