10 Secret Hiding Places Already in your Home
With most gun safes, what you are paying for is nice paint, chrome, decorative items, and interior.
Typical gun safes sell the appearance of protection in a security container that can be broken into.
All maximize the actual protection per dollar.
You can often find a for less than a new cheap gun safe.
A RSC-I rating means that the gun safe was independently tested at UL to take 5 minutes for one person to break into it with basic hand tools.
Sometimes the best cheap gun safe is a job box.
Without a minimum rating of UL RSC-I, a cheap gun safe is basically an overpriced gym locker.
Often non-RSC cheap gun safes also come with an.
RSC-I is the highest rating that 99% of gun safes meet.
But notice that gun safe prices range from the hundreds, to the tens-of-thousands of dollars.
Despite the huge range in prices, they all have the exact same RSC-I security rating.
Safe technicians who drill open locked safes for a living disagree about a lot of things.
But, there is something they all agree on.
Insurance companies that have to pay for stolen valuables also agree.
RSC-I does not meet the.
For example, the number and size of the locking bolts is all but meaningless for RSC-Is.
For the locking bolts to make a difference, they must be supported by a strong enough door and door frame.
For the fire rating to matter, it would have to be independently tested to an accepted standard.
An explanation of how gun safes measure up to real fire safe standards can be found in my.
What features are worth looking for?
Ideally, that cheap RSC-I would meet.
Continuous welds are required for ratings of true safe, but not for RSC-I classification.
The cheapest American RSCs are a couple hundred dollars more expensive than ones made in other countries.
Keep in mind the issues with Chinese gun safes, including that their locks or RSC rating stickers may be fake.
Best Value Gun Safes RSC Attack Level 1 RSC-I Gun Safe Liberty is the largest manufacturer of gun safes.
However, they are pretty good at customer service and stand behind their products better than most.
Compared to many of their competitors, Liberty will give you less aggravation and usually respond faster.
They are the largest domestic gun safe manufacturer.
Thinner-steel gun safes are harder to weld.
Therefore, cheap gun safes benefit the most from better welding equipment, as discussed in the.
Robot welders enable Liberty to keep prices low on their low-end units while maintaining consistent built quality.
Liberty Centurion Not RSC For several years now, the Centurion has been made in the USA.
The 14 gauge Centurion is perfect, though, for a cheap.
The base models have a.
The new Centurion comes in 12, 18, and 24 gun sizes.
Current production Centurions explained below do not meet the UL RSC requirements, but are approved by the California DOJ.
Years ago, legacy Liberty Centurion models were 12 gauge RSC-Is.
Old Centurion RV17 and RV20 models were made in China and sold at big box stores.
Liberty also used to make both a Chinese-made Centurion and an American-made Revere, both named RV20, but sold through different stores.
By now these old Centurions should have all cleared out of stores.
They come in 23, nice money safe, and 48 gun sizes.
These are made in the USA with 12 gauge steel.
The confusing American Revere RV20 was discontinued years ago.
These Liberty USA models are a best value gun safe.
A lot of gun shops carry Liberty, and cheap gun safes are easier to handle and.
You can alsowho now seems to be handling online sales factory-direct.
Remember that RSC Level 1 only offers protection from modest hand tools.
So, when shopping for a cheap gun safe, just look for the lowest price properly-made RSC-I with the options you want.
For most peopleand you can.
So, skipping fireproofing to get more burglary protection usually makes more sense than getting minimal protection for both.
Then save up for an with fireproofing.
Starting in 2018, there is also a RSC Level 2.
All are American made gun safes.
Readers email me about this-or-that brand of gun safes.
Before emailing me about a particular model, please take a minute and compare it to the specs in the table below.
BTW, another article has a.
Sturdy Gun Safe vs.
American Security AMSEC BF Gun Safe Review Below is a gun safe comparison table.
Each category and my scoring are explained in detail under the table.
Polished interior back wall AMSEC Hole Only Optional Standard AMSEC Sturdy Safe Models Sturdy with Alyssa takes a no-nonsense approach to its gun safes.
Their products are pretty much perpendicular to the rest of the RSC gun safe industry.
Sturdy does not have many cosmetic options.
Instead, their products emphasize thick steel and simple robust bolt work and construction.
This makes them much stronger than the vast majority of RSC-I gun safes.
Sturdy prides itself on manufacturing as much as possible in the United States, and even sourcing only American materials where they can.
Sturdy is a small family owned business, owned by Terry, his wife Toni, and daughter Alyssa.
Alyssa is the webmaster and frequently responds to questions and comments on gun forums.
Sturdy safes are sold factory direct to keep costs low.
More on this below.
This can save you money that you can use to implement.
American Security Gun Safes, BF Models AMSEC BF6032C-BKBR-FS Gun Safe or AMSEC is a much larger company with around 1,000 employees.
A significant portion of their product offerings are cheaply made and sourced from China.
They also make RSCs, which are different from these models.
These include a range of true safes, and even one of the only off-the-shelf UL 687 TL-30 rated gun safes available.
For more info, see my article about.
All of these units,and have both construction and a.
An explanation of these and can be found by clicking those links.
Fire endurance ratings for BF1512, BF1716, and BF2116 are UL72 Class 350 listed for 1 hour, while the largest BF3416 is listed for 30 minutes.
The larger,and does not carry the same ratings as the smaller BF true safes.
BF gun safes have thinner steel and fireproofing, probably to save weight.
In fact, the AMSEC BF gun safes are the only current RSC-I gun safes constructed using the same materials and techniques as the vast majority of commercial fireproof true safes.
More details about this can be found below.
AMSEC BFII Gun Safes UL added two levels to the RSC Standard in late 2016.
The supplemental American Security 2018 Gun Safe Catalog debuted the BFII.
As you can see from the table below, all BFII units are heavier than their BF-HD equivalents, as they contain more steel.
