digital gun safes

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by conan32120, Feb 7, 2022.

  1. conan32120

    conan32120 Member

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    am I just being an old fuddy duddy in my mistrust of digital safes. all my safes are dial but am needing to acquire a larger safe (as my collection seems to magically keep growing larger) but every safe I've looked at is digital. Any thoughts, horror stories or advice?
     
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  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Dial for me, just works, and keeps on working.
     
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  3. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Two electronic key pads at my house. Never a problem. Not worried about it being one, either.
     
  4. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    Nothing fuddy duddy about it! I have a Winchester safe and the electronic lock failed within the first month. Although they replaced it, I replaced it with a Sargent & Greenleaf dial and I feel better. There’s no getting around the fact that an electronic keypad introduces at least two more possible failure modes.
     
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  5. Ohen Cepel

    Ohen Cepel Member

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    Depends a lot on the price point and quality. The gov't went to digital locks (but still a spin dial design) years ago and I have heard of few issues with them (not a locksmith though).

    I also prefer the old spin dials myself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2022
  6. 8Ball_99

    8Ball_99 Member

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    Personally I'll never go back to dials. If you don't open your safe often they aren't to bad. Sometimes I open mine multiple times a day. When I had a dial I'd actually leave my safe unlocked Sometimes on accident. Because if I thought I was going to need back in it soon I would close the door but not lock it. Keypad is just so much easier. Heck all my door locks on my home have keypads too. You have a key for back up if they fail. Also the locks are easy to change. It's not like the safe is junk if the lock goes bad. Dials can wear out also. Especially if used often they get slop in them.
     
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  7. conan32120

    conan32120 Member

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    question.. how do you change the lock if you cant open the safe? Also my wife works in a store where they have an electronic safe and it failed but i was able to open it for her with a super magnet, you can youtube how.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2022
  8. BobABQ

    BobABQ Member

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    I tend to feel the same as the OP. Mechanical dial locks have been around for a very long time and pretty much reliable and problem free. I am not so certain about digital locks yet. I can't remember the last time have heard about a mechanical lock failing; that is not true with digital locks, yet. I am sure the design and manufacture of digital locks will get better and issue with them will go away but I am not there yet with trusting them.
     
  9. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Digital locks have been around a fairly long time. My dad's safe is 25+ years old and has one. Never had a problem.

    Besides quick access, I also enjoy the ease of changing the combination on an electronic lock.
     
  10. outdoorman63

    outdoorman63 Member

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    I had a safe with the electronic lock, it was about 8 years old and the keypad failed. I contacted customer service and for a modest fee they sent me a new one. Wow the only way to install it was to have the safe open and the inner panel off to unplug the key pad. No more for me
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2022
  11. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    I have known two folks with electronic safes that have failed. All electronic devices are bound to fail sooner or later and typically with safes, it is sooner as compared to mechanical safes. The only need I can see for them is for quick access safes, not actual collection storage.

    Maybe if you don't open the door very often, it lasts a long time. Or maybe while it sits there, it grows tin whiskers and shorts out despite the lack of use. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_(metallurgy)
     
  12. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    Everything I see new is electronic.
    I prefer mechanical dial, but that choice may be disappearing.
     
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  13. Steve_OH

    Steve_OH Member

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    Mine came with a key. Remove the digital dial and in goes the key. Kept hidden in another part of the house of course.
     
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  14. jwamplerusa

    jwamplerusa Member

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    This too happened to me, also with a Winchester branded safe. I was very lucky that I was able to get it open one last time before the digital lock failed permanently. Sergeant Greenleaf went in to replace it, and I think I will stick with mechanical locks from this point forward.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2022
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  15. 8Ball_99

    8Ball_99 Member

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    Any decent safe with an electronic lock will have a mechanical back up. I have 4 different safes with keypads, they all have a mechanical back up to open the safe in the even the keypad fails or the battery dies. I actually didn't know you could buy a safe that you couldn't access if the battery died until I read it on these forums lol. My only guess is those safes are big box store bargain safes. Diffentily don't buys those. I mean your truck/car has keyless entry that you probably use 99% of the time, but you still have a mechanical lock in the event your keyfob dies or the trucks battery dies. That's just common sense. At the same time refusing to have keyless entry on your vehicle cause it could possibly fail and force you to use a key is kind of silly. To me a safe is the same way. I want the ease of access with a keypad, but of course I want a manual lock for back up. It's not a one or the other. It's easily both. Heck you can have a safe with dials and a keypad if you don't want to deal with a key.
     
