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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

How To Unlock A Safe Without A Key

by Hugo Reed June 13, 2018
Double Keyed Safe

You might be stuck trying to figure out how to unlock a safe without a key for any number of reasons. You could have lost the key to your safe, or simply be dealing with a broken key.

Regardless of what these reasons may be, the truth of the matter is that you are now stuck in a position where you might need some help. You might be able to figure this out on your own, or you might have to rely on some outside help, but you won’t know unless you continue to read more on how to unlock a safe without a key.

The answer to how to unlock a safe without a key is not exactly easy to arrive at. This is simply because there are several different types of security safes that consumers can take advantage of.

Safes can either be used in residential settings or more commercial settings, depending on your needs. In addition to this, there are also subsets that can be used to classify and distinguish between the different kinds of residential and commercial safes.

Before diving into how to unlock a safe without a key, you must first assess the type of safe that you have. Doing so will allow you to objectively view the solutions that can be used to unlock a safe without a key.

Which types of safes use keys?

That’s a great question to ask, and it is one that is intrinsically tied into answering the question on how to unlock a safe without a key. As most of you already know, there are different types of safes that are meant to be used for varying purposes. These types of safes range from gun safes, to simple residential safes to help you secure your valuables.

It is important for first-time safe buyers to know the different safe types and locking options that are at their disposal. This is one of the expert tips for first-time safe buyers that should always be taken into consideration.

There is a common misconception, shared by many, that all safes need keys. A part of this misconception is likely grounded somewhere in the history of safes, which is not quite as prolific as the history of handcuffs or the history of padlocks. It is not necessarily true that all safes need keys, which is something you have to be aware of as you attempt to figure out how to unlock a safe without a key.

Some safes are equipped primarily with keyed locking mechanisms, but not all safes need keys. Safes that are primarily keyed safes are usually mechanical and they do not rely on any form of electricity to power the locking mechanism. There are also safes that can be locked or unlocked by means of a digital touchpad, biometric function, or by the using a combination dial.

However, these types of safes also need to be accounted for because they often use keys as secondary access mechanisms. This comes in handy for users who might forget their safe combination because it gives them an alternative means of access.

How do you unlock a safe without a key?

As we already know, there are several instances that can result in you needing to know how to unlock a safe without a key. You should always be aware that there are multiple options you can use to unlock your safe.

In choosing these options you should consider which solution is the most efficient one, as well as which options will keep your stored valuables intact. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to unlocking a safe without a key:

1. Pick The Lock

Start Lock Picking

The definitive guide to lock picking takes the time to explain the basics of lock picking and all that the skill entails. Lock picking, in and of itself, is not entirely complicated (nor is it easy). The only true way to get better at it is with dedicated practice.

Most amateur lock enthusiasts make good use of practice locks to improve their skill. However, even the most secure practice lock will not adequately prepare you to take on a dedicated safe lock.

For the sake of sheer simplicity, most conversations about the skill of lock picking involve basic pin tumbler locks, especially in an amateur setting. However, this does not mean that only pin tumbler locks can be picked.

The concept of lock picking can be applied to several different locks, regardless of the mechanism they are being used on. If you are discussing the best door locks or the best padlocks, there is still a chance that every lock can be picked.

Lock picking is one of the skills that can be used as an answer to the question of how to unlock a safe without a key. However, you should note that is it not an easy solution. If you have a safe that has a dedicated safe lock mechanism, there is a high chance that the locking mechanism itself is not a pin tumbler lock.

This is especially true for high rated specialty safes (such as gun safes) which mostly have secure locking mechanisms. This kind of locking mechanism requires the use of special tools to be picked. These tools usually consist of specific rakes or picks. The traditional methods of single pin picking or raking will not always be successful on high-security safes.

Lock picking is a viable method, but one that requires time and skill to successfully execute. However, it can be used on safes that have a key override feature. If you are locked out of your safe because you forgot the combination and you’ve also lost your override key, picking the lock will help you unlock your safe without a key.

Safe override locks are often less secure than the primary keyed mechanism, and they usually feature pin tumbler locks or wafer locks that are not too difficult to tackle.

2. Explore Alternative Bypass Methods

Another way to unlock your safe without having your key present is to rely on alternative bypass methods that can help you regain access. Alternative bypass methods sounds like a complicated mouthful, but they really aren’t.

At this juncture, I should stop and remind you not to use any of the things you might learn on here to try and gain access to a safe that is not yours because that is very much illegal and uncool. However, if you are simply trying to figure out how to unlock your safe without a key, then you are in luck.

Common examples of alternative bypass methods that can be used to unlock a safe without a key include safe bouncing and safe manipulation. Individuals who own safes can also take advantage of a change key if there is one that is applicable to their particular safe.

Safe bouncing gives you an alternative that can be used to unlock your safe if you do not have access to your key. The process is meant to jostle the internal mechanism of your safe lock so that they are realigned to the unlocking position.

Similar to the lock picking, this process requires practice in order for it to be executed flawlessly. Keep in mind that this solution will not work on every keyed safe. It all depends on the nature of your locking bolts. It should also be noted that this solution is not as effective on high-security safes that are built to withstand the impacts of an external force being exerted.

3. Reach Out To A Safe Locksmith

Violent Safe Entry

If you have been unsuccessful in your attempts to figure out how to unlock a safe without a key, you should consider reaching out to a safe locksmith who has more experience when it comes to dealing with locked safes.

It is very likely that the locksmith will employ some of the same measures described above. However, they have years of experience on their side, which makes their probability of success much higher.

The processes and expectations of calling a locksmith remain the same regardless of whether you are calling an auto locksmith or a safe locksmith. A locksmith will employ some of the methods above as well as a few others you might not have the skill to try yourself. One of the most common ways to unlock a safe without a key is to drill the lock core itself.

This is usually a last resort for the locksmith because it can potentially cause cosmetic damage to the safe itself, and its contents. Before a locksmith goes down this road, you should ensure that they have exhausted all other options.

Another option that a locksmith can explore is to craft a new safe replacement key for your particular safe. This process is similar to that of replacing house keys or replacing car keys. The locksmith will need to examine your safe to see if they will be able to fashion you a new replacement key.

In lieu of this, a locksmith can assist you in contacting the safe manufacturer to see if they can be of assistance in getting you a replacement key to help you unlock your safe that does not have a key. It should be noted that this is probably the longest process that can be carried out.

Final Thoughts

You may not need to unlock your safe without a key often, but when the need arises, it helps to know how to effectively go about it. As has been mentioned this problem can be tackled via a DIY approach (which would involve learning how to pick a safe lock), or by contacting a locksmith to assist you with unlocking your safe without a key.

Category: How To's, Safes, Safety & Security

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