Best Gun Safes

The old saying “you get what you pay for” does apply to gun safes, but not how you might think. With most gun safes what you pay for is nice paint, chrome, decorative items, and interior features.


Article from Gun Safe Reviews Guy…..Jan 2018           

Zanotti Armor Modular Gun Safe Review

Zanotti Armor ZA-3 Modular Gun Safe, Zanotti Safe

Zanotti Armor ZA-3 Modular Gun Safe

If you’re looking for a modular or take-down gun safe, the Zanotti Armor models are the best modular gun safe.

Modular gun safes can be disassembled and reassembled, making them easier and cheaper to move.  This makes them very popular with military personnel and others who relocate often.

Zanotti ships their gun safes in three or four flat boxes.  The heaviest part is the door, which weighs 100 to 175 lbs depending on the size.  Because of the manageable weight, only a hand dolly is needed to move the boxes.

These modular gun safes break down into six pieces.  Smaller models can be assembled by one person, but you’ll need a buddy for the big ones.  Assembly takes about a half hour and requires only a rubber mallet, block of wood, and maybe a pry bar.

Zanotti Modular Gun Safe Assembly

Zanotti Modular Gun Safe Assembly

To assemble them, you only need access to the inside of the gun safe.  So, you can assemble them in a tight closet with walls against all 3 sides.  This may add an hour or two to assembly.

Specification Zanotti
Security Rating Exceeds but not Tested
UL 1037 Residential Security Container
Standard SteelDoor Outer Sheet 3/16″ (0.1875″)
Standard SteelWalls Thickest Sheet Top & Bottom: 3/16″ (0.1875″)
Sides: 10 Gauge (0.1345″)
Body Welds N/A
Anchor Holes 4
Door Hinges Exterior, Right or Left
Door Seal No
Lock Types Mechanical Dial Combination
Lock RatingMechanical Dial UL 768 Group 2
Lock RatingElectronic Keypad Discontinued (see below)
Combination Lock Manufacturers La Gard 3330
Bolt Work Simple
Shear Pins or Clutch Mechanism Shear Pin, 60 to 70 ft-lbs
Fire Rating N/A
Fire Insulation Type N/A
Fire Insulation Thickness N/A
Steel Inner Fire Liner N/A
Made In USA
Cosmetic Features 3 Paint Colors
Interior Electrical Connection 5/16″ Hole

Door Construction

Zanotti gun safes have very respectable 3/16″ (0.1875″) plate steel doors.

These are one of the few gun safes that you can order with a left-swinging door.  Unless you’re left handed and like the convenience, that isn’t the biggest benefit for a modular gun safe. People that move often buy modular gun safes.  A left-swinging door may be perfect for your current home, but not for the next five.

No door seal is included. Each of the panels has a seam anyway and there is no fireproofing on these models.  So, a door seal is less of a benefit.

Body Construction

The top and bottom panels are also 3/16″ (0.1875″) thick steel.  The rest of the body is constructed with 10 gauge (0.1345″) thick steel.

Because Zanotti safes are modular, each panel is bent and formed.  That means there are no full-length weld seams to worry about. The body panels of Zanotti gun safes are held together with 3/8″ (0.3750″) pins that are hand fitted at the factory.  Customers are universally impressed with how tight they fit together, even after a half-dozen moves.


Zanotti no longer offers electronic keypad combination locks from the factory.  They say the reason was due to failures on these units after 6 to 8 years.  The main issue wasn’t the failure, but difficulty in finding qualified safe technicians to do warranty repairs in remote areas of the country.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was the failure of a newer lock in Montana almost 200 miles from the nearest safe tech, who of course charged by the mile.

Now Zanotti offers the La Gard 3330 mechanical dial combination lock standard from the factory.  They previously used the American-made Sargent & Greenleaf models until S&G started using plastic parts internally.  The La Gard 3330 is still all brass.  The 3330 is one of the industry workhorses, and better quality than the standard locks which come with most gun safes.

Bolt Work

Zanotti describes their simple bolt work as “Mauser-like”, after the reliable WW-II K98 bolt-action that has been copied by countless other rifles.  Simple is of course more reliable and therefore better when it comes to bolt work.

The bolt work does have a shear pin, which breaks at a relatively high 60 to 70 ft-lbs.  Since shear pin failure means you’re locked out until a safe technician gets you back in, higher is better.


Due to their modular nature, Zanotti gun safes are not available with fireproofing.  Since gun safe fireproofing is overrated, this isn’t necessarily that much of a disadvantage.

Cosmetic Features

These modular gun safes are all-business with lever handles.  They come in three colors:  black, brown, and green.

Zanotti ZA Models

Gun Safes
No Fireproofing,
No Interior {lbs}
ZA-1 60 25 20 350
ZA-2 60 or 72 31 25 500 or 600
ZA-3 60 or 72 40 30 750 or 825

ZA-1 models start at around $1,600. The ZA-3 models top out at around $2,400 for the 5′ tall model and $2,900 for the 6′ model.

If you’re looking to save money, you can pick your shipment up yourself from the local freight terminal. For more detailed pricing and availability information, you can call them at 319-232-9650 and they’ll send you a current price sheet and catalog.

Zanotti Armor Company

Zanotti Armor is a small American company in Waterloo, Iowa. They make all of their gun safes in the USA.  They also try to source only American materials from steel to interior carpeting. That is, unless there is a quality advantage — like with an all-brass internals lock.

Zanotti sells directly from their factory.  All of their gun safes are built to order.  A $200 deposit gets your order in the queue but they don’t take credit card.


Have a Question that Our Site Doesn’t Answer? Want to Know More About Zanotti Armor Safes? We’d Be Glad to Help!  Call 319-232-9650 or Message Us  Today!