The size and weight of a full-sized steel gun safe is a mixed blessing. On the positive side, the bulk and weight of a big, heavy safe make it difficult for thieves and burglars to remove the safe from your home. If they can't move it, they either try to break into it at your location (which presents a greater risk of getting caught) or leave it alone and try to find an easier target.
Also, the double-walled construction and fire-rated insulation inside a quality safe make it heavy. A home-size gun safe with composite/concrete or pour-in amalgamated insulation may weigh up to 3,100 pounds!
However, although the weight can be a security benefit of the gun safe, large, heavy safes can be challenging or dangerous to move and install. So, our first recommendation for safely moving a big, heavy safe on your own is DON'T.
Why you should have a professional move your gun safe
At Liberty Safe, we love and want to keep our customers safe. We never recommend that people try to move a heavy safe on their own. There are multiple advantages to hiring a professional, safe mover, including:
- They have experience. Knowing the proper way to handle different situations without causing damage to your safe, your home, or anyone involved is extremely valuable.
- They have the proper equipment. A professional will have the right dollies, hand trucks, lifts, hoists, sliders, straps, and other tools to do the job right. After you rent the right equipment, you might pay close to the professional mover's rate anyway. Let them do it.
- They are insured. Professional, safe movers are licensed and insured in your state of residence. They will not only be far less likely to cause damage than you will, but they will have insurance to cover any problems in the rare case.
- They will have strong, capable employees to help. A pro-safe mover will never try to move a heavy safe without the right number of helpers. Their assistants will know how to help when to get out of the way, and the right way to proceed.
Video: How is my Gun Safe Delivered and Installed?
However, if we can't talk you out of moving a safe on your own, we want to give you as many safety tips as possible to help protect you, your safe, and your home.
Before you move your safe, please read our article for advice on the best places to keep a gun safe in your home.
Top safety tips for moving a Gun safe on your own
Again, we STRONGLY recommend you hire a professional safe mover. The moderate cost is well worth it. But if you're set on trying it yourself, follow these suggestions.
tEmpty your safe before trying to move it
This may seem like common sense, but we've seen people try to move loaded safes rather than emptying them first. Always empty your gun safe before you even try to shift its position.
This accomplishes two important things. First, it reduces the weight of the safe significantly, as guns and ammo can be very heavy. This reduces the risk of injury to you as well as reducing damage to floors due to scraping or abrasions. Secondly, emptying your safe removes the chance that items will shift as the safe is moved, which can increase the risk of the safe tipping or over-balancing while moving.
Measure your safe carefully and all entryways and halls along the path
Before buying a gun safe, you should carefully measure your entryways, doorways, halls, and stairs (as well as your new safe) to ensure it will fit where you want it. This applies doubly when moving an existing safe to a new location. An assembled safe, including the handles, may be wider front to back than a new safe, which a professional might install a handle after moving the safe into place. Be sure to account for the entire width and height of your safe, including the depth of the handle and any diagonal measurements if you need to take a tight corner.
Careful measurements beforehand will prevent you from potentially getting your safe wedged into a stairwell or a tight doorway and creating an unsafe situation (not to mention damaging your home or safe). You might tape a cardboard mock-up of your safe with the correct dimensions and do a test run.
- Pre-plan your route through the house and measure any doorways or tight spots so you'll know whether you can actually transport the safe through narrow spaces.
- Ensure any staircases that might be used are sturdy enough to hold the weight of the safe.
- Empty out your safe to make it lighter and protect its valuable contents from being damaged during the move.
- Borrow or rent a heavy-duty appliance dolly for moving your gun safe, along with supporting straps or ropes and thick moving blankets.
- When renting equipment from a moving company, you'll need to know the dimensions and weight of your safe.
- Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes with good soles for better traction to reduce the chance of you slipping while you move the safe, and to protect your feet.
- Protect your hands with high-quality work gloves that will give you a good grip on the safe and moving equipment.
- If you're moving the safe to another house or business, make sure the vehicle you use is large enough and capable of carrying the weight of your safe.
Make sure you plan for the weight of your safe
Look up the empty weight of your safe to ensure you have sufficiently strong equipment rated for that load. Also, accurately estimate the loaded weight of your safe and double-check that your planned new safe location is built to handle the weight. A loaded gun safe can weigh well over a thousand pounds and, in many cases, 2 or 3 thousand pounds. Some floors and stairs aren't built to handle that weight, and bad things can happen to you or your home.
Obtain heavy-duty moving equipment
If you move your safe into another room on the same floor, you might get away without a heavy-duty hand truck, dolly, and lift. But if you're going up or down stairs, front steps, up ramps, and into vehicles, you want to use the proper equipment.
