What You Should Know about Liberty’s Safe Security Levels

Security is Liberty’s number one priority when it comes to designing and building our safes. But it’s not enough to claim our safes have the most reliable security features available on the market.

We take the added step of proving our safes’ reliability by not only putting them through our own, extensive “torture testing” ; we also ship them to Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) for additional testing. This intensive analysis ensures our customers can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are purchasing one of the securest safes in the industry.

To make it easier for our customers to understand the security features that are included with our safes, Liberty has a Safe Security Level designation for each safe we manufacture. This 8-level system allows our customers to easily compare the different safes we sell according to the security features that come standard with each security level.

It can help you better understand the differences in pricing; you can expect to see higher prices for our safes that are classified with a higher safe security level.

Good Security

  • I just need basic protection and to keep children away from firearms.
  • Items inside the safe are easily replaceable.
  • Someone is home most of the time.

Security Levels: 1,2,3

Better Security

  • I need increased security against crime and smash and grab burglars.
  • Items inside the safe are valuable and covered by home owner's insurance.
  • There are long hours during the day when nobody is home.

Security Levels: 3,4,5,6

Best Security

  • I need the highest security levels available.
  • Items inside the safe are of high value, irreplaceable and have significant sentimental value.
  • There are times when I am away from home for extended periods of time.

Security Levels: 7 and 8

So, What Makes a Safe Secure?

Liberty’s engineers have put a lot of time and effort into developing our safe designs. But we know there is always room for improvement. That is why we are known as one of the leading innovators in the industry. This is extremely important; few technologies have changed in the industry since the introduction steel in the 19th century.

Liberty has introduced such security technologies as our patented 4-inch, military-style locking bars. This is a superior upgrade to traditional locking bolts, and our patent-pending slip clutch technology that is featured with all our locking mechanisms.

Liberty selects only the right materials and components to ensure our high standard of safe security. We refuse to cut corners by using inferior steel or poorly made components. All our safes are made from high-quality American-made steel and feature UL-rated fireboard and UL-listed locks for added protection from burglary and fire. But what stands out most in the materials and components that made a major difference in determining a safe’s security level is:

  • Door materials and construction
  • How the locking mechanism is protected
  • Locking mechanism used
  • Thickness of the steel used in construction

Don’t settle for a poorly made safe that is not secure.

Security Level Rating System

Liberty-Safe-Security-Level-Overview

Steel Thickness

Liberty-Safe-Security-Level-Steel-Thickness-Comparison

It is always a good idea to buy a safe with the thickest steel possible. But you also should remember that this will add to the price of your safe. The measurement system for steel can be a little confusing. A lower gauge of steel is thicker than a higher gauge; therefore, a higher safe security level safe will have a lower gauge number. For each increase of gauge number, the thickness of the steel drops by 10 percent.

Liberty uses 5 different steel thicknesses throughout our 8 safe security levels:

  • 14-gauge for Level 1
  • 12-gauge for Level 2
  • 11-gauge for Levels 3 - 6
  • 10-gauge for Level 7
  • 7-gauge for Level 8

Security Certification

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California-Department-Of-Justice-Regulatory-Gun-Safe-Standard-Certification

California Department of Justice - Regulatory Gun Safe Standards.

An acceptable gun safe is either one the following:

  1. A gun safe that meets all of the following standards:
    1. Shall be able to fully contain firearms and provide for their secure storage.
    2. Shall have a locking system consisting of at minimum a mechanical or electronic combination lock. The mechanical or electronic combination lock utilized by the safe shall have at least 10,000 possible combinations consisting of a minimum three numbers, letters, or symbols. The lock shall be protected by a case hardened (Rc 60+) drill resistant steel plate, or drill resistant material of equivalent strength.
    3. Boltwork shall consist of a minimum of three steel locking bolts of at least 1/2-inch thickness that intrude from the door of the safe into the body of the safe or from the body of the safe into the door of the safe, which are operated by a separate handle and secured by the lock.
    4. A gun safe shall be capable of repeated use. The exterior walls shall be constructed of a minimum 12-gauge thick steel for a single walled safe, or the sum of the steel walls shall add up to at least 0.100 inches for safes with two walls. Doors shall be constructed of a minimum one layer of 7-gauge steel plate reinforced construction or at least two layers of a minimum 12-gauge steel compound construction.
    5. Door hinges shall be protected to prevent the removal of the door. Protective features include, but are not limited to: hinges not exposed to the outside, interlocking door designs, dead bars, jeweler's lugs and active or inactive locking bolts.
  2. A gun safe that is able to fully contain firearms and provide for their secure storage, and is certified to/listed as meeting Underwriters Laboratories Residential Security Container rating standards by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).
Underwriters-Laboratory- Residential-Security-Container-Certification

