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How To Open a Gun Safe: With or Without the Combination

A gun safe is an essential component of owning a gun and maintaining gun safety around the home. All gun owners would be smart to have a sturdy and durable gun safe, as practicing gun safety is an essential part of owning a gun.

However, if you have recently purchased a gun and gun safe, you may be wondering how exactly you open a gun safe, and whether is it possible to open one without the combination. Well, continue reading to learn everything you need to know about opening a gun safe!

How Can I Open a Gun Safe?

Learning how to correctly and safely open your gun safe is vital for ensuring the integrity of the safe itself. Additionally, ensuring that the lock and locking mechanisms are functioning correctly upon opening and closing is essential to ensure maximum safety for your gun.

Next, we will discuss how to open the 3 of the most common types of safes:

Opening a Combination Dial Safe

A combination dial safe is one of the most common types of safe locks! This type of lock appears as a numbered rotational dial and is popular because it does not require an electrical current – guaranteeing access as long as you know the combination.

Steps To Opening a Combination Dial Safe?

  • Begin by turning the dial 3 times counter-clockwise past the 1st digit.
  • Once you are on the fourth dial, you can stop turning when you have reached your first combination number.
  • Next, start turning your dial clockwise instead, until you reach the 2nd digit of your combination.
  • Then, rotate counter-clockwise again to reach the last digit of your combination. Then, rotate the dial clockwise until it stops rotating, indicating that the safe is now open.

Opening An Electronic Keypad Safe

Electric keypads are a more modern type of safe, that uses a battery or other electrical source to power the keypad. They are pretty straightforward to unlock, but remember, many will require you to enter a * or # key before entering your code.

Steps to Opening an Electronic Keypad Safe?

  • Start by entering a * or # key, if required.
  • If you have not changed your code yet, the standard code is 12345678.
  • If you have changed your code, press your * or # key, followed by your code and input your * or # key again.
  • Your keypad will beep 5 times to show that it is now open.

Opening a Biometric Scanner

Biometric scanners are the newest type of locks available for safes and would be the most expensive type of safe lock you can purchase.

These scanners work by taking a biometric scan, most commonly of the owner’s fingerprint to unlock. These locks are the most straightforward to use, however, there can often be interferences with a biometric scanner.

Steps to Opening a Biometric Scanner

  • Make sure nothing is covering the scanning finger, then place your finger on the biometric scanner.
  • Once the lock has a good reading of your fingerprint, you can press the ‘START’ key, which will then invoke a green indicator light – indicating that the lock is now open.

How Do I Open a Safe Without the Combination?

If you have forgotten the combination to your safe, you may be wondering if it is possible to open the safe without the combination.

Although there are some methods that you can try to open the safe without a combination – the most likely scenario is that you will need a locksmith, especially if you don’t want to cause damage to the safe itself.

However, there are a few things you can try at home first:

Manipulating the safe

More commonly known as ‘picking the lock’, this method will only work on combination safes. It is quite difficult to do, even an experienced locksmith can have trouble. Essentially, you continue turning the dial to hear when the gates correspond with the correct gates.

However, many combination locks will have protected security measures to prevent this such as false gates, so manipulating a safe lock is not always possible.

Drilling or prying

Drilling a gun safe is best left to a professional, as you will need to know where the lock actuator is and how the actual bolt assembly works.

In order to drill a combination safe open, you are attempting to create a hole so that you can insert a tool to unlock the lock actuator, or for easier manipulating of the combination dial.

Here’s a video showing someone prying open a popular model gun safe in a few minutes:

  • Prying open a gun safe is a little bit more difficult than a regular safe, however, it is probably the easiest method for gun safes.
  • To pry open a safe, you will need to know where the bolts are located and how many bolts are present.
  • You will insert a tool and pry open each of the bolts, manually forcing the locked door to break open.


Cutting open a door works similar to prying, except instead of targeting the bolts you are basically trying to cut through the walls of the safe.

This can be extremely difficult to do, considering gun safes often have thick metal walls and even some cutting-safe precautions, but with time and dedication, you could cut through the metal walls.

You can find Quality Gun Safes Here on Amazon or check out my other favorite places like Brownells or OpticsPlanet for good deals on gun safes.

Can You Open a Gun Safe Without the Key?

Electronic safes will require a key to unlock them. However, if you have forgotten your key – you might be wondering if you can open your gun safe without it. The short answer – is yes! But, it might be difficult. There are 2 main ways that you can open an electric safe without your key:

Override key

The most obvious and easier way to open a gun safe without the key is by using your override key. This is usually a key code that is given to you. It can be entered, and then you will turn the dial clockwise and anti-clockwise, overriding the previous key and allowing you to open your gun safe.

Reset the code

If you do not have access to your override key, resetting the code on your safe is the next best way to open it without a key. You can reset the code by locating the back of the safe where the electrical components are.

Using a flashlight, Insert a wire coat hanger or other long, strong wire into the back of the safe where a set and reset dial is located. Flick it to reset, then follow the instructions on the keypad to set up a new key.

Wrap Up

In general, opening a gun safe with the combination or key is easy, yet secure. However, if you forget the combination or key – it is possible to open it manually, but we recommended contacting a locksmith and saving the integrity of the safe itself!