Locked out of your gun safe? Looking to break into a gun safe or any safe in general? This is the post you were in search of.
By the end of this article, you will know how to get back into your safe with ease. Also, we cover many topics that every safe owner must be aware of.
Before we start, don’t panic as it can happen with anyone. It’s quite common for gun owners to lose the key to their gun safe or forget the unlock combination. Sometimes, the lock turns dysfunctional. You cannot always avoid it.
If you are battling such a situation, we have the solution. There are ways you can recover valuable content from the safe yourself. However, high-end safes may need professional assistance.
Also, to break into a safe you need to think like a thief. Well, it’s not easy but you are not going to start robbing banks, anyways. Just think about what a thief would do in such a situation and act accordingly.
First up, let’s look at the three types of safes. Then we’ll see 7 surefire tips to unlock a gun safe.
What are the Different Types of Safes?
Before you get the straws and paper clips, hang on. It is important to know what type of safe you own.
Security safes are predominantly of three types. You can determine which one you own by reading the descriptions provided.
If you want to buy a new safe, weigh the pros and cons mentioned before getting one for your home.
1. Biometrics Safe
Advanced and high tech—these two words define biometric safes perfectly. You may have seen movies where they unlock safes with their eyes. A cool light scans their fingerprint and the safe door opens ajar. Or they command the safe to open and boom—the door flies open.
These cool safes use biometrics like fingerprints, retina, or voice recognition to open. These are the trickiest safes to open without the right person too.
Suppose you have an infection and your voice changes slightly; a code is mandatory to access it. The same goes for if you have red-eye, a finger cut, or a bruise on your face. Until you recover, at least.
Owners can easily configure these metrics using their preferred smart devices. However, before the setup, you can use a combination or code to open the safe. This functionality is available in most safes. So, even without the biometrics, you can enter the code/combination to open it.
- Fast Accessibility
You don’t have to enter a passcode every time you want to open the gun safe. This ensures quick accessibility. These safes can remember the biometrics of up to 100 individuals. Simply add the data of people you want to allow access to. This lets them open the gun safe in your absence. It is also a safe option since you know who else can break into the gun safe.
If you’re down with an infection, you can ask someone else to get into the safe. However, it is not wise to grant access to multiple individuals. Especially in the case of gun safes.
Biometric safes are expensive. You get the best technology and security for the price. For most gun owners, this is the priority.
However, if you’re on a budget, biometric safes may not be for you. Depending on the brand and size, they can cost up to $7000!
For people looking for the safest way to store their valuables and guns, this is a great option.
2. Digital Safe
A step below the trusty biometric safe. Digital safes come with a digital number pad that allows owners to open the safe. Enter the number or character combination using this number/character pad to get in.
It is much like the lock screen of a smartphone. Reconfiguring the code is easy by someone who knows the previous combination. These are mainly used by companies and professionals. These safes are more secure in comparison to simple combination safes.
These are costlier than the combination safes (discussed next). But they add another layer of security with their lockout penalty.
What is a lockout penalty?
When you enter a wrong password three (in most cases) or more times, the safe is not accessible for a while. After the lockout period, you can enter the open the safe by entering the right password. But if you enter the wrong password again, the lockout penalty enforces again. This time, it will be longer.
Digital safes also come with a key to open them. If you are not good at remembering passcodes you can use the key to access your belongings. It is quick and easy, much like entering the password. It all comes down to preference.
If you lose keys often, you can use the combination to enter into the safe. And if you forget passwords, vice versa.
- Lockout Penalty
This serves as a big upside for digital safe owners. If there’s unauthorized access to the safe, there are only a few break-in attempts. Entering the wrong code multiple times will lock your safe and keep its valuables safe. In the case of a gun safe, it is of utmost importance to keep the weapon out of reach.
- Less Expensive than Biometric Gun Safes
As we said, biometric safes can break your bank. For a comparatively cheaper alternative, look into a digital safe.
- Lockout Penalty
We haven’t forgotten, yes it was a pro of owning a digital safe. However, the lockout penalty can be a bane when you are the one who forgets the combination.
If you are in such a situation currently, point proven.
