Safe Selection - Size & Weight Factors

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Jan 30, 2007
After spending a serious amount of time in researching the types of safes, options, & brands, I've begun to steer away from my original plan of buying a TL-30 rated safe. The main reason ... weight. I'm placing it on a first floor with 1998 build concrete slab construction. My main concerns are that a 3500 + lb. safe will be more of a burden than asset, from the following points:

- Moving it into the house (possible damage to wood laminate floor & tile).
- Possible damage to slab from excessive weight.
- Difficulty in finding crews willing & experienced enough to move it if we ever move to another residence.
- Cost in having it moved. Local rates = $175/ hr.

My question: At this point, after reading dozens of threads here, and consulting some of our resident professionals for info, I'm down to two possible options in the 6636/ 6637 class of safe. Originally I wanted the largest I could afford, but now I'm beginning to think it would be better to buy a few smaller safes in the 66.5"H x 37"W x 27"D size range. it might be easier to move and find someone willing and able to move them when the time comes. I'd buy one of these, keep it for a few years until it is full,, and then eventually buy another once I have the funds available down the road.

I have a decent budget so I'm looking at either of these two options at the moment. Opinions and feedback are certainly appreciated, thanks.

Fort Knox 6637 Guardian - planned to upgrade to 1/4" body with 3 inner 10ga. steel liners, and a steel upgrade in the door to 1/2". With upgrades approx. $6500.

Amsec BF 6636 - This safe has a 1/2" steel plate in the door standard with an aggregate composite mix between an 11ga outer and 16ga inner liner. Not crazy about the steel specs, but the composite will present a difficult barrier for the average thief to cut through. No upgrades to steel are available, but I would save approx. $2500 over the Ft. Knox, but have much less steel & protection in this safe.

Both weigh approx. 1200lbs but obviously the Ft. Knox would be heavier after the steel upgrades. I still think it would come in lighter than a 7241 sized TL-30 safe. Opinions?
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If you have items that require the higher security ratings (jewelry, coins, etc.), then I would still consider a smaller TL rated unit for those items. There are several available that weigh less than 1,000 pounds.

Going with multiple safes is a security advantage, and allows you to reduce the rating of each individual safe.

Not that this pertains to your question exactly, but it did spark a question in my own mind. When you buy a big heavy gun safe, how much of that weight is "safe", and how much is "fluff". I decided to use a Liberty Presidential that was 60x30x25 as my basis.

With four layers of gypsum board, at roughly 2.3 pounds per square foot, I came to the conclusion that the insulation alone weighs around 540 pounds. Aside from it making the safe heavier to carry, it provides no burglary protection at all.

Since the safe weighs 1,000 pounds, this leaves 460 pounds of everything else. By time you deduct the weight for the wood interior, boltwork, etc, you're probably looking at 400 pounds worth of burglary barrier.
And there in lies the rub of those advocating heavy and massive 3500 pound TL rated safes in a residential setting.
Of course they are quite superior to all RSC rated gun safes by a wide margin.
Since my home sits on a concrete slab and I too have laminate flooring I chose the BF 66x36 and had it professionally moved into my home and had the flooring contractor place a heavy grade porcelin tile layer in a corner of the room where the safe was then bolted in said corner that leaves little room for pry bar work.
These guys made the job look so easy it was not even funny and did all of this without one bit of damage to anything in my home.
There in is the reason to use bonded and insured people who are security licensed in the safe and vault business.
Understand most home burglaries usually do not involve guys with power tools going to work on your safe unless of course too many people know about your safe,which should not be the obvious case.
What was mentioned about a small TL-30 safe is the way to go if serious value is concerned and a good quality gun safe for the guns.
However if these guns are serious high grade value then we are back to heavy safes with true ratings.
We all want the strongest protection there is but sometimes we need to step back and make a good account of the value we are trying to protect before buying.
Thanks for the feedback gentlemen. Much appreciated. Anyone else care to offer any advice or opinion? :)
The two gun safe manufacturers you are considering, Fort Knox and American Security, are in my opinion two of the best. But they still cannot be substituted for a TL-30. American Security has the ability to offer a better fire barrier than the competition for two reasons, they have the experience being in the business for so long and they have the means to do so being that they manufacture a wide variety of safes from TL-30's to residential security container's and a whole lot more. with that being said keep in mind that the fire barrier is not of high density and should not be considered an asset against burglary security but should be looked at as a plus when considering the fire ratings. Look at the two manufacturers you are considering and compare the weights. The Amsec will out weigh the Fort Knox but not by a drastic amount. The body fill for the American Security BF model is designed to compete with the gun safe industry and not high security safes. Your safe is only as strong as its weakest link. The luxury of Fort Knox is that they allow you to feed your weakest link a protein shake. You have to decide if you plan on purchasing a smaller TL in the future or if you want a rolls royce of a gun safe. I will say that Fort Knox seems to be a higher quality of steel than a lot of its competitors but its hard to compare to the steel quality of American Security because of their fill. If you are considering so many upgrades to a Fort Knox Guardian 6637 why don't you just consider a Fort Knox Titan 6637 with fewer upgrades?
Good points about the composite aggregate in the Amsec. It's definitely not the high psi material found in their higher line commercial vaults, but still a worthy addition.