Given how price sensitive the gun safe market is, you can bet the additional steel was not added capriciously.
Click on the part numbers in the table above to see online pricing for each model.
The walls had 10 gauge outer and 14 gauge inner steel fire liner shells.
This option replaces the 16 gauge 0.
The inner steel fire liner is then the thickest layer.
More on this below.
All BFII units are heavier than their HD predecessors.
Sturdy explains that they do this to pass on as much savings to their customers as possible.
AMSEC BF gun safes are tested to UL 1037 Attack Level 1 Residential Security, and UL Listed for that rating.
AMSEC BFII models are the first gun safes listed for the UL 1037 Attack Level 2 Residential Security Edition 6, 2016.
For base models, AMSEC BF gun safes of course wins this one, but the RSC-I rating is.
The RSC-II Performance Rating puts the AMSEC BFII into the league of true safes.
The AMSEC BFII wins between upgraded models.
Standard Steel, Door Outer Sheet As detailed in the what to look for article.
This is much thicker than the vast majority of RSC-I gun safes.
Sturdy has increased their upgrade options for door steel.
This is probably to save cost and weight, respectively.
The inner fire liner alone of the BF and BFII doors is 11 gauge 0.
With all the options things get more complicated.
One thick sheet of steel is stronger than a sandwich of two of the same combined thickness.
Standard Steel, Walls Thickest Sheet Sturdy Safe Wall Steel Sturdy gun safe standard steel reinforcement options.
White areas are available in 7 or 4 gauge except the door, which is thicker.
In the diagram shown here, the outside steel thickness shown in white can be 7 or 4 gauge.
Augmenting one side or area of a Sturdy has long been an option.
Sturdy has since standardized some of their most popular reinforcement configuration.
Since these options add steel to only part of the gun safe, they are attractive for those with corresponding weight or cost budgets.
The Magnum Steel Package similarly adds steel to the sides and jamb, and then also to the top and back.
The Sturdy Signature Package does the same as the Magnum, but the side reinforcement is upgraded to stainless.
Another option reinforces the sides, jamb, and door with stainless.
The BFII seems to be constructed the same as the BF, and then 4 gauge 0.
Coincidentally, that is exactly the same thickness Sturdy has been offering as a body steel upgrade.
Typically I would consider the inner steel below in the fire liner layer section.
But since the BFII steel fire liner is almost three times as thick as the outer shell, it deserves to be covered here.
Thickening the inner steel layer has benefits for security of course, but also for fireproofing which are discussed below.
Sturdy gives the options for 0.
The BFII option gives you 0.
The BFII, though, has 0.
Unfortunately though they only install two anchor holes on their standard gun safes.
Door Seal Sturdy Door Fire Gasket showing construction.
They no longer use 3M products see text.
For the door seal, Sturdy uses fire barrier intumescent fire-expanding caulk covered with a fiberglass boiler gasket.
This choice may have been made to save money over the name brand Palusol door seal.
The door jamb also has a high temperature silicone seal.
The yellow caulk shown in the same graphic looks more like 3M IC 15WB+.
I confirmed with Sturdy that this is what they used on older models.
However, Sturdy had problems with IC 15WB+ coming out lumpy and not adhering well, so they have since switched to STI LCI300, which is red.
STI LCI300 Intumescent Caulk Installed as a Fire Stop These 3M and STI products are intumescent fire barrier caulks.
They are designed to be applied to holes in walls and floors around pipes and wires.
In the event of a fire, they keep flames and smoke from passing through the holes.
This application has a couple differences compared to an intumescent door seal.
Of course, this would glue a gun safe door shut.
The boiler gasket used by Sturdy on top of the caulk is probably intended to keep the door from sticking to the caulk.
In comparison, intumescent door seals are solids instead of liquids, avoiding this issue.
By fire code they must be installed so that they take up all of the gap, as you can see in the picture.
Intumescent door seals on the other hand must fill up the entire empty gap between the door and jamb.
By comparison, 3M fire barrier caulks IC 15WB+ and CP 25WP+ expand only a minimum of 3X.
The most important difference between intumescent door seals and caulks is expansion temperature.
Intumescent door seals must expand as quickly as possible to fill the door gap and keep smoke and hot gasses out of your gun safe.
Palusol starts to expand at only 212 °F, and is fully expanded by 482 °F.
This is in line with the.
The downside is that Palusol is sensitive to moisture, which is why it is installed wrapped in plastic.
Note temperatures are in Celsius, not Fahrenheit.
Intumescent caulks may directly contact flames.
So, they generally are formulated from materials which expand at higher temperatures, making them more resistant to direct flames.
Judging by the application, it could be equally high.
There is no similar test for intumescent door seals.
The intumescent caulks are rated to stop fire for 3 or 4 hours when, for example, installed between a copper pipe and concrete hole.
While not quite an apples and oranges comparison, it is apples and pears.
Tight gaps help intumescent gaskets seal better at lower expansion.
This one goes to AMSEC BF gun safes.
It starts to expand at the lowest temperature of competing products.
Also the AMSEC BF has an additional high-temp silicone seal to help control gun safe moisture and provide additional protection in a fire.
Like AMSEC, Sturdy maintains tight door gaps which are a big help in sealing.
However, no testing has been performed to establish whether Palusol would have worked better in those fires.
Lock Types Sturdy Safe Lock Types Sturdy offers a standard mechanical dial combination lock, or an electronic keypad as an option.
In dual-lock options, both locks must be unlocked to open the door.
As options, they offer electronic keypad and key locks.
Safe Dual-Lock Types AMSEC BF Gun Safe Two Lock Redundant Boltwork — Either lock will open the BF gun safe.
Personally I would find it useful to have an electronic keypad lock with a mechanical dial as a backup.
Electronic keypad locks have comparatively short lifespans.
