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How Easy Is It To Break Into A Gun Safe?

By Maria Paiz October 23, 2023

How easy is it to break into a gunsafe?

*This post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but it never influences our product selection process


Owning a gun safe is not just a wise decision but an essential one to keep firearms inaccessible to those who might misuse them. But what happens when you find yourself on the wrong side of that locked door?

Whether due to a misplaced key or a forgotten combination, breaking into a gun safe can become a necessity wrapped in intrigue. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the tantalizing world of unlocking gun safes. From employing powerful magnets and delicate manipulation to understanding the importance of making it impenetrable to criminals and children, the process reveals a fascinating blend of brute force, finesse, and technology.

Are you curious about the secrets behind the locked door or eager to prevent unauthorized access? Read on, and unlock the knowledge hidden within the world of gun safes.

Can Gun Safes Be Broken Into?

The answer is yes. Even though they are often advertised as impenetrable, this is quite far from the truth.

How easy is it to break into a gun safe? broken into safeImage Credits: A Locksmith Naples 

In reality, most gun safes have weak points, such as the locking mechanism, lock body, and screws. Identifying these vulnerabilities is the key to breaking into a gun safe. However, the process is not easy and may cause significant damage to the locking mechanism and your product entirely.

The safety rating of the safes, like UL ratings of TL/TR/TX 30 or higher, also plays a significant role here. Breaking into a gun safe with such security levels is often challenging.

As gun owners needing assistance, contacting the safe manufacturer and having them send in someone to repair your gun safe can be quite taxing. It's also potentially dangerous to allow third parties like repairmen or other handy workers to try to help break into your safe. This is a grave privacy concern.

Reading this article will equip you with the required understanding of gun safes and their locking mechanisms, so you can handle it yourself.

Steel Choices in Gun Safes

To learn if a gun safe is as sturdy as it claims to be, we need to look at what the gun safe is made of. The quality of steel is a great feature to consider.

An effective gun safe is made of good quality steel, ideally between 12 gauge and six gauges. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel, and the more complex it is to penetrate. 

These are a bit on the expensive side but worth it. You may find inexpensive models that use thinner steel, but those have high prying space and can easily be broken into or tampered with.

Another crucial aspect to consider is the steel's composition. The steel used in gun safes is often an alloy, combining carbon with iron to enhance its strength and flexibility. Some gun safes even incorporate other metals like chromium or tungsten to further boost their resistance to corrosion and heat. Understanding the type of steel used in your gun safe is essential, as it directly impacts its durability and ability to protect your firearms and valuables. 

Type Of Gun Safes

how easy is it to break into gun safes? gun safe types

How easy it is to break into a gun safe also depends on the type of gun safe you have installed and on the gun safe lock.

A few common features of gun safes are:

  • They are made of thick steel
  • Drill resistant
  • Have a lock mechanism
  • Protection against elements like water and fire.

What differentiates these safes is their storage capacity and their dimensions.

There are usually:

  • Handgun safes
  • Multi-use gun safes
  • Long gun safes

Depending on the portability, quality of steel, and resistance to elements, these gun safes can be broken into with different techniques of varying difficulty levels.

Understanding the Locking Mechanisms

Dial Or Combination Lock:

Dial or Combination Lock

This locking mechanism allows access when the correct numbers are inputted in the proper order. It is something that has survived ages of testing and requires no maintenance.

However, it does not automatically lock the safe when the door is shut but requires the user to put in a code. Additionally, a combination lock system is quite challenging to break into.

Trying different sets of lock combinations may be an idea but a largely exhaustive one. You risk being permanently locked out if you mess with a combination lock enough times. 

Electronic Lock: A Modern Solution

Electronic Lock

The dawn of the digital age brought with it the gift of the electronic lock system. From simple keypads to advanced biometric locks (fingerprint, retina, voice, face) is a faster and hassle-free approach to locking safes.

They, however, require constant maintenance and are prone to getting the user locked out. Nevertheless, the lock mechanism on electronic locks makes them easier to break into than combination locks. 

How To Break Into A Gun Safe: Methods & Tools

We find it imperative to mention that these methods should only be tried if you have no other way to open your safe. This is because some of these methods may damage your safe permanently, or you may need to get it subsequently repaired. 

Word of caution aside, let’s explore ways a gun safe can be opened without the code. Please note that the methods are ordered in the form of mild to extreme measures to adopt. 


Resetting the locking system should be the first option you try before adopting any extreme measures. Try reading through the user manual that comes with the safe to check if there are any options to reset the code and open the safe manually.

Most safes come with a manual override option or a spare key that can be used in times of emergency. 


Yes, we say this in all sincerity. Drop the safe (if it’s one you can pick up without hurting yourself) to see if that helps open it. Some safes can easily be tricked into the opening by bouncing it on the floor or maneuvering it to one side.

