3 Ways A Professional Locksmith Can Open Your Safe

Whether you inherited your safe from a late relative, a newly-purchased property, or even from a friend, it’s likely that you have no way of opening it. You’ve spent hours researching DIY safe-cracking methods online, but you’re still unable to open your safe—just like the internet user who recently found himself in a similar situation. Instead of trying to guess your safe’s password, hire a professional locksmith. Your locksmith is likely to use one of these three methods to crack your safe:

Lock Drilling

Although television shows may have taught you that the best way to open a safe is by holding a stethoscope to its combination lock, your locksmith will tell you that drilling your safe is likely the easiest way to unlock it (aside from knowing the combination or possessing the key).

For most modern safes, locksmiths will drill an area of the safe that allows them to peer inside the locking mechanism with a borescope—a thin camera or lens that can be used to see inside small areas. Once a locksmith can see the locking mechanisms inside your safe, they can manipulate them into the unlocked position.

In most cases, locksmiths won’t drill directly into the locking bolt due to the presence of a hardplate. Hardplates are designed to destroy nearly every conventional drill bit and are commonly made of tungsten carbide and cobalt alloys. However, if the safe that you own is on the lower end of the quality spectrum, then your locksmith may be able to drill straight through the locking bolt to unlock your safe.

Drilling a safe with even the strongest drills and bits will take a significant amount of time. If your locksmith tells you that drilling will be the most viable option for your safe, then you may want to buy a pair of earplugs—it may take them anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to drill open your safe.

Key Impressioning

If your safe’s only locking mechanism is a basic lock cylinder, then you’re in luck—your locksmith may be able to create an impression of the key that’s needed to open your safe. Key impressioning is the process of creating a key while using only the lock’s tumblers as a reference.

To create a key impression, your locksmith will use an impressioning tool, files, and a blank key. Your locksmith will hold the blank key with their impressioning device and turn the key inside your lock a few times. This action creates indentations along your blank key where the tumblers are positioned. Your locksmith will then file the indentations until the blank key roughly matches the shape of the original key.

Once the impressioning is created, your locksmith can simply hand you the makeshift key to use for all future purposes. However, to avoid being locked out of your safe in the future, you should make a few copies of the impressioned key.


If your locksmith is unable to drill your safe, create a key impression, or use any other method to open your safe, then they will torch it—with your approval, of course. Torching requires burning a hole into your safe. This opening process will ultimately ruin your safe, but at least you’ll finally discover what items the safe so thoroughly protected.

Similarly to drilling, torching a safe requires a significant amount of time. However, to torch a safe, your locksmith must first know whether or not there are thermal relockers inside your safe. Thermal relockers are additional locking mechanisms that will further secure your safe if they are triggered by heat. If thermal relockers are present within your safe, then your locksmith may need to contact your safe’s manufacturer for alternate ways to crack the safe.

Now that you know these professional safe cracking methods, give your local locksmith a call and schedule an in-home inspection of your safe. Although the cost to crack your safe may seem rather expensive, it will be well worth it. Your safe may contain priceless family heirlooms, expensive jewelry, or nothing at all—but at least your mind will finally be at ease.

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