Gun safe lock options

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Gun safe lock options

Post by John McCormick on 10/30/2016, 7:23 am

I'm about to buy a larger safe now that we are moving to a bigger place and I've settled on a Fort Knox model. I have to decide on the lock mechanism--electronic or dial. I've read all sorts of stories about how electronic locks will invariably fail, but has anyone out there actually had that experience, aside from a dead battery? I'm leaning towards the standard dial, primarily because it's what I'm used to. But the e-locks are very convenient and many seem to swear by them.

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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by willnewton on 10/30/2016, 7:41 am

The joy of having an electronic safe that you will have to use a key for after six months is a feeling I am familiar with.

Just take a look at the safe and ask what will you do when it doesn't work.  Mail it in?  Have the factory fly a repair person to your house?  Is the keyed lock access hidden behind a badge that you need an Allen wrench to remove?  Is the purpose long term storage or do you need to be able to have rapid access?

Just some things to think about.  I like having a larger combination safe and a smaller electronic safe for quick access.  Unfortunately, my small e-safe stopped working after a few months, so now is much less useful and I do not want another e-safe to replace it.  My combination safe has worked perfectly for over ten years.
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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by JWelch on 10/30/2016, 8:00 am

I purchased a safe 11 years ago that has a triple redundant locking system. A key that allows the dial to be spun. A dial lock that then allows the e-lock to be used. A e-lock that then allows the door to be opened. 

Being in the military, I lost the key about three moves ago.  The e-lock did not survive the second move. It's still there, but not functioning. Thankfully, it failed to the "open" position. The dial is the only thing that still functions.

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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by rebs on 10/30/2016, 8:45 am

I have had an electronic safe for 5 years with no problems

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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by AllAces on 10/30/2016, 9:37 am

When it comes to gun safes I follow two rules:

1. Occam's Razor.
2. Fail safe systems fail when they fail to fail safe.
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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by kjanracing on 10/30/2016, 10:01 am

I have an electronic Liberty safe. I like that I can open it in about 5  seconds. My dad has a dial safe and it takes way longer to open it, must be very precise with the dial or start over. Maybe you could try both types and decide?
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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by LenV on 10/30/2016, 10:23 am

I have several E-safes. The oldest one is about 10 years old. I have never had any problem except dead batteries. Replacing the batteries is easy but makes me wonder why? The battery box is totally accessible. Maybe a little too accessible. Did you ever wonder how a key pad works? Put in the right combination and a 9 volt (or 6, 3 etc) is applied to the correct wire, energizes the solenoid and allows you to open the safe. Those wires are all accessible when changing the batteries or located behind a very flimsy key pad. I figured out a long time ago which wires needed to be connected to open the safe. If the safe is being used to keep honest people honest, as fire protection or to keep the Grandkids out then e-safes are fine. For anything else go with a combination safe. YMMV

Len
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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by Jwhelan939 on 10/30/2016, 10:26 am

I like the old style dial for my main (storage) safe. My home defense gun is in a safe with an electronic lock but I wired it to have a plug.

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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by BE Mike on 10/30/2016, 3:53 pm

I have a Ft. Knox safe with e-lock. The lock is by S&G. Everything is top notch on Ft. Knox safes. I've had mine for aver 8 years without any problems. Ft. Knox has a great service policy and backs up every safe they sell. I also have a very old Browning safe with dial. I haven't had any problems with it either. I used to know a guy who sold safes and owned very many. When I decided to order my Ft. Knox, I asked him about the reliability of the e-locks. He said over the many years he had sold them, that there were not any more problems with them than dials. He had no dog in the fight, so I valued his opinion. That made me decide to get the e-lock. One thing I notice about the dial safe, is that I often leave it unlocked when I take a gun out, because it takes a little while to open. Every once in a while I forget to lock it and leave it unlocked for days, sometimes. I never do that with the e-lock Ft. Knox safe.
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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by John McCormick on 10/30/2016, 6:22 pm

Thanks for the input, guys.  I'm going the Luddite route and will specify a dial. $175 less that way, too.

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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by BE Mike on 10/31/2016, 7:49 am

One thing I forgot to mention is that it is very easy to change the combination on an e-lock. The dial lock combination isn't easy to change. Another thing is that if you want to change your mechanical dial lock to an e-lock later, it isn't that difficult to do. I would pay to have the light kit installed at the factory, but you can jury rig one for less money.


Last edited by BE Mike on 10/31/2016, 8:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Gun safe lock options

Post by davekp on 10/31/2016, 7:57 am

I had a dial lock fail. Replaced with an e-lock. Much happier.

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