If it failed, the backup mechanical lock could save the cost of drilling open the safe.
This configuration would require that either lock could open the safe by itself.
To use an electrical analogy, the locks are in parallel Lock A OR Lock B rather than series Lock A AND Lock B.
Theoretically series locks could increase security.
Click here and scroll down for a list of.
Putting two locks in series actually increases the odds of lockout by combining those failure and fault rates.
The upside is that series dual-locks do not reduce the reliability of the bolt work.
Also series dual-locks are straightforward to implement.
UL 768 safe locks are effectively deadbolts.
For series dual-locks, each lock separately obstructs the boltwork from retracting the bolts.
By comparison, parallel dual locks do increase the complexity of the bolt work, as you can see by the AMSEC image above.
It is not trivial to design a strong, reliable linkage which opens when either of two deadbolts retracts.
AMSEC has been designing boltwork for true safes for a long time, so they certainly know how to do it.
Note that the higher-end AMSEC BFII model is not available with dual-locks.
An AMSEC representative was.
Sturdy offers Electronic Keypad locks.
AMSEC does as well money in a safe well as key locks.
Sturdy offers a dual-lock setups, but in a serial configuration that may not be that useful.
Given the additional options, AMSEC wins the optional lock types.
Lock Rating, Mechanical Dial Both models come standard with UL 768 Group 2 mechanical dial combination locks.
Lock Rating, Electronic Keypad Both models come with optional UL 768 Group 1 electronic keypad combination locks.
Winner for standard locks is Sturdy.
They also have 3 options for UL Listed key locks.
AMSEC Slot teamspeak gun safes offer a far wider variety of optional locks.
Bolt Work Sturdy Safe Bolt Work Sturdy Door Locking Bolt Sturdy prides itself in its simple, robust bolt work.
The second pry attack video in showed a Sturdy.
This unit had only the middle 2 locking bolts installed.
Hinge side bolts are fixed.
The top and bottom door reinforcement protrudes on the hinge side to function as even stronger fixed locking bolts.
Their BF locking bolt carriage however is constructed out of bent and stamped sheet steel.
The bolt work shown in an image in shows that the bolt carrier is bent sheet metal, although it is thicker than the bolt carrier of most RSCs.
The stronger the door and frame, the easier it is for the bolts to hold the door closed in an attack.
The thicker steel on the BF door strengthens the bolt carrier, taking stress off of the bolt work.
The BFII boltwork however is a different animal.
The RSC-II is effectively a.
The simplicity, reliability, and strength of the Sturdy are arguably preferable.
AMSEC makes lots of true safes and knows how to make lock work.
The BFII bolt work is the winner for optional models.
The warranties may show some relative confidence each company has in its bolt work.
Shear Pins or Clutch Mechanism Sturdy points out frequently that their bolt work does not have shear pins or clutches.
In this video owner Terry uses a pipe wrench and pipe for leverage to put a tremendous amount of torque on the bolt handle shaft.
Because AMSEC sells low end products with clutches, they probably refrain from mentioning the downside of clutches because that might hurt sales of their low-end products.
Owners who want to save money and get more interior space may elect to get a Sturdy without fire protection.
Because the fire lining of the AMSEC BF is structural, this gun safe is not available without fire protection.
Technically neither model has a recognized UL 72 fire rating so this is a tie.
This strategy uses insulation high thermal resistance rather than as protection.
This type of insulation is typical on high temperature ovens to keep heat in over long periods of time.
This makes moving it easier, and cheaper.
If your installation location is sensitive to weight, this is a huge benefit.
Stronger steel supports are required between the inner and outer shells to support the contents of the gun safe.
These steel supports can transfer heat in a fire.
Typical UL 72 fire safes use a poured outer fire lining to hold the interior temperature in a fire to under 350 °F.
Then there is a steel inner shell to block humidity.
Ceramic wool is used as the inner insulation on fire safes to keep the temperature under 125 °F at low humidity.
People who have handled the post-2010 material in cutaways describe it as having the consistency of cured tile grout.
It fully adheres to the steel walls.
Formerly, AMSEC avoided mentioning that the same DryLight fill is used in the BF gun safe as the UL 72 fire safes.
AMSEC BF gun safes win this one.
Poured concrete amalgamate is the predominant material used in fireproofing commercial burglary and fire rated safes.
Fire Insulation Thickness Sturdy Gun Safe Fireproofing Cutout.
Fireproofing thicknesses have been changed.
The thicknesses have changed a little over the last few years, but have remained close to these specifications.
The entire Sturdy interior has a 2.
For the walls, this is the only layer, and it is compressed to 2.
The roof, floor, and door also have another inner layer of fiberglass added.
Obviously though, this is an apples to oranges comparison.
Due to its larger size, the largest BF3416 true safe is only actually UL 72 listed for 30 minutes.
The BF gun safes are much bigger that the BF3416, and so their fire rating would be lower than that.
The newer BFII gun safe option however throws a curve ball into the fire surviveability equation.
In addition, 76% of the BFII wall steel is in the steel fire liner, inside the safe.
For fire protection, you really want as much thermal mass steel inside the insulation as possible.
In a fire, the heat then not only has to penetrate the fireproofing, but also heat up the heavy steel.
If you think about a pot on the stove, the more water thermal mass in the pot, the longer it takes to boil.
So, the BFII version of the BF gun safe brings it closer to UL 72 Class 350.
Steel Inner Fire Liner Sturdy has reduced its inner steel fire liner from 14 gauge to 16 gauge 0.
Coincidentally again, they changed it to the same thickness as the previous BF inner liner.
So, this was a wise place for Sturdy to cut costs.
The standard AMSEC BF inner steel fire liner is 12 gauge 0.
The BFII option adds another 4 gauge 0.
The approximate 3X increase in thermal mass of the BFII steel fire liner actually helps in a fire.
