Amsec or Ft. Knox? Plus an interesting picture!


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1314
June 30, 2009, 07:31 PM
I have narrowed down my RSC decision to two boxes (yes, I'm being careful not to call them "safes"). I have read so much that I am exhausted and on my wife's last nerve. I know that a1xxxx and CB900 are the ones to ask around here. I've never seen a price for a Graffunder but am fairly sure they are out of my range for what I need. I could probably make do with a cheap box, but I'm willing to pay for aesthetics and name brand.

I want a box to store three long guns, several pistols and documents. I will probably end up getting a small fire safe that fits in the gun box for the papers. It is going in a closet, bolted down. I'm trying to protect them from my kid, her friends and smash and grab thieves. It'd be nice to slow a pro down, but I can't stretch the budget that far.

With that being said, my choices are the Amsec BF 6032 or the Fort Knox Defender 6026. I wish Amsec had a BF that was only 24" or 26" wide, but they don't. So I'd squeeze the 6032 in. If I go with the Ft. Knox, I'd stay with the 26" wide 6026.

BF:
Made in U.S.A.
UL RSC Burglary Listed
Lifetime warranty
90 min./1272 degrees "Mercury" fire rating
5 active locking bolts open side, 5 dead bolts hinge side
Exterior hinges
1/2" steel plate door + DryLight ?
2" body. I believe 10 ga. outer, DryLight, then ? ga inner liner maybe??
Amsec's own mechanical lock (Group II)

Defender:
Made in U.S.A.
UL RSC Burglary Listed
Lifetime warranty, to include flood (I'm in Houston)
90 min./1680 degrees "Certified Fire" rating
11 active locking bolts, all four sides
Interior hinges
10 ga. steel + UL fireboard + 1/4 steel plate door
1 1/2 body. 10 gau outer + ???
S&G mechanical lock (Group II)

Both are in the same price range. The BF is bigger, but in my case that is not necessarily better since I'm strapped for space. I'd sacrifice a little if I go with the BF. They are both UL RSC. They both have 90 minute fire ratings from "independent" companies. The Defender has more active bolts. The BF has exterior hinges, but the box is going against the wall, so I can't utilize the wider opening door. They both have 10 ga bodies. The BF has 1/2 steel plate door. I think the Defender has 1/4 steel plate, but not positive. Visually, the Defender has a thicker door. The Defender has fully adjustable shelves on both sides, The BF's second from top shelf is stationary. You can only adjust the shelves on one side. The Defender uses an S&G lock. Amsec uses their own lock.

So, I guess it comes down to personal experiences and/or their customer service. The Amsec will come from a lock and safe company. The Ft. Knox is from a Ft. Knox dealer, but they do their own service and deliveries. Both will deliver and bolt down for the same price. Ted Nugent endorses Ft. Knox :neener: .

Here's a quick shot of Ft. Knox's nifty "Certified Fire" sticker that mimics the UL decal:
http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t258/drkcire/840A0331.jpg

And here's a shot of the Defender's door, FWIW:
http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t258/drkcire/840A0335.jpg

No BF inner door pics available.

Opinions are welcomed and encouraged.


And on a side note, while at the Ft. Knox dealer, I witnessed a damaged Patriot safe. They were in contact with Canon for the customer. I didn't catch the exact model, but it was roughly 60"x30"x30" from what I could tell. It belonged to a local pharmacy and was NOT bolted down. It was targeted during a rash of pharmacy burglaries last year. It was tipped onto it's face and struck with a sledge hammer on the back side. The sales rep said it was 12 gauge steel. All I had was my sorry cell phone camera.

http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t258/drkcire/840A0334.jpg

http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t258/drkcire/840A0332.jpg

http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t258/drkcire/840A0333.jpg

No other damage to safe. They got all the drugs they needed through that hole. :uhoh:

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ZombiesAhead
July 1, 2009, 05:40 PM
Wow did you get any info on how they could have done that? I guess you never know what criminals will do for drugs...

a1abdj
July 2, 2009, 01:13 AM
It belonged to a local pharmacy and was NOT bolted down.

Very unlikely that safe was signed off on by the DEA. I hope the pharmacy gets fined, and if the person that sold them the safe had knowledge of it's use, that the pharmacy sues the crap out of them.

phantomak47
July 5, 2009, 01:40 AM
So which one did you decide on?

1314
July 5, 2009, 05:10 PM
I'm still pulling my hair out. I can't make up my mind. If the Amsec was 24 or 26" wide, I would have picked it. It is $100 cheaper and the door slightly beefier.

I also found a Heritage Fortress Security Regal that is $600 cheaper. It is also UL RSC, with an 11 gauge body (1/8"), Made in USA, Lifetime warranty, 24" wide, S&G lock and 75 minute fire. Not sure about the door. All I could find is that it is 3/8" reinforced with 3 1/2" angle frame (:confused:). Not sure if that is plate steel or what. Heritage's Ultimate Series has a 7 gauge body (3/16"), but it's 30" wide. Did not price it.