SolidHeart, you asked me about the Titan ... quite honestly, I'm not crazy about Fort Knox's pricing structure. The Titan already has one 10ga inner liner and 3/16" body and 3/8" steel plate + 10ga liner in the door. If I add the steel upgrade to bring it to my specs listed above and add 2 additional inner liners, it comes out $102 higher on the total price. When I originally ran the numbers, I ran them on multiple models & configs.

I like Fort Knox products, don't get me wrong, but I'm still not convinced it's the best value for the dollar, which is why I asked for everyone's opinion. I may still change the plan after reviewing all the feedback.

It's a tough choice because you don't invest this high a dollar amount everyday in products like this. I just want to get the best product that meets my needs, for the money. Thank you.
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Xjetpilot,before I bought my Amsec BF 66X36 I strongly considered a modified Fort Knox Defender that had the 3/16 outer wall upgrade and the 10 gauge inner liner and with that they beefed up the door steel from 1/4 inch plate to 3/8 steel.
Anyway the safe still was going to cost $500.00 more than my Amsec.
I bought the Amsec and used the $500 savings to help pay the state tax and installation.
No regrets.
I can certainly appreciate that viewpoint, and as I stated earlier in the thread, I love Ft. Knox products & their service, but I'm just not convinced that for the money, their product is the best value.

When this is all said and done, I may bite the bullet and revisit the original safe I was looking at ... the Amsec RF6528 TL-30. I just hate to lock into a 3455lb. monster that may present high moving costs later down the road. That would also require me to find an alternate location to use in the house. One that can handle that much weight on the concrete slab.
If a concrete home slab can't handle 3500lbs I hope no one tells my houses slab that! I've had a 5400lbs rascal in mine for over a yr. :uhoh:
TX, I would agree, but knowing the quality of the construction in my area, it wouldn't suprise me to hear of issues, especially when the weight is all concentrated in such a small footprint.

Did your (Graffunder) get placed in the house or garage, I can't recall?
Check out the Snap Safe and Zanotti Safe.

Xjtpilot, where are you located? I'm a jetlinker (well, acey'er now) in Ky. I'm sure another shooting buddy is just what I need... I just bought a Cannon 24 gun safe. It weighed 600lbs and took 3 grown men over an hour to get it out of the truck and up 4 stairs. Maybe look at 2 different safes? One for the bedroom, one for the garage/rec room? Anything over min fuel is gonna be a bear to move anywhere!
New Armaknox Steel Upgrade Options

Xjetpilot, do you know of the new Armaknox AR 500 steel available with Fort Knox Gun Safes? This is a 7 gauge liner placed on all 6 sides of the gun safe as well as the door. Armaknox has 3 times the tensile strength as regular mild steel. AR 500 is an abrasion resistant steel plate that is heat treated and hardened. This type of steel is used in mining equipment, the truck-trailer industry, and the concrete/aggregate industry. This is coming from Leeco Steel, LLC. This option would run around $1350 to $1400 for the Guardian 6637. It has been tested by Oregon Ballistic Laboratories, LLC to withstand 3 shots from a .44 magnum.
SH, I did read about it briefly, but to be quite honest, your post was much more informative on the subject than any literature I've seen to date. I'll research it a bit more, but it is very expensive,no doubt. Thank you for your input :)
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