Gun safes, mechanical or electronic lock?


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Otto
May 7, 2009, 04:37 PM
Getting a BF series AMSEC. Dealer thinks electronic locks are better.
I thought it was the other way around.

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runrabbitrun
May 7, 2009, 04:58 PM
I'm a mechanical kind of guy myself.

Electronics can and do screw up.

I won't purchase a car with electric windows either.
Never know when the electronics will fail.

mg.mikael
May 7, 2009, 04:59 PM
I'd say go with the good ole-mechanical lock. But I'm basing that off of common sense, their's less fragile components that could break or malfunction on mechanical versus electronic.

Toml
May 7, 2009, 05:02 PM
I went with a mechanical Sargent & Greenleaf lock on my AmSec Cascade 6030 safe. Very satisfied.

runrabbitrun
May 7, 2009, 05:06 PM
Don't forget about EMP and how it effects electronic components.

I know, I know...
never gonna happen here in the good ole USA. Right?

larry_minn
May 7, 2009, 05:08 PM
It depends on what YOU want.... I LOVE the electronic lock. Its simple, quick, easy, etc. I can teach ANYONE to open it (over the phone) if needed.
I can set up a (temp) combo and switch back if I want someone to have access for short period of time.
From what I have heard/been told. A QUALITY S&G dial lock is most robust/trouble free with minimal maintance.
A QUALITY keypad shouldn't be a problem under normal conditions. You should change combo so only one group of keys get worn. (still thousands of possible combos)
My next safe if I have choice will be dial. If I get deal I will take keypad/if used.

Otto
May 7, 2009, 05:27 PM
Don't forget about EMP and how it effects electronic components.

Excellent point.

woad_yurt
May 7, 2009, 05:33 PM
I'm a mechanical lock kind of guy. In my life, electronics have failed at the most inconvenient times. I love a computer on my desk but hate it almost anywhere else.

Ever have a car die because the electronics or the computerized engine management system failed? It's really frustrating to have a perfectly good engine that won't run because some miniscule chip has failed. I have a new van that always has digital issues while my '62 mechanical-only Valiant keeps right on going.

I like the combo lock; keep the keypad.

woad_yurt
May 7, 2009, 05:34 PM
Oops. Double tap.

bigfatdave
May 7, 2009, 05:45 PM
Are there any safes with simplex-style locks on the market?

AirplaneDoc
May 7, 2009, 06:26 PM
Don't forget about EMP and how it effects electronic components.


Just cover your safe with the electric lock in tin foil, and you'll be fine

Feanaro
May 7, 2009, 06:39 PM
As someone who has played with electronics all his life and loves them to death... MECHANICAL.

ServiceSoon
May 7, 2009, 06:44 PM
i went with S & G mechanical.

a1abdj
May 7, 2009, 07:12 PM
I prefer mechanical locks.

Dealer thinks electronic locks are better.


Did you ask the dealer from what experience he forms his opinion from? He may have a legitimate reason for suggesting you go that route. Then again, he may just be somebody who sells safes and knows nothing else about them.

I wouldn't disregard his suggestion until you know why he's making it.

ScareyH22A
May 7, 2009, 07:26 PM
Electronic for convenience sake. If the keypad fails you can replace them on decent safes.

jnyork
May 7, 2009, 07:40 PM
Couple of weeks ago I wanted into both my safes. I got right into the mechancal lock, the one with the electronic lock had a low battery, I had to run to town to get a battery and install it. Nuff said?

Nowhere Man
May 7, 2009, 07:50 PM
Four turns to the left.........three turns to the right..........two turns to the left............turn slowly to the right until you get close to the number without passsing it...........hogwash!!!!!!


Six beeps and I'm in. If the battery gets low, steal one from the smoke detector.:what:


Dave

blkbrd666
May 7, 2009, 08:06 PM
Ask any professional thief, they'll tell you, "You should get an electronic lock, it's much quicker and easier to open.".

The Lone Haranguer
May 7, 2009, 08:06 PM
Electronic for me. It is far easier to push a four- or five-digit code on a keypad than fiddle with a dial. There should be a mechanical backup, however. Mine has one - remove the battery pack and there is a hole in which you insert the supplied skeleton key. Keep this key separate from the safe in a good hiding place.

matrem
May 7, 2009, 08:18 PM
I have(personally) had two electronic locks fail me.
Never again!
S&G mechanical..slower to access...But I can ALWAYS access!