Underwriters Laboratory - Residential Security Container Certification

UL hires professional safe crackers try and breach the security of safes.  UL uses a variety of tests to breach the security of a safe.

UL safe testing methods can include: prying, drilling, punching, chiseling, and tampering attacks to the safe's lock, handle, mechanism and body of the safe. UL even gets to view the engineering drawings prior to the test, thus giving them a head start in knowing where to drill.

UL has the advantage of opening the safe door and removing the door panel to analyse the safe's security features and positions. Once they develop a strategic plan with measurements to more accurately attack the safe, they close the door and have 5 minutes to break-in. This 5 minute test is a timed test. If they take a break, the clock stops and restarts again once they begin the onslaught.

If UL cannot breach the security of the safe within the time period, that series of safes receive UL's Residential Security Container (RSC) certification and accompanying certification number.

Liberty Safes Go Where Others Don’t!

Liberty Safe takes safe security seriously. Before we put a design on the market, we ship that safe to Underwriters Laboratories for certification. All our gun safe models that rated Security Level 2-8 go through rigorous testing at the UL facility before they can be UL-Listed and certified.

There are professional “safe crackers” working for Underwriters Laboratories, but not all safe manufacturers send their safes to UL to prove their reliability. Why? Because it costs money to have your safes tested. And for that reason, those manufacturers do not earn the honor of having the UL symbol of security on their safes like Liberty’s UL 8M10 Residential Security Container (RSC) certification.

Why Aren’t Level 1 Security Safes UL-Listed?

The only reason why Liberty’s Security Level 1 safes (our entry- and economy-level models) are not UL-listed is that they are made from 14-gauge steel. This steel is also commonly used by other safe manufacturers. However, Liberty uses components that are UL-listed to increase the security of the safe. Like all Liberty gun safes, Security Level 1 safes are California Department of Justice (DOJ)-approved as a secure firearm storage device.

So, What Happens at UL?

Once the professional safe hackers get their hands on a Liberty safe, they do their darndest things to it while they try to breach its security features! We give them our engineering drawings to review before they start their testing. This way, they know where to drill or punch at what would normally be vulnerable areas in safes made by others.

UL’s hackers also get the chance to open the safe and study its door to examine security features and the location of security components.

UL’s testing methods include, but are not limited to attaching the safe’s door, body, lock, handle, and locking mechanism through:

  • Chiseling
  • Drilling
  • Prying
  • Punching
  • Tampering

Testers try to breach the safe’s lock by drilling its tumblers, which can “trick” the lock into reacting as if the correct combination is dialed. Next, they may try to pry the lock off and then knock out its tumblers through its back plate to try to get the locking bolt to retract. When that fails to happen, they attempt punching into the handle shaft to bypass the lock by pushing out the cam/gear mechanism.

The next step is to cut a 4-inch diameter hole into the side of the safe by drilling an “X” and punching through it with a sledgehammer. This is done to gain access to the safe’s locking bars to side-punch them to try to break the locking mechanism or lock.

Liberty’s Security Level 2-8 gun safes have successfully passed UL’s testing to earning their UL 8M10 RSC certification. But we would be remiss not to mention all the additional torture testing we put our safes through at our manufacturing facility.

Door Construction

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6 Different Types of Doors

The door of your safe is what stands between a burglar and your firearms and valuables. Regardless of the type of door used in a safe, it needs to be built with strong steel, too. Liberty uses 6 different types of doors throughout its 8 levels of safe security:

  • 3/8-inch steel composite doors for Level 1
  • 1-inch steel composite doors for Levels 2 & 3
  • 1-inch Tough Doors for Levels 4 & 5
  • 12-gauge steel plate doors for Level 6
  • 3/8-inch steel plate doors for Level 7
  • 1-5/16-inch Tough Doors for Level 8

Door Mechanism

5 Different Types of Locking Mechanisms

Behind every great steel door in a Liberty safe is a durable and reliable locking mechanism. As our safe security levels increase, you will also see the quality of the locking mechanisms we use increase. Don’t forget: With all our locking mechanisms, you also get the benefit of Liberty’s innovative “Slip Clutch Technology.” This added feature disengages your safe’s handle from the locking mechanism if a burglar attempts to torque it with a pipe or use other means of force.