In both cases, the liner is adhered to a poured concrete amalgamate, which structurally supports the gun safe.
AMSEC wins this one.
Country of Manufacture Sturdy manufacturers all of its safes in Fresno, CA.
AMSEC BF gun safes are made in Fontana, CA.
AMSEC has many other product lines made in China.
Both gun safes are made In USA, but Sturdy has an edge slot safe regard to the percentage of products made in the USA, and commitment to sourcing US materials.
Cosmetic Features Sturdy safes are all business and have a utilitarian appearance.
No cosmetic features like multi-spoke locking handles here.
This appeals to a lot of their customers.
AMSEC Gun Safe Cloak.
They also have large pull handles and raised logos in matching finishes.
AMSEC BF gun safes have polished rear walls to help reflect interior light, increasing visibility.
AMSEC BF wins this category.
Because almost every penny of a Sturdy goes into steel, these are a better choice if want to save money on cosmetics.
As a testament to the value of a utilitarian appearance, AMSEC offers a gun safe cloak.
In the website picture it looks like the hole is also grommeted, which is important for safety.
The electrical hole is automatically drilled if you order a from Sturdy.
Not only is an internal receptacle installed inside the gun safe, but the outside extension cord can be disconnect for moving.
The cord can be seen in the images of.
AMSEC handily wins this contest.
The only benefit to the Sturdy configuration is if the actual hole drilled into the AMSEC for the electrical connection is bigger.
Bigger holes present more of a fire risk.
Burglary Protection Performance Ratings Which unit offers better burglary protection?
Both easily exceed the UL 1037 Attack Level 1 Residential Security Container requirements and meet the same Construction Ratings.
The Sturdy has not been independently security tested, and so has no Performance Rating.
The AMSEC BF has passed UL 1037 Attack Level 1 RSC-I testing, which does mean the design was reviewed by expert safe crackers.
The AMSEC BFII is the first gun safe to meet the UL 1037 Attack Level 2 RSC-II Performance Rating, which is a significantly higher bar.
Construction Ratings No part of the Sturdy safes meet the.
However, their design far exceeds most gun safes and is no slouch.
In fact, with upgrades the total door steel thickness 0.
Combined steel thicknesses are allowed in the B-Rate walls if they are concrete composite.
Even so, the 4 gauge 0.
Optional reinforcement can bring it to 0.
Stainless steel is yet another variable.
The standard body steel does not.
However the BFII models rise to that specification.
The 7 gauge 0.
This is a big advantage for burglary protection between the base models.
The relative wall strengths have been the source of discussion for some time.
Especially because the security added by the fill depends on the type of attack.
Speaking of attacks, shortly after Sturdy published it, a reader.
The video is worth adding to this conversation, as it compares blows with the pick of a fire ax.
The AMSEC BF gun safe attacked above has an 11 gauge 0.
After this video, the BF inner fire liner was increased to 12 gauge 0.
Resistance to picks and axes is why my.
This plate of course has no DryLight fill behind it.
How much strength is added by the fill?
Hard to say from this comparison.
Sturdy gun safes have more steel standard in the body.
Steel is the best defense against a fire ax.
That sharp pick neutralizes much of the potential strength benefit of the AMSEC BF fill.
A bigger difference would be seen for impacts covering more surface area, and some types of power tools.
For example, if Sturdy had turned the ax around to the blade side, the BF fill would have been a bigger help to the outer steel.
The door is a very common attack point, and its strength is critical to keeping the door closed in an attacked.
AMSEC could respond with a video showing a power tool attacking both doors.
Those methods do have benefits for weight and cost sensitive applications.
But Sturdy does rightly criticize the body of the BF for having multiple sheets of thinner steel, instead of one thick one.
When the upgrades are compared, the AMSEC BFII has B-Rate Construction Rating, making it a true safe.
The AMSEC BFII wins between the upgrades due to its door strength, construction methods, and RSC-II listing.
This does come at a cost of price and weight.
There are some applications where and upgraded Sturdy will be a better fit.
Incidentally, there are other options beside steel for protecting the walls of a gun safe.
You can save money byor you can.
They are constructed more like a high temperature oven than the vast majority of UL 72 Fire Endurance Rated safes.
By all accounts, in home fires Sturdy safes seem to offer good protection.
However, they have no recognized rating.
AMSEC BF gun safes are constructed the same way as commercial burglary and fire safes.
In fact, the smaller BF true safe version with 39% more wall steel and 19% thicker wall fireproofing has a UL 72 Class 350 Fire Endurance rating.
The BFII option has increased interior steel thermal massactually more steel than its smaller true safe brothers.
So, the BFII version may actually be closer to UL 72 Class 350.
Their concrete mixture has a high thermal mass and uses the to protect the inside of the gun safe in a fire.
Either type could be more effective, depending on the implementation.
The only way to settle the fire performance debate is to do a direct comparison, or to compare the Sturdy to a UL 72 fire rated gun safe of similar size and construction.
The Sturdy may very well offer better fire protection than the AMSEC BF gun safe.
They are happy to customize your gun safe with whatever options you want.
Also like AMSEC, most manufacturers of high security safes are not forthcoming about technical specifications of their products.
However, it means you should probably buy an AMSEC BF gun safe through a dedicated commercial safe dealer who is familiar with the products.
He or she will have proprietary knowledge about its construction that is not released outside the safe industry for security reasons.
Bottom Line: Sturdy Gun Safe vs.
American Security BF Gun Safe Both are great choices.
Each has a solid design.
The designs have been relatively stable, except for their steel-upgrade-war over the last few years which benefits customers.
Did I miss anything?
Let me know in the comments below.
Modular gun safes can be disassembled and reassembled, making them easier and cheaper to move.
This makes them very popular with military personnel and others who relocate often.
Zanotti ships their gun safes in three or four flat boxes.
