Liberty Safe
Dan Z. for TTAG
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On August 30, the FBI executed a search warrant on the home of an Arkansas man, Nathan Hughes. Hughes was being investigated (and has since been charged) in connection with the federal government’s wide-ranging prosecutions of those involved with the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

When the FBI found that Hughes has a Liberty Safe in his home, they contacted the company. Liberty, which maintains backdoor codes for their safes with electronic keypads, gave the FBI the access code after verifying that the FBI had a warrant to search the home. The warrant, however, did not specifically name Liberty or compel the company to comply.

Liberty posted the following statement on X explaining their protocol in those situations . . .

The company has since come under withering criticism for turning the code over to the FBI without being specifically named in the search warrant.

Many were also surprised to learn that the nation’s biggest maker of gun safes maintains backdoor codes to their residential security containers with electronic keypads. That, however, is the practice of many safe manufacturers and is done as a backup for customers who forget their codes. Liberty says that happens thousands of times a year. That, of course, does not apply to safes with mechanical combination locks.

Other companies are distancing themselves from the practice and want their customers to know they don’t maintain access codes for their products.

Last night, Liberty issued the following statement notifying owners of safes with electronic keypads that they will be able to elect to have the backdoor codes purged from the company’s records . . .

Going forward, Liberty will also now require law enforcement agencies to provide a subpoena specifically requiring the company to provide the access code for a customer’s safe, if they have one on file.

As the company states . . .

Our mission is to protect what matters most to our customers, whether that be valuables or privacy. It is our pledge to continue to make excellent products that serve gun owners everywhere. 

There’s no question that the company’s reputation has taken a big hit as a result of the publicity over the incident. Changing their policies regarding code retention and law enforcement compliance is a step in the right direction, but it’s difficult to believe that Liberty’s business won’t be significantly affected by the controversy.

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  1. Never buy a safe with an electronic keypad. The Department of Defense relies on Sargent and Greenleaf mechanical combination locks to protect classified documents. The combination can be changed by the user, and is known to no other. In this era of the corrupt FBI and Department of Justice, one has to exercise maximum care to preserve Constitutional rights.

    • “Never buy a safe with an electronic keypad.”

      Damn straight, mechanical only.

      Noted security expert Deviant Ollum offers insight on this particular incident :

      • securam makes the keypad for liberty and they admit that all of those keypads have 2 codes, a user code and manager code.

        • Someone on another website did some on-line research on Liberty. They were bought a while back by an Eastern investment group with a definite leftist leaning. Among political candidates to whom they contributed besides Uncle Joe was John (NoBrain) Fetterman. The article mentioned several other prominent communists that were supported by the group but I didn’t bother to memorize them. I am sure a web search will turn up the post by the researcher.

    • DoD relies on the electromechanical Kaba X-10 lock for almost all the classified storage security, last I checked. I’ve never seen a Sargent and Greenleaf lock.

      • Both the S&G and the Kaba locks meet the FF-L-2740 spec. Kaba was introduced with the latest revision B. I’ll guarantee you that there are still plenty of document safes around with the FF-L-2740 A locks (S&G) on them. As an aside, the Department of the Treasury uses the S&G lock. Both are good, but the strength of the container is what really matters.

        • Modern construction tools and abrasives will easily cut through nearly everything. Massive thickness helps. Massive = 12″ or more.

    • Regardless of the type of lock or whether there’s a backdoor code, the real issue is the warrant. If there’s a warrant, the cops will open the safe one way or the other. But warrants that authorize search of the safe are always approved by a judge, always based on the declarations of LEOs. There’s a lot of room there for overreach, and little recourse when it occurs. Liberty should only have released the backdoor upon a subpoena directing them to do so. Or better still, don’t keep backdoor codes in the first place unless the customer opts IN.

  2. Standard Operating Procedure for execution of a search warrant where a gun safe may need to be opened is to coordinate with local Fire Department to be on stand-by to handle the locked box. It is exceedingly easy to open nearly any gun safe with rescue power tools. Actual business quality safes are a different story.

