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How to open a sentry safe | Under 2 mins simple steps and manufacturer video

By Jeremiah Colt June 13, 2021


For someone who hasn’t used a combination lock before, how to open a Sentry Safe with a three-digit sequence can be worrying. When I bought my first safe, which was a Sentry Safe, I sure felt anxious. What if once I locked something in the safe, I could not open the safe again? So I provided you with a thorough review of what I did: how to open a Sentry Safe with a combination code, written directions, Sentry Safe videos, and things to watch out for. Hope you like it!

This is how to open a Sentry Safe which has a dial lock with a Right-Left-Right sequence.

  1. First, get organized. Get a Phillips-head screwdriver and the Sentry Safe Owner's Manual which has the combination code.

  2. Assuming this is the first time the Sentry Safe is being operated, remove the shipping screw which is on the inside of the door, using the screwdriver.

  3. To start, position the handle of the safe UPWARD in the horizontal position.

  4. Find the 3-number combination on the back of the Sentry Safe manual. (An example of such a code is 54-25-93.)

  5. Start with the dial of the combination lock set at ZERO.

  6. From ZERO, turn the dial CLOCKWISE past the first number in the combination, ONCE.

  7. Do this again, i.e. TWICE.

  8. Do this a THIRD time, but this time stop when the dial reaches the number exactly (i.e. at the first number of the 3-digit code.)

  9. Next, rotate the dial CLOCKWISE directly past the second number in your combination ONCE, stopping on this second number of the combination the second time.

  10. Finally, rotate the dial COUNTERCLOCKWISE past previous numbers if needed, and directly to the third number in your combination.

  11. Next, turn the handle DOWNWARD to the 7-o’clock position, and unlock the door of the safe.

  12. If the door opens, keep it in the OPEN position and test the combination multiple times by doing the above steps. 

  13. Do this to confirm that the sequence works, before closing and locking the safe.

  14. If the door does not open, redo the steps and try again. Make sure that the numbers line up exactly with the markings and follow the steps exactly.

  15. To lock the safe, close the door and pull the handle UPWARD to a horizontal position. Turn the dial clockwise at least two times to scramble the combination.

For additional help on how to open a Sentry Safe, you can also watch the videos we have provided.



How to remove the shipping screw on a Sentry Safe

When Sentry Safe ships a new safe, they often use a screw to prevent the safe door from locking when it is jostled in shipping. This screw needs to be removed before you use your fire safe for the first time. You will need to locate the screw and unscrew it using a Phillips-head screwdriver.  

  1. Locate the yellow tag marked Screw Removal on the inside of the Sentry Safe door.

  2. The shipping screw could be in one of several locations on the door, depending on the model.

  3. Using your Philips-head screwdriver, rotate the screw COUNTERCLOCKWISE to remove it.

  4. With the screw removed, and the door of your safe open, practice using your dial combination lock and your combination code several times till you are comfortable you know how to operate the lock.




Where to find the code to a Sentry Safe

The 3-digit combination to your Sentry Safe is at the back of your Owner’s Manual. To safeguard your safe from unauthorized access, make sure that the manual or the combination is secured in a location that you remember but others cannot access. For obvious reasons, but believe me that this happens a lot, do not keep your Sentry Safe manual with the combination to the safe, in the same safe!




Where can I get additional help from Sentry Safe?

Contact Sentry Safe customer service should you still have a problem with opening your safe.  We recommend that you have proof of identity and location of the safe at the same address, and a receipt or invoice showing your purchase. You will also need the serial number and model number of the safe. 

How to break into a Sentry Safe box?

If you’ve used your Sentry Safe for a while and need to open it, your situation might be different from what we’ve described above. You might need a hack to get into your Sentry Safe, when you've lost the combination or key. Before you call a locksmith for help, there are simple (and legal) ways to resolve this yourself. Read How to Break Into A Sentry Safe (Helpful legal hacks) to learn more.

Can a Sentry Safe lock be picked?

Yes. In a pinch, you can pick your Sentry Safe lock. Refer to one of several ways in which you can break into a safe, and knowing this is really your own safe, do it guilt-free if it works. That said, the ease with which the lock can be picked should serve as a warning that a Sentry Safe does not come with a high level of burglary protection. Consider one of our many safes with RSC and TL ratings, that will give you the level of security you desire.

How do you open a Sentry safe with a dead battery without a key?

For a keypad type of lock, batteries can die in which case you need a backup way to open a Sentry Safe. Near the touchpad of the lock, look for a small plastic cap. Open the cap and you’ll see two prongs that are the terminals for a 9V battery. Plug the battery in to activate the touchpad so that you can enter your password to unlock the Sentry Safe door. 

Where can I find my Sentry Safe Model Number and Sentry Safe Serial Number?

Each Sentry Safe has its model number and serial number in a unique location. We describe this fully in our article with details on how to locate each. You can also visit and follow the instructions there.



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