Safe Locks


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jim357
May 25, 2009, 10:13 PM
I have been reading the posts here for a long time and have learned a lot. I am in the market for a gun safe and have been doing a bit or research. I am starting to get a handle on what I want in a safe except for one thing - the lock. I like the idea of the electronic push button lock, but have heard that one early brand could be opened by pulling off the outside part and shorting two places together. This would reset the lock the the factory code of 1-2-3-4-5-6. I have also been told that this was one very old model that has not been on the market in years. I would appreciate any advice anyone has about lock security and unauthorized opening. I would really like to hear from the two safe experts here if they have an opinion. Thanks, Jim

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a1abdj
May 25, 2009, 10:27 PM
As long as it's UL rated, you will not bypass the lock using any wiring that connects to the keypad.

jim357
May 26, 2009, 12:16 AM
At this point, I am more afraid of malfunctions that will not allow me to open the lock with the combination. How do you see the locks stack up regarding failure? Thanks, Jim

JoshRushing
May 26, 2009, 08:15 AM
I have more Sargent Greenleaf elec. safe locks fail than any other......

I like Lagard myself......

....my2cents....

a1abdj
May 27, 2009, 12:47 AM
I have more Sargent Greenleaf elec. safe locks fail than any other......

I like Lagard myself......


I agree with this. All electronic locks are prone to a higher failure rate, it's just the nature of the beast, and the price you pay for the convenience of the lock.

Globalok also has a very good reputation, but I've never seen it offered by a manufacturer, although you could install one after the fact.

jim357
May 27, 2009, 09:25 PM
Gentlemen, thank you for the input. I think I will stick with the tried and true mechanicial lock. Jim

RedAlert
May 29, 2009, 11:50 PM
I disagree concerning the electronic locks. They have exterior access to replace the battery in the event it dies. Safe manufacturers would not continue to install electronic locks if they were as unreliable as some might suggest.

Show me a locksmith (safe breaker) who can put his ear to the lock and push the buttons listening for the tumblers to fall into place :)

Mechanical locks tend to be little more sloppy in use. By that I mean they will still operate even if you are slightly off on the dial position. Mechanical tolerances tend to be somewhat looser than electronic tolerances.

I can operate my electronic safe lock in the dark. I don't know anyone who can operate a mechanical dial safe lock in the dark without a flashlight or other light source.

For sure there are folks out there with opinions on both sides of the question.

I have and vote for electronic locks.

Ralph

a1abdj
May 30, 2009, 11:33 AM
Safe manufacturers would not continue to install electronic locks if they were as unreliable as some might suggest.


Sure they would. I know this because they're doing it right now as we speak.

Show me a locksmith (safe breaker) who can put his ear to the lock and push the buttons listening for the tumblers to fall into place

Show me a locksmith that can do that with a mechanical lock. This is a Hollywood myth.

jim357
May 30, 2009, 12:56 PM
On the security issue of mechanical and electronic locks, it was pointed out to me that a good safe man can drill a small hole and open the mechanical lock through this hole, but can not drill the safe to open the electronic lock. I understand that there are ways to make this so called "drill" method more difficult, but when a real safe man has to open a safe with a mechanical lock, can he do so without making a huge hole in the safe? Is there a similar drill method to access the machanism that locks the boltwork of the safe? I guess what I am trying to ask, is this: Is it possible to "drill" a safe with an electronic lock to open the safe? Thanks, Jim

a1abdj
May 30, 2009, 06:01 PM
Jim,

Both mechanical and electronic locks are drilled open in similar manners. From this standpoint alone, neither is more secure than the other.

jim357
May 30, 2009, 07:38 PM
Thank you to everyone and a really big thank you to a1abdj. I had no idea that the electronic lock could be drilled open. Since this is the case, is it true that the only real benefit is that the electronic lock is faster to open? I really don't think that someone opening the mechanical lock by manipulation is much of a threat. A few years ago I had the chance to purchase a very nice safe for which the combination was lost. I called every safe person I could find trying to find someone to open the safe without drilling any holes in it. I found one man who said that he would try for one hour and I can not recall the fee. He said that if he could not open the lock in an hour he could not tell how long it would cost. I suspect that is half art and half black magic and half luck. or something like that. I did see that some MIT students made a device that would try every possible number of a combination and open the lock in a few hours. Do any safe men have one of these gizmos? Thanks, Jim

a1abdj
May 31, 2009, 01:18 PM
There are machines called auto dialers that some locksmiths use to open safes without damage. They are expensive, and are not 100% effective. They are also slow, and can take up to a full day to work. They also only work on locks with lost combinations.

It is often faster and easier to drill the safe. If the safe is properly repaired, it will usually be more secure than it was prior to drilling. It is also not uncommon to come across a safe that has been drilled open multiple times.

BBBBill
May 31, 2009, 04:11 PM
Any way to effectively retrofit an electronic lock safe with a mechanical lock?
I have one safe with an electronic lock and another with a mechanical.
I have some military (user) experience with both. While I don't mind some of the electronics locks (XO-7/XO-9), others are always a problem (XO-8).

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