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    « | Love Advice | »

    Sentry Fire Safe Won't Open, It's Broken! Can't Unlock Fire Safe

    By lighthouse

    Pictured above, a sentry safe that failed to open after the combination numbers were pushed and the little plastic piece that disabled it.
    So I called the sentry safe company, (800-828-1438), and waited for about 10 minutes to speak to a representative, (that was alright since I have a speaker phone). The first thing they asked me was about the condition of the batteries. I told them that they were brand new. The person then asked about the brand name and expiration date of the batteries. They were generic batteries, but the expiration date was fine. They suggested a new set of batteries, and mentioned that I could bypass the battery pack, (which sometimes fails), by unplugging the pack and using a regular 9 volt battery.. So just to cover the base, I went down to the store and obtained a brand new 9 volt duracell battery. I unplugged the battery pack and plugged in my new battery. I then pushed the combination numbers and my safe again failed to open.

    I called the sentry company back using my speakerphone feature again while waiting to speak with a technician. The tech asked me about the batteries and I told him it had a new 9 volt at the last technician's recommendation. The person began to talk about the actuator cylinder inside the safe, stating that it did not sound like it was actuating. Then they told me something that really made me wonder about the quality of this safe. They told me I would need to hit the safe with a rubber mallet in an attempt to get the actuator to engage so I could open the sentry safe. OK, so the safe is supposively built to keep my belongings safe from thieves and fire, but now I am going to fix it with a rubber mallet? Good thing my sentry safe was inside, somebody might have wondered about my mental state if they had seen me beating this fireproof safe with a rubber mallet! (PS: If you use the rubber mallet option or any other suggestions that sentry's customer assistance supplied, and have firearms or dynamite in your safe, you do so at your own risk, use wise judgement for your own safety)

    Well it just so happens that I had a rubber mallet and did not need to once again go to the store to get something to personally fix my great sentry fireproof safe. So I begin beating the upper middle door area of the sentry safe with this mallet and then tried the combination again. Woolah, It opened! I stopped for a moment and began to ponder how many other things I could fix with this magical rubber mallet. I mean, what about the TV, the computer, my fridgerator and that cell phone that always drops calls? Could it be that I have discovered the fix all to all mechanical issues? As I began to look at my belongings in my fireproof safe that I have just opened with a rubber mallet, I thought  "so if I close the safes door will I need a sledge hammer next time"?

    Time for another phone call, back to the speakerphone. The technician this time listened to my issue and asked me if I had some lubricant like WD-40 with a small tube that attaches to nozzle. I thought,  "well of course I do, I was just using that to fix the broken water pipe in the garage." The phone tech tells me where to spray the lubricant on the inside of the sentry safe door. He has me do this in the open and closed combination positions, and it's now opening when I press the combination numbers with the door open, hurray! The only problem is that after working in the lubricant a few times the handle on the door does not lock into the locked position. I no longer need the combination to unlock my safe, I only need a can of lubricant! OK, this is one really tough safe, what thief would ever think that they would need a rubber mallet and a can of silicon lubricant to open up a safe?

    Back to the speakerphone, this time a lady technician. She wants me to get a screwdriver and pry off the plastic piece on the back side of the door. At this point I said to her, you have built a product that I need to have a rubber mallet, a can of 3 in 1 spray lubricant, and a screwdriver to open? She stated that she was doing all she could to help me fix my safe and asked me how long I had owned the safe. I told her about 2 years and she stated that it was out of warranty. I thought, well who needs a warranty when they have a magical mallet, a can of black led, and a screwdriver? Anyway she directs me to pry the plastic backing off of the door and when I do this little piece of plastic falls out onto the floor. I look at this little plastic piece pondering in my mind, what's it's part in all of this. Well the technician is directing me to look at the arms and gears and some arrows that line up between the metal arms and plastic gears. What's wrong with that picture? Metal and plastic don't really work together long before the plastic breaks. I had to wonder for a moment, is this some really expensive fireproof plastic? The arrows line up and with that information she directs me to the area of the actuator again, she says "you see the circuit board" and a little white button that sticks out from it?" I said well yes, I see the circuit board and the little white button you are talking about seems to be laying on the floor broken off. So I picked it up and said, "this little broken piece of plastic that connects to the metal arm on the safe is why the safe does not work right?" She tells me yes that's the problem, that i have broken it and since it's out of warranty that there is nothing she can do to help me. But she then asks me to hold on for a moment…..

    She comes back to the phone sounding sincere, like she has just solved all my problems, and tells me that she has spoke to her supervisor and that they can offer me 10% off on any safe that I would like to purchase. I thought what great customer service, now they want to sell me another safe with metal and plastic pieces that break and give me a huge discount of 10%, and I bet it comes with a free maintenance kit which includes a polo stick, some lard oil, and a screwdriver on the rocks! Needless to say I declined their gracious offer.

    I will say that all the organizations personnel, (that I spoke with), were courteous and trying to be helpful, (that was within the realm of authority they were given). With a product such as this, and the great customer service I experienced, I thought it was probably best to find a safe that was free of little plastic pieces that break off, cause those plastic pieces won't save you 10% !

    A side note, recently I have received a couple of comments from someone who apparently holds stock in this company. He is trying to say that it's a fire safe and it's only supposed to protect your goods from fire. My first thought about that was; HELLO? Why would they put a key lock and combination lock on it then? I mean, are the locking mechanisms solely for the purpose of keeping the fire out of the safe? Then I thought some more, if this safe was in a fire, it would get hot, because it's not like a freezer inside, well except for those plastic parts and the plastic liner around the inside and around the door. What do you suppose might happen to those in a fire? I seen a stove recently that had some plastic on the door of the oven, high temperature resistant or not, it was melted.


    Topics: Kick It To The Curb | 316 Comments »

    316 Responses to “Sentry Fire Safe Won't Open, It's Broken! Can't Unlock Fire Safe”

    1. 1
      jake Says:

      Same thing with me, but mine is broken again… time to get out the hammer.

    2. 2
      Jasmine Says:

      Where on the safe did you hit it with the mallet? I have what looks like the same safe (two years ago, got it on clearance from Office Max, now thinking, maybe defective and; that’s why on clearance…) Anyway, from LED display, it is unlocked after I punch combo, but the handle won’t turn to open…Called Sentry, got busy signal, not even got through to wait on hold!

      RE: I can only suggest you call them again, I would not want to be responsible in anyway for their safes.

    3. 3
      Jen Says:

      Help! I can’t open my safe either! Which way did you hit the handle with the mallet?

      RE: I can only suggest you call them, I would not want to be responsible in anyway for their safes.

    4. 4
      leslie brazelton Says:

      dear sir,
      i have a sentry metal safe. I bought this used at a office supply, I have been using it. the last time i opened it I accidently turned the dial a little and now i cant get into it. The paper work is inside. Is there a way to reset the combination.

    5. 5
      Bob Says:

      OH boy, looks like I’m headed for the same thing. I suspected this thing was cheep. The styling is very misleading, looking all solid and quality. Apparently Sentry isn’t in a hurry to send someone out to help. I think if I get my stuff out I’m gonna get rid if it. Not taking a chance on it screwing me again. Wish me luck. Now where’s that rubber mallet…

    6. 6
      Tom Says:

      Same model, same problem. Your story just gave me more useful advice in 5 minutes than Sentry gave me in 5 days. After days of Sentry feeding me one little useless tip (enter the correct combo, change the batteries) at a time, the mallet tap had it open in 30 seconds. I used a block of wood since I didn’t have a rubber mallet. I was very careful to only tap the flat steel door, not the cheep plastic trim. I only tapped about as hard as you’d use to crack crab shells. Called Sentry anyway and got an ear full about how I shouldn’t have done that without their permission. Let them know their multi day, 1 step at a time process was lame. Also, support hours 8-6 M-F Eastern just doesn’t cut it for working people on the west coast. With repeated prying, got tech to essentially give same advice you’d mentioned (WD40 on locking pins, wait 15 minute, cycle lock several times), although she wouldn’t suggest removing inside cover. I’ll try that tonight anyway. Right now, I have no confidence in Sentry safes. While door still open I will remove contents and unbolt from floor. I’ll see if I can remove panel and properly lube pins. Bottom line, I’ll probably sell the thing since I don’t see myself locking my stuff in this cheep thing and risking this mess again. Shame to see a company kill their good name selling this cheep product then providing inadequate support.