NC-Mike
May 7, 2009, 08:56 PM
I have both. Keypad on the small pistol safe and mechanical on the long gun safe. :neener:

bhp9mm
May 8, 2009, 03:50 AM
i say go with mechanical

Smith
May 8, 2009, 04:54 AM
I'd say mechanical. Less likely to fail, probably cheaper, and EMP proof. Only downside is that they take a bit longer to open. Although a keypad is very convenient.

djs764
May 8, 2009, 08:22 AM
Electronic for me. It is far easier to push a four- or five-digit code on a keypad than fiddle with a dial. There should be a mechanical backup, however. Mine has one - remove the battery pack and there is a hole in which you insert the supplied skeleton key. Keep this key separate from the safe in a good hiding place.

I have the exact same set up and love it. You can change the combo anytime if needed, I have a mechanical one on my personal home safe and after 10 years I still can't remember the factory set combo. Lets face it, it's harder to see those numers on the mechanical ones as you get older :neener:. Also,an electronic one you'll be able to open a lot faster if need be.

Kwanger
May 8, 2009, 10:35 AM
I'd say mechanical for main storage, electronic for quick access.

drumz2129
May 8, 2009, 11:04 AM
My browning has a S&G electronic- very quick to open. keep extra batteries. I wish it had a manual backup though. I have been thinking about having it changed to a dial.

jeff-10
May 8, 2009, 01:56 PM
I love the electronic locks. I understand they may not be 100% reliable like mechanical but they are very convient.

Otto
May 9, 2009, 03:11 AM
Did you ask the dealer from what experience he forms his opinion from? He may have a legitimate reason for suggesting you go that route. Then again, he may just be somebody who sells safes and knows nothing else about them.

I wouldn't disregard his suggestion until you know why he's making it.

The dealer said that many of his customers after purchasing a mechanical lock later wished they had bought the digital instead, pointing out that conversions weren't cheap.

He explained that digital locks were easier to re-code than mechanicals.
And that AMSEC warranties mechanical and electronics both the same.

For these reasons, nearly all of the AMSEC's he sells are electronic but he does offer an in-house mech. conversion at the time of purchase.
However, I wonder if the conversion from an electronic to mechanical lock compromises the integrity of the safe in any way.
Question is, how entailed of a job is it?

The appeal of mechanical locks for me is that they cost less ($100) and have a more traditional appearance.

PT1911
May 9, 2009, 03:16 AM
I much prefer mechanical... both for the looks and function... it is quick to open and I have had no issues.. I actually have no issues putting in the first 2 digits from time to time and leaving the dial spun to the verge of reset... if i need in it that badly, I will just have to turn to my final number. anyone trying to get into it would have to turn the correct direction and check 50 numbers to get the correct one... dont do this much, but I get lazy sometimes...typically only when I am home and may need in the safe at a moments notice...

kyo
May 9, 2009, 03:24 AM
both exist in one safe. if I had to choose, I pick manual, cause if the power is out or the batteries die im boned.
My safe has a key pad and a lock area. Its better that way

niceguymr
May 27, 2009, 01:42 AM
I've been going through the same dilema recently for a new safe purchase. i went with the mechanical dial lock in the end.

To the resident locksmiths & safe technicians here, I have a question:

I read somewhere that "the 3rd number of a good manual dial lock cannot or should not be set to any number between 95 & 20". Why is that?

clarence222
May 27, 2009, 02:57 AM
When I installed my vault door it came with the electronic lock. Yes it was nice however before we even had the chance to finish the house the lock was fried. Needless to say it was an ordeal to get into my gun room with the door closed and lock and the lcok not working. The company sent me a locksmith with a new electronic lock, I told him to send it back for a mechanical lock and have been happy ever since. I certainly would not recommend any one going with the electronic lock. The solenoid or actuator on mine failed. I have hd the mechanical lock for over 3 years now and have not had the first problem, even changing the combination was not hard at all.

lvcat2004
May 27, 2009, 04:18 AM
I have several safes in my house. 2 finger-groove gun vault safes mounted under my night stand and my office desk. I have one sliding door in wall safe in my closet which is also a keypad, and one large safe down stairs with my long guns with mechanical lock.

My quick access stuff is electronic and I have been happy with Gun Vault brand. My sliding door electronic failed me once because battery went bad after 4 years and it didn't have enough voltage to open the door, that was bad...took me a special trip to get the weird battery that was not easy to find.

