ISM High Security Safe Openings

This job was a referral from another lock shop. We frequently get referrals from other locksmith shops for safe openings, service and safe removals and installs. The safe end of the security business is a specialized field and if someone doesn’t have the right equipment, training and experience, its best for them to refer it to someone that does. Our shop specializes in safe openings, repairs (simple or complex), removals and moves of large safes (up to 4000 lbs).

The customer had removed this ISM safe from a building he owns. He never had a key or combination to open the safe. He wanted us to open the safe and put it back into service. We always ask for pictures of the safe before quoting a price as safes come in many different types and security ratings. The types and or security rating often dictates the type of equipment and experience needed but also the length of time the opening will take.

We could see in the customers photos the safe was tucked into a closet. To open this safe, it needed to be pulled out of the closet. Many high security safes (including this one) contain glass protecting the locks and vital components of the safe from being attacked through the face of the door. If the glass is broken, spring loaded pins (connected to the glass via cable) known as ‘relockers’ will ‘fire’ into place keeping the safe locked. Oftentimes, because of the amount of holes that need to be drilled to neutralize the relockers on a high security safe, the safe is ruined. Drilling a hole through the side of the safe avoids this. In order to open the safe regardless of where it is drilled requires intimate knowledge and data of the internal mechanism. Drilling anywhere on a safe without the proper information can lead to unnecessary damage.

Photo 1 and 2 show the safe being moved out of the closet. This was easier said than done. There was very little clearance in the closet to get our equipment in.

Photo 1

Photo 3 is a picture of me drilling through the side of the safe using a vacuum drill rig. One accurately placed hole was all that was needed to open this safe. After it was opened, the hole was properly repaired and a new lock was installed. The old lock was not damaged in the opening process in this case but it was 30 years old and worn so lock replacement was recommended.


One thing I’d like to mention. Drilling done by a skilled and competent technician DOES NOT destroy the safe and after repair leaves little to no evidence of the opening. Sometimes, depending on the particular problem, drilling is the only way to open the safe.