    7. 7
      Matt Says:

      My safe door will not close. The handle is stuck! This safe is horrible, how could they sell such a horrible product.

    8. 8
      Royal D. Says:

      I have a sentry 1250 safe, which I have had more years than I can count. The problem is because I haven’t been in it for years, I’ve forgotten the combination, and I don’t remember where I hid it? Is there someway I can get to get in my safe?

      REPLY: Please call the sentry safe company, (800-828-1438)

    9. 9
      Kristin and Scott Says:

      We are experiencing the same problem as the guy w/ comment #8!!!! What the eff??!!! Rubber mallet?? Some one should suggest Sentry and all their customer service reps get a light slam from the mallet for selling such a P.O.S. and for suggesting such ridiculous remedies for opening a safe! Bad enough a thief could easily pick up this safe and run with it. Nice job Sentry, on the incredible invention of the un-safe safe!

    10. 10
      Chad Says:

      Had all the same great experiences with their customer service as all of you which is why just like the rest of you I started looking elsewhere for information. Found more help and info on sites like this compared to their CUSTOMER SERVICE.

      Well I tried the love taps with the Rubber Mallet, it didn’t work then got a little more aggressive and that didn’t work. So what would any calm and rational person do? Well I did the opposite and grab my mini sledge hammer and tried that and that failed.

      Well needless to say I wasn’t planning on keeping this darned thing after I got it open so I grabbed my sawzall with a lot of good metal blades. I figured give this a shot or it was time to call the lock smith and overpay him to open this up so I went for it.

      I was prepared to fight this thing for hours to try to get it open but all it took was a couple of minutes and one sawzall blade. Yes that is right a couple of minutes and one blade! I cut through the locking pins and even the safe like it was butter. I made two cuts in each corner of the safe along where I thought the locking pins were. Tilted the safe forward and the door fell right out.

      I know this a little more drastic than what people are looking for but if you were as frustrated with me and don’t plan on keeping the safe afterwards it could be an option, a drastic option.

    11. 11
      Jessica Says:

      My husband and I have the same safe as the one pictured. After punching in the code on the keypad, it reads error and beeps five times. Called customer service and they instructed me on how to remove the face of the keypad and check for loose wiring. Everything is secure. We are still locked out. What BS !!!!!

    12. 12
      Jon Says:

      I have the exact same issue. I was too lazy to go out to the car and get out the rubber mallet so I go a dress shoe and hit the front of the safe on the metal door below the handle. Three good whacks and I entered the combo…voila…it opened. It amazes me how a product like this can be sold without a recall!

    13. 13
      Tina Says:

      I am so glad I found this web page because mine did the same thing. I tried everything to get it to open and was very frustrated. I got a price of wood and a hammer, gave a few hits and it opened ! Was careful not to place the wood on the plastic face but just below it. It saved me a call to customer service

    14. 14
      Steve in Oregon Says:

      After reading so many complaints what cheap product Sentry makes, I decided to leave my guns in my guns in the closet. Whats the point in having something in the safe you can’t get…Its like seeing a woman without lipstick…what the heck.

    15. 15
      James Says:

      I don’t have the same problem. I know my combination and recently have trouble opening my safe. Only after I removed the circular security key would my door open. This is NOT what the website instructions say to do. Since I now have the safe open I want to change the single AA battery, just to do it since the safe is 7-8 years old. My question is will MY combination remain intact or do I need the factory combination to reprogram the lock?

      -sorry we do not represent this company in any form, thus we can not answer your question.

    16. 16
      Tina Says:

      I have the same safe pictured and the same problem. I have been trying to open this safe for days..have received no response from Sentry. Thank goodness I found this posting. I have been anxious that I would not be able to get my documents out of this safe. I used the rubber mallot and presto my safe is open….THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS INFORMATION. I am now removing my documents and getting rid of this worthless safe. Thank goodness, it wasn’t an emergency that I needed to get into the safe, only wanted to hide a Christmas present for my teen-age daughter!!!

    17. 17
      Sean Says:

      Thank you for the help! With the mallet I was finally able to open the safe. I then pried open the back of the door. Lubed all the moving parts and successfully tested everything with the door open. After replacing the back cover and closing the door the solenoid immediately failed to release again. Not sure why. Again with the mallet I was able to open the door. This time I completely removed the solenoid from the door and I now only rely on the key for security. Despite not having the added security of the electronic lock the safe should still protect against most amateur thieves, but more importantly it should protect against fires – assuming Sentry did that right.

    18. 18
      Vinny Says:

      I have had the 1250 for 16 years. Forgot the combination and could not wait 48 hours for a emails. Sledgehammer on both hinges and off the door came in my hand. Glad the crooks never got hold of it!

    19. 19
      Jeff Says:

      Thank you all so very, very, much! Having the same safe as pictured above, with the same problem, I used a hammer and beat the safe and it finally opened after 2 days of prior unsuccessful attempts of entering the combo. I can’t tell you how important it was to be able to remove what I had inside the safe and I was frantic. I am extremely relieved!! What other safes and manufacturers have you guys since found to be better?

    20. 20
      James in NM Says:

      I got the same safe as shown in the pic above. The door handle jams intermittenly. For some reason, loose particle of fine grit or sand bits keep dropping out from the lock bolts opening. However, I couldn’t find a good way to look inside the door for the rootcause. I noticed some of you guys have successfully pried open the back cover, would really appreciate if you guys share with me how you did that.

    21. 21
      jt Says:

      Thanks for posting this! after entering my combination about 20 times I decided it wasn’t be, but the safe. found your post, then proceeded to beat the crap out of my safe with a rubber mallet. Still no effect, so I pulled the safe out and vigorously stood it face up and tried the combination again. It worked!! WHEW. Pulled everything out and decided to close the door to see if I’d fixed the problem. Nope, back to not working. sealed shut forever because I’m now taking it to the junkyard and selling it to whoever I can convince there is treasure still inside. What a piece of junk, spread the word. sites like there are the real customer support.

    22. 22
      Dave MI Says:

      I have safe Model # S3807. I was just in it earlier this week and tried again 2 days ago and kept getting an error. Call the wonderful customer service and they said that the safe will not recongnize my 5 digit code. I had to use the original code. Like i have that around still. Had to pay $15 to get my code, which was pretty quick to do. Entered that and same damn beeping after that code is entered. Waiting to call customer service today. Not sure what they are going to tell me to do. Maybe the mallet, who knows. I think i just gave them $15 for nothing. Anyone have any suggestions?

    23. 23
      Seth Says:

      SENTRY should be closed down. I’ve had a safe since 2000 (oh..my God…) ..Each time I tried to open it, there would be a problem with the battery. You couldn’t leave a battery in it without it dying over a 2 month period. So, much so, that I let it sit for a while. I then bought a new battery (9 Volt) and decided to try my combo. I went crazy trying to get it open. Kept getting error codes, and I then rummaged through the basement frantically looking for the lost book that came with the treasure because I had to hide that from the person who lived with me. I also had to hide the combo somewhere else. Come the time I needed to open the ‘safe’ the individual that lived with me caught me trying to open my secret safe…which was not so secret anymore. I beat it, kicked it, cried. I thought my titles were in there, and I was going to buy a car and trade mine in. Luckily..I never put those titles in there and they were behind me on the back shelf! AHHH..Still….it is 2009 and some items I’d like to see are still in there. SENTRY will send you a new combination for a price…because they won’t tell you they’re defective..they’ll tell you — you lost the combo.
      So, here’s what they want you to do:
      Go to a notary with the safe serial number, and get them to notarize a statement you said, claiming that the safe is yours!! HUH!! Ok..so, I’m going to lug this huge mothereffer into a courthouse and say it’s mine. Ok. PROVE IT!

      Then what? Then Sentry will send you a new combo for your safe at a price of $12.00.

      Wow..what a relief…thanks to this site I think I’ll attempt your method first. These people should have a class action against them just for the shear frustration of making contact.

    24. 24
      DeeJay Says:

      I was locked out of my safe, the same exact model. You’re trick with the mallet worked! You saved me, thank you for posting this.

    25. 25
      Dave Says:

      Thanks!! I bought a new motorcycle today and they are delivering it within a couple hours. Title for trade in is in the safe that won’t open. Beat the crap out of it and bam!, first time I’ve seen the inside of the safe in about 6 months. Needless to say, I’ll empty it and find a new one.