- Locks may fail
Since it relies on technology, a digital safe lock may malfunction once in a while. 3% of safe locks fail, according to research.
3. Combination Safe
This is the most basic and widely used type of safe. It features a dial at the front with the numbers zero to hundred (typically). To get inside the safe, owners will need a 3-digit code corresponding to the dial.
When you turn the dial correctly and it corresponds to the three numbers, the lock releases. You may remember such types of safes from movies featuring bank heists. These may even resemble the locks on high school lockers. The material of a gun safe, however, is much thicker than school lockers. This makes breaking into them tougher than you’d think.
But combination safes are the easiest to crack open out of the three types of safes we covered. They are the least expensive and don’t need any special configurations to work. This is a reliable option for homeowners on a strict budget. It has enough room to store valuables and a weapon.
When it comes to a gun, we prefer going for something more secure. You get many varieties but that does not make these safes any better than the previous two. Yes, combination safes are the cheapest. However, they don’t offer much in terms of protection and security.
Another drawback is that they take ages to open!
You need to move the dial to match the combination and it may take a while. Even after months of use, you’ll still need time to get into a combination safe.
- Available in different sizes
Combination safes are the oldest and most common types of safes. Naturally, you’ll get them readily available and can choose from different shapes and sizes. Make sure you get a robust and convenient combination safe.
- Reasonably priced
Combination safes are the most affordable types of safe in the market. They don’t feature any complex technology or a digital keypad. This makes them the cheapest type of safe.
- Difficult and Tiresome to Access
To open a combination gun safe, even with the passcode, is time-consuming in itself. You’ll need to turn the dial to match the correct number thrice. After that, the safe pops open and you can access whatever is in it.
Are you a homeowner looking for a quickly accessible safe? Then combination safes are a big no. And if you miss the combination or go past it, you will need to start again. That’s too much.
- Not the Safest
Security comes at a price. The different types of safes prove this point. You will get a lock and dial, but that’s it. There’s no other layer of protection keeping thieves away from your treasure.
Tips to Break into a Gun Safe
Locks get jammed all the time and sometimes you forget the combination. We’ve all been there.
But what next?
How to break into a gun safe?
It does not need to be tricky. Use these simple yet effective tricks when your gun safe won’t budge the next time.
1. Call in the Professional
When possible, call in a locksmith. Don’t take breaking into a safe as a DIY project. It can cause more damage to the safe than you can imagine.
Though this might seem to be the best solution, it is often avoided. When homeowners get locked out of their safes, they forget to call in a locksmith. The obvious reason is to avoid the hefty bill.
But locksmiths are a cost-friendly solution to help you break into the safe. How?
What if you break the safe in your little DIY project?
You’ll end up spending more dollars buying a new safe instead of getting help with the previous one.
2. Get the Rod/Bolts
Notice the little space between the safe’s body and the door?
That is the prying space. Every gun safe has it and you can carefully open the safe using this opening. Use this method only as the last resort. It will cause permanent damage to your safety but is a quick way to break into a safe.
To break into a safe; you will need a rod, bolt, or impact drill.
Now, follow these simple steps to pop the safe open in no time.
Step 1: Find the prying space and push in the tool you found.
Step 2: Push your tool outside carefully. Do not handle the tools irresponsibly or you might get hurt.
Step 3: Keep trying until you get in.
The first few attempts may not be fruitful. However, you can get the safe to pop after a few tries.
3. Open it with the KEY
Whether you own a combination, digital, or biometric safe, it comes with an override key. In such situations, this key is a great way to open the safe. Find it and use it to safely open the lock.
In combination safes, this key is generally found near the dial area. Although, some models don’t come with such keys. But if you can get an override key, breaking into the safe is easy and quick.
Check your gun safe manual and see where you can find the key. It will also tell you how to use this key to reset the combination.
Before you try to reset the combination, don’t forget to take out the valuables or guns. The safe might get locked while you try to reset the lock.
4. Get a Change Key
This may not work on every gun-safe model. It won’t hurt to try, nonetheless. For this method to work, you will need to remember the combination. But you can use the change key to break into your safe too.
It is a simple option when you want to reset the lock. Whenever you open the safe, check behind the door. Some models have a key that allows owners to manually override the lock.
