Need Reliability? These 5 Dial Lock Safes are THE BEST in 2024

Need Reliability? These 5 Dial Lock Safes are THE BEST in 2024

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Everyone has opinions regarding what type of locking mechanism they want on their gun safe. While some people swear by the biometric locks, others hate it. While many people opt for an electronic lock option, others think they are unreliable. However, everyone respects the old-school mechanical lock (dial lock or combination lock).

This article is dedicated to the stand-out dial lock gun safes on the market today! We split them up into different categories and gave you the best of the best. You will see brands like Browning, Liberty, Fort Knox, and more on this list. These are all quality brands, not knock-off brands you can’t trust. Don’t get fooled into buying something that isn’t any more secure than leaving your firearms out on the counter; buy one of these.

1. Browning Silver 33

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Editor's Choice
  • High quality build
  • Plenty of customizations
  • Fantastic lock options
  • Great steel gauge
  • Amazing Axis Interior
  • Higher price point compared to features
  • Lock: Mechanical, Electronic, or Biometric
  • Dimensions: 60" High by 31" Wide by 25.5" Deep
  • Steel: 11-gauge
  • Fire Rating: 100 Mins at 1680 degrees
  • Weight: 730 pounds
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. [Image courtesy of Browning ProSteel]

I have been a massive fan of Browning’s gun safes and have always felt that the Silver Series and the SR33, in particular, offer an excellent safe, and that is why it has quickly won our top spot on this list.

These safes offer 11 gauge steel, a 33-long gun capacity (they actually fit these many, due to the Axis Interior), a 100-minute at 1680-degree fire rating, and too many options to count (there are 30).

All of these features (including the mechanical lock option) do make a very well-rounded gun safe for a home, which I believe is one of the best sizes out there (60″ high by 31″ wide by 25.5″ Deep). You can even choose what color you would like it painted, and if you are so interested, my favorite is black cherry.

2. Liberty Safes Centurion 18

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Best Budget Option
  • Has optional mechanical lock
  • USA-Made
  • Thinner steel gauge
  • Not a great value overall (compared to some imported safes)
  • Lock: Mechanical, Electronic
  • Dimensions: 59.5" High by 24.25" Wide by 13.5" Deep
  • Steel: 14-gauge
  • Fire Rating: 30 Mins at 1200 degrees
  • Weight: 336 pounds
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. [Image courtesy of Liberty Safes]

Suppose you are searching for a good quality USA-made full-size gun safe but are on a tight budget. In that case, you should look closer at the Liberty Centurion 12.

This is the entry-level gun safe from Liberty Gun Safes, one of the industry’s biggest names. Even though you only get 14 gauge steel, you still get their high-quality dial locking mechanisms and the lifetime warranty on the safe.

Now, if you are hoping to get a good fire rating. In that case, you should look elsewhere, as this one only has a 30-minute fire rating of 1200 degrees, which is what you would expect from an entry-level safe.

The Centurion has downsides and is not industry-leading, but if you want a USA-made safe on a budget, there isn’t much better than this one.

3. Fort Knox Protector

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Most Secure Option
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. [Image courtesy of Fort Knox]

Technically, there is a more secure gun safe out there than the Protector with its 3/16” steel body and 1/2” door-edge steel thickness. However, they massively go up in price from here, making this one of the most secure, reasonably priced safes on the market.

It is also made by my favorite manufacturer of gun safes (Fort Knox Vaults). As one of the big three manufacturers (Fort Knox, Browning, Liberty Gun Safes), it is by far the most configurable of the three manufacturers and one of the best values.

Since we are talking about mechanical locks in particular in this article, it should be mentioned that Fort Knox offers a redundant lock option on this safe, which means you get both an electronic lock and a mechanical lock (separate from each other). You can utilize either to open the safe. This means you can get the speed of the electronic but the reliability of the mechanical.

4. Tracker Safe Model TS45

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Best Value
  • Lock is installed in the USA
  • Choice of locking mechanism
  • Great steel gauge for the price
  • Could have a better fire rating
  • Lock: Mechanical, Electronic
  • Dimensions: 72" High by 40" Wide by 27" Deep
  • Steel: 12-gauge
  • Fire Rating: 30 Mins at 1200 degrees
  • Weight: 830 pounds
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/18/2024 11:12 pm GMT

You may wonder why this Tracker Safe is on this list, as it is also the only import safe (most import safes only have electronic locks). However, Tracker is unique, as they install their locking mechanisms in the USA once they arrive stateside.

