Merik Safes: Stylish and Secure

Aug. 1, 2019
This brand new line of gun safes includes two layers of security, billed as 'a safe within a safe." The interior steel liner is the same thickness as the outer steel body

Selling and servicing safes is still a viable market for locksmiths despite the increased competition from a variety of entities participating in the business.

One reason is that safes require special handling and skills when moving them and installing them.

Another reason is service. When a safe lock fails, it becomes a big deal because attempts especially unskilled ones to unlock a failed lock is likely to only make matters worse.

In many major population centers throughout the country, only a few locksmiths will change the combination and even fewer can open locked safes. The locksmith needs to be a dealer for the particular safe, and have a clear channel back to the manufacturer for tech support and replacement parts.

The demand for safes has increased, and there is a broader selection of safes available at multiple price points designed for different applications. There are also an abundance of lower-quality safes being imported.

When the industry transitioned over to electronic dials, some predicted that it would revolutionize the safe industry, but many locksmiths who were there during and since that transition era feel it failed to materialize.

While locksmiths had developed their skills at manipulating mechanical safe locks, but the new electronic locks generally required instead either a set of fresh batteries or a powerful drill and several sharp drill bits.

However these days, professional quality electronic safe locks are extremely reliable. 

One of the newest players in the safe market is Merik Safe, a manufacturer of gun safes and vaults that are both stylish and secure.

Two of the most important elements in gun safe and gun vault construction are steel and fire protection. Merik constructs all of their gun safes and gun vaults with an outer steel body and an interior steel security liner. The interior steel liner provides a secondary barrier to further prevent attempted forced entry.

The interior steel security liner is not an option. It is included in all MERIK gun safes and gun vaults.

The interior steel liner is the same thickness as the outer steel body, creating a “safe within a safe.”

The construction of a gun safe or gun vault’s door and walls are the most critical line of defense from preventing a determined criminal from gaining access to your valuables.

Merik focuses on the following critical areas:

  • Door plate steel thickness
  • Door edge steel thickness
  • Exterior wall steel thickness
  • Secondary Interior steel security liner thickness (the Safe within a Safe)
  • Placement, size, and numbers of active locking bolts

With Merik safes the above features work in harmony to provide a well-designed gun safe or gun vault at each price point within their Four Levels of Security.

Merik recommends that both professional locksmiths and safe techs avoid trying to compete with the big box stores and online marketplaces by sacrificing quality in lieu of providing a low price. All too often these retailers are not really providing a safe, but a cabinet that may be easily opened.

The company also stresses  that proper sales training is vitally important.  If the customers understand the need for having adequate security at each price point they are more likely to invest in a better product. In addition, the customer needs to be informed that a big box store or online marketplace will not be there should their safe box need service.

Q&A Merik CEO Larry Schneider

The Locksmith Ledger interviewed Larry Schneider, CEO MERIK Safe  Following are Ledger’s questions and Scheider’s answers.

Please tell us about your background in security and safes

The foundation of the Merik Safe traces back to my first-hand experiences as the founder of a security hardware distribution company in New York, which ultimately became U.S. Lock Corporation. As Chairman, President, and CEO, it did not take long to grow the company into an industry leader with over 1,100 authorized U.S. Lock Security Centers and roughly 15,000 customers throughout the United States. I am now leveraging my highly successful 25-year track record to re-enter the industry as CEO of Merik Safe – and will maintain oversight of all of the company’s departments. Armed with a proprietary new brand of safes, security products, and a talented management team, I intend on replicating and fast-tracking my previous achievements.

Larry, it is my understanding that your real strengths are in locks, door closers, exit devices and other locksmith oriented products… so why safes? More particularly… why Gun Safes and Gun Vaults?

Good question. Once I made the decision to return to the locksmith industry, I spent countless weeks researching and studying various security products, sales channels and market trends with some dear friends in the industry. I became intrigued with gun safe and gun vaults. I found that most of the industry giants have moved away from featuring their products in the locksmith shops and in their showrooms, and have moved their focus to the massive big box stores and online marketplaces. For the most part, today these retailers sell price, not security. In addition, most of these retailers do not provide after-sale service.

Once upon a time retail customers would visit their local locksmith or safe shop and make a safe purchase and know that their local locksmith could and would service their safe. When visiting their local locksmith they may have also purchased a deadbolt, a new handleset for their front door, have a few keys made and even buy a padlock and hasp. They knew their local locksmith could assist when they locked themselves out of their car or home. This change in industry wide behavior has left the service calls to the locksmiths. Not only have locksmiths lost much of the safe sales, the delivery and installation fees, but they have also lost most add on sales and services.

My research has also led me to believe there may be a resurgence back to local retailing. A good example of this is Amazon. Amazon has fairly recently opened many small retail outlets so the consumer can enjoy their retail shopping experience. Their customers can touch and feel the most popular Amazon products in one of their retail “showrooms.”

So, that short story brings me up date. I feel that we can make a huge difference in the locksmith and safe tech industry not only with the newly design safes, but also how we can assist the locksmiths in bringing their products and services to today’s shoppers.