This key can be used on the safe’s front. After that, you can enter the safe without knowing the combination. You can also set a more memorable combination while you’re at it.
5. Force it Open with Magnets
It is a gun safe; it is pure metal. Magnets can easily manipulate locks.
This may not be possible for high-end safes but some of the gun safes are quite vulnerable. It is a simple way to open the gun safe when you lose the key. First, get earth magnets from a local hardware store. Make sure you get a big magnet for maximum force.
Note: The earth magnet’s tremendous power can mess with your electronic devices. Make sure to keep them away from the magnet at all times.
Also, it is very important to not use earth magnets if you have a medical device on you. For example, a pacemaker.
That said, get a sock or any tube fabric. Place the magnet inside the sock. Bring it near the safe. Try to locate the solenoid by moving around the magnet. Since the placement may vary for models, you may require patience with this method.
The earth magnet’s strong pull will easily reset the lock. If you’re looking for a way to break into the safe without breaking it, this is it.
6. Drop it!
Use this method if the gun inside is not loaded only. It may sound silly but it is a tried and tested way to unlock gun safes.
It is just like smacking the TV remote to get it to work. By dropping the safe, you may get it open and reset the lock.
Gently drop it to the floor or bounce it on one side. This may not be the best idea for bigger safes. But it is a viable option for smaller locked safes. To break into the safe, follow these steps:
- Place a cloth below the safe and lift it slightly from one side.
- Gently drop it down from an inch or so. Don’t drop it from a height.
- Try this by gradually increasing the distance. After each drop, check the door.
The safe door will pop open after a few drops in most cases. But if you don’t want to break the safe, make sure to drop it gently.
7. Get the Trusty Wire
This is a thief’s go-to break-in method. But it can work for homeowners locked out of their safes too.
For this, you’ll need a wire, paperclip, plastic straw, and steady hands. You won’t use all the former tools but keep all of them handy just in case.
Slide any of these into the prying space and move them around near the lock. While doing so, keep your ear pressed onto the safe. Make sure everything else is quiet so you can hear the lock click.
This approach ensures you get the safe open without breaking it. It does require skills and proper placement, but after some time you can open the safe.
Also Read:- How To Build A Gun Safe
Q: How to break into a gun safe without damaging it?
- Try dropping the safe.
- Think like a thief, use a wire.
- Get the help of a professional locksmith.
- Find the combination/key.
Using these four simple methods, you can break into your safe without damaging it at all. While you use a wire, make sure to refer to a reliable DIY video before you begin.
If you short of time, find a good locksmith nearby. They will have the knowledge and tools to open your gun safe without damaging the gun safe. But the safest and most convenient way is to find the key or try to remember the passcode. If you’ve lost the key in your home, the first step is to always search for the key. Only as a last resort must you try the other methods.
Please note when you are dropping the safe, do not drop it from a height. Simply drop it from about a foot to loosen the locking mechanism.
Q: How long does it take to break into a gun safe?
It is not easy to break into a robust, high-quality gun safe and can take hours or even days. If you’re trying to break into a safe without damaging it and without a locksmith, you are in for a long day.
However, you can avoid this situation altogether.
By keeping a spare key to the safe or noting down the combination and keeping them in a secure location.
Before you get your tools, make sure you know what you’re doing. If you tamper too much with it, you may need to get a new safe.
Q: What is the hardest gun safe to break into?
Unfortunately, most safes are quite easy to break into. Thieves and robbers come prepared with a plethora of tools to get into your gun safe. Sometimes, they may even take the entire safe with them.
To avoid such situations, it is important to follow certain instructions.
- Bolt down the safe.
- Go for the thickness of the steel overall and not the thickness of the door.
While we’re at it, also note that expensive doesn’t always mean secure. Gun safes that cost thousands of dollars can be broken into in a few minutes. Look for gun safes that have a reliable and secure locking mechanism. This will help you keep your firearms and valuables protected.
Regaining access to a safe may not be as difficult as you thought. Yes, it requires patience but with the right tools, it is not impossible. So, now that you know how to break into a gun safe get going. Open your jammed safe yourself!