Fort Knox Vaults (Safes) Review: Are Fort Knox Safes Worth It? - SafesRight

Fort Knox Vaults (Safes) Review: Are Fort Knox Safes Worth It?

Fort Knox has long been one of my favorite companies, as they build some of the highest quality, most customizable, and most robust safes on the market today. I’ve held this opinion for years, and it has mostly stayed the same in the interim! That is why this article was the first ever written on this website (I have obviously since kept this up to date for accuracy, and I have gotten much better at this); however, the idea has stayed the same – Fort Knox safes are fantastic.

In this article, I will review each series of safes that Fort Knox offers and help you decide which are the best deal, which is the most capable, and of course, who each is best for.

Are Fort Knox Safes worth it?

Before we get too far into this article, I want to address whether Fort Knox Vaults and Safes are worth it. These safes are expensive, with even the cheapest being in the thousands of dollars, so you should be fully aware of what you are buying.

In the gun safe world, you genuinely get what you pay for. While there are great options for cheap gun safes, Fort Knox is in a different caliber. If you are willing to put the money into a safe like Fort Knox, I doubt you will reconsider and regret the purchase.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend you overspend on your budget to make this safe happen, as I would

1. Spartan Series

[Image courtesy of Fort Knox]

As the newest addition to the lineup (which rarely changes), the Spartan gives a unique starting point for people looking to get a Fort Knox safe. Rather than lowering the specifications of the Maverick (the previous entry-level safe), they opted instead to reduce the amount of fire rating to 50 minutes but enhance the body steel gauge up to 3/16″ (instead of the Maverick’s ten gauges).

Depending on the size you are looking to purchase (ranges from a 40 “Hx26” W to a 72 “Hx61” W), you can expect anywhere from 12 to 14 locking bolts. If you are looking for the best way to access one of my favorite gun safe brands, you should look at this one here.

2. Maverick Series

The Maverick gun safe used to be the entry-level option for Fort Knox (now the Spartan Series); however, it is still one of the only two series of safes that is still considered a safe rather than a vault. This means both this and the Spartan cannot get quite a few features, such as the 5-to-1 gear ratio and other fancy features that the Defender and above can have. This is an impressive safe with ten gauge steel, 11 locking bolts, and a 75-minute fire rating (up to 25 minutes from the Spartan).

If fire rating is more important to you than steel gauge, I recommend opting for this safe right here; however, if steel gauge is more important, you should consider getting the Spartan safe above. Outside of these two changes, both are similar, and you can’t quite go wrong, being a significant discount over the more customizable Defender series. We’ll talk about it in a moment.

3. Defender Series

[Image courtesy of Fort Knox]

Suppose you are ready for an actual vault from Fort Knox, which means an entirely customizable safe where you can make it exactly what you want (and that doesn’t mean just paint options). The Defender is one of the most popular vaults to start with, as it is a blank slate for you to build off of, and it doesn’t have many options as standard as the other safes on this list. 

While it not only upgrades this safe to a 90-minute fire rating (by the way, you can get a better understanding of fire ratings in this article here), and the locking bolts up to 13 (including all four sides of the door), it also allows you to now option Stainless Steel Liners, ArmaKnox 3/16″ AR500 (ballistic steel) liners, a Reinforced Fire Liner and multiple other steel upgrades.

One of the other upgrades to this safe is that the door is flush with the bodywork of the safe, making it a bit cleaner style. This leads me to another upgrade, which is that you can now decide if you want the door swing to be on the right side or the left side, and you can even choose if you want internal or external hinges.

4. Protector Series

The Protector series builds on everything the Defender series did right but upgrades the standard outer steel to 3/16″ steel instead of the ten gauge. The door organizer also becomes available as standard. Outside of these quick changes, it maintains the same fire rating of 90 minutes at 1680 degrees, 13 locking bolts, and all the same options that can be chosen during the purchase.

5. Executive Series

This series by Fort Knox again beefs up the Protector safe with an additional steel gauge. While it doesn’t include any inner steel liners like the Guardian we will talk about in a moment, it does give you a 1/4″ steel outer body steel. There are many benefits to thicker steel; if this is the direction you hope to take, this will be the best value. It is a no-nonsense gun safe that gets the job done and is high quality.

6. Guardian Series

[Image courtesy of Fort Knox]

The Guardian combines the Defender and the Protector, and I mean that quite literally. With a 3/16″ steel body, they add the ten gauge steel inner liner option (essentially a safe within a safe). As we will learn later in this article, inner steel liners play a considerable role in making for a difficult-to-access safe; if anyone cuts through the outer wall, they now have a completely separate inner wall to get through.

Outside of this major upgrade, they added five locking and corner bolts on all corners and upgraded the door edge thickness to 5/8″. While there are plenty of security upgrades, the one non-security upgrade that I appreciate most is the 5-to-1 Gear Ratio. While most safes have a single 1/4 turn to open the door, this gear ratio gives multiple rotations of the handle and slowly retracts the bolts; it’s a much more luxurious feel and a considerably less jarring experience.

