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Illusions of Grandeur

Safe Protection Levels - The Big Locking Bolt Scam

The illusion of a robust safe - The number of locking bolts on the door of a safe and the size of the locking bolts can be an indicator of the safe's ability to protect from pry attacks. However, the protrusion depth of the locking bolts and their arrangement is the key to resisting an attempt to wedge the door open. Some safes masquerade as high-security safes with oversized locking bolts, but in truth those large looking locking bolts are only for show.

This is employed so rampantly throughout the safe industry that it merits its own page in this guide. It is most common in mid-level safes and can even be found in some high-end luxury safes.

Take for instance the safe to the right. This is a top-of-the-line luxury safe equipped with fine hardwood jewelry drawers, an advanced electronics package, and brass trim. This safe sells for well over sixty thousand dollars.

But is a safe this finely constructed worthy of such a grand expenditure?

The massively thick fortified door coupled with five two inch diameter locking bolts would suggest so.

Upon closer inspection of this luxury safe's polished door cover, certain oddities become readily apparent.

Where do the bolts go? We can see them going into the side of the door's bolt carriage, but there is no sign of the bolts continuing through into the door's inner housing area.

In their place, there appears to be a lot of empty space occupying the majority of this door. The only solid filled area is the front panel. It is not possible to stuff an adequate amount of protective steel plating or firewall material into such a thin layer of space. The copious empty space explains the safe's relatively low weight.

From this angle the critical design flaw is clearly present.

Not only do those massive locking bolts terminate just inside the door's cover, but they're held in place by miniscule ΒΌ" bolts and an extremely thin bolt carriage.

The bolts pass through the carriage at only one point and when the door is locked the equally thin bar holding the bolts in place is butted directly up against the carriage. This provides no substantial form of defense against leverage attack.

With one simple crowbar the bolts and carriage could buckle and give way.

The build quality of this ineffectual safe design is in no way an exception. This safe is in fact an accurate representation of the construction methods employed by the majority of top selling safes sold today.

Be warned, research before buying or you will likely be housing your precious belongings in a safe very much like this one.

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