Gun Safes Built to Protect

Fort Knox takes the safety and security of its customers seriously.

Gun Safes Built to Protect

Whether it’s a brand new, top-of-the-line pistol, a century-old collectible flintlock, or a ratty hand-me-down shotgun, it has value and protecting it is important. 

It’s been almost 40 years since Fort Knox Vaults opened its doors and began building a line of U.S. manufactured, handcrafted luxury home vaults with the goal to protect firearms, ammunition and items of irreplaceable value. Over the years their range of products has expanded to offer many standard sizes of home and gun safes along with personalized layouts and security features to meet desired specifications. 

Shooting Sports Retailer was recently able to talk with Phil James, director of sales at Fort Knox Vaults, to discuss the company’s success and future plans. James provided an inside look at some of the things they do to make every Fort Knox product something they stand behind 100%.

Q: Where did the history of Fort Knox Vaults begin and how did it get to its current place within the industry? 

James: Fort Knox started in 1982 and was very instrumental in creating the safe industry in the Utah valley area and nationwide. From day one, Fort Knox has been a leading residential safe brand in the American market. We are the standard that our competitors strive for and we have maintained that standard for almost 40 years now.


Q: How has business and the industry changed and how has Fort Knox adapted to keep up with the changes? 

James: Fort Knox was the first to add rack-and-pinion gearing to smoothly move the locking pins. Fort Knox also increased fire ratings to 1,680 degrees in 90 minutes. The composite door with full-coverage fire protection was a large shift in the industry. Then in the mid-2000s, the import game started a race to the bottom, safe steel thinned, quality dropped and so did the price. This left companies selling a false sense of security and the idea that thinner, lighter and cheaper is better for security. Fort Knox made a decision not to play that game. The Fort Knox safe line added steel, then added optional inside steel liners of AR 500, stainless steel and Type-C fireboard, providing the best protection and bang for your buck in the safe industry. 


Q: What does the future hold for Fort Knox? What goals do you have for the rest of 2021 and beyond? 

James: Fort Knox plans to stay at the top of the list of safe manufactures through quality, integrity, ingenuity and American craftmanship. With over 7 million new gun owners in the U.S. in the last few years, we plan to help those Americans protect what matters most to them. Freedom is a pillar of the American way.


Q: What are some of the biggest challenges as a manufacturer in today’s shooting sports industry? 

James: Today, I see the largest challenges being the current labor shortage and inflation. As prices rise on raw materials, it will price many out of buying safes in general, leaving many firearms accessible to unauthorized users.


Q: How do you decide what products to bring to market? 

James: Fort Knox is a small company owned and operated by regular middle-class folks. Our team looks at our daily interaction with our own security risks. We look at what we have that could be lost in a moment, then design our safes from there.


Q: What is special about Fort Knox that separate the company from its competitors? 

James: Fort Knox is special in so many ways. I’ll start with the factory being located in Orem, Utah, employing just shy of 100 of the finest men and women. Fort Knox allows the consumer to customize their safe with over 50 standard options. This gives the customer the flexibility to make the safe their own. A safe is a lifetime purchase. You should never settle for anything less than what you want, and it should be covered by a lifetime warranty. We are all about family here at Fort Knox, so when you call in you may be talking to a son, grandson or granddaughter of the founder. The Fort Knox family takes pride in the job we do and in the service that we provide to our customers.  


Q: What have been some of your biggest innovations to date and what do you think is the reason behind their success?  

James: Some of our most popular innovations have been the 5-1 gearing, recessed doors, internal hinges, thicker steel and additional steel liners. Innovations that provide additional security, along with the integrity of the Fort Knox Nation, are the secret to our success. 


Q: Aside from manufacturing vaults, pistol boxes and accessories, what else does Fort Knox do to support the shooting sports and hunting industry? 

James: Fort Knox donates to a wide range of sportsmen groups like the Safari Club International, NRA and many others. We work hard so that we can give back in a way that will protect our way of life for years to come.


Q: What does a retailer need to do to begin carrying Fort Knox in their stores? Are there any dealer incentives or programs for new partners?

James: Being part of the Fort Knox distribution team is fairly straightforward. You must have a brick-and-mortar location and be able to follow the sales cycle through from lead to delivery and install. We like our dealers to have the knowledge to service the safes that they sell. Our goal is to build relationships between dealer and customer.


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