The heaviest part is the door, which weighs 100 to 175 lbs depending on the size.
Because of the manageable weight, only a hand dolly is needed to move the boxes.
These modular gun safes break down into five panels and the door.
Panels are held together with pins, as shown in the video below.
Assembly takes about a half hour and requires only a rubber mallet, block of wood, and maybe a piece of EMT conduit or pipe.
To assemble a Zanotti gun safe, you only need access to the inside, as shown in the video.
The back panel is installed from the inside, not the outside.
This means you can put the safe together in a closet — even a tight one with walls against all 3 sides.
Blocking access to the walls and the gun safe in a closet will significantly increase security.
These are one of the few gun safes that you can order with a left-swinging door.
People that move often buy modular gun safes.
A left-swinging door may be perfect for your current home, but not for the next five.
No door seal is included.
Since each of the panels has seams, sealing the door is less of a benefit.
The rest of the body is constructed with 10 gauge 0.
Safes can be customized with additional steel sheets welded inside.
Because Zanotti safes are modular, each panel is bent and formed.
That means there are no full-length weld seams to worry about.
Customers are universally impressed with how tight they fit together, even after a half-dozen moves.
Locks Zanotti no longer offers electronic keypad combination locks from the factory.
They say the reason was due to failures on these units after 6 to 8 years.
Now Zanotti offers the La Gard 3330 mechanical dial combination lock standard from the factory.
The La Gard 3330 is still all brass.
The 3330 isand better quality than the standard locks which come with most gun safes.
Number-of-openings-before-failure results from one.
Simple is of course more reliable and therefore better when it comes to bolt work.
The bolt work does have a shear pin, which breaks at a relatively high 60 to 70 ft-lbs.
Fireproofing Due to their modular nature, Zanotti gun safes are historically not available with fireproofing.
Their goal was not to make these units fire-proof e.
UL 72as the body seams are not fire-tight.
One material performed the best, and after experimenting with different arrangements, they found one that could buy you some time in click to see more fire without making the X1 more cumbersome to assemble and disassemble.
Cosmetic Features These modular gun safes are all-business with lever handles.
They come in three colors: black, brown, and green.
It could work for gun owners looking for a modular gun safe to keep pistols or broken-down long guns.
It could also work as a separate ammunition safe.
For more detailed pricing and availability information.
Zanotti Armor Company Zanotti Armor is a small American company in Waterloo, Iowa.
It was founded by Mark Zanotti in 1988.
They make all of their gun safes in the USA.
They also try to source only American materials, from steel to interior carpeting.
That is, unless there is a quality advantage — as with the all-brass locks described above.
All of their gun safes are built to order.
Mark Zanotti had a traditionalist approach to the company and his customers, like the businessmen I remember in my smaller town growing up.
He joked about how old his office computer was, because the gun safes and customers were more important to him than the newest gadget.
His company has been very successful, so much so that demand usually outstripped capacity.
Historic lead times ran 3 to 6 months, and longer at times.
Zanotti transitioned into retirement.
In 2018, Zanotti moved across town to a new facility with updated equipment.
By the end of the year, the new facility was settled in and lead times had already shrunk in half.
Kuebler updated the website to now include pricing information and lead times previously you had to call.
He also added a and instructional videos.
Best Gun Safe — True Safe Graffunder True Safe.
The Best Gun Safe is a True Safe.
Manufactures of commercial safes like Graffunder, American Security AMSECand Brown make true safes specifically designed to store guns.
These companies, as well as others like Mesa, make true safes large enough for guns, but without interior configurations commonly found in gun safes.
Graffunder is an American company founded in 1968 by a German immigrant.
Their weapon safes are very highly regarded and sold at less of a markup than many of their competitors.
Fit and finish are very good.
Graffunder offers B, C, E, and F-Rate weapons safes, as well as double door safes.
The company and their customer support are discussed in detail above.
AMSEC makes gun safes with both UL 687 TL-30 RF Series and TL-15 HS Series ratings, as well as the B-Rate BFII gun safes discussed above.
Brown Safe makes UL 687 TL-15 HD Series and TL-30 HD Plus Series rated gun safes.
Brown also makes weapons-sized safes in B, C, E, and F-Rate.
Brown generally puts the thickest piece of steel on the inside, which is an advantage for theft and fire protection.
They meet the same performance specifications as other safes with comparable ratings, but holding close tolerances on large pieces of steel is expensive.
There are many small manufacturers of true safes.
These companies may have different relationships with local safe dealers.
Since they also maintain the units they sell, they can also inform you of specific issues they see with them too.
Safe dealers may have a in inventory that could fit your guns, which may be cheaper than a new RSC gun safe.
What do you think?
Leave a comment below, your thoughts are welcome.
Do more reaserch on the fire gasket comparison for Amsec vs.
Real cement is a great fire insulator, but the problem is, having a safe that large, with real cement, will weigh the check this out down too much for most people to be able to handle.
Amsecs with their BF series safes Dry Light does not add to the security of the safe, so they need to have the thick steel for this.
There are UL rated fire safes, that actually use ceramic insulators on the market.
Amsec would have UL Fire tested their BF if that was the case.
Thanks for bringing these points up.
This may be left over from years ago when different mixtures were used, or for marketing purposes.
To double check whether there is a difference in the concrete amalgamate I did a calculation to compare the densities of the concrete mixtures.
The dimensions of the steel layers and concrete fill are all published, so I first calculated the approximate steel weight.
Then I backed out the approximate concrete weight and divided it by the volume to get the density.
Fire safes with concrete amalgamate firelinings use 3 laws of physics to protect the contents: Thermal Mass — The heavier the lining, the longer it will take to heat up.
Unfortunately it also takes longer to cool down and turns into an oven.
Thermal Conductivity — The lower thermal conductivity means better insulation.
