A Stack-On gun cabinet is many things. It’s handy. It’s affordable. And it keeps a few firearms out of the reach of little hands. But a burglar with a crowbar can pop one open faster than you can say “homeowner’s insurance.” And if a house fire threatens your boomstick collection, well, maybe you can make an interesting garden sculpture out of the smoking ruins once they’ve cooled.

All of which explains the peace of mind I enjoy now that the Stack-On is gone and my guns and a few other valuables rest safely inside something purpose built to protect them from larcenous and incendiary threats.

Utah-based Liberty Safe — the biggest safe maker in the business — makes a broad range of American-made storage options for your precious babies. Units from the compact, affordably-priced 12-gun Centurion all the way up to almost-closet-sized models like their 64-gun Fatboy. But at the top of the range, with its heavy seven gauge steel, 22 bolt door seal and 2.5 hour fire rating is the Presidential series.

Mine is the 33-gun, 1300+ pound Presidential 40 model. What do you get for your hard-earned money when you buy a mid-four-figure safe like the 40? Three things, primarily; top notch design and finish quality, endless configuration options and superior fire protection.

Once Liberty’s local delivery guys had the safe in place, the first thing you notice is the attention to detail that went into the interior finish.

You can configure the Presidential model in any number of ways to fit your particular inventory thanks to dual-use adjustable shelving.

The edging and stitching work are impressive.

There’s an included multi-outlet unit — including a USB jack — in the lower right corner of the safe.

It’s perfect for accommodating the included dehumidifier, cellular access monitoring system or anything else you want to keep in your safe that requires power.

You can personalize the Presidential’s configuration as you please in any number of ways. Here’s how I’ve laid out mine.

This nicely appointed drawer is where we’ll keep my wife’s fabulous jewels and my extensive collection of IWC watches…if we ever manage to accumulate any of those things.

The included door liner is designed with room to store eight handguns.

There are plenty of pockets, pouches and elastic bands to stow everything from magazines to emergency gear.

The two large lined “cool pockets” on the lower part of the door liner are ideal for holding and protecting important documents…like that divorce decree you’re sure to wind up with if your wife ever finds out how much you really have invested in your arsenal and safe.

Another long gun or two and I’ll have to reconfigure things.

The top shelves have plenty of room for ammo, magazines and such.

There’s no end to the customization opportunities here. The only items you see that don’t come standard with the safe (besides the guns) are those four pistol hangers ($20).

The interior is lit by recessed LEDs. If you leave the door open and walk away for about four minutes, they automatically shut off. Reach inside and they sense the movement and turn back on again. In short, Liberty’s thought of virtually everything here.

The Presidential safes are rated to protect your goods for 2.5 hours at 12o0 degrees.

Something my research has shown me is that there’s apparently a lot of flim-flam that goes into the fire ratings of safes. Some companies shoot for a particular time and temperature rating and get there by gradually raising the temperature over the designated time period. When they momentarily reach the maximum temp then drop it back down. As long as the contents aren’t singed, they call it good.

When Liberty tests their safes, they put their units into an oven at the full-rated temperature and hold it there for the rated time period.

The four-inch door is firmly held in place when closed by a series of 22 pry-defying 1.5-inch bolts set into the seven gauge American steel construction. That makes a difference, too. All of Liberty’s steel is US-made. They tell me there’s a clear performance difference between the domestic steel they use and lesser quality varieties available south of the border that go into some competitors’ safes.

There are two additional items you get when you buy a Liberty safe; a true lifetime transferable warranty and first rate customer service…something I needed the first day I owned the Presidential 40.

The safe’s pre-set combination lock (electronic or biometric locks are optional) didn’t work. No matter how many times I tried it, no dice. You’d expect a safe that drains your wallet as much as a Presidential does to, you know, open. A call to Liberty’s extremely helpful customer service line didn’t resolve the situation. It seems that even the best safes can be jostled enough in transit to jar the tumblers out of place, throwing off the combination.

The impressive resolution, though, was that within two hours of my call, a Liberty locksmith was standing in my garage, diagnosing the situation and re-setting the combination for me. The problem couldn’t have been resolved any more quickly or satisfactorily.