I was hoping for some opinions, but I will be pulling the trigger here within the next day or two. It really is a toss up right now.

willbrink
July 5, 2009, 05:15 PM
"I'm still pulling my hair out. I can't make up my mind. "

Then you didn't search the forum very hard as there are some very good threads on what makes a good safe, RSC, etc. The pros on this forum more often then not recommend the AMSEC over all other RSCs for reasons they explain those threads. The AMSEC BF series is the best RSC out there it appears.

1314
July 5, 2009, 05:15 PM
As far as that Patriot safe goes, the sales rep had no other info. They did not sell the safe and do not sell Canon safes. The rep stated it was believed to be an inside job because supposedly no alarms had been set off. But, last year there was a string of pharmacy burglaries by a large ring and I would bet this safe was involved. Said to have been damaged by a sledgehammer and after looking at it closely, I was not impressed with the 12 gauge body.

1314
July 7, 2009, 05:12 PM
Then you didn't search the forum very hard as there are some very good threads on what makes a good safe, RSC, etc.

Yes, I read all the threads I could find on here and the other board. But if I recall correctly, when asked to compare the BF series to a Fort Knox, no comparison was made other than they had no experience with Fort Knox.


BTW, I did quote a Graffunder B6026. Close to 5K. :what:

willbrink
July 7, 2009, 06:03 PM
Not sure where you looked, but I had no problems finding info here that made me conclude the AMSEC BF series was far an away the best of the RSCs. People who install safes for a living here have said as much various places. a1abdj said for example

"On the AMSEC, the steel folds back into, and is secured into, the body of the safe. The "shape" it makes is filled with the same fill material that is in the rest of the body.It is very rigid, and much stronger than your typical gun safe configuration."

AMSEC has more experience building safes and RSC then any of the others (probably combined) and seem to place their focus (for the price point) on giving genuine security vs pretty handles and slick paint jobs.

The pros can weigh in here, but that's my take and why after reading the threads here I went with the AMSEC.

krs
July 7, 2009, 06:42 PM
I agree, there's no shortage of information here, and it's plain that the Amsec BF series is the best that can be had in it's price range.

That being the case it seems to me that you are holding off hoping for someone to reassure you that your choice of the Ft. Knox safe is OK.

So here you are: Rest easy, everything will be fine. Buy the safe that fits in your location, bolt it in there very well, and be happy that you chose wisely in getting the safe that offers some compensation in the event of a flood. OK?


(I haven't been flooded but friends of mine were. If you are in a location where there's the remotest chance that your home might be flooded..........MOVE!!
That experience is one of maybe five of the most heartbreaking events that can happen to a person in life. I'm not talking about the experiences in losing a family member or like that. Get on high ground.)

willbrink
July 7, 2009, 07:02 PM
"That being the case it seems to me that you are holding off hoping for someone to reassure you that your choice of the Ft. Knox safe is OK."

I find safes/RSCs are the same as guns: people have already decided what they want and will keep pushing to get confirmation for their choice due to some emotional investment in the choice.

1314
July 8, 2009, 08:46 AM
You guys are right. There are salesmen on here that tout the BF as the best RSC for the money. And yes, AMSEC has experience in the safe business. But like other safe manufacturers, AMSEC has their lower end line of safes that are not up to par.

I'm not asking for someone to reassure me. All I asked was for any personal experiences or opinions on the Fort Knox. Like I said in my very first post, if the BF came in a 24 or 26 inch wide box, I would already have it. AMSEC makes a SF5924, but it's an inferior safe. So that forced me to look around for something comparable in a size that suits me. Which led me to the Ft. Knox. And that is also why I listed the differences between the two. So that I can maybe get some insight on what is and isn't important.


I'll go ahead and repost the similarites and differences that I am focusing on:
Both are in the same price range. The BF is bigger, but in my case that is not necessarily better since I'm strapped for space. I'd sacrifice a little if I go with the BF. They are both UL RSC. They both have 90 minute fire ratings from "independent" companies. The Defender has more active bolts. The BF has exterior hinges, but the box is going against the wall, so I can't utilize the wider opening door. They both have 10 ga bodies. The BF has 1/2 steel plate door. I think the Defender has 1/4 steel plate, but not positive. Visually, the Defender has a thicker door. The Defender has fully adjustable shelves on both sides, The BF's second from top shelf is stationary. You can only adjust the shelves on one side. The Defender uses an S&G lock. Amsec uses their own lock.

I will also add that the Amsec has dead bolts on the hinge side and no top or bottom bolts. The Defender has active bolts on all four sides.