    This story is another reason to forgo the convenience of electronic locks.

    • ANY fire chief that “participates” with Fed “law enforcement” in executing a search warrant to break/enter a property or locked container should be fired. FD is NOT police and the FD does NOT work for or report to police (Fed “cops” are also NOT police). Oil and water for a reason.

  3. Well hey remember when Iphone refused to help the feds & local po-leece unlock a phone after the San Bernardino slaughter by a couple of furiners??? I have neither a gun safe or Iphone but Apple got a helluva lot of heat for helping terrorists. Just putting some fun facts out🙄

      • I’m pretty sure he’s calling the shooters the terrorists, not the FBI agents. And Apple helped them, by not cracking the phone.
        I also remember Donald Trump saying Apple and other tech companies should give the government back doors into our devices. I hope his experience with the FBI has changed his mind.

    • Apple told the government that they did not have a built-in back door. The government then threw a hissy fit and insisted that they create one and apple refused. The FBI then contracted with an outside hacker group that knew of an exploitable weakness in Apple’s operating system and they supplied the data to the fbi. Apple has since closed that loop.

  4. Can you say Springfield? Sure, I knew you could.

    And as Ranger Rick says, “” safes” are remarkably easy to open, even without the fire department.

    • On Sportsmans Channel it was always “MONDAY GUN DAY” and they run many hours of different gun shows one of which was a *LIBERTY SAFE CO. promoted special on how long it takes for 2 guys with crow bars to breach the most popular gun safes on the market including their “latest and greatest” safe. They would knock over the different safes on their backs and begin prying. 3 competitors safe’s were popped in 2-3 minutes and Liberty was quite proud that Theirs took an entire “5 MINUTES” These safes are good for: fire protection & child safety, but NOT AGAINST THEFT by 2 average guys that have used a good standard length pry bars. ( * Hey this was THEIR paid program too. I was just learning from their broadcasted demo)

    • Almost none of the so-called gun safes on the market are actually a safe. They are considered residential security containers and I can get into pretty much any of them within 15 minutes. A real safe on the other hand is incredibly difficult to penetrate. Browning makes a TL30xl gun safe that is a real safe that you can find for just under $10,000 if you shop around and it is a worthwhile investment. You could also buy an old GSA rated safe for an old Jeweler safe that has a TL30 rating and it will take your local fire department a day or two to get into it.

      • You’ve got it backwards. Safes are generally fire safes, with fire ratings. Security containers are named because they are for security, and not necessarily for fire, and have a higher grade combination lock. I worked on scores of them in post offices. Their older units were fire safes with insulation, much of it likely asbestos. The newer ones are security containers with no insulation and higher grade locks.

        • Many insulated safes are insulated with wallboard. The fire rating is fairly minimal so wallboard lnside the steel provides the claimed rating. As an interesting aside, I read an on-line article that claimed one should wait until the safe is cold to touch before opening it after a fire. Apparently the air inside the safe is heated by because of expansion, the safe becomes airtight and the small amount of oxygen inside the safe is consumed. Upon opening the safe before it has cooled to below the flashpoint of paper, allows oxygen to rush in and ignite the flammable material inside the safe, like the carpeting on the shelves, the wood on stocks. It may be an urban legend. I have no first hand knowledge of that happening but I put it out here because it sounds logical. Anxious to get into your safe to see what damage might have been done to your guns. Whoosh! everything flammable suddenly bursts into flames.

        • Absolutely incorrect. Most things sold as “gun safes” have a UL rating of Residential Security Container. The highest rating (level 3) is 10 minute resistance against two people with serious tools, and level 1 is 5 minutes against 2 people with hammers, screwdrivers, and crowbar. There is no fire requirement, and there is no standard for fire resistance. A manufacturer will rate a safe for a certain time, but there isn’t a common benchmark for exterior temp or interior temp. These “safes” weigh less than 750 pounds and are sheet metal wrapped around sheet rock. The impressive chrome bolts are only a couple inches long before generally attaching to u-channel sheet metal.