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  16. conan32120

    conan32120 Member

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    from what i've read from y'all about digital safes is that their speed of access is their number one selling point but as my home defense weapon is under my mattress the three seconds saved is a non issue. a failure of a digital safe at a very wrong time seems an unnecessary gamble. where o where have the dial safes gone?
     
  17. 8Ball_99

    8Ball_99 Member

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    Just ease of access. My home defense Firearms are not in my gun safes. I have one of those hide away mirrors beside my bed. I keep my edc and a rifle there at night. Doesn't really even have a lock. Flip a hidden lever at the top to open it. It's just to keep them out of sight and to keep them out of reach of our youngest child. Personally the last thing I'm doing in the middle of the night is messing with a dial or a keypad.
     
  18. twarr1

    twarr1 Member

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    Electronic lock technology is solid. However, like 99.9% of all products, the problems are from implementation. Make it cheaper, make it easier. It’s always a balancing act and the bean counters make sure it’s skewed a little to the failure side. Bottom line, you get what you pay for, either way, electronic or dial.
     
  19. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Member

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    I prefer the dial locks also. My buddy had an electronic lock and I guessed his combo from the worn numbers on the key pad. Most dial locks come with a key to lock the dial. If you are going in and out of it several times, you can just lock the dial with the vault locked and just use the key and spin it back to the unlocked position when you need to get back in. Just remember to lock it properly when you are through for the day.
     
  20. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    You're not being a fudd. Safes have relied on dials for thousands of years. No need to go digital imo, it's just for ease of use.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2022
  21. FAS1

    FAS1 Member

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    A good friend is a certified Safe Tech and he still says that the residential calls he gets is usually for electronic keypads/locks. He also says if it is UL rated his warranty claims during the locks warranty period is about the same as a dial. It's the longer term where they fail at a higher rate. He also brags about having a paid for boat from those residential calls alone.

    As I get older, I see the ease of use advantage that people want with the digital pads, but my safe isn't meant for quick access. I am more concerned of the typical failure without warning. Similar to "my TV worked fine last night". ;) With a mechanical dial it will usually give you some feedback that it needs maintenance before it fails. If you ignore it, well that's on you.

    Regarding quick access and electronic safes, these really are the most unreliable. They are all made from electronics that don't have anything like a UL rating for quality. At least the mechanical Simplex pushbutton lock has a very impressive 60+ year track record of reliability.

    And unlike a large safe, there are none that have replacement parts available when there is a failure. I know most are very cheap and viewed as a throw-away, like that TV I mentioned, but if your quick access safe doesn't open in the middle of the night it's not the same as not being able to watch Morning Express w/Robin Meade. :D
     
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  22. upptick

    upptick Member

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    I have an electronic lock on my safe and have never had a problem. But I also maintain two separate portable cases with old school padlocks, each stocked with a rifle, shotgun, and handgun. Trust but verify.
     
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  23. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    When I was researching safes, the safe people told me the expected life of a digital lock was 10 years or less. My friend bought a digital locked safe and his lock failed inside of 5. I bought an American Security safe with a good old dial.

    As far as multiple unlockings go, my dial has a key that allows me to turn the dial off of it's open point by a few numbers and lock the dial.. To get back in, insert and turn the key and then rotate the dial a little bit to it's unlock position. Works great if you are in the house and are going to the safe more than once. If I leave the house, I throw the key into the safe, close the door, and spin the dial as required to clear the lock.
     
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  24. oldfortyfiveauto

    oldfortyfiveauto Member

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    https://zanottiarmor.com/faqs/

    • Why don’t you offer electronic locks?
      Electronic locks do not hold up to our quality standards. They are not reliable and the only thing we can guarantee is that somewhere down the road you will have trouble with them.
     
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  25. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    Here is another consideration though remote. If we ever suffer an EMP attack, heaven forbid, your digital lock will NOT work afterwards and that also will be the worst time to not be able to access your firearms.
     
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