We’ve compiled a list of the top four U.S. safe manufacturers. We based our ratings on:
- Each company’s time in the gun safe industry.
- The level of security their safes offer.
- And the accuracy of their fire ratings.
Before we start our list, though, it’s important to know one thing: we’re recommending American made safe models.
Video: Top 4 Best Gun Safe Manufacturers
All gun safe manufacturers import to some degree, some heavily. Imported safes made in China and Mexico don't meet the standards of qualities found in U.S.-built gun safes. So, as we make our recommendations, remember:
We’re talking about gun safes made in the USA
American Security (also known as AMSEC) is definitely among the best in the industry. The brand offers two main types of safes: RSCs and TL-rated safes. RSC stands for Residential Security Container. As the name suggests, these are designed for residential use. TL-rated safes are intended for commercial use; they typically weigh much more than residential models, and they cost significantly more too.
AMSEC was founded by Glenn Hall in 1946, and he started with just a welder and a lathe in his small Paramount, California shop. He aimed to build a strong, safe, to withstand attacks from modern-day burglars.
One of his early innovations was a commercial safe with a round door. AMSEC’s round-door design offered better security but was very expensive due to the complex machining and tooling needed for the round-door frame and locking mechanisms. However, the high cost was worth it to commercial customers, and AMSEC round-door safes and vaults became the industry standard for decades.
Over the past 40 years, home and gun safes have become more popular. AMSEC has been expanding its extensive line of safes to include more RSC, or Residential Security Container models for homeowners. One of the primary barriers in the home gun safe market is price (as well as weight and difficulty of installation). So, as home gun safes grew in popularity, AMSEC decided that the round-door safe design was too expensive for many American homeowners and developed a cost-effective square-door safe door that could be welded from square steel plates. Today AMSEC often uses a water-submerged plasma cutter to cut their plate steel doors to precise tolerances while keeping costs lower. A square-door design required changes to the locking mechanism and bolt arrangement compared to a round safe door.
Notably, AMSEC commercial safes were the first US-made safes to receive the highest Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Burglary Rating of TL-15 and TL-30. (Underwriters Laboratories is a third-party testing group that verifies product claims for safety, burglary resistance, fire resistance, and more. Please read our article to learn more about what safe ratings mean.)
The company’s TL-rated commercial safes include hardened steel plates, concrete-filled walls, and composite drill-resistant panels. AMSEC prides itself on its high-quality standards and strength. Regarding fit, several AMSEC gun safe models include an adjustable door shim system so the dealer (or even the user) can fine-tune the fit of the safe door for an optimal gap and to prevent interference with the safe body. AMSEC also tests their electronic locks to a military standard (Mil 0202, Method 106) which subjects the electronics to high variations in temperature and humidity.
Today at their expanded Fontana, California facility, AMSEC manufactures and imports over 600,000 safes yearly across more than 400 standard models in every insurance classification, from non-UL, listed B-rated up to Underwriter’s Laboratories top-level TL-15 and TL-30.
AMSEC safes with TL-15 ratings and above are generally considered commercial-level safes. These safes are expensive and typically very heavy due to their concrete- or composite-filled walls and thicker, hardened-plate steel construction. But if resistance to burglary attempts is the absolute priority over all else (including price) then a TL-15 rated safe from AMSEC might be the right choice for you. Most regular folks will likely opt for AMSEC’s RSC-level gun safes, which today are offered in either their BFX (RSC Level 1 security rating) or BFII (RSC Level 2 security rating) lines.
Prices are still pretty high compared to some others, and the weight of these safes can be up to 700 lbs heavier than similar-sized gun safes from some other manufacturers, as AMSEC elects to use pour-in amalgamated fire retardant between the external and interior safe walls, rather than using fireboard like most other manufacturers. This results in an effective, UL fire-rated safe, but you must confirm that your floors can handle the extra weight.
AMSEC has been building commercial safes for over 70 years and residential safes for about 40. While many of AMSEC’s RSC safes are imported, their US models are well made, with a more traditional design that utilizes external hinges. If you choose your AMSEC safe carefully (and if it fits your budget), you can enjoy a premium product built in the United States.