          Real safes have UL ratings like TL-mm, TRTL-mm, and TXRL-mm meaning that they’ll stand up to tool, torch and tool, or tool, torch, and explosive attacks for mm amount of time. Tools include cutting disk, grinding wheels, and carbide drill bits. Generally, the ratings are for attacks against the doors, although an x6 safe has that rating applied to all sides. Foe example, I have a TRTL-30 safe that I got used from a bank. It’s about 3x3x4 and weighs 3000 pounds. The door starts with a half inch of stainless steel and is 4 inches thick before getting to the bolts, and nothing is hollow. The inner walls of the safe are a bit over an inch thick of welded steel, followed by 4 inches of nasty concrete that has abrasives and carbide chunks to resist drills and such. The outer shell is about 1/8 sheet metal. There is no fire resistance as such, although the concrete makes a pretty good heat sink and insulation.

        • “I have a TRTL-30 safe that I got used from a bank.”

          I have one of those among my other safes. It was sitting in an old abandoned office building that was going to be demolished. Friend calls me up and asks if I wanted it and if not its going for scrap. It was a beast to move, thought we never would get it moved into place and its not going any place any time soon. But it sits now where we put it and that’s actually in a small storage building behind our house where I keep transit ammo for personal use and that’s what I use it for.

  5. Safes just keep honest people out. Take a minute to check out the construction of your safe. Yep, it probably has a nice heavy door and front.

    Now check out the sides and back. Most likely a battery powered grinder could cut a man-sized hole in the side in a couple of minutes because the metal is very thin.

    When you install a safe make sure the sides and back are not easily accessable.

  6. Eek damage control time. Sounds like they want to make it right though. Probably to little to late for now tho

    • Damage control is right. You can put Liberty Safe’s (or lack thereof) in the same scrap heap as Apple Computers, I think. After CEO Tim Cook sent his operations to China, he promptly gave China all the back door codes and keys to the Apple computer operating systems, and thus, destroying the reputation of his company. It was funny as hell to watch the U.S. government agencies scramble to get out of Apple computers, and into something else. How sad to think that one’s guns might be safer being buried in the back yard somewhere.

      • It costs a couple hundred bucks to have a locksmith swap out the lock on a safe. it’s cheaper than buying a new safe.

        We all can see that we can’t trust Liberty Safes to have your backdoor passcodes (or your back, for that matter.”

  7. Something like the American Security CE6528 is light-years ahead of the common gun safe, but the price is in line with the level of protection. Most safes are intended to prevent unauthorized access by casual actors, but in a hostile environment, it is best to use separation and concealment.

  8. Charlie Kirk shared this on Twitter:

    Liberty Safe was sold to Monomoy Capital Partners in 2021, a liberal East Coast investment firm. I pulled the FEC reports on the company and found approximately $400,000 over the last 10 cycles of max donations to Democrats like:

    Raphael Warnock in GA
    John Fetterman in PA
    Mandela Barnes in WI
    Mark Kelly in AZ

    Liberty Safe’s current CEO, Justin Hillenbrand, was a founding partner of Monomoy and donated $4,600 to Obama for America.

    And we’re supposed to be surprised they betrayed their customers to the FBI as quickly as humanly possible?

    Boycott Liberty Safe.

  9. I have to think that the safe had little to do with Jan 6. The FIB just had to sniff around everything though I guess. Doing their due diligence I’m sure.

  10. Why? Why? Why?
    Maintaining backdoors only helps oppressors. Whether in safes or software. Do these companies get kickbacks to include them? Are they run by a bunch of good ol boy jackboots? Why?

    • Ever wonder why Americans with computer science degrees and/or certs may struggle to find work while we import foreign programmers in mass? Specifically from countries where individual liberty is questionable and we still claim we don’t have enough.

