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Security Levels Explained

The whole point of a safe is security, but what does that mean? What makes one safe stronger than another, and exactly how much security should you be looking for? While more security is always better, the truth is not everybody needs the same amount of protection when it comes to their safe.


Of all the manufacturers, Liberty Safes is the only one that has put together a system to help you figure out what you need out of a safe. This article will outline all the things that make a difference in a safe's security level so you can get an idea of what models might be best for you. While the other manufacturers don't have a guide like this, you can at least know what features to look for.


Once you get a handle on what all of this means, feel free to take our quiz to see what security level you need. Click Here for the quiz.


Liberty Safe's Security Levels Defined

Liberty has a total of 8 levels of security when it comes to their models, but you can categorize them into 3 groups.


Good Security (Security Levels: 1, 2, 3)

• For basic protection, and to keep children away from firearms.

• The items inside the safe can be easily replaced.

• There is someone at home most of the time.


Better Security (Security Levels: 4, 5, 6)

• Increased security against crime, usually "smash and grab" burglars.

• The items inside the safe are valuable and covered under homeowner's insurance.

• There are long hours during the day where no one is home.


Best Security (Security Levels: 7, 8)

• You need the highest security level available without going into TL/TR rated safes (like those used by professional jewelers).

• The items inside the safe are high value, irreplaceable and have a lot of sentimental value.

• There are long periods of time where no one is home.


Security Features Explained

Steel Thickness

Your safe's door and walls are its first line of defense in keeping crooks out. The thicker the steel, the better protection your safe will provide. When looking at steel thickness (often measured by gauge), remember that the lower the number, the thicker the steel.


Steel Thickness/Gauges


Fire Protection

Fire protection is high up on the list when people are looking for a gun safe. You don't just want to keep criminals out, you want to make sure your valuables are safe in the event of a fire. To explain it right would take a bit more time than we're taking with the other topics on this page, so we've dedicated a whole other page to explain it. Click here to learn about Fire Rating.


Door Construction

How the door is constructed has an impact on a safe's security. This chart shows the different designs of Liberty's gun safe doors. Click here to learn more about how safe doors are designed and constructed.


Door Locking Mechanism

Along with the design of the door, the locking mechanism plays an important part in the safe's level of security. It needs to keep the door locked if a burglar tries to smash or remove the lock, tries to torque the safe's handle or attempts a side-bolt punch attack. Keep in mind this chart shows Liberty Safe's door mechanisms, especially the DX-90 and GX-480-540 designs. Click here if you're interested in learning more about door mechanisms and how they work.


Liberty's patent-pending slip-clutch feature: This feature comes standard in all Liberty safes. If a burglar attempts to use force on the handle to try and break the mechanism, the handle/hub will slip to release pressure on the lock, preventing it from breaking.


Bolt System

Every safe manufacturer has their own bolt system, usually involving round bolts that extend out behind the door frame of the safe. These bolts are permanently riveted to security brackets before they are installed into a safe door. When these are locked in place, the door won't open until they are released and retracted. Their strength comes from the diameter of the bolt, how far they extend, and how rigid the security brackets are.


Recently, Liberty Safe developed their own bolt system based off of the military locking flat bolt design, and it's really strong, beating out the average round bolt design of comparable safes.


Locking bolts according to security levels


Lock Guards (Drill Attack Protection)

While different manufacturers use different methods to protect against drill attacks on the lock, we will focus on Liberty safes because they give a good overall idea of what's common in the industry when it comes to lock guards.


Single Hardplate: A strong plate of hardened steel that can chew up or snap a drill bit.


Triple Hardplate: Multiple layers of hardplate that will shake as the drill tries to penetrate, further preventing a drill from getting at the lock body inside.


Ball Bearing Hardplate: This design is even tougher on a burglar's drill bit. Numerous ball bearings are encased into a piece of hardplate. When the crook tries to drill into your lock, the drill bit is either going to snap or keep spinning on the tiny steel bearings forever.


As you can see, there's a lot of things that go into a safe's security. The real question is how much security do you need to properly protect your valuables. Liberty's Security Level system gives you the information you need so you can make the most informed decision you can when buying that new safe.