TL Rated High Security Gun Safes

Customers that do research in order to find the best gun safe on the market sometimes decide they need a “TL” rated gun safe.  But while they find all kinds of units with Residential Security Container (RSC) ratings, they cannot find any TL’s.

Very few gun safes qualify to carry TL ratings.  You are basically buying a jeweler quality safe with a gun rack interior.  Here are the reasons most manufacturers do not offer them:  While buyers like the idea of getting a high security unit, few are willing to spend $5000 to $10,000 for that security.  High security gun safes do not hold as many rifles, because thicker walls leave less interior space.  Few homes can accommodate the weight and dimensions of a TL rated gun safe.  Most dealers don’t carry TL rated safes because they cannot move them.  The majority of manufacturers use production techniques than are incapable of producing TL rated safes.  The costs of U.L.’s TL certification tests are too expensive in relation to the low volume of potential sales.

That being said, if you are serious about a high security TL-rated safe, here are some options:

Amsec RF6528, TL-30, Exterior 72h x 35w x 29.5d, 3455#, 24 gun max.
Amsec RF582820X6, TL-30×6, Exterior 64h x 34w x 29.5, 3418#, 24 gun max.
Amsec RF703620x6, TL-30×6, Exterior 76h x 42w x 29.5d, 4578#, 58 gun max.
Fort Knox L Series 5520, TL-30×6, Exterior 63h x 28w x 32d, 3716#, about 20 guns.
Fort Knox L Series 6532, TL-30×6, Exterior 73h x 40w x 32d, 4512#, about 50 guns.
Fort Knox L Series 7240, TL-30×6, Exterior 78h x 44w x 32d, 5460#, about 55 guns.


“TL-30” means the unit has been tested for burglary resistance through the front.  “TL-30×6” means it has been tested for burglary resistance through all six sides. These safes have legitimate two hour fire ratings.  Freight and delivery are expensive on these units.  Pictured is an Amsec RF6528, gun racks covered by shelf pieces.  Note the door is 6″ thick.

The decision whether to purchase a high security gun safe depends on a number of factors like where you live, security systems in your home, and the value of its contents (I suggest $80,000 and up).  Yes, they are expensive; but if you need the best protection a TL rated gun safe is a great investment.

Used High Security Safes for Silver and Gold

Tom’s two general rules about safe prices: 1) You can get fire protection relatively cheap or you can get burglary resistance relatively cheap, but the price of both fire and burglary will be relatively high; 2) Good quality used safes will save you a significant amount of money.

Here is a scenario we see often: A couple has been gradually (or suddenly) converting much of their personal wealth into silver and gold, to protect their life savings from a financial market collapse. They also want to prevent the government from knowing too much about their business. But they want to buy a cheap safe. They want to store a large portion of their life savings in a “garage sale price” safe. That doesn’t make sense. And they usually are more concerned about fire than break-in, so they buy a fire safe.

Plate steel safes 023Plate steel safes 029

If you buy coins with numismatic value, or it they are in plastic cases or presentation boxes, then fire and smoke protection is important. But if you are just buying rounds, bars or bulk silver coins I recommend a used plate steel high security unit. A used safe with 1” or 1 ½” of solid steel on the door and a “TL” rating will get you outstanding burglary resistance at a reasonable price. It is extremely unlikely that your metals would melt in a safe that did not have fire protection because the melting points are high. Following are melting temps for typical investment grade metals.

Gold, 24K                     1945 F
Silver, pure                  1761 F
Silver, coin                  1615 F
Silver, sterling             1640 F

The used safe shown on the left is small, 10 x 12 x 16, perfect for hiding under a cardboard box in a closet.  But it has a TL-15 rating and it weighs 250#!  Steel on the front is 2″ thick and the rest is 1″ thick.  The other unit is 22 x 22 x 25, a TL-15 rated safe with a 1 1/2″ solid steel door  — it weighs 910#.  These units are great for low volume/high value contents like silver or gold.

Avoid Injuries From Safes: Part 4

Ironically, immediately after my last post, we got in a used commercial safe with a history of injury.  And it came from the same restaurant chain to which I referred in that last post.

