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Everyone has their own opinions when it comes to what type of locking mechanism they want on their gun safe. While some people swear by the biometric lock, others hate it. While many people opt for an electronic lock option, others think they are unreliable. However, everyone has respect for the old-school mechanical lock (aka dial lock, 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. In this list, you will see brands like Browning, Liberty, Fort Knox, and more. These are all quality brands and are not knock-off brands that 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.
It should be noted, this article is specifically for full-size gun safes! If you are on the hunt for handgun safes, this is going to be the article for you.
|Our Favorites||The Safe|
|Best Overall||Browning Silver SR33|
|Best Budget||Liberty Centurion 18|
|Most Secure||Fort Knox Protector|
|Best Value||Tracker TS45|
|Best Styling||Rhino Strongbox RSB6030EX|
1. Browning Silver Series SR33 – Best Overall
I have been a huge fan of Browning’s gun safes, and have always felt that the Silver Series and the SR33, in particular, offer an awesome safe, and that is why it has easily 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 Centurion 18 – Best Budget Option
If you are on the hunt for a good quality USA-made full-size gun safe but are on a tight budget, then you probably should take a closer look at the Liberty Centurion 12.
This is the entry-level gun safe from Liberty Gun Safes, which is one of the biggest names in the industry. Even though you only get 14 gauge steel, you do 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, you might want to look elsewhere though, as this one only has a 30-minute fire rating of 1200 degrees, which is exactly what you would expect from an entry-level safe.
All of that said, the Centurion does have its downsides and is not industry-leading, but if you want a USA-made safe on a budget, there aren’t much better than this one.
3. Fort Knox Protector – Most Secure Option
Okay, so there technically 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), is by far the most configurable of the three manufacturers, and one of the best values as well.
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), and you can utilize either-or to open the safe. This means you can get the speed of the electronic, but the reliability of the mechanical.
4. Best Value – Tracker TS45
You probably are wondering why this Tracker Safe is on this list, as it is also the only import safe on this list (most import safes only have electronic locks). However, Tracker is special, as they install their locking mechanisms in the USA once they arrive stateside.
This means you get the mixture of a great price to steel thickness (12 gauge steel) and other benefits of an import safe, but you get the reliability of quality assurance of stateside installers. Did I mention the safe is 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 on the market today.
5. Rhino Strongbox RSB6030EX – Best Styling
Sure, there are others 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, that are also backed up with some impressive specs, then you should probably be looking 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 close second when it comes to manufacturers, as they are USA-made (except for their Bighorn, and Kodiak safes), and make some incredible, high-quality safes that 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 that your gun safe 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?
What is the brand of the mechanical lock?
Not all locking mechanisms are created equal, even in the dial lock arena. Because of this, make sure that you are highly aware of what lock is being used on the gun safe that you are looking to buy. If a manufacturer is unwilling to share that brand, then you probably should move on.
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 is La Gard and Sargent & Greenleaf.
How big of a gun safe do you need?
One good rule of thumb when buying a gun safe is that you should always buy bigger than you think you need. Essentially, make sure to buy one size up, after you have not only accounted for the firearms, but any other valuables you might want to keep in the safe after purchase. Remember, gun safes aren’t only good for firearms, but are also awesome for expensive watches, jewelry, paperwork, hard drives, and more.
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. Sure, you can get into a dial lock safe in about 30 seconds, however, under duress or at night, it might take considerably longer to do so.
If you are still only wanting a dial lock safe, then you might want to think about purchasing a nightstand safe like what you will find in this article here.
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 supression system, live nearby a fire station, or there isn’t much value to what you are putting in a safe, you might not even need to spend the money necessary to have a fire rating.
Are combination locks hard to use?
Out of all of 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 difficult locking mechanisms to utilize. 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 awesome type of lock to have.
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 that is experienced (meaning they have done it just a couple of times), you can generally open one of these safes in under 30 seconds.
When it comes to Dial Locks, there are a few different types of gun safes that come to mind. In this article, we discussed the best gun safes with Dial Locks on the market today, as well as quite a few different things that you should be thinking about when shopping for one of these safes.