However, the probability of this method working is relatively low. This will also not work on safes with a re-locker or a locking bar that locks the bolt when triggered by an external force. 


locksmith to break into a gunsafe

Bringing in a professional locksmith from a trusted agency is an easy way to penetrate safes. They may use the same methods mentioned here but may have certain tricks of the trade rolled up their sleeves. 

Prying/ Manipulation

In the prying technique, you will need to find the hollow space between the lock and the safe and try to pry it by inserting a rod there. This requires ample muscle power, and you must also be prepared to be pushed back by the lock’s spring action.

Similar to prying, manipulation entails placing borescopes to tamper with the spring lock action of the safe. Locksmiths most commonly use this technique and can help you open the safe without much manipulation.


Sounds too silly to be true, right? But it is very much possible. Using a powerful earth magnet like a neodymium magnet can help you break into a gun safe.

Here is a Youtube Tutorial that shows can it can be done:

However, earth magnets are highly potent and can damage electronic systems if not handled with care. It is best to wrap a piece of clothing like a thick sock around the magnet before using it on the safe.

The solenoid in the safe is usually placed near the lock. It can be maneuvered to open the safe with the help of an earth magnet.


Breaking into a safe with a stethoscope

You must be familiar with scenes in a film where someone is holding a stethoscope to a safe to break into it. This is possible in real life too.

With a lot of focus and even more time, you can get your safe open without manipulating it.

Please note that this only works with a dial or a combination lock. 

The way you do this is-

  • Rotate the dial in an anticlockwise direction until you hear two distinct clicks.
  • Note the position of the dial where the clicks were heard.
  • Spin it clockwise, bring it to rest, and repeat until you figure out the exact point of the clicks.
  • Plot a graph based on the clicks you heard.
  • You may get the correct numbers, but you will need to try various combinations to get the actual order of the security code.

Drilling/ Cutting

Drilling into a safe

Drilling is complicated and requires machine and muscle backup. It may also damage your safe irreparably. However, if drilling is limited to the screws of the safe, there are possibilities of salvaging it from absolute wreckage.

Deciding to cut a safe open is madness as it is arduous given manufacturers' thick materials. If left with no other options, you may find the weak spot of the safe and begin cutting there. Needless to say, your safe will become useless after this.

A Final Word

Breaking into a gun safe is a challenging task, often requiring the right combination of tools, such as drill machines, plasma cutters, or bore scopes. Understanding the lock body and other components, such as the hard plate, is crucial for effectively penetrating a safe's door. While having the correct key combination or combination keys can make access easier, without them, even efforts like removing all screws or attempting to pry open a hole may prove unsuccessful. offers a wide range of gun safes, from smaller models to larger ones, all designed to protect your firearms, valuables, and other small items. Our safes feature a variety of locking mechanisms, including combination locks, backup keys, and electronic systems, all meticulously installed in the locking area. These robust security measures make breaking in difficult for most burglars, giving you ample time to call a locksmith if necessary.

While no safe can provide absolute security, especially against a skilled thief with limited space to work, our gun safes are equipped with spring-powered resistance, making unauthorized access quite challenging. In the constantly evolving world of security, a simple search can lead you to our wide range of solutions that cater to every need, whether you're securing a single firearm in your home or an entire arsenal.


FAQ Guide (What Readers Want to Know)

What are the Common Methods to Open a Gun Safe?

You can use techniques like prying, manipulation, magnets, calculation, and drilling. Depending on the safe and the tools available, one method might be more suitable than others.

Can a Locksmith Break into My Gun Safe?

Yes, professional locksmiths are often skilled in opening gun safes. They might use specialized tools and methods that aren't readily available to the public.

Is it Possible to Open a Safe with a Magnet?

Surprisingly, a powerful magnet, like an earth magnet, can open certain gun safes. It must be handled with care to avoid damage to electronic systems.

Can I Retrieve a Forgotten Lock Combination?

Yes, it can be done using some methods, such as using a stethoscope to calculate the lock combination. However, please remember that it is time-consuming and requires extreme focus.

What Are the Risks of Drilling or Cutting a Safe Open?

Drilling or cutting may permanently damage the safe, making it unusable. It's best to consider these methods as a last resort.

How Can I Ensure My Gun Safe is Secure?

Investing in a quality gun safe that is strong and largely impenetrable will make breaking in much more difficult. Technology evolves, and security systems are reinvented to provide better protection.

What if I'm Locked Out of My Own Safe?

Keeping backup keys or saving passwords and codes in a secure location can prevent accidental lockouts. Calling a professional locksmith is also an option.

Is a Paper Clip or Thin Wire Useful in Opening a Safe?

While commonly portrayed in movies, using a paper clip or thin wire might not be effective on most modern safes.

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