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How to Open an Electronic Lock on a Gun Safe

Updated on August 1, 2010

Electronic Safe Locks

Electronic locks are an excellent gun safe feature.  Mechanical locks driven by combination dials are reliable and relatively maintenance free, but they’re incredibly slow to open, and changing the combination can be a bit of a hassle.  On the other end of the spectrum, biometric fingerprint reading locks are extremely fast, but they tend to be very expensive, and the technology, though nearly perfect, just isn’t quite perfect enough (in my opinion).  

Electronic locks - governed by keypad entry - are a perfect balance of accessibility, versatility, and considering that the task of changing batteries is the primary cost of upkeep, they’re low maintenance as well.  Of course, operating them can be a bit intimidating at first if you aren’t used to it.  Though most electronic locks have minor differences in operation, the following instructions will give you a basic idea of how to open electric lock guarded gun safe.

Note: Always consult your manual before attempting anything.

Electronic Gun Safe Lock

An electronic lock makes it easy to open your gun safe.
An electronic lock makes it easy to open your gun safe.

Operating The Electronic Lock

Most electronic locks, particularly on nicer units, come from the factory programmed with a master code. This master code, depending on your system, can be linked to all functions, so you’ll want to change it to your own unique combination immediately. If you have a safe lock that accepts multiple user combinations (this is almost standard in UL listed Sargent and Greenleaf models), your master code will also allow full control of user administration.

Whether you’re setting up a new user or changing your master code, you’ll want to use unique numbers or letters (most units use 6 number combinations). It’s strongly advised that you don’t use personal information, like birthdays, addresses and phone numbers for your combo - if a burglar has made it this far into your home, chances are pretty good he’s seen a lot of your personal info on documents (bills or otherwise) scattered about.

Once you enter your code correctly, you can turn the handle or latch and open the safe. Here are a couple extra tips that may apply to your lock that you’ll want to consider:

On most locks, the unit beeps, and often lights up the keypad for each button you press. If you’re pressing firmly on the keypad, and it isn’t responding, chances are good your batteries are installed improperly or you have a malfunctioning lock.

Most locks require that you enter “#” at the end of every code entry and/or menu function. This signifies that you’re finished with the entry.

Many safe locks have built-in lock out functions to prevent unauthorized users from repeated guessing. With this in mind, should you catch yourself entering the wrong code, it’s better to cancel the function than continuing the entry and starting over. On most safes, simply waiting 10-15 seconds without entering another key will cancel things out. Alternatively, pressing “*” will also usually do the trick.

If you do happen to lock yourself out (the default on most electric locks is 3 or 4 times - consult your manual to be sure), it’s strongly recommended that you just wait it out - don’t touch anything. Likely, you’ll only have to wait 15 minutes to suspend the automatic lockout mode. The reason it’s suggested you not touch anything during this time is because many locks will max out the lockout time (for an hour in some cases) should a further attempt be made. Go get yourself a drink and come back.

Again, many locks operate uniquely from one another, so unfortunately, going into any further detail might not be relevant to your unit. However, the above basic tips on how to open your gun safe electronic lock should make you a little more comfortable. Good luck with your new, or soon-to-be purchase!

Opening an Electronic Lock on an American Security Gun Safe


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    • Lackasafe profile image

      Lackasafe 7 years ago from Carlstadt, NJ

      Also make sure the combination is something that is unique to you and not anything that someone else could easily guess!

    • profile image

      Joey Bennett 7 years ago

      It is very important to keep your gun in a locked location where only you can get to it. Make sure that when you get a new gun safe you are able to easily access it and it is a pass code that you will have no trouble remembering. Thanks for the great tips!