Liberty now uses 5 types of locking mechanisms throughout our 8 safe security levels:

  • Single Actuator for Level 1
  • Direct-Cam for Level 2
  • X-Cam for Level 3
  • DX-90 Monster for Levels 4 – 7
  • GX-480/GX-540 Monster for Level 8

Single Actuator, Direct-Cam, and X-Cam locking mechanism are basic locking mechanisms

The Single Actuator, Direct-Cam, and X-Cam locking mechanism are basic locking mechanisms used for Liberty’s entry/economy-level safes, including the Centurion, USA, and Colonial gun safes. They provide a smooth direct connection from the mechanism to your safe’s door bolts/bars.

DX-90 Monster Mech

The DX-90 Monster Mech locking mechanism features an over-center, direct-drive cam mechanism. This locking mechanism is used on Liberty’s higher quality safes, including the Franklin, Lincoln, National Classic Select, and National Classic Plus models. The over-center cam removes pressure from the safe’s locking bolts/bars in the event of a side-bolt punch attempt.

GX-480/GX-540 Monster Mech

The GX-480/GX-540 Monster Mech locking mechanisms feature an over-center, gear-driven mechanism and is used on Liberty’s #1 top-rated Presidential and National Magnum gun safes. This locking mechanism is the absolute best locking mechanism available and has been proven to withstand a five-hour burglary attack using various tools.

Slip Clutch

All Liberty locking mechanisms come standard with our patent-pending slip-clutch feature for added security protection. If a burglar attempts to torque your safe’s handle, its shaft will slip and release pressure on the lock to prevent it from breaking.

Locking Bars

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Liberty’s 4-inch military-style locking bars are a game-changer within the safe industry. Round steel locking pins have been the norm. Why are locking bars better? Because they are 4 inches wide and have a greater surface area; they really dig-in and stand-up to prying, drilling and punching attacks.

Depending on the safe’s security level, there are 4 steel thicknesses available throughout Liberty’s 8 safe security levels:

  • 3/16-inch bar for Level 1
  • 1/4-inch bar for Levels 2 – 4
  • 3/8-inch bar for Levels 5 – 7
  • 1/2-inch bar for Level 8

When it comes to leading innovation in the safe industry, Liberty comes out on top.

Liberty-Safe-Security-Level-Locking-Bar-Overview

Lock Guard

Liberty-Safe-Security-Level-Lock-Guard-Comparison

While Liberty’s safe doors are strong, we also take the added step of protecting our locks and locking mechanisms with hardplate lock guards. These strong plates of hardened steel are great at thwarting drill attacks because they quickly chew up, snap or spin the drill bit; depending on the safe security level of the gun safe you purchase.

Liberty uses 3 types of hardplate lock guards throughout our 8 safe security levels:

  • Single hardplate for Level 1
  • Triple hardplate for Levels 2 – 4
  • Ball-bearing hardplate for Levels 5 – 8
Liberty-Safe-Security-Level-Ball-Bearing-Lock-Guard

Lock Guard - Ball-Bearing

Hardplate is processed steel that has been heat treated to achieve a much harder surface. They are placed in front of the lock to resist drilling of the lock.

The Ball-Bearing hardplate snaps drill bits! When a drill bit hits one of the many ball bearings encased in the security plate the bit snaps or spins on the bearing forever.

Liberty-Safe-Security-Level-Triple-Hardplate-Lock-Security

Lock Guard - Triple Hardplate

Hardplate is processed steel that has been heat treated to achieve a much harder surface. They are placed in front of the lock to resist drilling of the lock.

The Triple Layered hardplate shakes and chews up drill bits when drilled. UL couldn't even get through Liberty's second of three hardplates! They said it was one of the best hardplates systems they have ever run into.