Oldtrader3
July 12, 2009, 12:37 AM
It sounds to me like you are obsessing about a few possessions. I have a Browning Fort Morgan gun safe (call it what it is!) which is made by the same company as AMSEC. I have been very satisfied with the two Browning safes that I have owned. The one that I have now weighs 650 pounds which was a criteria when I sold the old safe and bought this one (about 7 years ago). This safe is too heavy for most teens to walk away with. Also pick the company that will give you better customer (after sale) service if you need it.

A professional or a motivated amateur with time to spend WILL break into your safe! I would worry more about the U.L. Fire Rating and thickness of and type of fire resistant material than about door steel thickness. For example, will the fire retardent material emanate poisonous gas when it melts in a fire. Small details like that can make a difference. Also make sure that the door has a hardened plate over the lock to prevent drilling. The average B&E or burglery lasts less than 5 minutes. Check that number with your local police. That is the important number! If your safe can resist attack for 5 minutes or longer, you are probably ok. The size and number of active bolts is also important. Some safes have anti-pry features built into the door design. These are the types of features that I would concentrate on, not obsessing for a month over inconsequential details.

The guys that broke into that safe in the pharmacy must have been drug-crazed nitwits to stick around long enough to get caught! Most commercial alarm responses in urban areas by police are less than 5 minutes.

heeler
July 17, 2009, 10:17 AM
1314...You are obviously a Houstonian.
I say this because not two weeks ago I was at the Knox dealer and saw that same flimsy sliced and diced Cannon box.
That very sight finally convinced my hard head of a younger brother to once and for all get the notion of buying a 12 gauge "safe" out of his mind.
We are in the same mental frame of mind because I too am considering both gun safes but just a larger version of either.
In my opinion the BF will give you far greater fire protection and if the Defender stays at it's current 10 gauge body then the BF will probably give you better burglary protection.
However...The beauty of a FT.Knox is that they can be customized for you.
I priced the the Defender with the optional outer hinges(no charge!!) as I want a full 180 degree swing.
I also priced it with the deluxe package which means for a mere $350.00 you get a 3/16 of an inch body instead of the factory 10 gauge offering and the reinforced fire door now becomes a 3/8 of an inch plate steel instead of the standard 1/4 of an inch.
You are practically getting an Executive series gun safe minus the extra bolts which in my opinion with the 3/16th body and thicker door you really dont need the extra door bolts.
Not to mention quite a bit of difference in price.
You can also have two more layers of sheetrock added to the body for a bit better fire protection for around another $200.00.
I still dont think it would be as fire resitant as the BF but it would still be fairly adequate if the fire department is reasonably close by.
As I see it I much prefer a gun safe with a 3/16th body as it gives you a whole lot more protection from the infamous axe attack and pry bar attack.
Unfortunately once you start getting gun safes in the 3/16th body thickness your price goes over three grand.But your protection does go up.
So at the end of the day imho if you are comparing the BF against ANY 10 gauge gun safe it rules the roost in fire and burglary protection.
I have my doubts though that it will have better burglary protection(my main concern) than a gun safe with a 3/16th body and good door.

And yes I know that unless it is a 1/4 inch body with a 1/2 inch plate door it is not a real "safe".

willbrink
July 17, 2009, 11:16 AM
"I have my doubts though that it will have better burglary protection(my main concern) than a gun safe with a 3/16th body and good door."

I'm not the safe expert here, but reading the comments of those who are, the BF is 10g internal and external, and between them is a composite that adds additional security in addition to the fire protection, unlike the sheet rock others use that adds no additional security protection and absorbs moister. The BF has a "good" door for the price point, and not likely to be the point of entry if someone knows what they are doing.

heeler
July 17, 2009, 11:37 AM
The BF is a 10 gauge external with a 16 gauge internal steel wall.

Fwiw you can also order that Knox with the 3/16th body upgrade ALONG with an additional 10 gauge inner steel wall.
Or you can order that same Defender with it's standard 10 gauge outer wall with the additional 10 gauge inner wall.
The composite material truely helps the BF in the fire resistance department and also gives it better burglary protection than just your average 10 gauge gun safe.
That composite material in the BF is good but it is not the same burglary resistant and fire protection material Amsec puts into their better safes.
So at the end of the day thicker and heavier steel is going to make a difference on how hard it is to breech these two particular gun safes.

1314
July 17, 2009, 06:48 PM
Yup. Houston indeed. :)

I put a deposit on the BF, as they didn't have one with chrome in stock (they had the gold with an electronic lock). Then I went home and cleared out the space for the safe. Well, like I said in my first post, I was strapped for space and the BF would require that I cut into shelving. I thought I would be able to squeeze it in, but after clearing everything out, no go. No way around it. So I got my deposit back and purchased a Defender 6026, which fit like a glove with NO room to spare.

I had decided on the BF so that I could get a slightly larger safe. The things that did bother me about it were the non-switchable shelving, no top or bottom bolts and dead bolts on the hinge side. But I was willing to make do for a bigger safe.

Now I have the Defender. Fits right and has all the bolts. But I can already see me running out of room.

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