Browning is a storied Utah-based firearms brand with a somewhat rocky history over the past few decades but is still producing high-quality firearms in Belgium, Portugal, Japan, and the USA. Browning also lends their brand name to safes manufactured by ProSteel, and ProSteel has been making safes for over 40 years. The Browning brand of safes is known for the quality of their American-made models (plus, if you like Browning firearms, it’s cool to have Browning on your gun safe as well). One popular feature is their patented DPX® door-organization system. Plenty of gun safe companies offer handgun storage in pockets on the interior of the door.
Still, Browning’s design adds the versatility of storing long guns in the door with a quick-access barrel rack and molded buttstock tray. There are even cutouts that allow for rifle scopes.
Browning’s US-made, RSC-level gun safes also offer solid fire protection, with fireboard arranged in an interlocking design. The interlocking design helps minimize gaps in the fireboard that can lead to hotspots inside your safe.
Browning currently offers around 17 models of gun safes in multiple security ratings, fire ratings, styles, and configurations. Most are RSC-level safes, but if the price is not an object and you need to step up to a UL TL-rated safe, Browning now offers a TL-30 level safe available through select dealers, who are insured and instructed in the proper methods for moving and installing these heavy behemoths. Browning’s TL-30 Pro Series safes feature ¼-inch thick steel walls with a 2.5-inch thick, interlocking composite layer of high-density aggregate, steel fiber, and improved adhesive resins in the safe body, which Browning says makes the walls of their top-level safe many times stronger than average construction-grade concrete. Prices for Browning’s excellent TL-30 start around $14,000.
Fort Knox has been in business for over 35 years and is an American company that builds its products to a high standard. For example, they utilize internal and external welds to build their safe bodies, reinforcing a weak point in lesser safes. Fort Knox also focuses on effective fire resistance using precision-cut stud-welded fireboard for better coverage. Fort Knox’s RSC safes (today, they call most of them vaults) also feature two separate door seals that work together to protect your valuables from heat and smoke in case of a fire.
Fort Knox currently offers around eight different tiers/models of RSC gun safes, three options for home safes, and both swing-in and swing-out vault doors. One hallmark feature offered in many Fort Knox gun safes is their optional steel liners—you can pay extra to add additional layers of steel to your safe, including the option for an AR500-rated armor plate. These extra layers of steel create a safe within a safe that improves resistance to fire and burglary attempts. Several Fort Knox models come standard with gear-driven door mechanisms, interior lights, and dehumidifiers (which you need if you live where the relative humidity is greater than 50%).
Fort Knox is known for good customer service and has one of the better lifetime warranties in the industry. The entire safe or vault is warrantied against any defect in material or quality, including the lock, interior, handle/bolt work, mechanism, clutch, and body, for the original purchaser's lifetime. Additionally, Fort Knox says, to take our guarantee a step further, we will also replace your vault for free if it was broken into or damaged due to attempted theft. If your Fort Knox vault is damaged due to a fire, flood, or other accident, we will replace it for you in most situations.
Now it’s our turn! Liberty Safe has been in business for 35+ years, and of the manufacturers here on this list, we at Liberty build the most safes domestically. We manufacture around 95% of home and gun safes here in the USA! We’ve sold over two million safes to date, and while we do offer some import safes for specific markets, only a small fraction of our business deals with imports. The vast majority of our safes are made in the US, from US steel. Around 95% of our products are American-made, which we’re proud of.
Liberty Safe was founded in Utah in 1988, and as the company grew, we have had manufacturing and corporate centers in Provo, Springville, and Spanish Fork, Utah.
Liberty is consolidated in a state-of-the-art, 300,000-square-foot facility in beautiful Payson, Utah, and we proudly employ over 300 American workers. Plus, we support hundreds of independent Liberty Safe dealers throughout the USA. Use our handy dealer locator to find a dealer near you.
Visit us at:Liberty Safe and Security Products, Inc.
1199 W Utah Ave.
Payson, UT 84651
One of Liberty’s most significant strengths lies in our ability to build a large number of safes with consistent, high-quality results. We’ve streamlined manufacturing methods, hired the best workers, and optimized quality control procedures. Individually, other brands may build around 20 safes a day, but our team can build up to an incredible 700 safes a day at peak capacity. This helps keep costs down while providing many options for our first-time and repeat customers.
Beyond that, Liberty Safe is known primarily for four things:
Liberty's security technology
Liberty uses stronger, 2-piece safe bodies, ball-bearing-hard anti-drill plates, multiple-redundant automatic relockers, and our exclusive military-style locking bars (these have virtually eliminated pry attacks). Compared to lesser, round-bar type locking bolts that are then separately bolted to a locking mechanism, the hardened one-piece military-style locking bars are demonstrably superior.