I have kids, so I need everything locked up while being quickly accessible and my finger groove gun vault allows me to do that in 3 seconds, and nearly invisibly mounted.

As for big stuff that I don't need quick access...all mechanical, no other way. But I'm a handgun self-defense kinda guy. I don't need my 223 or 7.62x39 to clear my house. I did have an option to get electronic or mechanical, but I see NO reason for me to go electronic on something that my life doesn't depend on....if you are a long gun self defense kind of guy, you might consider it, but practically speaking, I rather have a small, quick access gun vault kind of thing under my night stand that I have 3 second access....if that fails, I have another electronic vault in the closet. My big safe is downstairs and I don't anticipate going there in SD situation.

peyton
May 27, 2009, 05:35 AM
I have two safes. Digital safe lets the wifey in easily, bad idea, she finds all the newest aquistions!!
Mechanical she can not open and even my eyes are getting bad. I had the mechincal lock checked by locksmith 20 years after I bought it and it is still good to go. So answer to your question is what is more important? Speed or reliability? The reason I ask, is the battery on my electronic lock has needed replacing already. Lastly, buy a safe twice as big as you think you need!! They fill up quickly.

SmokeyVol
May 27, 2009, 06:35 AM
If you have to worry about EMP, you are a cooked goose anyway (literally). Not a valid arguement against electronic locks.

I prefer mechanical locks anyway becuse I have had far too many elecrtonic devices fail. A dial lock will last for decades. I can see that electronic is faster to open, but long term reliability is suspect.

Deanimator
May 27, 2009, 08:36 AM
Unless it fails in the unlocked condition, I'd never trust an electronic lock.

Mine is mechanical.

Martyk
May 27, 2009, 08:45 AM
Mechanical. Besides all the other reasons mentioned above, I've always wondered what would happen to the electronic lock in the event of a fire.

Someone should post a poll for this question.

USSR
May 27, 2009, 08:47 AM
Don't forget about EMP and how it effects electronic components.


When you remove the electronic keypad from the safe, such as to change the batteries, you will notice a key slot that allows you to open the safe with a key. So, EMP strike or dead batteries are of no concern, since you can open your safe either electronically or mechanically.

Don

JoshRushing
May 27, 2009, 09:37 AM
NICEGUYMR wrote: "I read somewhere that "the 3rd number of a good manual dial lock cannot — or should not — be set to any number between 95 & 20". Why is that?"

That is the "Forbidden Zone" simple reason is: (By putting the last number to close to the drop-in area) It can cause the lock not to lock properly and thus causing it not to open properly, or causing the last number to be erratic causing it not to open properly, or putting the last number in the drop-in area making it less secure. Meaning (Right to 1st number, Left to 2nd, Right to open) because your last number and the drop-in can become the same.

Anyway.....Electronic or Mechanical is the question.....I like both depending on application. So without going into any debates. Heres my picks if you go Electronic stay away from the S&G(Lagard is my choice), but if you go Mechnical S&G is the way to go.....

USSR wrote: "When you remove the electronic keypad from the safe, such as to change the batteries, you will notice a key slot that allows you to open the safe with a key. So, EMP strike or dead batteries are of no concern, since you can open your safe either electronically or mechanically."

Yes there some out there but not the case in quality...........

DHJenkins
May 27, 2009, 10:26 AM
Go mechanical.

Electronics are quick, neat & easy, but they fail far more often than mechanical locks.

niceguymr
May 27, 2009, 11:12 AM
I don't recall exactly where I read it although I'm pretty sure it was here (THR), but I thought I read a locksmith pointing out that calls to drill open safes are 9 times out of 10 safes with electric locks (vs mechanical locks 1:10) - or some statistics to that effect.

It seems to me that the creation of the e-locks has been nothing but good news for the safe/locksmith industry. On one hand, you've got a lot of people wanting them, and on the other hand, a locksmith is almost assured a repeat customer when they buy an e-lock.

I distinctly recall a few conversations with safe dealers who also happen to be in the locksmith industry saying that they do get frequent calls on e-locks but that they are usually simple things to resolve (battery or keypad issues). Nonetheless, even for a small issue, you're going to pay for a locksmiths time. And just think, most e-locks have probably been purchased in the last 10 years or so which means that the evenuality of more and more e-locks malfunctioning or failing in some way will probably be on the rise.

winston smith
May 28, 2009, 12:02 AM
Better for the dealer- you'll be paying him to fix it over and over.