Latent Heat of Vaporization — Chemicals which undergo a phase change by releasing water absorb heat, as discussed in the Fire Myths page.
These chemicals include gypsum, vermiculite, perlite, etc.
The stronger concrete is, the worse of an insulator and heavier it becomes.
Lightweight concrete can have a thermal conductivity of only 0.
High strength concrete can have thermal conductivity of 1.
Although concrete thermal nice money safe and insulation properties go in opposite direction, the insulation gets better much faster than the mass gets worse.
Generally the additives added to concrete to make it lighter also make it a better insulator, including Vermiculite 0.
Vermiculite and Perilite add phase change fire protection, which makes them popular with fire safe manufacturers.
Portland cement as you mentioned is a decent insulator at 0.
Instead of adding more cement, fire safe manufactures generally use other additives to save money and add phase change protection.
Fire safe manufacturers all have their own special blends for their concrete amalgamate.
The smaller BF home safes all have that rating, but only the smallest 3 can meet it for 1 hour.
The largest BF3416 is only rated for 30 minutes.
As the interior size gets bigger, the walls and fire lining thickness need to get bigger too to maintain the same protection.
But as you mentioned, this would make the large BF gun safes extremely heavy, heavier than gun owners want at this price point.
I made a couple changes to the fireproofing description too based on your comments, thanks!
Your article describes everything articulately.
But I cannot understand the deference between mechanical lock and standard lock.
Please can you tell me which gun is using laser-ray.
What about safes from sportsman steel safe.
They seem to be quite impressive for bang for the buck, in terms of steel thickness, fireproofing, etc.
Hi Jeffrey, Thanks for the question.
Sportsman Steel does emphasize the important gun safe specs, like steel thickness, more than other manufacturers.
They looked like a promising candidate for a recommendation.
That is, until I heard accounts from customers.
After a couple dozen such stories I stopped researching them.
If you want to check out for yourself what some Sportsman Steel customers have said, start by checking the.
Hi, I want to buy a safe but this is way more information then I expected and all I want is one that can not be opened with a axe or crow bar, what one do you recommend that is the most cost saving as well Im looking for one that will have a few shelves and I do not need to use it for a shot gun or anything like this.
I would like it to be fire resistant as this is normally efficient enough.
Thank you for your help.
Annie Just like to say that I own a Sportsman Steel safe.
There customer service stinks and they do not do quality work.
If I could I would post a picture of the inside of my door to my safe to show you.
First off great articles on your site.
Your research and knowledge on the subject matter shows.
Because of that I wanted to ask you in regards to the Ironworks AF gun safe line.
I was weighing between the AMSEC BF6030 and the Ironworks AF6033 due to the esthetics and wanted to see if you would weigh in on them.
The one negative I have about the AMSEC is the bolt pattern is only 11 with a single at the top.
This seems a bit odd and leaves the safe vulnerable to prying once either side of the doors bolts are cut thru from what I can tell I could be wrong.
Thanks again and keep up the great work on here.
This is very needed information, especially in these times.
Thanks for the hard work putting this together.
Costco offers a gun safe named Sports Afield 6033 Executive vault.
Do you have an opinio on this safe.
After reading the info you provide I am skeptical of the safe.
I am putting some thought in the information you gave on your site.
It is outstanding but overwhelming for someone like me.
I want to buy a Christmas gift for my husband.
I am the more informed buyer at our home and also the one who finds the best buys so my husband would be happy if I did my homework for him and got a decent safe and deal.
I thought about the Security Safe Co.
I tried to google different names but did not find it.
Jennifer Bear safes I beleave are one of the best and you did not mention them.
All USA Made also.
Just check out their website.
Thanks Keith Welch Have you reviewed Stackon gun safes?
They seem to push the fire rating pretty hard and the steel on the best ones is 10 gauge.
The rest are 12 or 14 gauge.
Not sure how gauge thickness compares to inches but many thanks for your help in my education process.
Also, has summary recommendations for each gun safe specification, including steel thickness.
A great holidays and New Year to you as well!
So glad I came across your site.
Thank you Very good information placed on this website.
The only thing I would add is a comparison chart that would list the obvious between all the safes.
Such as: price, weight, fire rating, customer service, size, warranty, quality, Consumer Report Rating, etc… Thanks for the help.
I really enjoyed the review of the Amsec.
My question is on Customer service AFTER you make the purchase.
I just bought a Cannon Armory and had it delivered on January 3 of this year.
Great website and a treasure trove of information.
Thank you so much.
All I wanted was some more information on the AMSEC BF safe, and I got way more than I bargained for!
I did see the AMSEC BF has a 4 gauge upgrade on the inner liner which I found odd, why put the thick stuff on the inside until you talked about the inner layer for fire reasons.
Thanks again It seems like getting a gun safe is an important thing to have.
Especially if you have children, having a place to lock up your guns will prevent accidents.
Whenever my uncle gets back from a hunting trip the first thing he does is puts his guns away.
I am in need of a good safe and could use a recommendation for 3 ARs and 4 pistols noting I do have kids in the home.
Water and Fire resistance are higly preferred but based on the article not all required Any suggestions?
Now days with the cheap LCD borescope cameras sold at Harbor Fright it would be easy to drill a couple of holes and push the locker back and rotate the handle.
What kind of protection on newer safes have been done to stop drill and scope attacks?
You can also increase the capacity of your gun safe with a MOLLE Gun Safe Door Organizer Panel.
These are custom made to precisely fit your door.
Would you still advise against that safe?
What are your thoughts re: Big Horn, Cannon and Sports Afield safes sold at Costco?
Thinking about the 800 or 1000 Big Horn safe or a Liberty RE18 factory second for 600 from a local store.
Jaime, do you have any opinion of Fort Knox RSCs?
To my untrained eye, they appear to be similar to AmSec in quality and construction.