In what ways do you intend to disrupt the Gun Safe and gun vault industry? Have there been significant changes to safe box designs in the last 100+ years?

No! Does most every safe box in the U.S. look nearly the same with the exception of the name decal on the safe door? Yes! Merik has taken the leap into the 21st century. The disruption of the gun safe industry will take place with the introduction of Merik’s 11 brand new, cutting edge gun safe and gun vault designs - all of which are now Patent Pending.

What is the difference between a vault and a safe?

We have had many debates about these terms. In actuality, we even struggled more with many manufacturers’ use of the terms “safe” versus “cabinet.” Should you even call a so-called safe box that is constructed with 12, 14, 16 or even 18 gauge steel a safe? We checked out other safe brands and online marketplaces and found that many of the companies used the terms safe and/or vault. We don’t even feel that a safe constructed with 12 gauge walls and door steel thickness offers good security. Most major safe manufacturers offer this 12 gauge solution to compete with big box stores and online marketplaces. It appears to me that price-point seems to be more of an issue than security.

While we still struggle with the use of the terms cabinet, safe and vault we felt a reasonable solution was to create 4 Levels of Security to differentiate between Merik’s safes and vaults. In addition having our entry level safes designed with a minimum body steel thickness of 1/8 aka 11 gauge, each of our safes and vaults is constructed with an interior steel liner. The interior steel security liner is not an option. It is included in all MERIK gun safes and gun vaults. The interior steel liner is the same thickness as the outer steel body. The interior steel liner creates a Safe within a Safe.

A safe usually connotes something smaller than a vault and may be movable, whereas a vault is generally permanent and built-in-place and would be torn down rather than moved. But today’s safes are usually bolted down to the floor.

Even a 16 gauge inexpensive so-called “gun safe” can be bolted down. Should that be referred to as a vault merely because it is bolted down and immovable? We will leave this debate to the industry authorities.

Most safes are plain and utilitarian in appearance, but yours are very ornate. Why?

We feel that our safe and vault designs first offer the buyer the ability to coordinate the gun safe or gun vault into the decor of their home or office so the homeowner has quick access to their firearms. Additionally, and more important, many of our designs incorporate stainless steel plates to the door to add to the level of protection and drill attack resistance. The industry has been trained to hide safes thinking that an intruder will not find the safe. They usually do, but intruders know that they only have 10 to 15 minutes before law enforcement shows up if an alarm is activated. We also feel that an intruder is more likely to try to compromise a safe when the safe is located in a garage, a closet or in a basement because it may be out of sight and those locations restrict the level of noise associated with a tool or drilling attack.

Let’s look at another scenario and try to keep the politics of our 2nd Amendment Rights out of the discussion for now. Imagine hearing an intruder force open your front or rear door. Will the homeowner ask the intruder to wait a few minutes while he runs down into the basement or out into the garage to access a firearm to protect his or her family? …of course not. We feel that easy and fast access to firearms has a greater value to the homeowner than hiding a safe. We will let the potential safe buyer make that decision when all options are presented by a professionally trained Merik Authorized Gun Safe and Gun Vault Dealer at the time a safe or vault sale is being transacted.

If someone comes into a premise, does seeing a safe such as yours perhaps make them think the homeowner has valuable possessions?

If someone comes into a home or business with criminal intent whether the safe looks like a Merik safe or any other brand safe box it is of no consequence because all safes are made to hold valuables.

Do your clients apply additional security measures to the premises or room where the safe is located?

YES, Merik will be offering many security options to further enhance the level of security in the room or space where Merik safes will be located. New product releases will be announced very soon through the Locksmith Ledger or via press releases.

Do they build saferooms around your product?

Generally speaking... No. Our safes and vaults are designed to provide sufficient security at each of our 4 Levels of Security. Buyers usually make their purchase based on either their budget or the content value of the items stored in the safe or vault.

Do your safes protect against fire and other natural disasters?

Yes, Merik safes and vaults provide both fire and protection against natural disaster at each Level of Security.

In addition, Merik provides a Limited Lifetime Warranty against:

Lifetime defects to materials and workmanship

Lifetime damage from an unlawful break-in and unlawfully attempted break-in

Lifetime damage from a home fire to homeowner’s safe

It covers: the opening of the damaged gun safe or gun vault Lock Warranty: Mechanical Lock 5 years, Electronic Lock 2 years a replacement safe of equal value, if the gun safe or gun vault is beyond repair

Typically safes are located where

(a) They can be most easily moved into a premises,

(b) They can be securely anchored,

(c) They are perhaps not in clear view,       

(d) Where the safe can be adequately supported by the building’s construction.

How do these factors figure into your products’ sales engineering?

All of these points shall be addressed by professionally trained safe dealers and installers. Merik Safe has created the Merik Authorized Dealer Learning Center. In addition, we have already started interviewing safe techs and safe shop owners to sit on the Merik Safe and Vault Advisory Board. All of the above programs will serve to educate our dealers with regards to all aspects of safe and vault sales, installation practices and after-sale services.

How secure are the dials? If a dial fails, what does the owner have to do?