While the guts of the door were exposed he showed me how punching the lock on the Presidential is an exercise in futility for would-be burglars. While no safe is un-crackable, the build quality here ensures that anyone trying to force their way in is going to spend a long time going at it. Time enough, you’d hope, to discover the situation and call 5-0.

With the exception of the initial combination lock problem, there’s nothing the Presidential doesn’t do extremely well. It’s a quantum leap from my old Stack-On. And while this kind of security doesn’t some cheaply, what’s your peace of mind worth?

Specifications: Liberty Safe Presidential 40

Height: 5 feet, 6 inches
Width: 3 feet
Depth: 2 feet, 4 inches
Weight: 1310 pounds
Construction: 7 gauge steel, with four layers of fire-protectant fiber board (two expanding layers in the door jambs and door)
Fire rating: 2.5 hours at 1200 degrees
Price: $6,099 delivered

Ratings (out of five stars):

Fit and Finish: * * * * *
Theres no getting around it…the safe is beautiful, both inside and out. And there are a variety of color options to fit your taste and decor. You can see in every detail that a lot of time and effort have gone into all of the Presidential model’s finish and design work.

Reliability: * * * *
While I’m as dedicated as anyone to thoroughly testing my gear, I won’t be subjecting this safe to 1200 degree temperatures or setting my house alight to see how it does. From the extensive research I’ve done on how the safe is made and tested, I’ll sleep soundly knowing everything I’m keeping in my Presidential is well-protected. The hiccup with the combination was disappointing, but it provided a good demonstration of Liberty’s superior customer service.

Overall: * * * * 1/2
A beautiful, well-designed safe with top-of-the-line protection and a true lifetime warranty. The Liberty Presidential is as good as it gets.

55 Responses to Gear Review: Liberty Safe Presidential Series

  1. “Plenty of room for ammo”? Well, maybe if I stripped the interior and bought another safe for my actual firearms…

  2. Beautiful safe. I’ve looked at them at gun shows. I’m not crazy about the “in the garage” storage, due to the fact that the garage door is accidentally left open a little too often at my house. I do understand that the weight makes the garage the best place.

    Inside, I have a perfect place for a false wall,

  3. Nice that they give you two insulated pockets, mine (a step down from this series) only came with one. Including the power unit is a nice touch too.

    I do wish they’d cut the notched bits in three ways though. One for “regular” rifles, one for scoped jobs and one for straight bolt handles. The way it is you kind of have to play Tetris to get them all to fit together. It’s like they cut the thing exclusively for stock lever guns and 10/22’s.

    Now, if I could only get my wife to stop loading her guns into the safe in a way that blocks access to my guns…

    • Rifle Rods are your friend.

      A .50 cal ammo can makes a great “high chair” for shorter guns – AR pistols, evil AKs with the stocks folded, bullpups, etc.

  4. Nice looking safe, but sorry man, that bolt work is not worth the money you paid for the safe. Bolt work and door plate steel thickness are the heart and soul (aside from a good lock) of a gun safe. These “massive” bolts are short in length and mounted to easily bendable angle pieces with what looks like probably 1/4″ bolts. The bolts themselves do not appear to be reinforced which makes them even weaker. All a burglar has to do is apply enough force to bend those angle pieces and they are in. Bragging about the number or diameter of the bolts is marketing hype. This safe probably wouldn’t survive a long pry bar attack very well because of sub par bolt work. The 7 gauge steel will help when compared to thin 12 gauge safes because during a pry attack someone does have to bend the frame enough to get the bent/deformed bolts past it and 7 ga will be harder to bend than 12 or 11 ga. The best gun safes are Sturdy safes. Study safes only use four 1-inch diameter bolts. Sturdy safe can get away with only using four 1-inch bolts because their bolt work is top notch. They do it right. There’s no need for 22 big bolts when the bolt work is up to snuff.

      • Ha, no. Just a dude (mechanical engineer) who has done a lot of research on the subject and appreciates quality design work. Liberty (and others) puts a lot of hype into their “massive bolts” or how many bolts their safes have or how overall thick the door is (which is mostly air space holding the bolt work). It’s just fluff because as soon as you take off the rear door cover (as evidenced by that picture of the locksmith) you see what these massive bolts are attached to: thin gauge angle steel. Remember that old adage you’re only as strong as the weakest link? Liberty is not the only one. Most of them do this. Look at a UL listed TL-30 safe (a true, very high security safe). They don’t have 25 bolts, they don’t have 1.25″ or bigger diameter bolts. They don’t need those because they are properly designed and built.

