Often times people ask us “What about those external hinges, aren’t they less secure? Actually, yours bolt on, couldn’t someone simply unbolt the hinges and take the door off?

This is a great question! Often times manufacturers will use the number of “active” locking bolts or bars as a selling point. The truth is that there is a much more elegant solution that has been used on many bank safes and vaults for decades. This solution is a dead bar on the inside of the safe. The natural swinging motion of the door on it’s hinge allows for geometry of a non moving portion of the door to naturally swing in behind the door jamb and lock itself into the safe. If you’ve assembled a Steelhead Outdoors modular safe, or watched our assembly videos, it illustrates the approximately 30 angle at which the door must be at to get the dead bar in behind the door jambs. In short, even with the hinges removed, the door cannot be removed unless the metal is compromised or the lock mechanism is opened.

Steelhead Outdoors gun safe hinge dead bar

The full length dead bar swings in behind the reinforced door jamb when the door is closed, providing 100% contact area and creating a secure safe even with the hinges removed.

“But why are the hinges removable?”

Most safe manufacturers that offer external hinges will tell you the benefits of them: the door can open a full 180 degrees to grant better access to the safe and no fire insulation material needs to be removed in order to accommodate the internal hinges. We took it a step further and made our hinges removable. Since the safe ships to you in six pieces, the customer is responsible for installing the door. With the hinges being a bolt on design, the door needs to be swung into place by hand at a 30 degree angle, then closed into place and locked into position. After that, the hinges fastened on. The removable aspect of the hinge avoids the step of lifting the door 4 inches higher off the ground and trying to line up the hinges. Tighter fitting hinges offer less sag and smoother operation, but become difficult to align and install while trying to hold an 85-150 lb door in the air. The removable design allowed us to incorporate an ultra-precise hinge to eliminate any excess play. Our hinge pins are precision ground and hardened. They fit into a greased bronze bushing for exceptionally smooth operation and incredibly long life. The clearance between the hinge pin and bushing is less than 0.001” (one thousandth of an inch!) All of this combines to create a safe that assembles easy, swings smoothly, and is incredibly secure.

Steelhead Outdoors gun safe latch

The 1/2 inch thick locking plates prevent the door from opening, keeping the safe locked up securely.