Merik safes and vaults are furnished with either a Sargent and Greenleaf or KabaMas safe dial. Should there be an issue with either manufacturer’s dials, a qualified locksmith or safe technician will be required to deal with a problem, should it arise.

Do you deal direct with end-users or through dealers or distributors?

The Merik website, will be showing only MSRP pricing. As a new company, MERIK has made the decision not to sell through distributors of safes and vaults, but to sell through Merik Authorized Safe and Vault Dealers. This policy will provide increased profit margins for Merik authorized dealers.

Where Merik has an authorized dealer servicing a specific geographic area, we will sell the safe to the consumer and provide a commission back to the Merik Authorized dealer if the dealer will accept shipment of the safe and handle the delivery and installation of the safe at the request of the buyer (for an additional delivery and installation fee).

Do locksmiths typically have a sample safe in their showroom?

In order to become a Merik Authorized Safe and Vault Dealer, a locksmith will be required to show a representative line of Merik safes and vaults in their shop, store or showroom.

What are the ballistic characteristics of your different levels of safes?

Merik safes and vaults will have an AR500 hardened steel security plate within the door. The hardened plate is used to provide attack and drill resistance.

In my many years of experience in the industry, the only time I have seen anyone shooting at a safe is on other manufacturers’ websites or videos. Such examples serve as methods to sell safes and vaults, but in the real world, shooting at a safe rarely occurs.

Are the outsides of the safes skins which can be applied by the dealer?

No, they are not skins or appliques. Merik designs generally serve first as additional security and then as a decorative ornamental part of the safe or vault. All are factory installed to our specifications.

Does keeping firearms indemnify the homeowner and how does having a safe impact their insurance?

TL safes and vaults are rated by insurance companies with respect to insurable content value. (Tim, we are not qualified to answer the question completely. Insurance questions need to be addressed to licensed insurance agents.)

What are your price points and how do they compare to other manufacturers?

We have carefully considered our price points and compared our gun safe and gun vault standard features and prices to almost every manufacturer and distributor in the market today. Merik safes and vaults are furnished as complete units and have virtually all options included at a single price, unlike most other manufacturers. Many other manufacturers lure the buyer with a low price and then pump up the price with options that are generally needed in order to have a properly outfitted gun safe or gun vault.

How does your product stack up against other competitors, including Big Box and online retailers and other safe companies?

Merik gun safes and gun vaults are well spec’d, equipped and well-priced at each and every Level of Security. In addition, buyers will now be proud to own a uniquely designed safe for their collection of firearms and most valued possessions that cannot be matched by virtually any other safe company.

Merik Product Line

Merik Guillotine, Odyssey and Phoenix Gun Vaults are in Merik’s Level 2 Security Group.


  • Fire Protection: 90 minutes at 1600°F.
  • 3/16; (7 gauge) Steel Thickness of All Exterior Surfaces
  • 3/16; (7 gauge) Steel Thickness of Interior Liner All Surfaces
  • 3/16; (7 gauge) AR500 Hardened Security Plate inside of Door
  • 3/8; Total Steel Thickness (for each area) Door, Walls, Ceiling & Floor
  • 2”; Total Thickness of Door Edge
  • Eight-Way Bolt Work - Horizontal, Vertical and 4 Corners
  • 1-3/4”; Diameter, Active, Chrome Plated Locking Bolts
  • Total Number of Active Locking Bolts for each Size Safe:
  • 60’’h x 31”w x 27’’d - 20 Bolts
  • 68’’h x 37”w x 27’’d - 20 Bolts
  • 73’’h x 41”w x 27’’d - 22 Bolts
  • Lifetime Limited Warranty on damage to Safe and Lock due to Unlawfully Attempted Theft or Fire (contents excluded)*

Standard Features also INCLUDE:

  • Ultra-Smooth Gear Driven Locking Mechanism
  • Step Door Design to Improve Door Strength and Increase Rigidity
  • Redundant Lock
  • Deluxe Handle(s)
  • Protective Security Pedestal
  • Choice of one of 4 Interior Vault Configurations
  • 6 Pre-Cut Anchor Holes with Anchor Bolts Included
  • Velcro Friendly Carpeted Back Door Panel with Movable Holsters
  • Fully Carpeted Interior - Ceiling, Floor and Walls
  • Palusol Intumescent Expanding Fire Door Seal to Protect Against Fire
  • Door Seal to Prevent Smoke from Entering Safe
  • Heavy-duty Welded Full Mortise Hinges
  • Fully Continuous Welded Steel Body
  • Anti-Pry Tabs resisting Pry Attacks to Locking Bolts
  • Bolt Detent System prevents bolt movement when the safe’s door is open
  • Dual Relockers
  • Triple 10 Gauge AR500 Hard Plate for Drill Attack Resistance to Lock
  • Interior LED Lighting
  • AC Power Supply Outlet with USB Ports
  • Dehumidifier
  • Rolled Form Composite Door and Body Design for added Strength
  • Touch-up paint included

Becoming a Merik dealer may be a good business move for you. They offer attractive products and an appealing dealership program. For more information, visit

About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.