    26. 26
      RH Says:

      WTF…wow…mine just did the same thing (entered code, showed it was unlocked, but wouldn’t open). same model as pic above. Didn’t have a rubber mallet so I hit my fist against it a few times, then entered the code, and magically it opened…what a joke

    27. 27
      Teresa Says:

      Wow…I am shopping around for a good home safe and I am SO GLAD I came across this site. I have read so many complaints about Sentry safes, both here and on retailer’s websites that it’s a wonder this company is still in business! Thank you all so much for your honesty–and I am so sorry to hear about the troubles you’ve had with this product. Someone above mentioned a class action lawsuit–it might be worth looking into your state atttorney general’s office to see if there is a file for this company and its products. You might have some recourse there.

    28. 28
      Frkychkn Says:

      hey thanks for the mallet trick. I had a different model of sentry safe that locked up and wouldn’t open. It had VERY important documents inside. I tried the mallet trick and it popped right open after entering the 5 digit number. Thanxs again!!

    29. 29
      Larry Says:

      I recently bought a Sentry model A5781 at Lowe’s. I wish I had found this website before I made the purchase. After straining my back to get the 205 pound safe up the stairs to my 2nd floor home office, I was livid when I couldn’t get the safe to open. Since it was a weekend and I couldn’t get through to Sentry’s tech support, I Googled the problem and came across this site. So I was well prepared when I called Sentry’s technical support on Monday morning. The first thing the tech support person did was talk me through the very basic instructions on how to open the safe. After I assured him that I understood and had already followed the simple directions on how to open the safe, he recommended I try new batteries. I was told that the brand new batteries I used (Rayovac) were not recommended because it was critical that the batteries supply exactly 6.0 volts. Duracell and Everready were suggested. Then I was told I should try pushing on the upper right side of the safe door and pulling up on the handle when entering the code. This wasn’t a one time solution; I would have to do it every time I opened the safe. I stopped the tech support person at that point and told him about some of their other ridiculous solutions that have been shared on this site. I also told him I wasn’t interested in work-arounds and that I was returning the safe to Lowe’s. At least, as others have noted, the tech support person was pleasant as I ended the call. After hanging up with Sentry, I called Lowes and explained the situation. I also told them that I didn’t think I should have to return the safe myself given the circumstances. To Lowe’s credit, they agreed to send two delivery people to my house to pick up the safe and offered to a full refund. I’m lucky I found out about the problem so soon after the purchase. Thanks to everyone who shared their stories. I realize that there will be manufacturing issues with every product, and without knowing the number of safes that Sentry sells, I don’t know their defect rate. However, just based on their approach to troubleshooting, Sentry obviously have a high tolerance for defects in their products. Rather than offering ridiculous work-arounds, Sentry should be offering immediate replacement of their products. I’m now considering a Liberty safe. The price is quite a bit higher, but sometimes you really do get what you pay for.

    30. 30
      Martin Says:

      The internet is hands down the greatest thing humans ever built. You guys are awesome. Several bangs later, I have my green card, passport, medications, back. I’m returning this sucker to costco.

    31. 31
      Danny Says:

      The more bells and whistles the more troubles. Get one of their models with a regular dial……works everytime. Simplicity is a lost art although when found it is our choice to use it or not. Good luck and God’s speed

    32. 32
      Unimpressed Says:

      Glad I found this website. Our safe stuck closed just before we were going on vacation to Mexico with all our passports inside. The hammer thing didn’t work, but the sawzall sure did. Thanks for the tip. Won’t be buying another one of this brand.

    33. 33
      GLM Says:

      To All, As a former supplier to Sentry please note they do not sell security safes. They sell fire safes. Buyer be aware these mechanisms inside are the lowest cost junk they can engineer. Notice their advertising only states how the box performs in fire conditions. When they started with the Brush Pundit safes it was a different story. Consider yourselves lucky they answer the phone from their US office seeing that they abandoned their US factory.

    34. 34
      Oh My Says:

      Thanks for all the thorough information! I had the same problem. The batteries were fine, the code was fine, it just wasn’t “clicking” or engaging the solenoid when it was supposed to.

      The rubber mallet did the trick. I also squirted some WD-40 into the small access port on the back of the door. So far it’s working smoothly now, but who knows for how long?!

      I spoke with the SentrySafe people and they were trying to get me to spring 50 bucks for a new solenoid. But your tips saved me the money. Thanks! I’ve never had to try breaking into my own safe before. I don’t have much confidence in SentrySafe products anymore.

    35. 35
      Kristin Mooney Says:

      Unbelievable. I am a 45 year old woman who is not technically inclined. Never thought the mallet trick would work and I would have to pay a locksmith. Oxymoron – “safe” – I keep my guns in there to keep them safe from my kids and easy access in case someone broke in to my house. “Wait Mr Robber, I have to find my mallet and pound on the safe door – could you please not kill me while I pound on the door so I can get my guns – so I can protect myself? Now the guns are out of the safe and out of the house because I have to protect my kids. Should be a class action lawsuit.

    36. 36
      Whackin Away Says:

      I am presently whacking away at the face of this very model. No luck yet. I have had it for 4 years now and in the last 6 months it began giving me problems. Changed the batteries to no effect. I will take the sawz-all to it and toss this piece of cr@p.

      I guess I should not have put the keys to my other two safes in this one…

    37. 37
      JEFF Says:

      Man this Safe sucks *ss. Leaving the country in 2 days the wife decides at 2am to get the passports out of the safe. She couldn’t open it so she wakes me to have a crack at it and knowing that I have to goto work at 7am. I don’t remember how many times I put in that dam code and the safe door just wouldn’t open. The clicking sound that came after you put in the code wasn’t there so I knew it wasn’t me. So as far as Sentry picking up the phone at 3am ain’t going to happen. At this time both of us was going crazy. She goes online to look for a locksmith and I went to the Sentry site and got NO Answers. I changed all the AA battery also used a 9V with no results. Then I googled “sentry safe no click heard after combo is placed and cant open” and found this site started to read the comments and didn’t really believe it at first…RUBBER MALLET yeah right. At this time getting close to 4am and I’am hitting this F**KING thing with everything but the RUBBER MALLET cause I didn’t have one. Tired and Pissed I went to sleep only to be waken again to be told it would cost $299.00 for 24hr replacement passports each which I needed 3 at $900.00 yeah whatever I to sleep even more pissed not at the fact that I was going to pay 9 bills but that I was WOKEN UP AGAIN!!. So finally morning came time to goto work I was putting on my boots and saw the rubber sole. No rubber mallet so I started kicking the safe with my heal, then bent down put in the code and heard that CLICK of the solenoid and was thinking NOWAY! pulled the handle and the S*it opened. Didn’t even use a tool so to the next victim try RUBBER WORKING BOOTS. One more thing this SENTRY SAFE S*CK *SS. Thanks to this site Japan here I come.

    38. 38
      MadCustomer Says:

      My safe is Sentry A3750. The code was right and the lock worked great. The handle was only half way down and the door was not open. There was not “clicking” sound. Changing batteries had no effect.

      Searched the Sentry website and could not find a solution. Googled the Internet and found this thread.

      Used the “standard” tool, a rubber mallet, to tap the door above and below the handle a few times. Hold the handle up and entered the code. I heard a “clicking” sound. Pushed down the handle. Vola! The door was unlocked.

      Think positive. A sentry safe needs three things to open: a code, a key and a hammer.

    39. 39
      Don Says:

      Thank you callitout.com, lighthouse, and especially Sean. I’ve had my OA3810 for a little more than two years and had occasionally experienced the same problem. Unlock with key, enter combo on keypad, try to turn handle, nothing. Try again and again, with handle jiggling, and eventually it would work. Today I tried it more than 20 times before it would open.

      Sentry’s website was useless and I don’t like playing phone support games. After finding and reading this thread, I popped the inner plastic cover and used my Dremel to cut off the metal tab that’s blocked by the solenoid when the handle’s closed. The keypad is now useless, but the safe still locks & opens via the key. Like Sean, I’ll cross my fingers and hope it preserves my stuff in a fire.

      In my experience (mostly irrigation systems), most solenoids do wear out, stick, or otherwise cease to function after some number of years. This safe’s solenoid, a thin metal rod in a plastic sleeve, seems prone to sticking especially if the handle is not completely locked (pulled all the way up) when entering the combination.

      No more electronic Sentry safes for me.

