I’m Locked Out of My Safe!

I’m Locked Out of My Safe!


We’ll see your warm sweats and pumpkin spice lattes and raise you crisp deer stand mornings and the subtle wisp of burnt Nitroglycerin in the duck blind. Duck and modern deer are about to be in full swing and it’s time to get your trusty shotguns and rifles lubed and ready for a solid day’s work.

But what happens when you head to your gun safe and discover that you’re locked out? Take heart. You’re not the only one. In fact, early Fall is when we get the highest volume of panicked phone calls from hunters who can’t open their gun safe.

It’s an infuriating situation to be in. We get it. That’s why we’ve revamped our Gun Safe Maintenance Checklist. The following tips can help you open your locked safe. 

But a word to the wise - NOT ALL GUN SAFE MAINTENANCE is a DIY project. In fact, there are several instances when you should hire a professional. 

Always Hire a Professional safe Technician for Work on Safe Relockers and Slip Clutch Mechanisms

We’re big fans of putting in sweat equity. We live in a farming town. We understand that dollars don’t grow on trees and the pride that comes with taking care of your own home. That being said, it’s fairly common for individuals with minimal experience servicing safes to improperly fire the relocker or incorrectly adjust the slip clutch mechanism. 

The result? You’ll lock yourself out of your safe. This can be a very costly mistake, as it almost always requires a safe technician to drill a hole into your safe to open it. 

Schedule a Maintenance Check

hunting dog with gun safe

Gun Safe Maintenance Check List

1. Check for Drifting Combinations on Dial Locks 

Does your safe have a dial lock? Over time, it’s not uncommon for the combination to ‘drift.’ When this happens, the combination is effectively changed — causing you to be locked out of your safe. 

On a yearly basis, we recommend checking to see if your combination has drifted. It’s a simple process. Dial your combination numbers all ¼ digit high and make sure the lock works. Then dial all the digits of the lock ¼ digit low and make sure it works. If it opens both times, your combination is centered and has not drifted. 

If your combination has drifted, contact a safe technician to help you re-center your combination. 

2. Check that the Dial Ring On Your Gun Safe Doesn’t Move 

A moving dial ring can disrupt your ability to open your safe. Grab hold of the ring around your dial lock. (This ring is also known as your dial ring number spindle.) If you try and rotate it left or right, it should not move. 

3. Replace the Battery on Your Electronic Lock with a Duracell Battery

We cannot stress this enough - REPLACE YOUR BATTERY. 

Battery failure is the most common reason gun safes with electronic locks can’t be opened. While the lifespan of a battery is rated for 4-5 years, the typical battery will last 2-4 years. We recommend replacing your battery yearly. 

Furthermore, we always recommend using a Duracell brand battery, as we’ve found them to be the most trustworthy on the market. Click here to learn more about why.

4. Check for Handle Hub Wiggling

When you wiggle the handle of your safe there should be little to no movement. If it’s loose, you may be able to locate the set screws or bolts securing the handle and tightening it down to minimize the play. 

If your safe has handle spokes, you may be able to tighten the handle spokes. But, be sure to put on a pair of rubber or nitrile gloves for added grib to ensure a properly tightened handle.  

NEVER use loctite on your handle hub. This can make it extremely difficult to remove the handle hub in the event you need to move your safe through a doorway or small opening. 

5. Grease Perimeter Locking Bolts

Open your door and extend all the perimeter locking bolts around your door. For some models, this may require you to press a small button along the interior of the door while turning the handle. 

With locking bolts extended, apply a very light and narrow layer of white lithium grease around the perimeter of each locking bolt. Operate the mechanism 10-15 times so that the bolts slide into and out of the door, lubing the door bushings and bolt hole guides. 

6. Check the Fire Seal

Open your safe and take a close look at the fire seal located around the door frame of the safe. Check for missing sections and cracks. Also look to see that it is secured to the door frame.

7. Lube External Hinges with Tri-Flow

To keep the external hinges operating properly, make sure they are lubricated. You can use an oil, such as tri-flow. 

DO NOT let any lubricant touch the locking unit. In some cases, internal hinges can be hard to access. If you can see them, simply give them a small shot of lubricant to help them keep functioning properly. 

8. Check the Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is essential to maintaining the humidity level within your safe and protecting your valuables. We recommend running two kinds of dehumidifiers, a desiccant dehumidifier and a dehumidifier rod. 

Why two dehumidifiers? Because one circulates air, creating positive pressure inside the same. The other absorbs excess moisture. Additionally, in the event one dehumidifier fails, you have a backup. 

If you have a rechargeable desiccant dehumidifier, you’ll want to recharge this every 2-3 months. 

To check that your dehumidifier rod is working properly, touch it. You want it to be warm. If it is cold, check to see that the power source is working. If it is and the rod is still cold, the rod likely needs to be replaced. But, instances of rod failure is not very common. In most cases the rod has not been properly installed. 

My Gun Safe is Too Small - What Now?

Are you feeling like your gun safe is too small? You’re not alone. That’s the most common regret we hear. Unfortunately, a gun safe isn’t like a house. You can’t remodel and add on extra square footage. 

If you need more space, you have one of two choices:

  1. Trade Up to Something Bigger
  2. Buy an Additional Gun Safe

Depending on your needs, either option is a good one. Especially right now during our Fat Boy Blowout Sale when you can save u to $700 on a large gun safe. 

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