Safe firearm storage is one thing, but quick access to your fighting gun is essential. The Minuteman in-wall safe solves both issues, and it is easy to install in your home.
by Rob Reaser
Living on a fairly isolated plot in the Appalachians with few visitors to show up and no young ones running about, my wife and I are quite comfortable with the firearms we keep scattered around the house. It’s how we both grew up. In short, we are always within a few steps of a loaded, grab-and-go-friendly defensive shotgun, AR-15, and assorted handguns. Someone is always home, and on the rare occasions we are not, we’ve got dogs. ’Nuff said.
This summer, I’ve been working to finish out my shop, currently rewiring the place and soon to be adding insulation, walls, and other creature comforts I’ve neglected for far too long. Knowing this, an industry friend suggested I look at an offering from Hayman Safe Company.
This is a family-owned enterprise based out of Oviedo, Florida, and they have been in business since 1971. The company manufactures a wide range of gun safes and valuables vaults in stand-alone, in-wall, and in-floor configurations. They also make rapid-access firearm safes developed for the School Resource Officer Initiative to store tactical arms in sensitive areas.
The product that got the attention for my shop build was the Minuteman in-wall rapid-access safe.
The idea behind the Minuteman is to make firearm access fast and strategically convenient in a crisis while maintaining safety and security under normal conditions.
Consider that most conventional gun safes are big, heavy beasties that, due to their size and weight, are only suitable for certain locations in a home. Those locations, often enough, are not always where you need them most. Got your safe in your basement, attached garage, or an isolated corner of your house? That might be a problem if you become victim of a sudden forced entry (of which there have been many instances of late having been captured on Ring cameras). If you’re sitting on your living room couch and someone starts bashing in your front door, do think you’ll have time to sprint to the gun safe, work the lock, grab your defensive rifle (first choice) or shotgun (second choice), and get in the game while maintaining a home advantage? Probably not. The threat, or threats, will likely be in your home and now you’ll really have to play defense.
The Minuteman, though, is intended to give homeowners the defensive advantage. Since it can be installed out of the way and inside the wall, you can put the safe (or multiple safes) where it makes the most tactical sense in the house.
What’s more, the Minuteman uses an Underwriters Laboratory-listed biometric locking system that opens quickly with either a finger scan or by inputting a custom lock code. That means no dial twisting when you are under extreme physical and psychological distress or trying to function in low light conditions. Glow tape is installed in the keypad recess area, providing just enough low-light visibility to locate the keypad in the dark.
What’s cool about the Minuteman is that it is designed to install inside a wall built with studs on 16-inch centers — standard fare for most frame constructions. This means it takes up zero floor space (unlike a stand-alone safe) and can be placed anywhere in the home that is convenient and tactically sound. Since my shop walls are essentially “new construction” at the moment, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to add a Minuteman safe because there is no insulation or wall board gracing the studs and my future office wall is yet to be wired.
In addition to offering installation location options, the Minuteman is constructed for intelligent, fast deployment of defensive arms. Disengage the lock and the door tilts outward a set distance, providing a quick grab of your long gun or a handgun. You don’t have a door that swings sideways and might be blocked by furniture and you don’t have to bend down to retrieve contents. At the bottom of the door is a height-adjustable ledge that allows muzzle-down storage (prevents covering yourself with the muzzle when you open the door!) for rifles or shotguns up to 39 inches long.
Secured to the top of the storage space is a motion-activated LED light. It runs two AA batteries and features an auto-off. This is great for accessing your firearm when the light is dim and you don’t want to announce your location by turning on a room light or flashlight.
There are three hook straps on the door and the three on the back wall of the safe. These secure an included foam pad that works with standard hook-and-loop backing. The pad can be placed in either location, depending on how you want to store your firearms. You can purchase a second pad if you want to use both locations. Also included is a long gun loop strap, an accessory strap suitable for holding a flashlight or pistol magazine, and a universal-size pocket for handgun storage. All of these can be custom-positioned to suit your equipment needs.
As far as construction goes, the Minuteman is made of stout stuff — hot-rolled 11-gauge 1/8-inch steel, to be exact. This includes the body and the door material. Total weight of the safe is about 100 pounds. Two powder coat finishes are offered: dark gray and off-white. Because I’m putting this in a workshop/studio, I opted for dark gray.
Although I will need to remove the safe when it’s time to put up my wallboard, I wanted to go ahead and install it to allow for wiring and to use it in the meantime.
While I am doing this in a new construction setup, you can install the Minuteman safe into any finished wall with 16-inch center stud framing. Instructions are provided with the safe to do the job right. The short version is to figure out where you want to install the safe, find your studs, do the necessary measuring, and cut out the wall board.
The thing you’ll have to account for, though, is any wiring or plumbing that may be behind the wallboard. This isn’t an issue with new construction, as you can see, but you wouldn’t want to run a drywall saw over an electrical wire or cut through a water line. If you’re unsure about this, flip a handyman or an electrician a few bucks to make sure the coast is clear.
After deciding where to put the safe and cutting out the access, remove the door by simply opening it partway and lifting it off its hinge. This will provide access needed to secure the safe to the wall studs and bottom plate.
As mentioned, the adjustable shelf in the door can accommodate guns up to 39 inches long.
Once positioned, a foam pad is placed atop the ledge to protect the muzzle.
To give you an idea of gun fitment, this is my go-to carbine-length AR-15 with the buttstock in its operational position and a 30-round magazine inserted. The hook-and-loop strap secures it to the door. To deploy, simply open the door, grab one of the red tabs, and rip off the strap.
The Minuteman, having a 14.25-inch wide body, nestles easily between 16-inch center studs. With a 6-inch depth, it sits flush against the wall while providing enough room behind the safe’s flange for the new wallboard that is to come. The 48-inch body height means any wiring will have to be routed above the safe. Again, if you are installing the Minuteman into a finished wall, you’ll need to make sure you are clear of wiring or plumbing.
With the safe positioned between the studs, pilot holes can be drilled for the stud (3 per side) and bottom plate anchors (4).
The instructions will walk you through the lock programming process. The ScanLogic Biometric Lock can be programmed for up to three codes and 15 fingerprints. This is good because it allows multiple designated/responsible family members to have fast access to the defensive weapons. Further, the battery is accessible from the outside, so you don’t have to worry about being permanently locked out should the battery fail.
Until I must remove it to finish my wall, the Minuteman is ready to roll. Installation is about as easy as it gets, even if you are placing this in a finished wall and need to cut out sheet rock. This solution means you give up nothing in terms of safe gun storage even in the most sensitive areas of your home while ensuring you have fast access to your defensive firearm. And that, friends, is a true win-win.