      • Legal immigration has held back wages in the tech sector for years, while the big corps have made a fortune. “For the little guy” Democrats want more of the same in every sector.

        • The same reason they’re all so pro-abortion and anti family.
          If half the workforce stays home to raise a family the wages of the remaining workers might just double. Can’t have that. Better for business to have the new woman killing her offspring and cranking out 80 hours a week being stronk and brave.

  11. The fact that they gave the code to the FBI doesn’t bother me half as much as the fact that there is a backdoor code. This makes the safe less safe than I thought.

  12. You have your choice:
    a) give us the code
    b) say hello to my friend Mr. Acetylene Torch.

    It’s the FBI. You aren’t keeping them out.

    I would say search warrants seem to be overly broad.

    Fourth Amendment

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    “Uh, we want to search every place in his home for anything we might find.”

    Judge: “Sounds good to me!” WACK! Rubber stamp.

  13. Found this elsewhere on the nets:

    “Liberty Safe was sold to Monomoy Capital Partners in 2021, a liberal East Coast investment firm. I pulled the FEC reports on the company and found approximately $400,000 over the last 10 cycles of max donations to Democrats like:

    Raphael Warnock in GA
    John Fetterman in PA
    Mandela Barnes in WI
    Mark Kelly in AZ

    Liberty Safe’s current CEO, Justin Hillenbrand, was a founding partner of Monomoy and donated $4,600 to Obama for America.

    And we’re supposed to be surprised they betrayed their customers to the FBI as quickly as humanly possible?

    • You should realize most of these investment groups have little to no dealing in the day to day operations of the companies they “own” – all the care about is profit.

  14. It doesn’t matter – they have a master back-door code they gave to the Feds.

    So now the Feds can access any Liberty safe.

    • “So now the Feds can access any Liberty safe.”

      Someone who regularly watches the LockPickingLawyer on YouTube can easily get into any commonly available keyed safe, when it gets down to it.

      That doesn’t in any way excuse Liberty, but one should be realistic in one’s home security expectations…

  15. Not surprised that companies willing handover customer information both with and without a warrant. Banks have been caught providing customer information without warrants or court orders, Google and Samsung have provided access to :Locked and Secure” cellular phones and laptops without court orders. Facebook sells user data to everyone including the Russians and Chinese. Apple refused to unlock a phone for the Feds after the San Bernardino shooting so the feds went to Israeli company, Cellebrite and paid them to hack Apple’s system.

    I agree with “Screw Liberty Safes”, however, it takes a professional locksmith about 5 to 10 minutes to open one of these “Pretend Safes”. Even a real safe can be punched, drilled or torched open. Hiding the safe is the best defense and most people stick their safes in the Master Bedroom (1st place thieves look) or the garage.

  16. If it was an actual federal raid, the feds employ locksmiths in their ranks, and Liberty safes CAN BE PICKED.

    IOW, they aren’t that secure anyways, and a higher security lock would be in order…

  17. My first safe was a Liberty with mechanical lock. Still my favorite. All others are keypad. It’s all you can find today unless you order the other. Manufacturer doesn’t matter.

  18. Mechanical locks have other advantages, not being subject to electronic failure, and for some reason thieves think that by smashing electronic lock housings they can gain access. There are videos showing how a solenoid lock can be defeated by a strong magnet, how accurate this is I cannot attest to.

  19. Anyone with any experience at all in running a successful IT department knows that regular backups are essential to the continuity of operations of a business.

    I’m very hard-pressed to believe that this company will go back and purge ALL their prior backup data of these old combinations (and also start a new policy of NOT keeping backup data of those combinations that customers ask them to delete).

    Being able to recover customer combinations (for those who WANT them to keep a copy) from an unexpected data loss is just as important as any other critical data for which a company implements a backup plan. It would be very difficult to continually update ALL the backup media sets to reflect the CURRENT status of whether a customer does or does not want them to keep a copy of their combination.

    And here’s the thing: If there is even one backup set with a particular combination stored on media or in the cloud somewhere, it would only take one small change to a warrant to compel the combination from there, instead of the active database in use at the time.