Why is a 2-piece safe body significant? A 2-piece safe body is folded from quality steel in a complex process that minimizes the extra pieces that need to be welded together. On a Liberty safe, the floor, sides, and top of the safe are all formed in one coherent piece, and then only the back plate needs to be welded on. Our computer-controlled robotic welders create perfect welds known as fusion welds, which are extremely strong welds that require minimal grinding and finishing.
Liberty uses top-quality S&G mechanical dial locks where desired, and our SecuRam electronic digital locks have been tested and shown to be reliable, user-serviceable, and EMP-resistant.
Third Party EMP Testing of SecuRam Electronic Locks
Liberty's ONE-PIECE, MILITARY-STYLE LOCKING BARS
Liberty uses stronger, 2-piece safe bodies, ball-bearing-hard anti-drill plates, multiple-redundant automatic relockers, and our exclusive, heavy-duty, military-style locking bars (these have virtually eliminated pry attacks). Compared to lesser, round-bar type locking pins that are then separately bolted or riveted to a piece of angle iron, Liberty’s hardened one-piece military-style locking bars are demonstrably superior in three important ways:
- Liberty’s one-piece locking bar design eliminates weak points that can fail during pry attacks on lower-quality safes. On some safes using traditional locking pins, the rivets or bolts can bend or break during serious pry attempts by burglars. If the pins break away from the locking mechanism, the door can be pried open. Liberty’s one-piece, no-rivet bar extensions are all incorporated into the same piece of high-quality steel, so there are no bolts to shear and no rivets to fail.
- Liberty’s larger, wider locking bar design provides 4x more steel surface area engaging with the safe than traditional 1-inch pins. This spreads out the load dramatically compared to a round pin and distributes any prying force across multiple points on the safe body. Since there are no stress risers or pressure points to concentrate that force, your Liberty safe is harder to pry open.
- Liberty’s locking bars extend significantly deeper into the safe body than traditional 1-inch diameter pins, typically extending only 1.5 inches. Liberty’s locking bars extend a full 2 inches deep into the safe’s body, and each protrusion is a full 4 inches tall. These deeper, taller bars make prying the door away from the safe body even tougher.
Our rigorous and exclusive fire testing
We make sure our safes will perform exactly like we say they do. Some lesser safe companies try to game the system in their fire testing, letting the temperature climb gradually over the course of the test. As long as the temperature reaches the target goal after 30 minutes or so, they call it good. (Or, they might spike the temperature up to 1,400 degrees for a few seconds and claim their safe survived a 1,400-degree fire test.) We don’t play that way, and real house fires don’t act that way. Our research-based fire testing protocol is founded on guidelines developed by the US Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These guidelines were developed through a full-scale house fire study designed to mimic what happens during a real home fire. And what happens during real home fires? The temperature climbs very quickly. So, during Liberty’s fire tests, we quickly ramp up the heat to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit within ten minutes and keep it at 1,200 degrees throughout the duration of the test to make sure our fire ratings are legitimate, and our safes can stand up to the sustained heat. If you want more info, have a look at this article on Liberty’s certified fire-testing protocols.
Video: Liberty Safe Survives a Raging Garage House Fire
Liberty's friendly, knowledgeable customer service
All Liberty Safe customer service is handled right at our Utah, USA-based factory by an American team with extensive knowledge of our safes and other products. And if you do happen to come up with a question that a customer-service representative can’t answer, it’s just a short walk to find the person who does. All manufacturing, finishing, sales, and shipping are handled in-house.
Liberty's unmatched lifetime warranty
Many safe companies will warranty a safe that is damaged by a fire or attempted break-in, and so do we. However, if we determine that your safe is in need of replacement, we cover everything, including removal of the damaged safe, freight/delivery of your new safe, and even the costs of installation. As far as we know, we’re the only safe company whose warranty covers all of that!
Side note: We’re also known for our torture tests. We stress-test our safes whenever we can by blowing them up, crushing them, and even dropping them from helicopters. Some people have tested our safes by shooting them with firearms or even flamethrowers. The bottom line is this: If you’re looking for a gun safe that offers serious protection from both burglars and fire, don’t just shop for the cheapest metal box you can find. Stick to a USA-based safe company with an excellent reputation that knows how to build a top-quality safe for a great price.