Go Mechanical- S&G.

Flash!
May 28, 2009, 12:13 AM
My choice would be S & G mechanical.

clarence222
May 28, 2009, 12:17 AM
When you remove the electronic keypad from the safe, such as to change the batteries, you will notice a key slot that allows you to open the safe with a key. So, EMP strike or dead batteries are of no concern, since you can open your safe either electronically or mechanically.




My vault door did not have a key to open it manually

a1abdj
May 28, 2009, 12:32 AM
I distinctly recall a few conversations with safe dealers who also happen to be in the locksmith industry saying that they do get frequent calls on e-locks but that they are usually simple things to resolve (battery or keypad issues). Nonetheless, even for a small issue, you're going to pay for a locksmiths time. And just think, most e-locks have probably been purchased in the last 10 years or so which means that the evenuality of more and more e-locks malfunctioning or failing in some way will probably be on the rise.

I have expensive hobbies, and the boat won't fuel itself! :)

Electronic locks were probably designed with the commercial customer in mind. If you had a store at the mall and had to change your safe combination twice a year, you would have to pay a locksmith to come out each time (service call plus labor).

If they use an electronic lock, they can change the combination themselves. Even if the lock fails after the third year and they have to spend $500 to put the safe back into working order, they will probably come out ahead money wise. If they can get 5 years out of it, it's even better.

If the business buys a nicer electronic lock, they also have features that a mechanical lock could never have. Some of these locks have audit features that can tell the owner who was in the safe and when. These locks can also have duress features that tie into an alarm system, multiple combinations so that each user can use their own number, and built in time locks and delays.

wrs840
May 28, 2009, 12:38 AM
I'd say mechanical for main storage, electronic for quick access.

^^^ This is the correct answer.

Your main safe should be mechanical (and big, expensive, and pretty enough to give you a boner). Your quick-access safe(s) (two at my house and one at the office) should be keystroke-quick...

IMO,
Les

Feanaro
May 28, 2009, 05:28 AM
Your quick-access safe(s) (two at my house and one at the office) should be keystroke-quick...

I wake up, I can't remember how old I am for at least five minutes, let alone a safe combo. My "quick-access safe" is made of leather and drawstroke-quick. I just put it on the nightstand when I knock off. Might not be a good idea with kids though.

dkk73
May 28, 2009, 06:48 AM
Quote: Are there any safes with simplex-style locks on the market?

The best safe I've seen is the R&D Enterprises handgun safe series. Stamped out of a metal pipe with a Simplex lock. Lock is very, very reliable and fairly quick. I feel much more assured of getting into it than my electronic main gun safe.

Not sure what the best Simplex-locked safe currently made is, though. Anyone?

mp43sniper
May 28, 2009, 04:17 PM
I just looked at safes yesterday after deciding to get a good one instead of another cheap piece of garbage (homak from Kmart - was around $100 a couple years ago).

Never thought about asking for a mech lock although I did instantly get a bad taste in my mouth when I saw the digital locks. Today at another shop, I looked - all had electronic! Do most shops keep all electronic and only order mechanical when they are sold?

Craig

Iansstud
May 28, 2009, 05:52 PM
I like my 5 beeps and im in safe... for when the baddies are knockin at the front door... and my .45 wont quite cut it.... and if the battery dies, or whatever.... I have a key too.... It is in another room hidden...

BCC
May 28, 2009, 07:12 PM
I've got an electronic lock on my main safe. My bedroom HD gun box has a biometric lock on it (with a key backup).

Both are fast and very convenient to use. Neither has ever failed. I can't imagine both going bad at the same time. So in my case it's not a risk situation, but rather a balancing of daily convenience of use, vs the inconvenience if and when there is a failure.

Convenience wins.

mongo4567
May 28, 2009, 11:38 PM
I use electronic for quick access and mechanical for longer term storage.

4v50 Gary
May 29, 2009, 01:35 AM
Mechanical. Electronics fail. Mechanical can work for decades.

inSight-NEO
May 29, 2009, 01:50 AM
Electronic lock with manual override...no worries.

FiveFiveSixFan
May 29, 2009, 03:24 AM
Mechanical for storage safe. Electronic for HD.

CCWB
May 29, 2009, 01:56 PM
mechanical

Lightninstrike
May 29, 2009, 02:24 PM
Biometric with mechanical backup in case of power failure or battery death.

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