  20. Doesn’t matter what Liberty Safe declares, or does; ATF can simply declare a safe to be an illegally possessed machine gun, discovered during an unrelated, warranted, search.

  21. Regardless of policy change, the problem is that the “back door” is still there, therefore you have a compromised security device. Unless Liberty is going to replace all their current lock mechanisms, free of charge to every safe they have ever sold with this “feature”….policy change now has little meaning.

  22. ok is it just me orwill Jan 6 be the reason to jail and remove anyone the government wants to. They are now jailing people who were not even there. Next they will jail people who talk about Jan 6 I am so glad Liberty Safe is doing there part to help the government in there war against We the people

  23. Once you purchase a Liberty Safe it belongs to you, no one else including Liberty. What right does Liberty Safes have giving out information for safes they no longer own? What’s also been learned is that they’re owned by Monomoy Capitol Partners which are staunch supporters of the Democrats. There’s no way I’m buying one of their safes so they can turn around and give that money to the Dems.

  24. A lock smith can drill the safe in no time. The home safe is not that secure anyway. It’s not like a bank vault.

  25. What really screwed them was their original post about the incident where they basically bragged about it.

    Then they realized the sharks were circling and changed tack.

    The only interesting part out of any of it, to me, was that I’ve never seen a company openly post a corporate suicide note on social media before.

    I’d have thought that after Bud Light, Target and other companies took it on the chin everyone would be extra cautious about messaging. Especially companies that sell fairly expensive “want” items rather than “need” items.

    But I guess not.

  26. Liberty Safe..

    They lied and deceived. period.

    In reality, contrary to their statements about how they support constitutional rights, they have actually helped finance the extremists left wing democrat politicians that are trying to take away our constitutional rights. These politicians are not only trying to take away Americans 2A rights, but also take away the 1st and 4th and 5th and 14th. If one agrees with the 2A or not doesn’t matter, its still a right of every American, but no matter if one agrees with it or not I would hope they can recognize the danger here that even excluding the 2A that these politicians financed by Liberty Safe are coming for your 1st and 4th and 5th and 14th amendment rights as well and they are just getting started.

    These politicians also seek to impose an actual police state tyranny by ingraining it in the Bill of Rights by amendment to make it ‘constitutional’. Yes, that’s right… in the last few days Newsom had his ’28th amendment’ changed to make sure that only politicians and police have firearms and have absolute control (over the right) – which is what a police state tyranny does. This is contrary to his original ‘public’ presentation of its some form of ‘common sense’ and not gonna affect the 2A (even though it always was). Now granted, this amendment attempt doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of actually making it into the Bill of Rights and Newsom knows it, but it looks good politically to say ‘Hey, here’s what I’m doing so vote for me!’ and when it fails he will blame it on “That darn NRA and right wing extremists”, but ignore that it failed because its pure tyranny insanity. But the point is these extremist left wing democrat politicians, which Liberty safe supports financially, these support Newsoms 28th amendment and one even helped ‘re-craft it’ into its now changed form.

    Not only that but these politicians have supported and facilitated the ‘progressives’ policies to defund police and ‘justice reform’ that is directly responsible for the increase in violent crime that endangers millions of American’s every day around the country. In addition these politicians also support the Trans movement ideology that a child can be indoctrinated to be their opposite gender as young as age 6 and then taken away from the parents if the parents object to the 6 year old indoctrination and drug and surgery to change their child’s gender and indeed there is already the basics of this in a bill making it way through in California to do just this. In addition, these politicians have supported the idea that the Trans ‘pride flag’ is somehow equal to the American flag and should be honored as equal, and in fact already on several instances has been placed on government ‘installations’ property along side the American flag despite the Trans ‘pride flag’ being the flag of what is basically the flag of a ‘hostile nation’ because the Trans movement considers their movement a ‘nation’ all its own and they are hostile to our nations way of life with an ideal codified in their violent militant wing that anyone not Trans should be exterminated. Not only that but these politicians have indirectly supported and endorsed ANTIFA who more recently called for the rape and murder of all biological born women, and called for the murder of Blacks, after joining with the Trans movement militant arm. And on top of that have supported and facilitated the Biden insecure border policy that has so far to date allowed more than three hundred heavily armed and fully equipped military trained cartel ‘soldiers’ to simply cross our border unchallenged and vanish in our country, along with an untold number of violent criminals mixed in with the masses that come to and cross our border illegally every day, and have allowed more than 60,000 immigrant children to fall into the hands of human sex traffickers.