    40. 40
      Debra Freeman Says:

      My safe will not open went through the sentry safe customer BS. It as not the batteries. It just would not open. My husband and I hit it hard it will not open. My safe is 9 years old. I will not buy Sentry Safe junk again.

    41. 41
      lyle Says:


    42. 42
      Jason Says:

      Same problem- my mallet worked!

      What safe would you guys reccomend? I want to buy a new one, and have NO idea what to get.


    43. 43
      jeffx Says:

      Same safe with the same problem today. Could not find my rubber mallet so I have the face of the door a few good hammer fist blows and it opened!

      Pulled off the plastic cover inside the safe and sprayed some wd-40 in the solenoid and tested about 30 times, worked 100% of the time now.

      I also found another point of failure that also prevented me from unlocking the safe. Under the locking pin for the key lock there is a piece of black plastic with a spring holding it in place that appears to have no purpose whatsoever other than blocking the opening mechanism even with the key is unlocked. I removed that piece and the spring and am hoping for no further failures anytime soon.

      I have a sawzall if that every becomes necessary in the future.

    44. 44
      Mark Says:

      I had the exact same problem. I banged it with the rubber head of my screwdriver and it opened. What a piece of junk!

      SentrySafe is Junk

    45. 45
      Coleman Says:

      I brought a Sentry Safe from Lowes. After it was loaded on my truck, they told me that they cold not find the manual. That I would have to call you and tell you that I need a warrant. Well, it’s been months and I still do not have a manual. Send me a manual for the A5781 Sentry Fire=Safe. I am not a patience person. Clean up your mess.

    46. 46
      Billy Says:

      Man I thought I would never get in my safe, thanks for the post

    47. 47
      EZ Lee Says:

      I was having the same problem everyone was having for a week I could not get into my safe which I have only been in 3 or 4 times the last time 2yrs. I read sentry’s desciption and watch the video how to open the safe. I must have tried to open it 300 times in the last week. One thing they didn’t tell you was how to lock it back. After a lot of frustration I tried the mallet and that did not work. I tried 1 last idea before I got out the angle grinder. I lifted the handle up before I locked it back with the key. RELIEF RELIEF this time I turned the key the lock popped out as it had done 300 times before, I put in the code and it opened. I tried this same method 3 more times and it worked. Wohoa Wohoa

    48. 48
      John Allen Says:

      My brother had been trying to get into his sentry for several days now. And tonight had just gotten to the point where it was critical that we do. So after several attempts by me, I looked it up here on the net, using key words. And found this page, so after reading all the possible ideas, I finally came upon #38, because we too do not have a rubber mallet. But my work shoes for crews is rubber soled and it solved the problem. Thank you to all of you for your suggestions.

    49. 49
      Paula Says:

      Thanks for all the great advice! We dumped our safe out on the patio so we could whack it with the mallet, and then tried it one last time. It opened! I got all my stuff out. When we closed it and tried it again it wouldn’t work. What a piece of garbage. Never again.

    50. 50
      Kristin Says:

      Thank you for posting this! I had the same problem, I would enter my code and you’d hear the correct beep for it to open but the lock would never open. I just opened my safe for the first time in about 8 months! I didn’t have a rubber malloy but I found that one of my solid pair of wedge heels did the trick! Just one hard smack on the door right where it opens and walla! This safe is a piece of crap, i’m taking my stuff out and trying a different brand next time…

    51. 51
      Chris Says:

      Thanks for all your help. Most fun Ive had reading internet comments in ages. No rubber mallet, but standard hammer and block of wood did the trick for me after hours of punching in that damn combination. Any way, heard that “click” and opened that door and removed the contents. Only decision now is a) oil those bolts, b) chop the solenoid or c) enjoy a triple hernia taking it to the dump! Thanks again, you saved me!

    52. 52
      Kevin Says:

      Thanks for the info on this site. same problem… Sentry telephone wait time was 25 minutes. found this site and used my mallet. going to get another safe with a combination. I can’t take the chance on not being able to open the safe when i need to ie passports.

    53. 53
      Daniel Says:

      Man, you saved my life with your post! I was about to freak out when my safe wouldn’t open and let me retrieve my passport, which I will need as I’m traveling to Canada the day after tomorrow. First I called Sentry, only to find out they don’t have an emergency call number. What a piece of dung company!!!

    54. 54
      Felix Says:

      I was about to call a locksmith, when I found this forum. I figured what the hell, I’ve got a rubber mallet. With mallet in hand I started hitting the front of the door but not the handle. After whacking it about 20 times it opened! I’m relieved that I was able to get my safe opened. However I will never buy a sentry safe again. -F

    55. 55
      matt Says:

      same thing. class action anyone?

    56. 56
      Ben Says:

      My Sentry safe was fine for 7 years, but now it either won’t open or won’t close due to trouble with the bottom locking pins.

      It was the little plastic part next to the arm that lifts/lowers the lower pins is broken. It’s superglued back on but that won’t last.

      This safe is a POS. No one would ever buy one if they saw the lock mechanism first.

    57. 57
      Andrew Says:

      One word of caution…depending on your safe, you may have a secondary lock that sits just below the plastic handle. Without my knowledge, my 6yo pushed this secondary lock in (which does not require a key…poor design, IMO), which prevents the handle from turning, regardless of whether you enter a correct combination or fingerprint scan.

      Unfortunately for me, thinking that the secondary lock required the key, I locked the keys in the safe, to prevent just this sort of mishap. Thankfully, after a 20 minute wait on hold, the Sentry Safe rep who I spoke with immediately recognized the problem, took my address and offered to send me replacement keys, and even waived the normal $15 fee.

      Without discounting the bad experience of other folks here, I’d have to say I came away impressed overall. Still not thrilled with the design of the lock, and I will likely replace or supplement this safe with something a little easier to access, and less prone to trouble from small fingers.

    58. 58
      July 23, 2009 Says:

      My safe is locked open! After my son opened it, he somehow left the locking pins open so that the door won’t close. I entered the combination and heard a click, but the handle won’t move. The key won’t turn and pop the locking mechanism out. All of the dandy ideas that sentry has on their website are bogus. New batteries, combo, key, nothing works. I haven’t tried the mallet yet, but maybe I’ll have my son headbutt the door, since he is the one who screwed it up.

    59. 59
      John Doe Says:

      I am a locksmith and every time we get one of these things in the shop or on a service call we cringe. They are not worth it. You really do get what you pay for and sometimes it’s not a whole lot more you have to pay to get something that is actually decent. I would never buy one of these to protect my grass clippings let alone anything important.

    60. 60
      Chrissy Says:

      Thanks, guys, for this information. I had the same thing: Sentry electronic safe would not open even though “proceed” light was on. Two whacks with the rubber mallet resulted in a successful code entry. Grabbed my goodies outta there quick!

    61. 61
      DJ Says:

      Thank goodness for this website — and a heavy soled rubber shoe! I have the model as pictured — and the same problem as the countless others who have posted. Took about six whacks with the shoe, but it finally worked.

    62. 62
      Greg G Says:

      Wow I have similar safe and cant get in. I run a store and need access to the money. Going back down to try hammer, if not then sawall. My handle just spins and wont turn what ever is inside. It has 2 outside hinges that I wish I knew how to get off. Wish me luck

    63. 63
      Andrew Says:

      Following up on my previous comment…I received the replacement keys from Sentry Safe yesterday, and all is well. So if you have problems opening your safe, make sure you’re not forgetting the secondary lock (if your safe is equipped with one). Might save some headache and heartache.

      In this instance, Sentry Safe did the right thing by me, so kudos to the CS rep who helped me out.

    64. 64
      Stu Says:

      Same story…. have a Sentry Safe model #csw3813 and spent probably 2 hours trying to open last night. 2 taps from a rubber mallet and opens right up. Thanks for posting the info here.

    65. 65
      Brian Says:

      re S-3871
      We had the key lock mechinism leap out onto the floor. Tried the rubber hammer with no luck. The sawsall is next if nobody has anything else.

    66. 66
      Jason Says:

      Thanks for the great information here. I bought my safe at Costco, and they have a generous return policy. So, I bypassed the customer support and just took an angle grinder to the hinges and a sledge hammer to knock the door off. What a POS. We will be getting our money back this weekend.

    67. 67
      Kohala Tom Says:

      Thanks so much for providing a “low tech” solution that really works. After reading this page, I banged on the door a few times with the rubber mallet. OMG, it worked! A few squirts of WD40 and I’m back in business. Keep those Saws-alls and bi-metal blades handy!!!!!!