You'll need to buy, rent, or borrow heavy-duty moving equipment designed to handle the weight of your safe. For example, if you are moving a Fatboy Jr. Extreme gun safe, you will need a hand truck or dolly that can hold at least 800 pounds. Make sure it has straps to hold the safe onto the frame. The hand truck/dolly should also be equipped with sturdy supports to keep it secure if you need to tip it back towards you (without letting it fall on top of you or onto the floor. Don't try to manhandle a heavy safe without the proper equipment. Make arrangements to rent or borrow a heavy-duty hand truck and dolly beforehand.
Wrap your safe securely in moving blankets to prevent damage
Once you are ready to start moving a safe, make sure it's closed and locked. Wrap your safe in padded blankets (and then wrapping the whole thing with plastic wrap) is a good idea. This helps prevent damage to your safe's finish and your home's doorframes, walls, and other surfaces. It might also save a smashed finger if you get wedged between your safe and a wall.
NEVER try to move a safe alone. Ask friends to help
Sometimes it's tempting to move your gun safe on your own, especially if you're just moving it across the same room to a new spot. The danger in this is that your safe could tip over. Whether you're moving it across the room or to a room down the hall, have others help you. It's a good idea to have at least three strong friends available who are physically up to this heavy-duty task.
With the help of your friends, slowly and CAREFULLY tilt your gun safe and slip the dolly underneath its bottom. Completely secure the safe to the dolly with the straps before moving along your pre-planned path. If you're loading the safe onto the back of a moving truck, use a loading ramp to roll the dolly up.
Check the load ratings if you're moving your safe using a vehicle
Considering that it could cost $1,500 or more to replace a tailgate on a pickup truck, you'll want to make sure yours can handle the weight of your safe. Lots of tailgates have been bent or ruined by overloading them. You must also confirm the load rating of any ramps you plan to use. Before loading your vehicle, ensure your truck or van can handle the weight, or you risk expensive damage to your suspension. It's usually a better idea to rent or borrow a rated trailer to take the weight of your safe.
Remember to secure your safe to the vehicle once it's loaded. Don't just rely on the heavy weight of the safe to keep it from tipping. A safe can easily crush, injure, or kill a person if it tips over, to say nothing of the damage your vehicle or trailer will suffer.
NEVER use the safe's handle to lift, lever, or move the safe
Most quality safes incorporate a clutch-equipped or break-away handle to prevent thieves from using the handle as leverage to pry open the door. Never apply any significant force to the handle of a safe. Don't try to tie rope or straps to any safe's dial, handle, or hardware. You'll strip it out or bend it, and it will need to be repaired before you can use your safe. (Note: If you're locked out of your safe, see our helpful article.)
Wear the proper gear
Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes with good soles for better traction. This reduces the chance of slipping while you move the safe and protects your feet. Steel-toed work boots are a good idea.
Also, protect your hands with high-quality work gloves that give you a good grip on the safe and any moving equipment.
using golf balls or PVC pipe to move a gun safe
In our experience (and in the opinion of the professionals we've asked), golf balls are a terrible idea, except maybe on very smooth concrete. The intense pressure of all that weight on the round contact points of the balls can leave divots/tracks in wood or linoleum floors and break tile floors. And this method definitely won't work if you're moving your safe across carpet (the golf balls will sink too low and stop rolling), or across floors of differing heights.
Small-diameter, heavy-duty PVC pipe can effectively move a gun safe across wood, concrete, linoleum, and some tile floors. Depending on your floors' surface, texture, and grout spacing (if applicable), the PVC rollers can get stuck in the grooves or hang up on any spots where the surface is uneven. So if you want to try this technique, ensure your floor is completely smooth and clean.
Neither PVC nor golf balls are effective on carpeted floors. Professionals use specially built sliders or slick sticks, usually wood bars with slippery, polymer furniture-slider material attached. This is usually the best way to go (another reason we recommend hiring a professional).
Professional safe movers will lay out a track of these bars, pushing the safe along and then pulling up the bars behind the safe and moving them back to the front of the safe's path. If you can get your hands on a set of these bars, or make your own, it can make moving your safe a little easier. (We still recommend using a dolly for moving your gun safe, though.)
But please remember that the safest way to move your safe is to use professionals. Liberty Safe doesn't recommend that you move a safe on your own. We suggest you contact your local dealer for information on how to move a heavy safe and finding an experienced safe-moving company.
Once it's in place, bolt down your safe
Once you've gotten your safe into its new spot, you should secure it by bolting it to the floor. After all, if you were able to get your safe into your home with the help of the right equipment and some friends, it's possible that a team of thieves could move it back out. Bolting it down can help deter thieves and eliminate the risk of your safe tipping over on one of your family members.