Hello i have been researching safes for my home and along the way i was told the designer of the fort knox safes are the owners of champion safes which have a very similar build.
Problem is i am not sure if this but the sales rep seemed to lay it out very well and said he will not say anything bad about any safe company.
But it was good information.
My dad is really big into guns, and his birthday is coming up.
That being said, I really appreciate you giving me some insight about this gun safe, and letting me know how reliable it is.
Thanks for the help.
HI All, I spent 6 months reviewing safes and my ol lady finally decided that I can upgrade from my small one that I had for 20 yrs.
Although I like the Sturdy Brand and enjoyed viewing the break in attempts by the owner of SteelWater Safes…I realized two things… For the amount of protection I wanted 7 ga min.
It was gonna cost me a little over 5 K.
And I could not afford a Because that safe would exceed the value of my goodies… 1.
Buy Bigger than you need.
Remember RSC gun safes are just that…a container you store all your stuff into they can look pretty and have a cool inside with lights and all kind of nice features but in the end they are rated 5 min for break-ins.
This is a TL 30×6 safe with two dial combos.
That means all 6 sides have the same strength and steel around.
Not Just the door There are a few of these safes that come to mind, Surrimax ,Mosler, Amsec ,Kaso ,ISM, and Mutual…some like Bernardini are nice but are not made anymore.
My safe has two group 2 combo dials.
They are independent of each other…wish they were group ONE but it was too expensive to redo, and just not needed.
It has glass in the frame which If and when drilled, will set off some relockers.
The safe weighs 2 tons and I cemented it in.
Now to be honest, a safe is to deter the common crack head from getting at your stuff.
Any Safe can be broken into given time.
Mine is not torch resistant Please look up any safe TRTL 30×6 for the next model up from mine.
A vault at your bank for instance is usually a TRTL 120.
Just to show you they broke into some vaults in the UK that was holding millions in diamonds over a holiday weekend.
Anyway Most home break-ins happen within 7 min and these people are in and out before your police are dispatched and show up.
You want to minimize the time these bad guys have breaking into your house.
Good luck and be safe.
If not, how much concrete would you estimate it would take so that the walls were equivalent in theft prevention?
I would like your opinion on a Liberty Fatboy, not the Jr.
Compare it to the Amsec and the many other large safes please!
I have read numerous comments by many manufacturer people as well as dealers, the entire issue has me baffled!
The Fatboy has 14 locking bolts, two top and bottom and five each side, it has no exposed hinges, and the higher models offer more and larger diameter bolts, longer they claim then competitors, steel gauges shown are also heavier, fire resistance is up to 2.
I live 20 miles from Amsec, will purchase very soon, and have delivered inside and bolted to a concrete floor!
I have a substantial weapons collection, some top end collector editions, so I Am seeking a high quality, very secure safe.
The collection is inherited, but not in my home as yet, so until I get a good quality safe, I will not be a target for criminals seeking my weapons!
My knife set is actually worth more then the gun set!
I will be purchasing four of the same safes, for Long Guns 2 with ammo and other valuables, for handguns 1 with ammo and knives, for knives 1 with other valuables, and for several collectible weapons 1 All will be located in several different locations within my home, no two in the same location!
Both fire and theft are my concerns, since many insurance companies are getting extremely tight on covering guns in California!
Please let me know your comments!
Looks like Sturdy offers thicker doors with some packages now too.
This article was very informative though.
AMSEC used to be cagey about admitting that the same DryLight fill was used on the BF true safes and BF gun safes.
A couple years ago a.
After thinking about it, I actually took two models, calculated the weight of all the steel, and click the following article the density of the fills from the total weight.
The BF gun safe fill was very close to the same density as the UL 72 rated BF safe I chose.
From then on I claimed they were the same.
A couple years later AMSEC now advertises that the.
Cheers, Jaime Excellent and complete write up.
Understanding that AmSec and Sturdy are great, how do you feel about the Champion Crown with the Delta Force doors?
Seems competitive but you have a keen eye for differences…very interested in your opinion All the best, Pete Do you have an opinion on Heritage.
I have a mid size one now only because it was the largest that we could get into our basement not a walk in.
We are building a new home and I am considering there top of the line safe which weighs over 1 ton.
I do want fire protection, but mostly vandal protection as we are building on our farm and the home will not be visible from other homes.
Thank you for a reply.
I think this is an Amsec BF getting axed into in 45 seconds.
The way you describe it makes it seem stronger.
I also believe this is an Amsec BF linkage that bent easy.
Hi Kirk, Thanks for your comment!
Since a lot of people reach this page first, I elaborated.
In general on this site, I try to avoid pointing out specific ways that products can be defeated.
I included your video above.
The second video does appear to be an AMSEC BF linkage.
I also pointed out advantages of the Sturdy bolt work.
However, the video is a little misleading.
For one, the Sturdy bolt work is stronger because it has to be.
A rigid door in a rigid frame takes less strength to hold closed.
The Sturdy is much better than the majority of gun safes, but their base door is still 25% thinner than the BF.
Neither has abut the BF has true composite construction a cast fill.
Also to be fair, the Sturdy bolt work itself is somewhat of a cosmetic feature.
It looks click the following article to some please click for source safe models, but has significant differences.
For one, the bolts are not hardened.
I see what you mean.
Brown included AMSEC BF6636HD in the RSC section, but some of the text refers to the non-HD option.
Then they included Sturdy 3224-6 in the True Safe section.
This looks like some creative marketing.
AMSEC is one of their primary competitors, so they may be taking some liberties… True safe, a phrase Brown also uses on that page, does have a specific meaning.
Generally a B-Rate or higher is required for any commercial application.
Sturdy makes good products which fit a specific market niche well.
AMSEC on the other hand has products from RSCs to fire safes to true safes.