    • Partly agree and partly disagree. Liberty (and Sturdy, for that matter) make decent fire protected RSCs, but they’re still just RSCs. Not very much difference between 12, 11 or even 7 gauge. None of them are thick enough to provide any real security. The President is a very fancy, pretty, nicely painted, fire retardant RSC, but in no way, shape or form is it a real safe. Real “safes” come with a TL, TRTL, or TRTLX rating. Period. And they can be had cheaper on the used market than this President. I was able to purchase an American made, 4,400 lb TL-30 delivered for several thousand less than this President and it provides considerably more security. No fancy automotive quality paint job, can carpeting, etc, but it will resist a true professional with cutting tools for many, many, many hours.

      • Bingo, if I was going to spend 6k on a safe I would look into a used UL listed commercial safe.

      • Yes, I know. You’re preaching to the choir. TL-30 is obviously much, much better than RSC. I agree that much of what the $6k that paid for this safe, as I stated earlier, went into the cosmetics. I also realize that UL RSC is not a “real” safe. It’s a security container and the test for breaking in is that it can withstand at least 5 mins with various common tools (as I’m sure you already know). And UL RSC contents can’t be insured in a commercial setting. Not sure what you disagree with me on, cause I think we’re on the same page. 7 ga, while not that thick, is considerably thicker than 11 or 12 ga and is harder to bend; but of course not harder to bend than 1/2″ walls. The sturdy safe can be upgraded to 4 ga back and sides and 3/8″ door for a little extra money. And I think they have upgrade options on top of that if so desired (i.e., stainless sides and back for resisting weld attacks, etc.). That wall and door thickness, along w/ their bolt work, is going to be just about as secure as you can get for a reasonably priced dedicated gun “safe” that isn’t a TL safe.

        • Flamenco, please. A safe of this quality has such a negligible chance of ever being breached. I mean, really? Who the fuck is actually coming after my Liberty safe? A team of pros? What are you, the concern troll version of the professional home invader crew? Good Lord!

        • Gary poseur – a safe of this “quality”? You mean one that has a super shiny paint job and nice stitching on the inside, fancy lights, but with poor bolt work and 1/4″+ gaps around the door making it easy to insert a pry bar? I’m a troll because I point out the facts? People criticize on this site all the time with no facts to back it up. And if you read my posts, you’d realize it doesn’t take a team of pros to break into a Liberty safe (or most gun “safes” for that matter). Nope, it just takes a guy with a decent size pry bar and 5 or 10 minutes.

        • I’ll take my chances that nobody is getting through my security system AND my bolted down Liberty safe. As a mechanical engineer, I’m sure you understand the basics of probability. The probability is low. Very low.

          Also, I’d love to see something backing up your assertions other than, “I’m a mechanical engineer”.

        • Well, I hope there is more than meets the eye to the design and that it is indeed stronger than I’ve lead on based on the bolt work layout.

    • I also have a sturdy (and amsec and a high Noble) it’s by far the best. The amsec being tl rated purely for insurance purposes doesn’t stand up to the quality of the sturdy. Safes are a purchase that function should be chosen over form.

    • LED safe lights, on a motion sensor, ARE

      A W E S O M E

      Open the door, swing your foot in front of the sensor by the door at the bottom and . . .

      (angels are always singing, but . . ) you suddenly hear them.

    • Amen to good lights inside a safe.

      I recently installed a pair of “Lockdown Cordless Automatic 25 LED Vault Lights,” with a little bit of Velcro so they stick to the underside of my shelves. They’re not as good as what’s here; but they’re an outstanding 90% solution if you don’t have the safe wired.

  5. Bolt that bad-boy to the slab, Dan.

    (And call your insurance company, you may be due a homeowner’s discount…)

  6. Mine’s a 1983 Diebold I picked up for $300 at an institutional auction. The size of modern stand-up refrigerator, it weights just over 6000 lbs. I cut out all the cash boxes, welded in new shelves, covered the walls with auto trunk felt and it’s good to go. It will be a great selling point for the house if we ever move, because even the local safe movers (who carry Liberty safes) were unable to move it. In the end it took 6 guys, 4 safe jacks and an industrial forklift to get it into my garage.