    68. 68
      PK Says:

      Yup, same prob here – started a year ago, changed batteries, last week Sentry said don’t use energizer batteries, but changing them didn’t work. So they sent new battery holder but that didn’t work. So now what? I think we all deserve our money back. Sentry,, what are you doing about this? Never again.

    69. 69
      Erin Says:

      Just wanted to say thank you to Lighthouse for posting this article. What a life saver! I swapped out the batteries initially to no avail but after reading this article I used a 9V battery and got it open – phew! BTW, most of the items were covered in mildew (moisture bag didn’t do its job). Looks like I need to purchase a new safe, as if I have the $$ to throw out the window “testing” products. Grrrr….

    70. 70
      Ken Says:

      I have a OA5889 but it looks exactly the same safe as pictured above. The safe was getting harder and harder to open lately, the handle seems to require more force each time to get the locking bolts to retract into the door. Finally last week, all I can hear was a faint click after punching in combo however the handle wouldn’t turn any more. My wife applied with a bit more force and broke it (became somewhat loose and with some force you can turn it whichever way you want but the bolt won’t retrack into the door). I can’t believe how flimsy this crap was and that my wife could break a safe handle when she always asks me for help opening pickle jars. Sentry customer support said the safe was designed to break off to prevent robbers from forcing their way in. Their attitude was “you broke it, you fix it”. Sentry customer service should use this post as one of their training course. Long story short, the robber mallet trick worked, thanks to this post. You saved me a couple hundred bucks the locksmith was going to charge us. BTW, I believe my problem with this safe was slightly different than others with the sticky solenoids and just banging on the safe with the robber mallet didn’t immediately unjam the safe for me. I had to keep banging on the door with the mallet and slowly turn the handle at the same time and finally the door opened.

    71. 71
      Ron Says:

      Same safe won’t open! What a POS!

    72. 72
      Michael Says:

      D*mn, am I glad this site was here… saved me a week of headache and stress. same safe, same problem. Went out to the garage after reading this article, beat on the metal part of the door with the rubber mallet, whallla! Thanks so much for this page, you probably saved me a heart attack!

    73. 73
      The Master Says:

      Someone should get a class action thing going, mine did this too, and I only open/close it rarely so its not a wear/tear issue.

    74. 74
      Danny P Says:

      I just tried your solutions for an hour straight, none of them worked. i beat it with a mallot, and nothing.
      finally, magically it just popped. i hate this POS safe, i wish i could burn it if it burnt, im gonna drop it in the bottom of the ocean.
      Class Action.. im down!

    75. 75
      John Says:

      Thanks for all the advise…. Well, my story is a little different. The safe would not open despite all the above mentioned advise. Since I had an international business trip the following day, and my passport was in the safe, I needed to take matters into my own hands… With a small crow bar, I was able to pry the safe open in about 10 minutes. What a piece of junk…. Not only should Sentry be ashamed of themselves for terrible customer support, they should be ashamed of themselves for selling such a poor product…. SHAME ON YOU SENTRY!!!

    76. 76
      Andrew Says:

      well after trying the rubber mallet thing my safe still will not lock i open it AND THE DOOR FELL OFF THATS RIGHT THE DOOR OF THE SAFE FELL OFF the weld that holds the door on popped out and the door fell off this is a horribly made product and i don’t suggest to anyone to buy it. All i tried to do was get my 300 dollar safe to lock and in the process my door fell off what kind of safe lets the door fall off if you’re trying to keep your important items safe don’t buy this

    77. 77
      mozart27 Says:

      Same thing, same directions. They told me i have to have a locksmith come out and drill out my safe. That’s ~200$ just to open my !@#$ safe. AND it sounds like a lot of people are having problems like this. Time for consumerist.com….

    78. 78
      chris Says:

      used the rubber mallet on my A5889, it opened. after removing the inside panel i found everything
      still working, nothing was broken, nothing missing. after looking at how everything worked i had found that there was dirt in all of the locking holes, not allowing the locking pins to fully open when the door was shut. but worked fine when door was open. cleaned out all locking holes and lightly greased all the pins. works great! easy fix for some!

    79. 79
      cl Says:

      Same problem, CSW3813, 2 years old. Had 4 hours to get old vehicle title out to trade for new vehicle.

      2 hours later, alot of cussing, and two brand new sets of batteries (Duracell & Energizer) I finally managed to get safe open by holding the handle in the furthest lock position and the key in the furthest unlock position!

      I emailed Sentry and 2 days later got the rubber mallet solution and offer for $50 solenoid replacement.

      I haven’t closed the safe back yet for fear of it not opening again, but with the door open and bolts in the lock position I did try the mallet once and it did work.

      Although at this point I’m afraid to lock it at all and will be looking into a better replacement with a key override and no electronic keypad lock!

      I had never had problems with Sentry before (I have a locking fireproof file cabinet that’s been flawless as well as small fireproof security boxes), however after this headache, I’m either buying only the Sentry fireproof file cabinets or a different name brand of safe.

    80. 80
      happy it opened Says:

      We have the exact same model as in the picture, and same problem as everyone else…good code, good key, good batteries…not opening.

      Read the comments…very helpful and albeit funny since I am reading out loud to my husband as he is beating the hell out of our safe.

      Started hitting the safe with the rubber end of a screwdriver and it didn’t work, tried the hammer and a block of wood and it didn’t work, we turned it on its back and beat it with the hammer EVERYWHERE (above the keypad, below the keypad!!)Punched in the code and then just started reefing on the handle and POP it opened while I was reading #38 out loud to my husband.

      The bolts of our safe do NOT move at all anymore…piece of junk!! We are getting a new safe, anyone hear of a good one?

    81. 81
      Bill Says:

      Thanks for all the input. I was about to buy 4 safes from Sentry for Xmas gifts. I don’t want to also have to buy rubber mallets, screwdrivers and lub. Any suggestions on a good safe.

    82. 82
      Boycott Sentry Products Says:

      Holy cow. What an ordeal! I can’t say enough about how bad these safes are. Sentry customer service was pleasant, but not at all helpful in resolving the poor manufacturing. These guys are crooks! I got the 5 beep Error and the safe kept saying ERR. After replacing the batteries, key code, and beating the hell out of my safe with a rubber mallet, I ended up renting a reciprocal saw from Home Depot to break this thing open. And by the way, it can be MESSY! So word to the wise, if you can’t get this thing open, try breaking into it outside! Getting into this safe took me over an hour, but saved me over $200 in hiring a lock smith to do it. I can’t believe there hasn’t been a recall on this product. And contacting the BBB doesn’t do much either. I sent them this forum and they were surprised. If you haven’t bought anything from Sentry, DON’T DO IT. Save yourself the time, money, and headache.

    83. 83
      Heather Says:

      God I wish I read this earlier! Tonight is the third time my safe has jammed! Unforunately this time I couldn’t shake the handle up a little and get it to open instead when I pushed up on the handle (followed exactly to the directions) the handle clicked and then went around 360degrees! That’s right, a complete circle which meant it was now $450 of useless metal and my husbands diabetic medication was inside and we HAD to get to it.
      After 30 minutes of hammering with a wedge and sledgehammer it is now two piece’s and our medicine and guns are now not safely stored!
      We have had this safe for a year and rarely locked it because of the trouble that we have experienced in the past when we did. I personally feel we should be compensated for a product that obviously fails to work.
      If any class action suit ever gets filed this will be one product that I won’t waive my rights on.
      Happy holidays to all you other failed safers out there.

      Armed and Unsafe,

    84. 84
      Stan Says:

      I’ve had a model 1250 for many years. It’s got a dial/disk lock mechanism. Never had a problem. Sentry made it perfectly clear that it was a fire safe not an anti-theft safe. If you can’t afford to lose it, it should be in a bank safe deposit box.

      COMMENT….OK, So why then does it require a combination and key to open it? (when it’s functioning as it is intended too)

    85. 85
      Jennifer Says:

      Thanks for the post. Have been unable to open my safe in a week. Purchased batteries from two different stores. Took a rubber mallet and hit the handle dead on twice, put in my code and it OPENED!!! Thanks so much!!!

    86. 86
      Ron Says:

      Thanks for the advice, I keep my medicine in there and couldn’t get into it for a week before I found this place.I used the sole of my shoe and it opened. Removed the inside of the door and lubed everything but I will be removing the solenoid to disable the keypad.

