How to Break Into a Gun Safe [5 EASY WAYS and How to Prevent It]

Ever wondered how burglars can potentially break into your gun safe? Or have you forgotten your combination? Or even worse, has your gun safe suddenly failed and you can no longer access it?

Gun safes are built to be strong enough to protect your valuables inside from fire, moisture, and prying attacks. If your gun safe is high-quality , then breaking into it will be more challenging for you (or for the burglars). But even so, most residential safes are only rated up to 5 minutes of protection from an experienced thief.

Curious how to break into a gun safe or make the most of one you have? Then read on below!

Breaking Into A Gun Safe


Most gun safes are not easy to break into. But, not all gun safes are perfect. With enough time and knowledge, a persistent burglar can break open any safe you could buy. 

(NOTE: This content is for educational purposes only - you should never use these methods to do something illegal!)

Cut the Safe Open

This method is probably the most impractical way to open the safe because of the time it takes to actually open a safe, especially those made of solid construction. This should be your last option if you’ve lost access to your gun safe!

On the other hand, if a thief is determined to open it, then he can use a saw or grinder to cut the metal body of the safe. But in actual break-in scenarios, it is unlikely that a thief will use this method. First, using tools like a grinder or saw will require a power source (a bit easier with newer battery-powered tools). Second, it’s time-consuming. Most burglars would rather smash it open in less than 10 minutes, fast enough for them not to get caught and run away! And third, it makes a LOT of noise.

Bouncing the Safe

Bouncing or dropping the safe to bounce open the lock is another method to access smaller gun safes. This is usually used by thieves because, with luck and the right timing, it can move the handle when the lock of the safe bounces. However, this will be difficult for gun safes with a relocker. This added device enables the locking bolt of the safe when triggered. This time, you won’t be able to open it with a key or the combination code - you’ll need the help of a locksmith to access the safe again.

Pry Attacks

Prying is the easiest method to access a gun safe. If your gun safe is of low quality, using a crowbar and elbow grease will open the gun safe in a few minutes. Gun safes with smaller lock bolts and rivets used for attaching to steel bars are also easier to pry open.  

Often, the back of the safe is much easier to exploit than the front, so be sure your safe is properly bolted to the floor or wall to reduce the chance of a burglar getting into it.

Picking the Lock With a Paper Clip

Some gun safes like the GunVault GVB1000 can be easily opened using a paper clip. How? Simply straighten the paper clip and curve it a little to fit into the small holes found at the side of the safe. Wiggle the clip until a wire is released inside to open the safe. For the GunVault GVB1000 biometric lock safe, the paper clip method will not cause any damage on its electronic components.

Brute Force Combination Lock

If you have a mechanical gun safe, then entering different possible combinations to open the lock is endless. This is not the case for electronic locks - a limited number of wrong codes would usually suspend you from accessing the safe. For safes with a mechanical lock, you can guess the correct codes even if it will take you a lot of time. Thieves don’t use this method since they will not have a lot of time to guess the code, unless they get very lucky with only a few tries.

Drilling out the lock

Drilling out the safe's lock system is a laborious task but can cause severe damage to its locking mechanism.  The attacker needs to use a drilling machine to unscrew the palate of the lock slowly. Once the screws are removed, the gun safe door can be easily opened.

Are Your Gun Safes Secure?


Overall, no gun safe is burglar-proof. With the right knowledge, tools, and time, anyone can open your gun safe.

So does it mean that gun safes will not protect your valuables? The answer depends on the type of gun safe you have. Not all gun safes are made equal. If you purchase a cheap safe, then don’t expect much.

High-quality gun safes, on the other hand, are difficult to open. Even though they can still be opened with the right tools and special training, it takes a lot of time for an ordinary burglar to open it. So if you truly want to protect your guns, jewelry, and other valuables, it’s better to invest in safes made with sturdy materials. 

