Breaking Into Handgun Safes

Breaking Into Handgun Safes

I have said several times on this site that many of the handgun safes that we buy and discuss are nothing more than metal boxes.  They are great at keeping a child under 5 out of them, but can easily be defeated by a determined teenager or a criminal.  I was checking out other gun safe websites today and wandered over to gunsafehaven.com.  Jack had posted a great (but long) video of a guy demonstrating how you can break into handgun safes quickly and quite easily.  It is worth a watch.  http://vimeo.com/31177302  (content has lots of swearing).  Best part is that he doesn’t just give a talk, but has videos of him breaking into all these pistol safes.

If you don’t have time to watch the entire video, let me give you some of the highlights:

  • The cable locks that you get from the police department or with most handguns are made in China and very wimpy.  It takes him about 10 seconds to pick one open using a standard locksmith pick.
  • Some gun owners use a lock that locks around the trigger.  This guy has a thin flat wire that he used to slide  in between the ratchets on the lock that holds both sides together and get it open in about 20 seconds.
  • While the GunVault safes have a decent locking mechanism if you use their biometric safe version or even just their hand print electronic version, all of these pistol safes have a weakness.  They each have a round tubular lock in the front that can be used as a backup for opening the safe in case you forget the combo or the electronics fail.  These locks can be picked in about 30 seconds using a tubular pick, which cost about $70 online.  Otherwise, the speaker was unable to open the safe any other way using picks against the primary lock.
  • The Biobox also has a tubular lock and has the same issue as the GunVault safe that it is very easy with a $70 tubular pick to open this metal pistol safe.  To make this design even worse, if you know where the enroll button is for the biometric reader, you can simply stick a bent screwdriver, bent lock pick, or even a paperclip in the side and push the enroll button on the interior.  Then you can enroll your finger and make yourself a user on the safe!  The owner would never know that you now have access any time you like because you are now an authorized user.
  • Most better made biometric safes such as Barska and LockSafe are very difficult to fool.  He tries to pick the lock of a LockSafe model, but is unsuccessful.    This guy tries all kinds of different ways to trick the biometric reader on that unit with no luck.  He finally found some crazy modeling silicone stuff to make a copy of his fingerprint and this works.  Not sure that this is a legit test as you are using a valid finger to open the safe, not any deception or picking.
One side note.  On some of these safes, the inferior tubular or simple wafer lock can be removed and replaced with a much tougher Abloy lock.  You may need to do some modifications with a dremel or screwdriver, but  this upgrade will be worth it.  While this is not a comprehensive test of all products on the market, it is a good overview of the various locks and the problems with some safe designs.  Look for these deficiencies the next time you are in the market for a pistol safe.

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