How to Move a Gun Safe

Man opening a home gun safe with a rifle in it

Many homeowners have wondered how to move a gun safe as part of their DIY moving checklist. While tiny portable safes designed for a single handgun are easy to handle, the large heavy-duty safes designed to house several rifles are far more challenging. These safes can easily weigh hundreds of pounds and are often unwieldy because of their large size and flat shape.

We’ll tell you how to move a gun safe the way the professional moving services do it.

How to Move a Gun Safe: Preparation

Moving a gun safe isn’t the same thing as moving a couch. You can’t just grab it and drag it wherever you want it to be. If you try to, it’s liable to fall over on you, or just not budge at all. You have to know how to move a heavy safe before you jump right into the attempt. The first part of that is understanding the preparation involved, so when you do start moving the safe, you’ll know you have everything accounted for.

1. Make a Plan

You aren’t going to want to have to move your gun safe repeatedly. It is a difficult process and requires a lot of work and planning. So before you start moving it, you should know exactly where you are moving it to. It would be best if you had a concrete plan to get from point A to point B that follows the guidelines presented in this article, and that means having a specific destination in mind.

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2. Measure the Safe

As you move your gun safe, you will need to know the exact path you’ll be taking. Because gun safes are large items, this means measuring it to be sure that it will fit through the doorways and hallways that you plan on moving it through. While most of these will be big enough for the safe to fit through, measuring will let you know how much clearance you have while moving the safe through choke points and around tight corners.

3. Clean and Dismantle the Safe

The safe will be much easier to move if it is free from dust and debris that may reduce your grip on it. For this reason, you should clean it and let it thoroughly dry before attempting to move it.

Because you want the safe to be as light as possible while moving it, you should remove all of the contents (including ammo) from it. Be sure to keep the contents within your possession or temporarily store the contents where only you, the registered gun owner, can reach them. Unload all loaded guns and make sure the firearms and ammunition cannot be accessed by minors. Keep in mind that certain states, including Massachusetts, California, Connecticut and New York, have mandatory gun storage laws.

Also, remove any removable shelves, drawers, or attachments.

Pro Tip for How to Move a Gun Safe:

The door of a large safe weighs a considerable amount, so you should remove that if possible.

4. Secure the Safe

Man securing a furniture blanket around a large gun safe

You don’t want any doors or drawers that couldn’t be removed to swing open while you are moving the safe. You also don’t want the hard surface of your safe damaging any walls or furniture that you may accidentally bump it into while moving it. Prevent both of these things from happening by wrapping the safe in furniture blankets and tying them in place. This will keep loose parts secure and provide padding to protect your other property.

Pro Tip for How to Move a Gun Safe:

It can be hard to grip a blanket. Don’t forget to leave some unwrapped area so you’ll be able to get a good grip while moving the safe. Work gloves are also very helpful.

5. Get the Proper Equipment

As stated earlier, moving a gun safe isn’t like moving a couch or other slightly heavy object. You should not attempt to move it with your arms. The weight will make it nearly impossible, and you can injure yourself very easily trying to manipulate something that large and heavy. So rent or borrow the necessary equipment for the job. You should use a furniture dolly with a high enough weight rating to handle the load or a hand truck. If you’re moving the safe up or down stairs, also rent a stair-climbing dolly.

Pro Tip for How to Move a Gun Safe:

Although people aren’t equipment, having a few friends to help you with the move is also important! Some of them may also already have furniture blankets or an appliance dolly you can use.

How to Move a Gun Safe: Protecting Your Floors

Now you are almost ready to begin moving the safe. But before you do, you need to know how to move a gun safe on carpet, linoleum, tile, and other flooring surfaces to prevent property damage. Carpet can make the wheels of your dolly harder to turn or snag them up. Tile is very easy to crack under the heavy load of a gun safe, especially when all of that weight is concentrated on the two wheels of a dolly. With some preparation, you’ll be able to keep yourself and your flooring safe during the move.

Put Down Padding and a Hard Surface

For padding, you can use a roll-out mat or more blankets. The padding will provide a little cushion to protect the floor surface. It also serves as a barrier to prevent the floor from being scuffed and as a base for the hard surface that will do the real work of protection. The hard surface will ideally be sheets of steel. This will disperse the weight of the safe across its entire surface and help control the pressure on your flooring. You can use plywood, but that tends to crack under heavy loads.

But you won’t be able to place the hard surface everywhere, and tight corners will be especially tricky. For unprotected areas of the floor, be sure to move the safe slowly and steadily.

Pro Tip for How to Move a Gun Safe:

You can reuse the same few steel sheets over a long distance. How? Remove one once you’ve rolled the safe over it and move it to the path in front of the safe.

How to Move a Gun Safe in 3 Steps

The safe is ready, the floor is ready, and now you are ready to begin the actual transportation of the item. Gun safes weigh a lot, so you need to be careful while transporting them through your house. Let’s talk about the proper way to move a safe so that all the preparation you’ve done so far wasn’t for nothing.

1. Gather Your Friends and Family

We mentioned people being an important asset when moving a gun safe. Now that you are ready to start moving your safe, it’s time to call those people over. You want two or three good helpers to aid in you lifting, maneuvering, and navigating the safe to its destination. Because gun safes can be very heavy items, it helps if one of those people knows how to move a 2,000 pound safe. Even if your gun safe isn’t quite that heavy, the knowledge will come in handy.

2. Move the Safe With a Hand Truck or Dolly

Next, we’ll talk about how to move a gun safe with a hand truck. This is a requirement because it’s the only safe way to move something that heavy. Before moving an object as large as a gun safe, it helps if you already know how to use a dolly. You may need to have several people tilt the safe so you can slide the dolly under it. With the dolly in place, secure the supporting straps and have your helpers aid you in tilting the dolly onto its wheels.

Pro Tip for How to Move a Gun Safe:

If you’re loading the safe into a moving truck, make sure the loading ramp is rated to handle the weight of the heavy object.

3. Ensure Any Stairs on the Route Can Hold the Weight

If the safe is upstairs, then you are going to need to know how to move a gun safe down the stairs. This isn’t always as simple as loading it onto the moving dolly or hand-truck and easing it down. Unlike flooring, stairs aren’t built to hold extremely large amounts of weight. It isn’t uncommon for someone to end up with a repair bill for their stairs after trying to move something too heavy up or down them. Here are some tips for safely moving gun safes down the stairs with a hand truck:

  • Ensure that nobody is downstairs in the path of the safe should it fall. This will minimize the risk of injury.
  • Don’t tilt the hand truck too far back while going downstairs — it can cause you to lose your balance.
  • Approach the stairs, and any obstacles, with the wheels straight on to avoid tipping.

Pro Tip for How to Move a Gun Safe:

Some hand trucks come with electric motors designed to ease the process of going up and down stairs.

The Takeaway

With the proper preparation, equipment, and help, moving a gun safe is part of the moving process that you’ll be able to handle. If you’re not sure you can move the item safely, you should consider hiring professional movers. They will know how to move a gun safe without damaging property or injuring people. But keep in mind that a moving company will often have weight limits on what they will transport, so it helps to know how much your safe weighs when calling them.

Additional Moving Resources:

Moving and packing guides

Other moving resources

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