The locking mechanism on a safe is a crucial part of what makes a safe a safe. Locks range from combination locks, electronic keypads, and lock and key to biometric. Though all locks on a quality constructed safe should provide equal security, it is important to evaluate factors like overall security and time spent opening the lock.
For gun safes, in particular, the type of lock can be extremely important to quick retrieval of the contents of the safe. The security of the lock, of course, is the most important factor in the performance of the safe lock, but accessibility is also critical to the operation. Here is a rundown of the different types of safe locks.
Combination locks- These are one of the most familiar type of safe lock, and one of the most secure. Combination locks work by engaging and disengaging the locking bolts of the safe through the input of a numerical string on a rotating dial. The exact number is set and the safe can only be opened when the each number is precisely indicated in order on the dial of the safe. The precision involved in unlocking combination safes make them very secure, but they can often require a couple of attempts–even when you are adept with the combination–to open. This means that if you need to open the safe very quickly, combination locks may be an impediment.
Keypad locks- Similar to a combination safe with a dial lock, keypad locks secure through a passcode. These locks, however, are electronic and programmable and can utilize an alpha-numeric string to secure the safe. Keypad locks represent a secure and potentially quicker access to the safe than dial combination locks, though may not be as efficient as biometric locks.
Biometric locks- These are some of the most secure locks in safe technology today. Designed for ultimate personal identification–biometric technology relies upon unique physical data, such as fingerprints or retinal scans, to perform identification–these locks are highly secure as well as easy to open within seconds. For gun safes, biometric locks are the most efficient lock you can buy when you need instant access to your safe. Within seconds, your individual data is scanned and verified, giving you access to the safe.
Key locks- These are the most outdated of the locking mechanisms on modern safes. A physical key is less secure and efficient than other types of locks due to the simple fact that you have to store the key somewhere retrievable to open the safe. This presents a risk of theft if the key is located, and of course, increases the risk of the safe lock being picked and breached. In lieu of a physical lock and key safe, opt for a combination dial or a biometric safe. In most modern, highly fortified safes, these will be the only options available anyway.