Types of Security Safes

Gun safes can be of different types, each having their own pros and cons. To know which gun safe can truly give you the protection and value for money, have a look at the different types below (note that some high-end gun safes can be a combination of these types):

Combination Safe


The combination safe is the simplest and most common type of gun safe available. It doesn’t need an additional power source like a battery or electronic components to secure the safe. You only need to dial the correct three-number code to release the lock and pop its door open.

Since it only uses a mechanical lock, it is usually the cheapest type of gun safe you can purchase. The downside of this gun safe is that opening it will take longer. You can easily mess up the combination and struggle to get it open during an emergency.

So if you’re looking for a gun safe that you can access quickly, then this type may not be your best option.

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Digital Lock Safe


Gun safes with a digital lock are an upgrade to the combination types. Instead of a dial pad, you will have a digital number pad to enter a combination code. The good thing about digital lock safes is that you can reset the code anytime, making it more secure.

Another great feature of digital lock safes is the lockout penalty. Unlike a mechanical lock, you cannot guess the combination codes endlessly. You can only enter a correct code for a limited number of tries; otherwise, you can’t access the safe for a period of time.

Since digital safes have electronic components and require a power source, there will be a small percentage of time where the keypad won’t work. Most digital safes do have a backup key just in case the electronic parts will fail or will at least warn you that the battery power is getting low.

Heritage Fortress 60 Gun Fire E-Lock Safe
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Biometric Safe


The biometric safe is the most advanced compared to the other gun safe types. No need to remember a combination code; you only need to use your fingerprint (some high-end safes also allow retinal scan, facial recognition, or voice recognition) to open your safe. It’s also more secure since only the right people are given access. Most biometric safes can store up to 100 different fingerprints.

Overall, biometric safes are not as time-consuming to access and more secure. However, they do come with an expensive price tag. So if you think the biometric safe is the right one for you, then be prepared to drop some extra cash.

How to Prevent Thieves from Breaking Into A Gun Safe

Now you have a list of ideas on how to break into a gun safe, the next step is to know how you can counteract these methods to protect your valuables! Here are some of the tips:

Keep your gun safe away from prying eyes

The first step to truly protecting your gun safe is to not let anyone know you have one in the first place. Make sure that you place your safe in areas where it cannot be easily seen or obvious. This way, you’re not only protecting your gun safe from burglars but also from curious visitors or young children at home.

Avoid putting your gun safe in the garage

Putting a gun safe in the garage comes with many risks. Aside from fire risk and high humidity, the garage can also be vulnerable to break-ins. Moreover, every time you open your garage door, the things you place inside (including the safe) become visible from the street. Don’t display your valuables and expensive tools to anyone passing by, if possible.

Invest in a gun safe with thicker stainless steel

Gun safes made of stronger materials like thick stainless steel will guarantee you from any form of forceful entry. You can also go for safes with locking bars made of steel to protect your valuables from prying attacks. 

Buy a safe with internal hinges

Internal hinges are integrated internally to secure the contents of your gun safe. They’re also not conspicuous on the outside when your safe is locked. An internal hinge makes your safe more prying-resistant and prevents burglars from tampering, bending the safe’s door, or cutting the hinges to open the safe.

Choose a gun safe with a hard plate

A hard plate installed between the safe lock and door protects your safe from punching and drilling. Most burglars would attempt to break open your safe by punching or smashing the electronic or dial lock with a metal rod or hammer to release the bolts. With a hard plate installed, your safe will be resistant to almost any form of punching and drilling attacks. 

Mount your safe securely / protect vulnerable sides

Mounting your safe securely to a wall or ground will prevent thieves from moving or carrying your safe. Make sure to find a secure location to mount the safe while keeping the vulnerable sides from being exploited.


Knowing how to break into a gun safe will help you access your safe when it fails or come up with methods to keep your valuables away from thieves for as long as possible

Follow the tips above to make sure your safe is ready for even the toughest criminals.

Last update on 2024-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API