    87. 87
      Lisa Says:

      Your story made it worth having a broken keypad! You are so funny.

    88. 88
      Jeff Says:

      Wailed away with the rubber hammer to no avail. Ended up using a crowbar and 3 lb sledgehammer. Glad the locking pins set in a plastic hole, it was pretty easy to deform the door frame and pry the door open. The email exchange with customer service was pleasant but totally useless. I am tempted to mail the carcass back to the company president.

    89. 89
      Rene Says:

      First and foremost THANK YOU.

      Second, The safe arrived at my work today (it was gona be used to store my backup tapes) at around 3pm and I had it nice and broken by 3:05pm I opened it twice and by the third time it wouldn’t open despite the code being correct. Experiencing the exact same thing like everyone else. Turning the handle does nothing, there was a clicking sound when it worked and there is none now.

      I called staples and told them to pick it up tomorrow and if they sent me an invoice on it I would assure them they would never see our company’s business again.

      They agreed 😀 Now it’s time to find a different brand all together

    90. 90
      don Says:

      Thank goodness for this blog. I had the same problem with the code not making the safe click open. I followed the reccomendation about getting it open and then busting off the back plastic cover to expose the mechanics. It is very easy to disable the mechanics that open the electonic part of the lock, and only utilize the push button lock. But I eneded up spraying a can of WD40 over everything and it works great, even the electronic mechanism. It looks like the failure is due to a little bit of downward pressure on the handle which causes the electronic lock to not be able to pop out of the way.

      Thank you all for your advice!!

    91. 91
      Dave Says:

      The first safe that I bought through Office Max lasted less than 30 days. Surprisingly, the replacement lasted me four years. The electronic combination lock has just failed me. When I first started examining the safe, I saw that the bolt that comes up through the top of the door had fallen off and was lying inside with the other mechanisms. I pried off the inside cover and saw that the actuator was not releasing properly. I tried to reinstall the fallen off bolt, but it wouldn't stay on. There was also a clay like substance that I assume was fireproofing material that was crumbling and falling out the bottom. I removed the batteries and I'm using the safe with only the key until I find a replacement. I access the safe a couple times a day and don't believe this brand of safe is built durable enough to handle that much use.

    92. 92
      Mariela Says:

      I wish I had researched this safe better when I bought it a year ago. I have a similar-  model A5781. I could not belive my eyes when I saw lighthouse's account. I could have written it myself yesterday after my 2-hour seemeingly endless wait and lame attempt by Sentry Customer Service Rep and the "technician" I was transferred to (with another 15 minute wait).
       I was walked thorugh the "yes I can read and follow my manual on how to open the safe since I've done it for a year, can we move on to actual troubleshooting" experience. Then came the rubber mallet. I could not believe it. The "technician" asked me to flip the safe every which way, radiculous (I was singgering, cussing – to myself, and disbelieving while I heaved the 150lbs safe from side to side to back like a giant dice. I kept hearing the faint click and low tone when I typed in the code, but no luck. Both my husband and I whacked the safe door and tried to open countless times since. I was told by the rep that I should look up a local safe and lock company to get into it (destroying it in the process) because the safe was out of warranty. Who does not need a $300 door stop plus $200 for the locksmith. Thank God for this post. At least I can save myself $200.
      I am planning to write detailed letters to Sentry, Home Depot, California  and NY Department Consumer Affairs, Consumer Reports Magazine and some newspapers. I have been leaving reveiws on every big website (Costco, Home Depot, Amazon) that sell these safes.

    93. 93
      TLR Says:

      This safe is junk mine quit working and now the rubber mallet won't work either.  Piece of junk!

    94. 94
      Mike Says:

      Same safe, same thing.    after getting it open began testing with door open. kept hanging up.  Pryed off  the inside plastic cover.  what crap, no wonder.  I disabled the electic combo part by breaking of the metal tab to the relay button, snaps right of with plyers.  so now it shuts and will lock but with the key only, or can  just lift handle and not bother to key lock it.  will keep kids and honest people out, not crooks.  hopfully works better protecting from fire then from theft.

    95. 95
      Karen Says:

      Sounds like the problem and response I got from them.  Still won't open and they finally said it would have to be drilled by a locksmith–$150!!!  which would render it useless.  Said the moisture must have built up inside and it is sticking!!!  Said I should have opened it every 2 weeks for 15 minutes–right"~!  of course that is not in their information.

    96. 96
      ayfromherc Says:

      Im so glad i found this blog… The story hit home like you wouldnt believe!! I bought this dam thing 1 day ago and im already at it with a rubber mallet!!! What a POS! Im returning it pronto in the morning .. The problem now is moving it to the car!! I had a hell of a time getting it in the house!!! I hate you sentry… your plastic junk will be returned to staples asap!

    97. 97
      liza Says:

      Thanks for your post. You saved me from going crazy angry. It was such a relief to know I am not alone in wanting to raise hell. Admittedly it was easier for me because it malfunctioned when open. But we had to bring our gun to our friend for him to keep. I am not happy with my Sentry experience and I'm never buying Sentry again.

    98. 98
      JC Says:

      I had my sentry electronic combination fire safe for about 5 years.  Since 2005 I never had any problems, I used it almost daily.  Flashforward to a few months ago.  Safe won't unlock.  Right code, right key, handle won't budge!  Won't open AT ALL.  After reading the posts on this site, I figured Sentry customer service would be a dead end.   So after finally getting the damn thing opened I too found the small plastic piece lying on the floor.  Now to get my safe working I had to remove the electronic actuator, the top bolt (as it kept falling off and blocking the safe mechanisms from opening), the back, and a few other fail safe pieces that I figured could have me in another no open scenario in the future.
      So now my fancy dancy electronic safe, only locks with a key.  Funny thing is, the non electronic version was about hundred bucks cheaper!  Guess I should have gotten that one, or better yet, I guess I should have NEVER GOTTEN A SENTRY!

    99. 99
      Rhonda Says:

      Sentury gun safe G5351-2T
      opened twice this morning,
      now will not open (electronic key pad)
      key is in safe, car keys, everything !!!!  HELP

    100. 100
      Chris Says:

      Glad I found this, I couldn't open the door of my safe so I tried the 'whack with a mallet' procedure and it worked!! Who said all problems can't be solved with brute strength?!

    101. 101
      Denise Says:

      We hit the pins on the door frame inch long on each side.

    102. 102
      Sameer Says:

      Thanks for the original post! I have the exact same safe which had the exact same issue. I used the "rubber mallet" trick described in the post above and the safe opened magically! Man I could not control my laugh after that!
      Thank you! Thank you!

    103. 103
      joseph Says:

      i think i have a boat anchor i wish i had found this sooner

    104. 104
      Mister Wizard Says:

      Well written.  I laughed out loud!

    105. 105
      Bajanrod Says:

      Thank God I accidentally came across this link. I was able to use a 9 volt battery to get my safe opened. Now I have to pull up on the handle for it to go in the lock position. Then display only shows the unlock icon though……….I guess we all have to pray the theives don't ever go hold of our worthless safes.

    106. 106
      william Says:


    107. 107
      Marcelo Says:

      Thank you all for your advice; after several tries – the rubber mallot work; I don't know if I want to use the safe again. It looks like Sentry has a huge quality curve to overcome…

    108. 108
      Scott Says:

      I’m still laughing about this, albeit a little less than an hour ago. I had the same problem happen this afternoon on a 5 year old safe that had the door open for the last two. That’s due the the only good thing about the safe which is that it holds the moist air insode REAL well. My wife decided it was time to close the door and start using the safe again today. Too bad she didn’t test the lock out before putting everything in the safe and locking it…and THEN trying to open it. Nope. Wouldn’t budge. The solenoid normally makes a faint click when you enter the correct combination on the keypad, but not today. No clicky, no open.

      Then I found this site. Grabbed the mallet and whacked the snot out of the door two or three times. Voila!!! Door opened. Tried again with the door open and it woked. Tried again and it didn’t. Hit it with a shoe and it opened. Needless to say, this thing is getting opened up tomorrow and I’m gutting the electronic lock portion. That’s only to make due until I get around to getting a real safe.

      Thanks for the site.

