My Gun Safe Won’t Open

I get a lot of calls regarding gun safes that won’t open. About 80 percent of the calls are for digital safes where the electronic lock has failed. The remaining 20 percent are mechanical failures. Some examples of a mechanical failure are where one of the locking bolts is disconnected and won’t retract, or the handle spins and won’t pull the bolts back. I’ve seen a few of each of these in the last 30 days.

All of these issues can be resolved by a professional locksmith (me) without damage to the safe and the safe can be repaired properly.

Here are some things you can do to reduce the chance of this happening to you.

1. Never allow the contents of the safe to extend beyond the depth of the interior shelving. This can push on the door, get caught in the hinge side, or the worst case, bind the bolts and make it difficult to open the safe. I had a local client who had a rifle in the front corner of the safe, and it partially blocked the bolts from moving and caused an expensive lockout. And it damaged the rifle also.

2. At the first sign of something behaving differently, CALL for service. Some examples are: numbers on the keypad don’t register; the bolts are hard to lock or unlock; the handle is hard to turn; or the handle “slips” when attempting to turn. Delaying service can turn a simple problem into an expensive one.

3. If you have an “NL” digital keypad like the one in the picture below, get it replaced. I have more service calls on this lock than any other.

4. If you have a mechanical lock that is stubborn and hard to open, I can reset the combination to eliminate “combination drift” to make it easier to open.

If your safe is locked and you don’t know the combination, I can open it professionally. Safes don’t always need to be “drilled” to get them open. If it needs to be drilled, we need only a 1/4” hole most of the time. The hole will be repaired to be stronger than the original metal, and the repair will be invisible. Professional drilling does not affect the integrity of the safe!

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