    In short, these extremist left wing democrat politicians are purposely allowing our country to be invaded by hostile forces and purposely desire our country to be a police state tyranny, and are aiding and facilitating the endangerment and murder of Americans.

    Liberty Safe, its owners and CEO, financed this. It is basically a front for an extremist left wing financing operation trying to warp its self in the American Flag to claim how much they support our rights and America – they lied and are deceptive, period.

  27. And just like the “Black Rifle Coffee” company, that donates to all anti-gun politicians…. the NRA which has been negotiating away our rights away for decades while operating as the DNC’s money laundering operation since Democrat Wayne LaPierre and his criminal cronies took over.

    Liberty Safe, has been been doing the same thing

    The good thing about these companies is that their abhorrent and criminal behavior is becoming more widely known

    • “Black Rifle Coffee” company on your alleged donations by the company (which I think you are referring to the bogus picture that was floationg around >,donate%20to%20a%20political%20party%20or%20political%20candidate.

      “A Statement on Black Rifle Coffee Company’s Mission

      Black Rifle Coffee never has and never will make a donation to any political party of any kind. It is against FEC Regulations, for any corporation to make a political contribution of any kind to an official candidate or political party. Black Rifle Coffee as an organization, cannot, by law, donate to a political party or political candidate. Details on this law are available on the FEC webiste.

      Black Rifle Coffee is America’s Coffee. To this extent, we support American values and the American way of life. This includes the right to vote in a constitutional republic for any political candidate. Our founders and a large majority of our employees fought to defend this right. Black Rifle Coffee does not screen employee candidates based on political affiliation and to do so would again be a violation of law. To restrict or pressure employees to vote for their political party or candidate of choice would also be a violation of our most foundational principles.

      Further, Black Rifle Coffee Company has not donated, as an organization, through the democratically aligned non-profit payment processing service ACTBLUE. The image circulating the internet is a screen-shot that is disingenuously cropped to imply that Black Rifle Coffee as an organization donated through the ACTBLUE website. However, this image leaves out the fact that the donations made through ACTBLUE came from employees working within the company, who are, by law, required to state their employer when making a political donation.

      Black Rifle Coffee employs over 800 employees and all of them are encouraged to vote for any political party or candidate they see fit. Any restriction of this right is a violation of both employment law and the US Constitution. Black RIfle Coffee supports the US Constitution and each amendment of the US constitution to the fullest extent.

      We’re grateful for the continued support of the Black Rifle Coffee community and eager to continue serving those who serve.

      -Evan Hafer, CEO/Founder”

      See this part….

      “The image circulating the internet is a screen-shot that is disingenuously cropped to imply that Black Rifle Coffee as an organization donated through the ACTBLUE website. However, this image leaves out the fact that the donations made through ACTBLUE came from employees working within the company, who are, by law, required to state their employer when making a political donation.”

  28. Play it again, Sam. Locks and safes are illusions of security, keeping children and the terminally stupid out. Good to have a gun safe, but best to have a gun safe that no one even finds to attempt breaching. Best to hide your good gun safes so no one finds to attempt breach. Then, have a decoy safe…..tin can ala StackOn et el….with junk leaded barrel guns therein for the bad guy to find, easily breach, and make off with the decoy guns…..never finding the good safes to attempt breaching. This decoy scenario has saved family and friends guns several times.

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