7. Titan Series

With a base price of over $8000, the Titan is starting to become one of the highest-end gun safes on the market today. It’s pretty similar to the Guardian but upgrades the body steel to 3/8″, the door edge thickness to 3/4″, and maintains the star corner bolts (that work well with the up to 20 bolts offered on this safe). 

You now will also find an AR500 Ballistic Steel Liner has replaced the standard steel liner for additional strength. Of course, lighting and a dehumidifier will come with the safe, which I would hope so, at this price point.

8. Legend Series

The Fort Knox Legend series is the top-of-the-line safe made by Fort Knox. This thing is insane with the 5 to 1 patented gear drive, 55 racks, pinion door, an excellent clear door panel (to see the impressive interior of the door from the aforementioned rack and pinion door), standard 1/4 carbon steel, stainless steel, and AR500 ballistic steel. This is ridiculously heavy-duty and one of the best-looking safes on the market.

With a base price over $20,000, this safe isn’t for everyone, but it is meant to be the top in gun safes and is an impressive safe.

What options does Fort Knox offer?

Fort Knox offers many options, from dehumidifiers to bulletproof steel inner liners. That said, I will review some options that need additional explaining! However, this is a partial list of their upgrades.

1. Carbon Steel Liner

There are a few brands out there today that allow you to customize the safe, like Fort Knox, completely, and one of the features that stands out from the others is the ability to upgrade your inner steel liners. These liners create a safe within a safe. The standard Defender doesn’t come equipped with liners, but you can upgrade to either have one, two, three, or even four additional liners of 10 gauge steel. 

Each makes it even more challenging to cut into the safe, as each added liner gives another safe to get through. This also becomes increasingly difficult, as each liner becomes harder to access from the outside, meaning the determined person must keep peeling away metal to get to the next.

2. Stainless Steel 10 Gauge Package

If you have spent much time researching gun safes, you likely know that one of the main ways people get into safes is via a cutting torch or a cutting wheel. 

This can make short work of most safes. However, Fort Knox gives this option to help out with that. Stainless steel has a fantastic quality that dissipates heat, making it a much longer process to cut through with a torch, and the metal doesn’t soften as quickly for the cutting wheel to get through. This stainless steel is offered as an inner steel liner alternative, making it much more challenging.

3. ArmaKnox 3/16″ AR500 Package

If someone is getting into your safe with a cutting torch is the least of your worries, and firearms are your main issue. You should consider getting this seven-gauge AR500 package. Again, this is an inner steel liner, but if someone can get to this point after cutting past the standard steel, they now have a steel liner that can take multiple impacts from a firearm before giving way.

4. Reinforced Fire Liner (RFL)

Most of Fort Knox’s Vaults (aside from the Spartan and Maverick) offer a 90-minute fire rating at 1680 degrees. However, if you are farther away from a fire station or a volunteer station, you should consider getting a better fire liner than the standard. That is where this upgrade comes into place! This upgrades it from 90 to 120 minutes, giving you an extra half hour of theoretical fire protection.

5. Hinge Options

Fort Knox is one of the few gun safe companies that allows you to choose the hinge side of your safe! Not only can you decide what side of the safe you want, but you can also select if you would prefer internal or external hinges and if you want their unique 2S Crane Hinge (which pulls the door entirely away from the safe). Each hinge offers upsides and downsides.

6. Lock Options

While the mechanical lock, biometric lock, and electronic lock are a mainstay on gun safes, Fort Knox gives you one extra lock option in the Redundant Lock. This locking mechanism gives you the best of both worlds by offering a full electronic lock and a full mechanical lock. 

These locks work independently; when one fails, the other can be used instead. This is perfect for those that want quick access to an electronic lock but want the reliability of a dial lock.

7. Star Corner Bolts

[Image courtesy of Fort Knox]

If you ask anyone in the gun safe industry where the weakest point in a gun safe door is, it will be the corners. Once a pry bar has found its way into that corner, that steel is generally the weakest point on the door.

Fort Knox’s way around this (Browning also has it) is to offer corner bolts. These bolts act as a deflector for pry bars, but even if that pry bar finds its way in, it keeps the door in place, removing this weak point.

8. Finial Pull Handle

This adds a pull handle to the hinge side of the safe. Fort Knox doors are super heavy, and this gives you something to hang onto that isn’t a movable part like the spinning handle. The handle also plays a double role, as it also looks cool and makes the safe stand out from the rest.

9. Mirror

This will add a mirror to the top of the back of the safe. It makes the interior feel bigger and reflects light to the back of the safe, allowing for easier access to the back.

Are Fort Knox’s Pistol Safes any good?

While this article was primarily about the full-size gun safes from Fort Knox, I also highly recommend checking out this article here. It discusses their pistol safes in-depth, as they are fantastic and offers thick steel and one of my favorite locking mechanisms on any pistol safe.

Frequently Asked Questions


Fort Knox continues to be one of my favorite brands of gun safes. They give so many options and are built super well. I always enjoy having a product made specifically for me, and these guys are your best bet.

They offer eight different lines of safes to choose from, and each is just as customizable as the next.

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