Many of those products compete directly with Brown, including one of the only other TL-rated gun safes.
The BF HD version does meet the composite definition of a B-Rate safe.
Cheers, Jaime I bought a Sturdy around 2004-5 after seeing their photos of a Sturdy standing on the empty slab of a burn-down.
The safe was allowed to cool, article source opened.
There were Ruger pistol boxes inside, undamaged.
Seems like a nice bit of info to pass on as regards their FP design.
Would like to note that all of the Job boxes I have looked at, Rigid, Knack, and Lund are only 16ga steel.
With some have 12ga around the locks.
Some also have 14ga or 12ga feet on them.
I would really like to know what your thoughts on a steelwater.
I like the Sturdy safe but the difference in price steelwater sure looks good thanks I used to install gun safes in ppls homes.
U failed to mention anything about placement of safe.
Where u place ur safe has alot to do with how secure ur safe really is.
U want to place ur safe in a way that it makes an axe attack on its sides or door prying difficult.
Like in an interior closet.
To keep this page from getting too long I put the topic on its own page.
A closet is one of my favorite locations too.
In fact I drew up a diagram on that page depicting just what you described, i.
Thanks for the help!
Skeptical, I visited the factory in Cedar Rapids, IA on one trip to see family in Des Moines, IA.
The owner, Mark, greeted me at the door and gave me the tour of the plant and answered all of my questions.
The whole process of building the safe is painstakingly accurate.
The electronic lock option was phased out in late 2006.
I had a choice of two 2 combo lock and I chose the better of the two.
My neighbors never knew what was delivered.
The safe was installed in my basement store room.
Easy to assemble and place where I safe deposit box />Since then, I moved outstate taking this safe with me.
Reassembly, in an upstairs closet was a snap with 2 people.
The combo lock works as I expected it would.
If you are thinking portability since you move a lot, look no further.
Thanks for your comments on the Zanotti modular safe.
What is the difference between a Liberty Revere and the American Security FV series.
Are they the same quality.
The FV series includes the door pockets,ect I just wanted to let you know that I am personally sad about the lack of support Winchester Safe Co.
They live in Madison, Virginia.
They purchased a Winchester Safe in November 2016 six months ago.
They contacted customer service department within two days of their fire explaining that they could not get into the safe.
It did NOT correct the problem.
Then it was suggested that a locksmith could be called.
He responded but could not access the safe … then a Winchester locksmith was dispatched and today they were able to find their most prized possessions full of mold, mildew and dampness that could have ALL BEEN AVOIDED if Winchester had responded at the first phone call.
At a time of duress losing three pets in the fire, losing most of their clothes, furniture and having to rebuild their home from the studs …and in all other hardships that this couple has had to face, I want to say SHAME on Winchester for making this one of their worries.
I understand that a new safe has been offered to them.
My hope is that Winchester will refund their money they have a receipt from Tractor Supply Co.
Lastly, thank goodness for an honest community.
The customer service offered to this young couple was NOT good quality.
Just beware of WINCHESTER.
Thank you for sharing your experience with other readers.
Curious if your research has covered Steelwater Safes.
When I was looking at what I needed to improve my security of valuables and firearms, I used your very informative site as a starting point and found it extremely useful.
I actually contacted Brown Safe Co.
Since the economics are as important as the security.
I found the best value with a Brown Safe for cost and security vs volume size.
I would be willing share with you some additional information since Brown Safe Co.
Keep up the great work.
I still find your information spot on and it helps educate anyone who is really looking at security for their valuables and firearms.
Sincerely, Hi Carl, Thanks for the kind words and recommendations.
Sorry to hear about the burglary.
I sent you an email.
Jaime, Great site and thank you for sharing your detailed and deep knowledge of gun safes.
Love the clear, factual presentation of the material.
Very interested in Brown Gun Safes at the moment.
Their sales rep mentioned a UL 350 certification.
Never heard of that.
But would be interested in your thoughts about Brown.
I am looking for a true safe for documents and guns.
So far I have looked at Rhino and American Security.
Have you considered comparing the two?
Can you shed any light on this?
I own a 40-UU from Drake Safe Company in Roxboro, NC.
Fully welded seams, fireproofed, super tight, custom fitted doors, and best of all ….
Please look at this maker, and review.
Thank you so much for the detailed information!
Clearly a labor of love and helping a lot of people!
Their commercials sound too good to be true, so I had to go looking for negative reviews.
How do they stand up against someone determined to get in with tools and time?
I am looking for a good solid safe that will not be able to be broken into while onsite, as the placement of the safe will prevent it from being safe to keep money />I will have a few long guns 5 or lessbut the safe will be used more for my antique Japanese swords just as long as my guns, some longeras well as many other valuables and important documents.
Professional advice of someone not trying to make a sale is really appreciated!
Thanks for assembling and sharing all this information.
One point does confuse me.
Are you aware of job-site boxes whose entire bodies are made of steel thicker than 14 gauge?
I would appreciate a pointer to one.
Hi Nick, Thanks, and thanks for your comment.
What are the differences?
Looks like thicker steel?
Do these replace the BF HD models?
Hi Dan, Thanks for the kind words and for reading.
Yes, the BFII is the first gun safe to meet the new RSC Level 2 specification.
Thank you for all the great info.
I have a question about whether or not either of these safes are waterproof.
If I put a safe in my basement that has a fire rating, and see more fire department unloads several truck-fulls of water into my basement, will the heat generated from the fire seal up either of these safes and keep out all the water the fire department would flood into my basement?
Thank you, Hi Jeff, thanks for reading and for the comment.
You can find my thoughts on.
Basement fire protection issues can be found.
Cheers, Jaime Can you review and compare the Ironworks USA brand and features?
I think their Rhino USA and Kodiak Imports brands at a lower level.
Hello, I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the information offered here.
Money safe for home B1414 by Stealth
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