This means you get an excellent price for steel thickness (12 gauge steel) and other benefits of an import safe. Still, you get the reliability of quality assurance of stateside installers. Is the safe backed up with a lifetime warranty?

Tracker Safes is quickly gaining ground in the industry and is one of my favorite up-and-coming gun-safe companies today.

5. Rhino Strongbox RSX6030

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Best Styling
  • USA-Made
  • Fantastic fire rating
  • Ball-bearing drill plate
  • Expensive
  • Lock: Mechanical, Electronic
  • Dimensions: 60" High by 30" Wide by 25" Deep
  • Steel: 12-gauge
  • Fire Rating: 80 Mins at 1400 degrees
  • Weight: 640 pounds
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Others are on the market now with this distressed finish styling; however, Rhino Metals did it first with their Ironworks gun safes. If you are a fan of well-styled gun safes backed up with impressive specs, you should look at this Strongbox.

This safe has 12 gauge steel, 80 minutes of fire protection at 1400 degrees, and a ball-bearing drill plate (breaks drill bits when attempting to be drilled out) and can fit up to 35 long guns.

If Fort Knox wasn’t around, Rhino Metals is my second regarding manufacturers, as they are USA-made (except for their Bighorn and Kodiak safes) and make some incredible, high-quality safes you can be proud of.

Why would you want a gun safe with a dial lock?

Dial locks are a safe and effective way to secure your firearms. Unlike keypads or biometric locks, dial locks cannot be hacked. Additionally, dial locks are not susceptible to power outages or interference from electromagnetic fields.

As a result, a dial lock is the best option for ensuring your gun is safe and secure. Additionally, dial locks are easy to use and require no batteries or maintenance. Simply turn the dial to the appropriate combination, and the safe will open.

For these reasons, a gun safe with a dial lock is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to keep their firearms secure.

What should you be looking for in a gun safe?

1. What is the brand of the mechanical lock?

Not all locking mechanisms are equal, even in the dial lock arena. Because of this, make sure you are highly aware of what lock is being used on the gun safe you want. You probably should move on if a manufacturer is unwilling to share that brand.

A dial lock has quite a few moving parts, and if not built correctly, you might end up locked out of your safe with no way in (never a good thing). Some household names to be aware of are La Gard and Sargent & Greenleaf (S&G).

2. How big of a gun safe do you need?

One good rule of thumb when buying a gun safe is to always buy bigger than you think you need. Essentially, make sure to buy one size up after you have accounted for the firearms and any other valuables you might want to keep in the safe after purchase. Remember, gun safes aren’t only suitable for weapons. They are also excellent for expensive watches, jewelry, paperwork, hard drives, and more (and so this should be taken into account space-wise).

3. How quickly do you need to gain access to your safe?

The biggest downfall of a dial lock is that it is slow to access! If you are using your full-size gun safe as storage for your protection, then you might want to think again about a dial lock. You can get into a dial lock safe in about 30 seconds; however, under duress or at night, it might take considerably longer.

If you still only want a dial lock safe (but need a quick access option), you might want to purchase a nightstand safe like what you will find in this article here.

4. Do you need a fire rating?

No matter what everyone says on the internet, not everyone needs a fire rating. In fact, SecureIt has a whole business model around not needing a fire rating. If you have a fire suppression system, live near a fire station, or there isn’t much value to what you put in a safe, you might not even need to spend the money necessary to have a fire rating.

Are combination locks complex to use?

Out of all the different options on the market (electronic lock, biometric lock, RFID lock, phone lock, and more), the mechanical dial lock is one of the most complex locking mechanisms. However, much like the manual transmission, this dying breed of locking mechanism needs to live on. It offers reliability that none of the other options have, making it an extraordinary type of lock.

Essentially a dial lock works like this, you have a knob on the outside of the safe that you turn the dial back and forth to the correct combination, and this disengages the locking mechanism on the inside of the safe, allowing you to open it up. For someone experienced (meaning they have done it just a couple of times), you can generally open one of these safes in under 30 seconds.

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