Gun room or bunker?

I’m preparing the build the last house I will ever own - until it’s time for my dirt nap. I have been nooding on an idea that has been in my head for a while. I’ll keep it as short and simple as I can:

Option 1. Build a room in the house that is somewhat isolated, possibly even hidden. It would double as a safe room in the unlikely event of a home invasion.

Option 2. A completely separate structure. Many years ago I worked on an electric power distribution project that included new substations. To house some of the switchgear and SCADA electronics, we bought these prefab concrete buildings. Sometimes you see these at the base of cell phone towers. They are reinforced concrete on all six sides and come in different sizes. Truck it in, drop it, it’s ready to go. You can order it prewired and with heating/cooling.

Option 3. Shipping container modified Pour some concrete pilings, secure it, add a steel exterior door and make it your own inside. Insulation, heating and cooling, etc.

Couple of things:

  1. Cannot look like some prepper piece of s#!t that blends in with old refrigerators and junk cars in the yard.
  2. Quickly accessible. Either close to an exit of the house or inside the house.
  3. Reasonably bullet-proof able to withstand common rifle rounds.
  4. Able to withstand extreme weather. Think tornado shelter.
  5. The property will be minimum 8 acres in total. Maybe more depending on how things go.

My personal opinion is it should be inside the house. If someone breaks in, do you want to have to exit the house to get to an out building/bunker? Assuming it would be locked when you’re not in it, you’d have to grab the key on your way out. Although with today’s tech, you could have a keypad to unlock the door


The escape plan definitely needs to be thought out for Option 2 or 3. But since the house isnt built that can be factored in. No matter where this space is, inside or out, you have to get there and the room would always be locked. Because it’s where the guns and ammo live. Biometrics is always fastest for access and requires no thinking.

I’ve debated this in my own head a lot. There are advantages takes to both. Staying in the house, or needing to get out of the house. There are multiple scenarios for both.

I am not paranoid or have a doomsday complex. It may not be a violent situation with people or a person breaking in. Just amusing myself thinking thru all the possibilities and worst case scenarios. It’s a risk management exercise. What if a tornado hits the house? Or it catches on fire?


@Dung That seems like a dilemma we would all like to face. Nice to have options.
Just off the top of my head Option 3 (Shipping Container) perhaps buried. Stays cool… stays warm… out of sight… and a great shelter from weather.
Keep us informed. Very interesting topic. :+1:


Undergound has a whole 'nuther set of challenges. Wetness can be a good thing or a bad thing. But managing humidity is not trivial in an ‘earth home’ sort of affair.

But since you brought it up. My next wacky idea after I build the house is an underground gun range made of six foot concrete pipe. 100 feet. Maybe 200.
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Well I got a freakin’ ton of ideas. Never said they were good ones, just lots of 'em. :nerd_face:


72 inch class II pipe is $400 for each six foot section. Plus delivery. So a 100 foot lane six feet around would take 16 sections or $6400. I’ve paid close to that in range fees over the past ten years and had to drive to get there. Excavation and covering 2-3 grand. So let’s say about $10k total. Your own range for ten grand. And no neighbors complaining about the noise. It’s like a giant suppressor you sit inside.

I got a million of 'em Tex. The only thing I can’t make is more time.


Well… I gots a shovel and I make my own schedule. Give me a tap when you start digging. I work for grilled meat and beer.


Option 2. Sealed switch vault with mastic seals. Dig a hole, set it and forget it. The extra bonus is it looks kinda like and can be explained away as a septic tank install to those who don’t know better :wink:

Plus you’d get the best head room…


Possible. Anything buried you have to take extra measures to control humidity/moisture. But it’s doable.

The other thing I have to consider is the area I’m scouting for land is in the hills. The soil can be shallow. Digging can get expensive and complicated if bedrock is only 2-3 feet down.


Find some shallower bedrock and go into the base of a hill. Think Maginot Line small outpost type.


You can set up a dehumidifier and drain directly into a small sump basin powered via solar and a 12v backup and inverter.


What’s your property elevation above sea level?

Where’s the 100 & 400 year tidal flood zones on your property?

What’s your budget?

Are you on a shoreline?

Back when I lived on the Outer Banks I thought of starting with a Jack-Up Spud Barge.

My other design is Above Top Secret…:sunglasses:


I have had the good fortune to build 2 homes on my own property before.

But you are in a shape now and considering something I wasn’t concerned with at the time.
I suggest, make the whole house a safe house. :grinning:

High ground, High Ground, with easy water access and at least 100 yards of a open fenced perimeter around living space with no visual obstructions for further security work and open for a good section of fire .:wink:

Just a thought. :wink:
I think if the SHTF our biggest enemies are gong to other humans.

Larry :worried:


In OBX now but the new digs are going to be on the mainland North Central NC or SW Virginia. Looking at both, weighing options. The beach is no place to build a castle. I had 800 feet of sound front that I sold. The new environmental regs are no structures within 30 feet of the bulkhead and no floating/barge homes. Oceanside, even stricter.

No recreational boats of any kind on the ocean side within 1000 feet. Yo9u cannot launch or beach a boat anywhere. Except a sea kayak. No jet skis. It’s too unsafe. In the past 30 days, two rather large shrimp trawlers, a 55 foot yacht and two fishing charters in the 40-50 foot range ran aground on the shoals and had to be rescued. Four of the five piloted by experienced captains.

Soundside, a houseboat or anything livable (40 feet or more?) draws too much water. Most of the Currituck Sound is only 2 feet deep. You need a flat bottom, tunnel skiff and even then the water is often too skinny. There are times, depending on the weather and wind, when you could literally walk across the bay. A 30 mph wind from the north will do that. Very unique marine environment. It’s a sight to see when that water all disappears. Like the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.

The Grave Digger Monster truck guy Dennis Andersen is a neighbor and once drove across the bay in one of his monster trucks. It’s just shy of three miles across where he did that.


@LarrySr Roger that. I will do whatever I think is practical with the house from a security standpoint. Especially have a wide, flat open space all around the home like you mentioned. Long driveway too. Paved with noisy loose gravel.

What launched the whole idea for me is gun safes are a huge P.I.T.A. Too small, too hard to move. Constantly opening and closing and I always feel like its too crowded. I have guns I don’t shoot a lot - or at all. The ones for just looking at (I have some old timers). I dont want them in my living room hanging like a painting or locked in a box. So… the conclusion was a room that is basically a big, comfortable safe. But doesn’t look like a bomb shelter. Something better than just any room converted to a gun room. I want a space that is purpose-built. Thus the original post.


That’s pretty cool. He’s a legend in the monster truck world


Indeed. He is the grandaddy of Monster Truckdom. Nice guy too. 20 years ago I was sitting at a beachside bar having a cold one and ended up talking to him for an hour. I had no idea who he was at the time.


I like your ideas especially the underground range idea, thought of that myself also.
To suggest an alternative is to source some large (and long) culvert or pipe that you can transport in and weld or seal 100% waterproof would solve some of the moisture problems, install good ventilation a must.

Here is another thought, I googled your area of interest for construction.

This website has an inventory of the active, inactive, abandoned mines and their hazards if any.

These Mining Patents can be purchased, not sure about the US legislation, enforcement, laws and/or regulations etcetera but if you find a “clean” operation with no historical issues such as acid draining of tailings, or other environmental issues then you might find the perfect spot. Typically already had road or other infrastructure that could be utilized. Just a thought. I am always on the lookout for something like that here, still looking.



His kids are in the monster truck business now, right?