Not all firearm safes are created equal! When shopping around for a premium safe to house your prized collection, it can pay big dividends to educate yourself on the wildly-varying differences in quality, construction materials, options, and—possibly most important—actual security levels. With many possible pitfalls before us, we recently sat down with the Director of Marketing of Fort Knox Vaults, Doug Tarter, to discuss the nuts-n-bolts of a premium safe, as well as the key considerations that need to be made when making what amounts to a healthy monetary investment. It was an interesting exercise, and as much as we thought we knew about firearm safes, we admittedly got a bit of an education ourselves.
(On Target) Doug, what do you see as the single biggest misconception in the world of firearm safes?
(Doug) In the safe industry of today, the biggest misconception is that every safe is the same and the only differentiator is that of price. So not true. Safes are similar to any other precious metal that you may purchase. The more silver you purchase the more it costs. The same applies to safes. If you find a cheap, inexpensive safe, it isn’t because you got the “good guy of the week deal,” but rather that there have been significant items stripped out of the safe to get down to that particular price. Knowledge is extremely important, and if a company isn’t going to detail the construction of the safe you are looking at, I would quickly run the other direction.
(On Target) In your opinion, what are some of the defining characteristics that set a Fort Knox safe apart from other manufacturer’s offerings?
(Doug) Fort Knox, in simplistic terms, gives you more steel, more security features, more fire protection, and more options than the rest of the safe industry. Not only does Fort Knox do these things, but we also put them in writing. A Lifetime warranty that your homeowners insurance covers is not a warranty. A composite door with no construction details is not a secure product. Fire protection that has no graph to show that it follows the temperature curve of a house fire does you no good. Purchasing a security/fire product that you are relying on to protect your valuables just isn’t a smart purchase without understanding exactly what you are buying. Once you understand the product, the fun begins. What color? What side would you like the hinges on? What type of locking mechanism would you like? All of these can be done when you purchase a Fort Knox Vault.
(On Target) Can a user configure the interior of any Fort Knox safe to meet his/her individual storage requirements?
(Doug) Storage requirements differ from collection to collection. [For example.].22 long rifles store differently than ARs. That is why Fort Knox allows you a choice of the interior in your safe rather than supplying a one-size-fits-all interior. Not only is the gun count an option, but also the color and fabric of the interior to give you the exact look for your individual needs.
(On Target) For the firearm owner looking for a personalized safe, what are some of the unique options available from Fort Knox?
(Doug) Fort Knox has designed a production process that the rest of the industry would consider custom. To us, it is our everyday process. Internal or external hinges on either the right or left side of the door is a simple place to start, but is very unique to Fort Knox. We have a large variety of standard colors but can paint a vault with any automotive color option. Your creativity is our canvass!
(On Target) If a gun-owner is on a strict budget but still needs a secure and quality means for locking his firearms down, what would you recommend?
(Doug) For the consumer with a limited budget, I would always recommend getting the correct size first, and then look at the additional options. Safes fill up quickly, and having a safe or vault large enough to accommodate all your storage needs will be a great benefit long term. Even with the introductory Maverick Series with Fort Knox, the security and fire features surpass most of the gun safe industry, so our confidence is high that you will do well with any of our products.