James Bond, Batman, John Wick….what do these big screen badasses have in common? Well, beyond the penchant for driving fantastic cars, beating the piss out of criminals and wearing cool outfits, they all have a fondness for hidden rooms, clandestine vaults and secret storage areas for their gear and gadgets within their not-so-humble homesteads. A fan of these iconic heroes, I always wished I could build and outfit a secret room one day. Then I recently discovered an opportunity presented. So here’s my take on the DIY Safe Room.

Project: DIY Safe Room

Knowing I remain a diehard dork for tactical tech and home security improvements, and semi-skilled at basic home renovation tasks, my best friend since childhood (name omitted for secrecy) asked if I would consult and help him build a secret gun storage room in his new home.

Of course, I signed on immediately and he even granted permission to document the process to share with the community, as long as I didn’t disclose his name and the coordinates of his double-top-secret man-cave.

What I didn’t expect was how much of a challenge achieving this dream would be with regards to the size of space he had in mind. Touring the house during construction, he simply grinned and pointed beneath the framed-in stairwell.

DIY Safe Room.

I felt struck by the genius (and lunacy) of his ambitious plan. Most two-story homeowners across the country completely ignore this unused storage space right beneath their feet! The question was, could we accomplish this build within only 48 square feet of cramped crawl space? We were about to find out.

The project goals were simple: First, serve as clandestine safe storage and a display area for my buddy’s growing collection of firearms and ammo. Concealment ranks more important over the room becoming a truly ballistically hardened “panic room” or “safe room” on his available budget. Out of sight, out of mind was the plan.

As a self-proclaimed prepper, he also wanted room for provisions like long-term survival food, medical supplies, water, body armor and protective gear for a SHTF situation. I knew modular, compact, low-profile solutions in every aspect would be required to achieve these goals.

Planning & Execution

Because maintaining low exposure was desired, no outside contractors would be hired for this project. Luckily, there were a few professional trades in the family who were willing to help supplement our amateur labor. Word to the wise, when it comes to wiring and electrical, always rely on a professional. Nothing would be more embarrassing than your “safe” room burning your whole house down.

DIY Safe Room.

Digging right in, we carefully carved out the drywall with the trusty SawzAll where a hidden flush-mounted Bookcase Door by the mastercrafters at Murphy Door would be inset and serve as the entry point to the chamber. …

Read the full story on this DIY Safe Room build in the June-July 2022 issue of Personal Defense World magazine. Get your copy today at

For more information contact:

Gallow Technologies

MIRA Safety

Murphy Door

My Patriot Supply

Survivor Filter

Vaultek Biometric Safes

Up Next

VIDEO: One (Wo)Man CQB Training to Win the Fight

We took a female competitive shooter and put her through some dynamic training, learning...