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A Guide to Installing Your Home or Office Safe


Most home and office safes, especially the electronic versions, generally come pre-drilled for your convenience. Many include the necessary hardware and anchoring bolts required. Some have templates and most have instructions to follow.

Read any instructions carefully, then read again!

  • Never put the override keys supplied in the safe, not even for a moment, if the door closes there is no magic code or spare key available, it is call a locksmith time!
  • Choose your desired position within your home or office. Many are installed inside cupboards, make sure there is a suitable solid surface behind the backing board. Allow for protrusions like handles, hinges and faceplates.
  • A suitable solid surface is required which should be free from electrical wiring and plumbing where the safe is to be fitted.
  • If you have a wall scanner, small device for locating pipes and electrical wiring, then scan the wall in the area of where the safe is to be fitted, this will let you know if you are just about to drill in the wrong spot!
  • If you don’t have a scanner, look for obvious signs of water pipes, electrical wiring, plug sockets, or anything that will obstruct the installation of your safe.
  • Place your safe into the desired position and mark through the pre-drilled holes onto the wall with a pencil.
  • If you are using a scanner, then re-check where the pencil marks are. Just to be sure.
  • Taking the appropriate sized masonry drill bit, carefully drill where you have marked. Use one of the bolts to see that you have drilled deep enough.
  • Clean the dust out and if possible vacuum the holes to get all the dust out.
  • Insert your wall plugs or expanding bolts into the holes ensuring they are flush with the walls surface.
  • Re-position the safe over the drilled holes and carefully align.
  • Take the fixings and always use a large washer, this prevents the bolt head being pulled through the body of the safe under an attack. Insert into plugs and tighten by hand.
  • Tighten the bolts using the correct size spanner or socket, checking that each bolt is tightened to the point that the washer no longer spins. Do not over tighten.
  • Do a physical pull on the safe to ensure there is no movement.
  • If there is any movement continue to tighten until eliminated.
  • Continue with your safe set up if electronic by referring to your user manual.

Additional Recommended Notes on Installing a Firearm Safe

  • Follow the above instructions as a guideline
  • The current legislation recommends that a M10 Expanding Rawl Bolt be used with a minimum depth of 80mm
  • A large washer of between 3 -4 mm thickness should be used in conjunction with the Rawl bolt to prevent the bolt head being pulled through the safe wall in an attack.
  • The safe is to be anchored in two positions for a small handgun safe and a minimum of four positions for a rifle safe, preferably through the back wall of the safe and the base. Two holes in each.
  • You will require a size 16 mm Masonry bit if using M10 Rawl bolts
  • Working with Rawl bolts can often prove difficult with alignment especially with multiple holes, we recommend you mark just two holes and drill with the safe in position using a 10mm Masonry bit.
  • Move the safe out of the way and drill the two pilot holes with the 16mm bit.
  • Clean the holes and insert two M10 Rawl bolts, one in each hole.
  • Reposition the safe and tighten the two Rawl bolts till the safe is not moving.
  • Using your drill proceed to drill your 10mm pilot holes in the remaining fixing points.
  • Move the safe out of position again and drill the remaining holes with the 16mm bit
  • Clean the holes and insert the remaining Rawl bolts.
  • Starting with the original two drilled holes tighten until safe is firm against the wall, you should find the remaining holes line up.
  • If they don’t quite line up just slacken off the first two and systematically insert the remaining bolts by hand and hand tighten until all bolts are located.
  • Tighten all bolts using a size 17mm socket or wrench.
  • Finally ensure that the door of the safe opens and closes smoothly. Often if the wall is out of plumb it can put a slight strain on the safe causing the door to not operate properly.
  • If the door is out of true you will need to slacken off slightly on the appropriate bolt till the door closes smoothly.
  • When anchoring into hollow block constructed walls it is additionally recommended that the bolts be epoxied or grouted into position with a non-shrink grout.

Remember the safe storage of your firearm is your responsibility and this is only intended as a guideline. If you are in any doubt go and ask the relevant authority what regulations they have in place.

The Safe Shop, Promoting the Safe Storage of Firearms in South Africa.

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