    109. 109
      Scott Says:

      I'm still laughing about this, albeit a little less than an hour ago. I had the same problem happen this afternoon on a 5 year old safe that had the door open for the last two years. That's due the the only good thing about the safe which is that it holds the moist air inside REAL well. My wife decided it was time to close the door and start using the safe again today. Too bad she didn't test the lock out before putting everything in the safe and locking it…and THEN trying to open it. Nope. Wouldn't budge. The solenoid normally makes a faint click when you enter the correct combination on the keypad, but not today. No clicky, no open. Then I found this site. Grabbed the mallet and whacked the snot out of the door two or three times. Voila!!! Door opened. Tried again with the door open and it worked. Tried again and it didn't. Hit it with a shoe and it opened. Needless to say, this thing is getting opened up tomorrow and I'm gutting the electronic lock portion. That's only to make due until I get around to getting a real safe.
      Thanks for the site.

    110. 110
      Jose Says:


      NOTE FROM EDITOR: Everyone’s issues are not the same, you can’t fix broken parts with grease. Happy you got it open though!

    111. 111
      Brad Says:

      I SAWED IT!!!
      My 4 year old sentry safe just stopped working last weekend.  The key code registered just fine, but the handle would not turn.  I was not able to get a response from Sentry Safe's phone number or email listing.  Thank goodness for this site.  I would have paid a locksmith over $100 and now I have a new saw!
      I tried the 9 volt battery and hitting on the door of the safe with a rubber mallet.  Neither worked.  Then I began thinking about a locksmith vs sawing the safe.  Someone on here said that they used their Sawsall to cut through the safe.  Why not?  Went to Lowe's (bought the damn safe at Home Depot) and bought a 12 volt Dewalt reciprocating saw for around $120.  Also got some metal cutting blades.  
      I have never in my life used any type of electrical saw.  I sat the safe on the garage floor and faced the door to my right.  I then began sawing through the safe parallel to the door frame, about 1 inch behind where the seam to the front of the safe was.  If I hadn't been so afraid of cutting off my hand or damaging something in the safe, I would have had the safe open in under 1 minute.  I used 1 saw blade.  It was still sharp when I had finished.  There were no fragments/shrapnel that flew off during cutting.  There was a lot of claylike putty in the interior of the safe.  This made quite the mess on the garage floor and on the saw itself.  After sawing all the way around the safe, I used a crowbar to pry open the part I had cut off (mostly the front door and 2-3 inches of frame).  Everything in the safe was fine.
      That was one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.  
      Good luck all and be "Safe"

      Sounds like “Tim Allens” solution!

    112. 112
      Meg M Says:

      My husband and I have just spent some time fooling with a "stuck safe" from the office of a non-profit organization we support.  We eventually got it open; he then took the back off the door to see what mechanisms were inside. 
      His descriptions and photos can be seen in this document: http://menkescientific.com/InsidetheSentryFiresafe.pdf
      His advice is: the first time your safe causes problems, get it open (however you can — new batteries, rubber mallet, whatever).  Don't wait – take the back off the door and fix what needs to be fixed in the mechanical set-up.  As in all products, there are compromises between price and quality.  But a mechanically-minded person can fix the hardware inside the Sentry safe.

    113. 113
      Anon Says:

      Thanks for the site. The rubber mallet trick worked to get my stuck safe open. I would not recommend this type of sentry safe to anyone.

    114. 114
      Anon Says:

      Thanks for this site. I had to resort to using the rubber mallet to get my stuck sentry safe open after changing the batteries failed to work. Tapping all around the face of the safe with the mallet worked for me. I am afraid to use it again though and will never recommend this type of sentry safe to anyone.

    115. 115
      Tom Says:

      Wow this is great stuff. I wish I had seen it a week ago.  About a month ago, it took me about 25 times entering the combination to get the safe to open. Since then I left it open.   after looking for some time I could find nothing on how to fix this problem.  I bought a new safe (different brand) and it arrived yesterday. Once I got it out of the box and entered the new code, I closed the new safe and it wouldn't lock!
      So this time I decided to open it up.  It had a different mechanism than the Sentry Safes, but I was able to fix it.  This gave me the courage to pry open the Sentry Safe.  In my case the solenoid plunger was stuck.  I added some oil to it and that seems to have done the trick.
      I am a bit reluctant to use it for anything critical now.  But now that I have two safes I am just as concerned with the quality of the other one.  I think I will make do one one or both of these, but I am curious if anyone has had better luck with a different brand?
      Best of luck if you run into one of these problems.  If your safe starts to exhibit and issue, address it right away — it will likely only get worse, then you have to resort to the saw.

    116. 116
      Mark Says:


        I own a Sentry ''Safe'' model KSW3550 , about 4-5 years old  , it wouldn't open for the last week , so today I desperately put ''sentry safe prblems '' on google – and … TADAAAA !

         I didn't needed a mallet ( well – I don't have a rubber one ''  , so just used my Grlfrnd  platform shoe . After putting the code i hit couple times around the electronic lock – worked like MAGIC  . Thanks again  !  I won't buy this brand crap ever again  and will spread the ''good'' news about it

    117. 117
      AP Says:

      Before finding this site today, I have beaten my Sentry with a rubber mallet AND used WD40 AND tried a screwdriver….Reading this site made me feel a bit better (our Sentry is somewhere around 15 years old and today is the first day it's stuck). The picture of the inside gears is helpful and I'm beginning to think that the plastic wheel is broken which means we may as well do major damage to the safe and buy a new one.  I have tried for hours to get the handle to go all the way "down" and move the bolts…sigh.
      Thanks Lighthouse for your story…I'm not going to even bother calling/emailing those guys then…And special thanks to Meg M and her dh for the pictures!  I like to know how things work…or don't work…ack!

    118. 118
      Annette Says:

      I too could not open my Sentry electronic safe; did not have a rubber mallet so I used a basketball and a thick rubber soled shoe – it worked! Now I'm throwing out the safe, I don't want to go experience that type of panic again.

    119. 119
      Alex Says:

      I had the same problem with my Sentry safe. The handle was spinning around and I could not open it. I called the company; they agreed to reimburse the cost of the locksmith and the cost of the safe. The locksmiths spent 3 minutes opening it, just using a screwdriver and a hummer. What a piece of junk! It is more complicated to open a can of tuna than this “security safe”.

    120. 120
      Brad Says:

      Now I know why my "new" safe was on the sidewalk with a not on it saying if you can open it its yours free. Me bing a spend thrift I carried the sucker home, bought the code via notified m ail. Well you know that saying if its looks too good to be true it usually is. After getting the sucker to open the first time now it wont.  I guess I need to try the rubber mallet, WD-40, Butter knife, grease, gin and tonic safe cracking system .

    121. 121
      Marc Says:

      I had the exact same thing happen to my safe! It is about three years old and I opened up the back to look at the mechanisms and there it is the little plastic piece as pictured is laying on the floor. What baffles me is this little plastic piece has sheared off and this is the mechanism to keep the door locked. Now the safe opens and closes fine but does not lock because this plastic piece is gone. Now I know if I ever start stealing safes just pry on the handle hard enough and this plastic locking mechanism will shear off and the safe is open! I guess there was a reason for it being a Costco special! At least now I know not to buy a Sentry Safe next time, Fisher Price can engineer better plastic!

    122. 122
      Rick Says:

      It's a real shame that Sentry has not addressed this issue.  I have NEVER seen so many posts for the SAME EXACT product issue.  With all your advice, I took a mallet to the darn thing, got it open, cleaned it out…and just finished walking it to the curb for garbage pickup. Shame that it will now sit in a landfill.  Sentry should be ashamed of itself.  Will never buy another product from them again.  And will share this story with as many people as possible.

    123. 123
      Melodie Says:

      Thanks for this post. I had the exact same problem and followed the steps up to the 3 in1 oil. I now have it propped open, unsure wether to close it and give it an other chance or not.
      What a waste of money, I thought this purchase was going to be a smart investment. I seriously regret buying the sentry safe.

    124. 124
      Mike Says:

      I did not have a rubber mallet.  So, I kicked it.  It finally opened.

    125. 125
      Mike Says:

      I just bought an OA5865 from OfficeMax on 12/28/2010 and guess what: SAME ISSUE WITH NOT OPENING AFTER JUST 3 DAYS!!!  Got my mallet out and finally got the thing open.  Guess what's going back to the store for a refund tomorrow?