    • A preinstalled safe isn’t a bad selling point, but it’s not necessarily a great one. You change the locks when you move into a new place, right? Because you don’t know everyone the former owner has given keys to over the years. Same argument applies to a safe.

      And, frankly, some people can’t resist snooping. Two moves ago, I came back with my second load to find the door locked differently (I always lock the deadbolt, never the handle, since I can’t lock myself out that way; I came back to the opposite), and a few things moved around in the kitchen. That was the day I learned how to change a door lock.

  7. I have a RedHead 1856. It’s a decent fire safe, 500lbs dry and under $900. Most of my guns are in it. I also have two Stack-On cabinets filled with ammo and magazines. I also have a Stack-On Safe it’s an actual safe, but it’s not fire resistant. It was pretty cheap and about 350 lbs. I have random mostly non gun related valuables in it. I like them all and all have a place.

  8. I have two safes, both from Sportsman Steel Safe. The first was fine, bought in the mid 90s. Built my own interior and lit it. The second bigger one, bought 2007, was defective several ways. Blemishes and one big matte area in the shiny finish, wiggly spindle, and no effort was made to observe my requested design for the custom interior. Aggravating but relatively minor.

    Worse, while it was still on a pallet we weighed it. (I’m at a place with fork lifts and scales) It was 600 lbs shy, I thought. Maybe my memory was wrong. Later I revisited the Sportsman Steel Safe catalog and specs and it was 600 lbs light. They offer two almost identical large safes. The one I ordered and paid for has 1\4″ where the other has 10 gauge. Mine matched the ten gauge weight. I contacted them and while some back-and-forth about that was going on they said they’d furnish an interior and I sent them full scale drawings of what I wanted. In the end they denied wrongdoing and refused to return my drawings.

    I wrote it all up in detail and sent the sad tale to about 8 gun publications, some of which carried ads for Sportsman. Not one response.

    To sue on this I would have to take the safe to San Diego. It’s 1,300lbs. I am in Georgia.

    I would avoid Sportsman Steel Safe.

  9. I’ve become quite fond of Zanotti Armor, especially as I’ve moved twice since I bought it. The ability to take it apart into man-luggable pieces, and reassemble at the far end, is quite nice. You can put it in places where you couldn’t get it if it were fully assembled (and thus can’t readily be wheeled out…). And the movers don’t know you have a gun collection, or a safe for that matter.

    Re dealing with Zanotti, about a year ago I needed another shelf. Called them up and asked the price; they insisted on shipping me one for free – shelf and shipping – just because I bought a safe from them three or four years prior and my needs had changed a little since then. Gotta love that.

    I’m very glad I bought the tall option; I just wish I had gotten the widest option too. 🙂

  10. A good safe is $$$$. Losing your guns, the jewels,silver, coins, documents = ??? …….. you get the idea. Spend what it takes to be secure. My safe took a two man crew, who had to call a third man mid move. I’ll sell the house with the safe inside.

  11. Very nice congrats. The stack on has its place as an entry level option. Then later it could be used as bulk ammo storage and misc.

    • Eh. Ammo and magazines store just fine on (sturdy!) shelves and / or stacked .50 cal cans. So long as it’s behind a lock of some form or other, and out of sight from a window.

      Frankly, ammo is a lot less expensive than the same weight in guns (for non-NFA items…), so if someone gets that far into my house, I’d rather they wear themselves out lugging bulky and heavy ammo up the stairs, than trying to get into the safe proper. On the other hand, if there are two safes, a thief with an IQ above single digits will probably spend his or her time trying to get into the “nice” one.

  12. My safe is only about half the size of that one and weighs more. When the door closes it sounds like an old VW beetle – it has an air-tight “woosh”. No matter how hard you slam the door, the entrapped air acts like a shock absorber.

    It is made of thick steel plate and high density, cement based composite – not 7 gauge sheet metal and drywall.

    It fits right inside a narrow interior closet, so it cannot be spun,dropped, or laid on its back for prying.

    The last time I had it moved it took two college football defensive linemen, and one power-lifter to rassle it into place using a variety of custom-made motorized jacks, dollies, rollers, winches and step climbers.

