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Antique Safes/Vault doors


I'm interested in purchasing a vault door for a safe room.  Obviously I want good value.  I'm looking at a door from Sportsman Steel Safe Co.  There is no model number, but advertised a $1899 on line.  Can you give me some advice on that door specifically and the company. Other recommendations for a good value door would also be appreciated.  By "good value"; I would like to keep total expenses below $3k if possible.  It doesn't have to be NBC rated nor stop a .50 caliber, but stopping typical hand gun and maybe a 7.62 round would be enough.  I would also like the door to be as burgler proof as that price door can offer.


while Sportsman Steel does have some inovative ideas, overall, there products don't impress me at all.   First red flag is their "flashy" web page.   Anytime that someone throws tons of color, and made up terms around as much as is apparent on this site, I start wondering WHAT they are hiding.   Quality built products stand on their own, without all the flash or hype.

As this got my attention, I started checking for negative comments about their products and/services.   To say the least it wasn't thrilling, and many consumers were extremely less than satisfied.

Unfortunately when you are buying a product like a safe or vault door, and then start using terms like "value", you are basically saying "I will accept CHEAP" if it looks good.
Remember what Benjamine Franklin said:   “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin.   Bottom line - you are NOT going to get quality, in the security range you are looking for, for the $$$$'s (value) you want to spend.   While I'm sure that you can find something for the price that you want to spend, it IS NOT going to be the level of quality that you are requesting.   Anyone who tells you it is, is simply lying to you - Remember the story of "the Emperor's New Clothes"?   

So the question is WHAT level of quality do you really want?   And what features do you want?

If you are looking for a ballistic door, there are a lot of other alternatives than getting a "vault" door.   Also, most real vault doors are NEVER going to even advertise bullet resistance, as they far exceed what ever you think is going to come at you.

As far as "burglary resistive", any basic vault door will give you plenty of basic burglary resistance.   Again the question is HOW MUCH protection do you need?    There is no such thing as Burglar Proof, and most of the claims that Sportsman Steel makes would only stand up to your average teenage, neighborhood burglars.   If you have something worth a professionals time, the Sportsman Steel safes and doors would offer little real resistance.

If you are a serious buyer, then I would recommend that you sit down with a sales rep to discuss what your goals and requirements are.   Just keep in mind that like crappy used car salesmen, most safe sales men are only interested in selling their product, or what they have in stock.  If you get a salesman that will help you plan your safe room from the ground up, you need to keep this guy as a friend for life.

While I DO understand budgeting and planning for what you can afford, having a budget of around $3000 (total) for a blast/ballestic type door is unrealistic.   Also, there is a REALLY BIG difference between a door that will stop a handgun round vs. a 7.62 round - big time apples and oranges comparison there!!!!!

when planning your safe room, keep in mind the weakest link planning.   While you MAY get a door that will stop a 7.62 round,  unless you build your wall with the same type of technology that the door uses, regular concrete and cinderblock walls will get chewed up by the same round.   I'm retired Army, and I've seen enough buildings destroyed by small arms fire to know what I'm talking about.   Dollar value for a safe room that will offer what you are alluding to would easily be in the $50K to $80K range.   While you may save some bucks with a DIY project, your still going to spend more than i believe you are realistically planning for.

Sorry, I know this isn't the answer that you were looking for, but there are a lot of questions that need answers before you are even ready to look at product and pricing.   You need a good salesman that will work on your behalf to put a package together.   This takes time and isn't cheap.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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