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How to Unlock A Safe Without A Key | 4 Helpful Tips That Work

By Maria Paiz January 21, 2024

Blue background with white text that reads How to Unlock A Safe Without A Key in large font The USA Safe and Vault logo is centered at the bottom of the image. A photo of a person unlocking a safe is on the right side.


*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.

How to Unlock A Safe Without A Key | 4 Helpful Tips That Work 


As a gun owner, I know how crucial it is to keep our firearms safely locked away. But what happens when you can't find the key to your safe? We've all been there - that moment of panic when you realize the key is nowhere to be found. Fear not because I've got you covered. In this article, I will share four practical tips on unlocking a safe without a key. These tried-and-true methods work, and they could save you from a lot of stress and hassle. So, let's dive in and learn how to tackle this common yet frustrating problem.

While breaking into a safe might seem like something straight out of a spy movie, the reality is that there are plenty of situations where you might need to open a safe without a key. Maybe you've lost/misplaced the key, forgotten the combination, or inherited a safe nobody seems to have the key for (or bought a house that came with one!).

Whatever your reason, learning how to crack a safe can be a valuable skill to have in your back pocket, so let's get to it!

Understanding Your Safe

Identifying Safe Type

Before attempting to unlock your safe, it's crucial to identify what type of safe you have. Different safes have different locking mechanisms – some use traditional locks and keys, while others might have combination dials or digital keypads. Knowing your safe's type is essential to determine the methods you can use to unlock it. For instance, a key-operated safe might require a lock-picking approach, whereas a combination safe might need a different strategy.

Safety Considerations Before Attempting to Unlock

Your safety and the integrity of your safe should always be your top priorities. Before trying to unlock your safe, ensure it's stable and securely positioned to prevent accidental injuries. It's also important to consider your actions' legality and ethical implications, especially if the safe isn't yours. Remember, damaging the locking mechanism can lead to more complications, potentially requiring professional assistance. Therefore, assess the situation carefully and proceed with caution.

Methods to Unlock a Safe Without a Key

Unlock a safe with a magnet.


Nowadays, most rare earth magnets are made of neodymium. However, there still may be some from the '70s kicking around, which were made out of a samarium-cobalt alloy. These magnets can now be found on Amazon for under $20. Just watch your fingers, though, because these small but powerful pieces might wreck electronics or even lead to bodily injury if you're not careful!

Many safes are made with a nickel solenoid that locks the door by using electromagnets. So you'll need to find where this is located on your safe and turn it off so that the magnet-sock combination can open up your mouth of gold. There's not much surface area, but if you look for it, then there should be an easily accessible button or knob somewhere near the opening slot!


Pick a lock with a bobby pin.


Lock picking is a craft that has been around for centuries. Lock picking aims to mimic the key and push all pins flush with the shear line, allowing us to rotate and disengage locks. To reach their objective, lockpickers have succeeded by implementing various strategies, such as applying torque or using tension tools like rakes, picks, hooks, and diamonds. However, not everyone can become good at this tricky art form because it takes patience and attention to detail. 

Hire a Locksmith for Your Safe and House Keys


High-security safes come in many different sizes and styles. Some have keyhole slots and keypads inside of them, making them more difficult to drill. Some complete deadbolt locks will require a professional local locksmith to open them. If you cannot find locksmith services that will work with your high-security safe locks, replace house keys, car keys, or new replacement keys, you may need to invest in new locks or drill a hole through the wall and take out the old, broken lock.


Gain Access to Sentry Safe With Drill


This method for opening a sentry safe without a key is effective but will completely destroy the lock. However, if you are still trying to pick the lock with a bobby pin, a small knife, or a magnet, this may be your best bet to open your Sentry Safe quickly.

For this method, use an electric cutting tool and power drill, which work in tandem by drilling holes in parts of the casing that can't withstand additional damage, like battery compartments where it's hard to keep them from touching sensitive materials inside while still being able to cut through metal plate holding down locking mechanism on the door side of the case (to avoid smashing fingers). 


Preventive Measures for Future

Opting for Digital or Biometric Safes

One effective way to avoid the hassle of lost keys is to consider upgrading to digital or biometric safes. These modern safes eliminate the need for physical keys, instead relying on digital codes or unique biological identifiers like fingerprints. Not only do they offer enhanced security, but they also provide the convenience of quick access without the worry of keeping track of a key. Plus, with advanced features like multiple user codes and audit trails, you'll have more control and insight into who accesses your safe and when.

Key Management and Spare Keys

For traditional key-operated safes, effective key management is essential. Always store your safe's key in a secure and memorable location. Additionally, consider obtaining a spare key from a reputable locksmith. In cases where you don't have the original key, locksmiths can often create a replacement or override key, given they have the necessary details like the safe's model number or serial number. However, ensure you're choosing a trustworthy locksmith with experience in commercial safes. Verifying their credibility through reviews and recommendations is vital to avoid deception or inadequate service.


cannon safari gun safe manual


And there you have four handy tips to unlock a safe when the key is just a distant memory. Remember, owning a gun comes with the responsibility of keeping it secure yet accessible when needed. These tips are meant to help you out of a pinch but always prioritize safety and security. If you frequently find yourself without the key, consider a safe with a biometric or digital lock as a backup. Stay safe, and happy unlocking! Remember, being prepared is always the best policy when it comes to gun safety and security.

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