The best types of locks that you should consider are not very definite. It will all depend on your taste. Some people like ease of access and others have far less pressing issues to do with guns and prefer to keep them locked away just for keeping them away from mischief.

The time tried and tested older mechanism like the keypad locks are recommended and have enjoyed stellar reviews lauding them as not perfect but better than the new “James Bond cool” type locks.

The locks are taken apart to see what the pros and cons are. Here is a list.

Electronic Keypad Locks

  • These are reliable when maintained regularly. They use a battery which is changed after a specified period of time depending on what the manufacturer specifies.
  • These locks have been tried and tested and they have been improving with time. They are the most common ones in the market. Despite the competition from newer versions of locking systems, they still thrive.
  • The however have flaws. In case of an EMP attack (Electro Magnetic Pulse), they will get short-circuited causing automatic dysfunction.
  • There are brands of electronic keypad locks whish have been made to withstand the EMP shocks and are now becoming available for purchase.

Biometric and RFID Locks

  • The biometric locks are cooler, edgier and definitely flashier.
  • They are unique to the owner only and will open for no other fingerprints. They have the cool factor, the modern science factor and they definitely look better than a keypad or manual locks safe. But these advanced locks are also not all that flawless.
  • The biometric locks have a disadvantage when it comes to sweaty hands. They will not be able to scan you and will take several tries before you get it right.
  • The RFID signal bracelet malfunctions at times and may fail you in an emergency. You could end up banking your safety and find it not accessible.
  • Also, if one really wanted to get into your safe, they would do so whether you like it or not and it does not take a genius to know that if you don’t take the hand to the safe, they will do it for you. Not a pretty sight.

Pattern Keypad Combination

These are pretty much the same as the standard keypads locks. They only differ when it comes to method of entering the pass code to open the safe.

Mechanical/Manual and Dial Locks

  • These locks are from a different era but they do have some kick left in them.
  • Manual locks require a key or in case of a dial lock, a combination of numbers that will allow you into the safe. Breaking in would require time and expertise if the body of the box or the plating is thick enough. Otherwise, it is near impossible to break in.
  • The dial lock takes more time to open than any other lock because even the standard key locks take just a key.
  • You would require precision to open dial locks and a key to open the manual locks.
  • Due to their simple technology, it is easy to break into them but they can still withstand shoddy thieves.

Comparisons Between Electronic Lock & Keypad Lock

This is a table comparing the features of the locks used in gun safes
Electronic locks and keypad locks are the most common and their features are discussed below.

Electronic LocksKeypad Locks
Used to make 90% of all safe locksUsed in 10% of Gun safes
Problems include forgetting the new pin or pass code when you change it and also keypad wears offOne can forget to turn the dial to re-lock
Lasts for up to 3-10 yearsLasts beyond five years and even a lifetime with the correct maintenance
It is excellent if the rating is UL 768 RatedVery good if UL rated 768
It can have 100,000 to 1,000,000 combinationsIt can have 100,000 to 4,000,000 number of combinations
Opened under ten secondsOpened in under 45 seconds
It needs batteries and is not impervious to EMPIt has few mechanical problems
The batteries are replaced every yearNeeds lubrication every few years
It has its own lights and can be opened in the darkNeeds light and can be hard to see
There is lockout for multiple wrong codesIt begs for precision and fine motor skills to open

The best lock for you would therefore be the redundant locks which have a back up. If one method of opening fails, it switches to the next one and in this way, the chances of you having a complete fail are incredibly reduced.


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