Slam damper 003Slam damper 009

Some years ago, AFTER an employee lost a finger in this safe, it was fitted with three safety devices to prevent additional accidents.  1)  The photo on left shows the slam damper that was installed, which keeps the door from slamming on someone’s hand.  (I know the photo in the last post was poor.)  2)  In the other photo, you can see a push/pull handle.  When using this handle to close the safe your fingers are not near the edge of the door.  3)  That picture also shows the yellow figure guard.  This piece of steel extends up 3” above the edge of the door, again, to keep fingers from getting pinched as the door is closed.

My guess is that the cost of installing these three items was much less than the business ended up paying for the severed finger!

Avoid Injuries When Working with Safes: Part 3

I get nervous when parents bring kids into our shop and then don’t watch them closely.  I warn them that “safe doors are not kind to little fingers.”  That is true at home, too – if you have a safe do not allow children to use it.  It doesn’t take much for a safe door to injure or even cut off a small finger.

The same can be said for adult fingers when a heavy safe is involved, especially when the safe is a high-security plate steel model.  Some years ago one of the fast food chains standardized on a TL-30 plate steel safe in which the door was 1 ½” solid plate steel.  The doors fit with very close tolerances and had sharp 90 degree edges.  I know of several instances just in our area where employees using the safe were not careful enough.  As a result, the door was closed when their hands were in the way and their pinky fingers were severed.  When a 300# door wants to close, a little finger will not stop it.  I know one of the restaurant managers well.  She went through terrible anguish as they put the finger on ice and rushed the girl to the hospital.  But it could not be re-attached.

Think about how you as a business owner or manager would feel if that happened to your employee!  Think about the potential for a lawsuit!  As a consumer, how would you feel if your child was injured like that?

Slam Damper 005

There is a solution to the problem.  The “slam damper” is a hydraulic deceleration cylinder that will slow down the door as it closes.  The picture looks down on a slam damper (not installed) and the kind of heavy plate steel safe which is the biggest problem — the door is 1 1/2″ steel with sharp edges.  The device is mounted inside, usually to the top of the safe body.  The door is stopped before closing and the user needs to push the door the rest of the way, making them think about what they are doing.

Total cost for the slam damper and its installation should run about $350 to $400.  It sounds expensive, but how much sleep would you lose after an accident?  How much would a severed finger cost you in court?  Train your employees in the importance of being careful when using the safe.  For additional protection have a safe technician install a slam damper.

Avoid Injuries When working With Safes: Part 1

Moving safes can be dangerous.  You should not attempt to move large units, like gun safes, unless you have experience with this kind of task.  It is not uncommon for people to be injured when moving a safe.  We are occasionally called to stand up a safe that has fallen over when it was being handled by inexperienced people.  Usually, their new safe is now scratched up and ugly.  Frequently it also then needs to be professionally drilled open and have a new lock installed.  The safe on which they “got a good deal” has now cost them dearly.

Several tips for moving a heavy safe:

1)  Having too many people around can cause distractions, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

2)  Take lots of time to think through all the issues and risks – hurrying can cause accidents.

3)  Rolling a safe across the floor on golf balls sounds like a good idea, but has been the cause of many accidents.  Trying to slide a safe on blocks of ice is really dangerous.  Use pipes instead.

4)  When moving a safe by pallet jack, forklift, crane, etc., be alert and stand far enough away that the safe cannot possibly reach you if it falls.

CRANE LIFT 051 (427x640)

5)  If the safe wants to fall, especially a tall one, don’t be a hero.  Don’t try to stop it, let it fall.  Paying to have it repaired is cheaper and less painful than broken bones.

6)  We normally advise not taking the door off to lighten the safe.  Dropping the door on your foot could cause a serious injury.  A heavy, tall, awkward safe door can catch you off guard and knock you over.  (You will probably also damage the paint trying to put the door back on its hinges.)

7)  When taking a heavy unit downstairs be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS.  Consider standing at the top of the stairs and slowly lowering it with straps.  Consider reinforcing the staircase from underneath.

8)  Best advice:  Pay to hire professionals.

Too many people are injured, or damage their safe, or damage their home when doing work they should not attempt.  Buy you safe from a dealer that offers delivery service.