    It has been protecting my stuff for over 30 years since it was delivered to me personally by Ulrich Graffunder himself.

    I wouldn’t sell it for the price of that new one.

  13. I hate being the Debby downer here, but for that kind of money you could have gotten yourself into something a bit more robust like an Amsec BF. It’s the only “RSC” out there to my knowledge that is built like an actual B rate safe, it just uses lighter gauge metals. It has a steel inner that is welded in at the door jambs making them a whole lot more pry resistant, UL listed locks and bolt work, and the hollow space between the inner and outer liners is filled with a concrete substrate used as the fire liner that contains carbide chips to add in resisting mechanical cutting attics, it is also solid like concrete and actually contributes to the structure of the safe rather than the glorified drywall that most commercially available RSCs use.

  14. Okay, it isn’t me that sometimes leaves the garage door open. Other, younger occupants live here, too. Usually, if the police notice the garage door open, you are notified, but not always. Neighbor woke up to SUV on blocks once.

    That false wall idea was something my father had at a lake cabin. Whenever we left, booze, T.V.’s and rifles were stored there. The cabin, along with two others were broken into. All that was stolen from Dad’s cabin was a six pack of beer out of the refrigerator. The two neighbors had anything that wasn’t nailed down taken.Nah, the garage wasn’t left open, didn’t have a garage.

  15. Give me 5 minutes with a $10 HF angle grinder and ill cut through the side of the 10 guage steel, and punch a hole in the sheetrock, err i mean insulation and have your guns.

  16. Couple guys here seem to know safes well and have it covered well.

    Id add two,things keep that Libetry hidden from causal visitors, once they see the brand and perhaps model as well it’s a simple YouTube search to learn how to force entry, which on those is not that hard .

    Second avoid the Easter Basket approach to storage with these types of “safes”. So many buy a safe put every valuable from all corners of the house in it . All the sudden the jewelry , optics,cameras , laptops and even guns that were before hidden in many locations are now conveniently in one place .

    That safe is designed to withstand a five minute attack with simple hand tools , someone who knows its there and comes prepared and the time goes way down .

    Oh it’ll keep your nephew with the drug addiction out, unless he knows your away and has a few minutes ….

    When people talk about the paint, carpet , shelves and the size and number of the bolts, that should be a clue to,their overall knowledge about safes . As stated earlier it’s not the not the bolts that fail in these things it’s what they’re attached to that does , and yes I’ve forced entry many of times on them .

  17. These are overpriced for what you get in terms of steel and protection in general. All new “gun safes” are. Except for maybe Sturdy. If you want real protection go on Craigslist go to the Business section and search on Safes. There you will find all kinds of business safes.

    From 2 foot tall 1/4 in plate steel safes that are $300 and make great bedroom safes( and more secure than a $2000 Liberty) to 3000 lb monster TL-30 rated jewelers safes for $1800. You rally can’t go wrong.

    Here are the specs from a recent CL ad in my area

    MOSLER SAFE
    SINGLE DOOR
    UL LISTED T-20 / 4 HOUR FIRE
    52HX30X30
    $599.00

  18. couple of thoughts here…

    *something- to protect your valubles is better then NOTHING! whatever window dressings you prefer is an endless game. do your research and spend your money as you see fit whether it be thicker guage door, or more spit n’ shine finishing. the possibilities in options & money spent are almost endless. everyones budgets are different.

    safes like houses or cars- no matter what you have protecting them- they are not infalable- they are just deterrence! best to have multilayer defences in play… burglar alarm system, safe monitoring system, dogs, good outdoor lighting etc… depending on just any single one thing is foolish.

    congrats on your purchase- shes a bute! ? and a definite upgrade from your previous!

  19. I’d still go the used route and get a TL rated safe for less than or that same price delivered and installed.

    Please tell me you at least had it firmly affixed to the floor. If that get flipped over, its a gonner.

  20. 15 minutes, a $15 Harbor Freight grinder, a hammer, and pry bar and Im in through the sides or top. 30 minutes later, all your guns are in my vehicle and gone. 7 gauge or 3/16″ steel isnt shit.

    The only way a safe this is viable is is the tops or sides are not exposed. If you set it back into a concrete alcove where the tops and sides are covered, then yes, this thing is great. If its setting up next to a wall? Just get a better insurance policy.

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