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How To Break Into A Sentry Safe | Helpful Legal Hacks

Sentry Safes are supposed to be fireproof and burglar-proof. So breaking into one should be difficult after all. I was shocked to find there are several popular ways (including some lesser-known ones) that show you how to crack a Sentry Safe. I share these methods with you assuming that you intentions are noble! (Warning: Breaking into someone's safe even to have fun is against the law - don't do it! ) However, if you are locked out of your safe, if you've lost the keys or combination to a safe and the door is locked open, or you just want to know what to do should you ever need to get into your safe in a hurry, the following steps will help.

The following are six ways on how to open a Sentry Safe without the combination or without keys. Pick the ones best suited to the price of the safe and the urgency to get to the contents:

  1. Contact Sentry Safe for assistance or call them at 800-828-1438. (Best for safes over $100.)
  2. Call a local locksmith. Google "locksmith near me" and pick one. (Best for safes over $500.)
  3. Use a high powered magnet to trip the lock. (Best for safes over $200.)
  4. Use a nail file. (Best for safes $20 to $50.)
  5. Use a paper clip. (Best for safes $20 to $50.)
  6. Other destructive means like using a drill. (My favorite! Best for safes under $50.)

Pre-Check Items

Before you attempt any breaking into the safe it is always worth making sure that the simple and obvious steps are not an issue. Here they are:

  • How to find the Sentry Safe combination if you've lost it
  • If the locking bolts are misaligned (you'll hear a scraping sound at the door when you try the handle): smack the safe at various locations around the door.
  • For some models, if the batteries for the lock are dead: replace them (usually AA batteries).
  • If your safe has a time delay feature that got triggered because of repeated attempts with incorrect codes, wait 20 minutes and try again. (If you have a lockout security feature, no amount of waiting will help.)

How to Break into a Sentry Safe: Contact or Call for Help

Always call the company first if you need to know how to open a Sentry Safe without the combination or if you've misplaced the keys. In preparation for the call, I suggest you keep the following information handy: where and when you bought the safe, its model number, and its serial number. For some models, you will see both serial and model numbers on the safe. If you see just one number, here's a helpful tip on how to break down this one number into model and serial numbers.

Sentry Safe Serial Number and Model Number
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For gun safe before 2012 models, here are the steps you can follow to unlock a Sentry Safe.

  1. Turn the dial to 0.
  2. Turn the dial three times to the ‘left’ and stop at the first number in the combination.
  3. Turn the dial two times to the ‘right’, stopping on the second number in the combination.
  4. Turn the dial ‘left’, stopping at the last number in the combination.
  5. Turn the handle of the safe to open the door.
  • By turning the dial right clockwise, the number combination decreases from 90, 80, 70, etc.
  • By turning the dial counter-clockwise, the number combination increases from 20, 30, 40, etc.

For gun safe models made after 2012, follow these steps to crack into a Sentry Safe.

  1. Turn the dial to 0.
  2. Turn the dial three turns to the ‘right’, stopping at the first number in the combination.
  3. Turn the dial two times to the ‘left’, topping on the second number in the combination.
  4. Turn the dial ‘right’, stopping at the last number in the combination.
  5. Pull the door handle to open the safe.
  • By turning the dial right clockwise, the number combination decreases from 90, 80, 70, etc.
  • By turning the dial counter-clockwise, the number combination increases from 20, 30, 40, etc.

How to Break into a Sentry Safe: Call a Locksmith

Calling a local locksmith can cost you between $50 to $100 per service call, so it probably makes sense only when the safe is expensive, and if replacing it will cost you way more than $200. This could be the case if you safe is installed in a wall for example. Google "locksmith near me" for you closest resource. Note that locksmiths will require proof of ownership to either get the combination, or to pick the lock.

How to Break into a Sentry Safe: Using a High Power Magnet

There are several videos on YouTube that will show you how a safe can be opened (in a few seconds) by using a powerful neodymium magnet that will cost you under $20 on Amazon.com. (Be warned that handling these magnet is a safety hazard and follow all precautions.) By placing the magnet on the safe door in the vicinity of the nickel solenoid of the lock and moving the magnet, you can trip the lock and open the safe.

Watch and enjoy How to Open a Sentry Safe in 5 Secs by Mr. Locksmith.

How to break into a Sentry Safe: Use A Paper Clip

Here's how you can get into a Sentry Safe with the simplest of tools: two paper clips and a needle-nosed plier. This hack is best suited for opening the cheaper Sentry Safe models like the cash and lockboxes.

Here’s how you pick the lock of a Sentry Safe:

  • Your goal is to use the pliers to form the paper clips into a "Picking tool" and a "Tension tool". These tools will be inserted into where you put the key to jimmy open the lock. When you are done they will look like the following in my napkin-sketch below.

How to Pick A Sentry Safe with A Paper Clip
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  • Bend to the smaller leg of the paper clip to a 90-degree angle. Repeat for the bigger leg tip.
  • You should bend the other leg tip of the paper clip so it will look like a wrench ("Tension Tool").
  • Bend the second paper clip to a 180-degree angle, and bend the other leg 45-degree. The second paper clip will now look like a feeler pick ("Picking Tool").
  • Insert the Tension Tool at the lower part of the lock.
  • Take the Picking Tool nd put it in the upper part of the lock.
  • Carefully press the pins of the lock until you hear a clicking sound, which means you’ve reached the right place.
  • Continue picking the lock three times.
  • Turn the paper clip pins clockwise to open the safe.

How to break into a Sentry Safe: Nail file

A nail file can also be used on cheaper Sentry Safes to break in the safe. You can also use a flat-head screwdriver instead of a nail file.

  1. Slide the nail file from the nail clippers.
  2. Insert the nail file tip into the lock.
  3. Jiggle the nail file until you can rotate the lock.
  4. When you hear a clicking sound, continue working on the inside of the lock to ensure you’ve reached the last ‘click’ sound of the safe.
  5. Your gun safe now is open.

How to Break into a Sentry Safe: Destructive Methods

There is no better way to express your anger and frustration with getting into your safe than by destroying the lock. Once you do so, you can get into the safe but you'll need to replace the lock which is best done by a locksmith. So my advice: use this method when you need to get into your safe in a hurry and have no desire to reuse the safe. 

Open Sentry Safe Using a Drill or Cutting Tool
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  • Using a power drill, drill open into the lock of the safe. 
  • Make sure you’re drilling directly into the lock instead of the safe body, otherwise you'll damage the safe if your plans are to re-use the safe.
  • If you can drill through the lock, the lock will break open, and you can replace it later.

Breaking into a Sentry Safe - Quote
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Jeremiah Colt Says

Conclusion - TL;DR

There are six legit ways to break into a Sentry Safe but use caution and common sense to decide which one makes the most sense based on the cost of the safe, how impatient you might be to open one, and the value of the contents (if you know that). If the ease with which you can break into a Sentry Safe concerns you - as it does me - check out our collection of home safes at USASafeAndVault that are far more robust or call us at (800) 418-1844 if you have questions.


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