    126. 126
      Tim Says:

      Sentry safes have to be the biggest POS in the world.  I couldn't get mine to open either.  I spent half the day doing Sentry's troubleshooting with the rubber mallet etc.  Still nothing so decided to grab the crowbar.  After at most 2 minutes with the crowbar had it open and enroute to the trash…  It's nice to know how safe my stuff was from criminals.  Never buying a Sentry again…

    127. 127
      Andy Says:

      Wow, thanks.  I have been cussing at this safe for some time, contemplating what to do with it (did not absolutely need to get into it) decided to search online, found these comments, went and got a hammer, hit it once, nothing, hit it twice and it opened right up.

    128. 128
      Mike Says:

      Piece of junk… was not opening.. hammering up and down on handle followed by big blow downwards worked…. never again sentry safe.

    129. 129
      Dennis Says:

      I had the same problem that you described. Your method worker! Thanks very much for posting! I also changed from Duracell to Ray O Vac batteries. That seemed to help, although the Dura cells were new.
      Thanks again

    130. 130
      Debbie Says:

      Wow!! That's all I can say on so many levels.  Thank you so much!!   Thanks to this site it literally took four whacks with the mallet and about 10 seconds to open this wonderful piece of crap.  Yes, there was the broken piece of plastic also. My husband thought I was nuts when I told him what everyone had been saying on here but he's a believer now!       I guess I'll be making a trip to the bank Monday to get a deposit box. Definitely not buying another safe! Thanks again.

    131. 131
      Roger Says:

      Same experience with me.  3 times of 20 min intervals on the phone with Sentry.  a trip to the store for new batteries.  Multiple poundings with a mallet……..but still didn't open!!!
      So after lugging the 200+lb safe into the house, I now had to get the beast outside.  After 10 minutes with crowbar and sledge to seat the crowbar, the door was open.
      what a shame that Sentry doesn't put in a better actuator.  that one item causes the $400 safe to be useless on top of causing the customer a lot of time and heavy lifting!!!

    132. 132
      Marc Says:

      I had the same problem with the solenoid breaking and commented about this in November I called Sentry customer support since and they sent me a new solenoid free of charge even though the safe was past its warranty period. The safe works again, at  least they were willing to fix the problem.

    133. 133
      Drew Says:

      Thanks for the advice! A few downward whacks with a hammer on the handle and it popped right open!

    134. 134
      Charles Says:

      A class action suit would serve them right!

    135. 135
      Mau Says:

      I have the same problem you guys have. it wont open. WHAT A POS THIS SAFE IS.
      Im not buying Sentry safes ever again….
      They customer service wasnt helpful at all to me. Kept saying i needed new batteries. But i had new batteries…..
      WHAT A POS!!@!@

    136. 136
      Allison Says:

      Hey, thanks for the tip. I finally got the worthless, usefull as a box of rocks safe to open. THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH.

    137. 137
      David Says:

      Thanks so much for posting this. I really needed to get into my Sentry safe yesterday and had the idea of looking on the Internet to see if there was a fix! My safe looks exactly like the model shown in the photo, bought it in 2007. I had tried changing the batteries to no avail. After reading this, I punched in the code and kicked the crap out of the safe. It opened! What a piece of junk. Now I have a 200 lb., $450 paperweight. It is very, very obvious that Sentry is selling these things despite being aware, for a long time, of this issue and doing absolutely nothing to correct it. I’ll never buy anything from Sentry again.

    138. 138
      Joe S Says:

      I was just going nuts after this stupid safe wold not open.
      It’s Saturday so Sentry was closed. I looked at their
      website for troubleshooting tips and it was useless. I
      found another safe manufacturer site with a great FAQ on
      problems but none solved mine. Thank heavens I searched
      a little longer and stumbled on this site. You saved the
      day. I did not have a rubber mallet but got an hammer and
      a piece of wood and banged the top but it did not open.
      Then I banged on the door and wallah, it opened. Since I
      bought this safe, I always has problems opening it. From
      all the comments, this is a widespread problem with Sentry
      I would never buy another SentrySafe and this one is
      heading to the garbage dump where Sentry Safes belong.
      Thanks for your help!

    139. 139
      Víctor Says:

      I had the same problem that most of you, every time I dial the code it just didn´t work.
      So I tried harder and again and again until the handle went all the way around, I called the costumer service number and the lady told me “there´s nothing we can do”. you need to pay someone to open the safe for you, take off the piece and replace it, the fact is I´m in central america and there´s no body dealing those parts!, the place where I bought it just sales the safe but not their parts!!!!

      So I just open it by using a hammer and a chasil, took me 20 min. to do that and I save $100 which is the fee charced me for open it…

    140. 140
      GG Says:

      Holy Sh-t! It worked! Couldn’t open this safe for months. Was wondering how I was ever going to get to passports and birth certificates. Thank heavens for all of you. 10-15 wacks with a thick roll of duct tape later, the f’n thing is open. Thank you!

    141. 141
      lisa Says:

      Thanks for the help opening my piece of crap safe….and giving me a good laugh!

    142. 142
      Eesl Says:

      I had the same problem after about three years. Banging on the safe worked but now it won’t close.

    143. 143
      herrmann T Says:

      Tapping the door with a hammer worked for me.

    144. 144
      Kevin Says:

      Excellent suggestion. I turned the key, entered my combo, and gave it one good whack on the top of the safe. Opened right up! Thanks so much.

    145. 145
      michael Says:

      thanks the rubber mallet worked wat a safe

    146. 146
      Matt Bruner Says:

      Unbelievable! I have had this same problem. I thought it was batteries. Intermittently I can get it to open every once in a while. Usually code entered and says unlocked but no motorized sound for the solenoid. What a piece of junk. What safe do you guys recommend now?

    147. 147
      Janet Says:

      Had the same problems as listed here. Instead of a mallet,
      I used the heel of my of husband’s cowboy boots. Worked fine.
      But I’m thinking, this is crazy. Refuse to close the door
      now and considering a safe deposit box, which is what we
      had before.

    148. 148
      Bill Says:

      Boy did I get lucky finding this site. It sure is amazing what a HAMMER can do to help open a safe. I also have the Sentry Safe with the same problem. It surely works a while back I had smacked the door of the safe with my hand and got the same results but did not put 2 and 2 together. Thanks for the help.

    149. 149
      Mark Says:

      Have similar problems with my Sentry POS safe. Never again will buy any of thier products. Thanks for the post.

    150. 150
      Andy Says:

      INCREDIBLE!!! I’m living overseas and now returning to the states. I have not been able to open the safe in over a year. I thought I’d return to the states and get a tech. Well, I needed the kids’ birth certificates to register them in school and needed in the safe. I found this site and now the safe is open. I didn’t have a rubber mallet, but a regular hammer against a piece of wood on the handle worked just fine. Thanks!

    151. 151
      Bill Says:

      Really enjoyed reading the humorous narrative. However,
      you really saved my life! Your system actually worked.
      We couldn’t get into the safe for days, and I was
      prepared to get a torch to open it. But, the rubber
      mallet did the job. In my case, there were no plastic
      parts inside, they were all metal. The Company is
      sending me a replacement solenoid which is defective.
      Hoping to get many more years out of this safe.

    152. 152
      Al Says:

      I LOVE YOU MAN! got it to open!!!!!

    153. 153
      tyler Says:

      Thank you for this great narrative. I been locked out of our safe for weeks. Called sentry waited five minutes hung up and then googled it. I saw your posting I skipped buying the nine volt thanks for that and went straight to worn truck for rubber mallet. Next thing you know safe is open. I too am also curious what else can I fix with a rubber mallet, screw driver and wd 40!

    154. 154
      shane Says:

      I am so tired of cheap crap what kind of company is this a safe has the name for a reason. I think there should be at least all metal parts in at least the locking mechanisms and that in order to protect the consumer the safe should never have an electronic actuator
      There should be standards of quality especially for safes no exposed hinges no plastic lock mparts and there should be a key and combination I guess for a real safe you need to pay thousands of dollars as for the stupid stock holder instead of defending the insults of a company for maqking the locks out of plastic I think he should demand they make it a bit higher quality

    155. 155
      Kim Says:

      OMG. I can’t believe this story. This thing cost a couple
      hundred dollars, has lasted me 4 years, and this is what
      I get to deal with now that the door is giving me trouble?
      What a joke. At least I know how to get into it when it
      completely fails. What do you do with a safe that’s
      useless? It’s not like you can recycle it. Junk company
      with their junk products. Pffft.
      Thank you for passing the info on…

    156. 156
      David Says:

      Too funny … I also changed the batteries last night, didn’t worked, and then saw your post this morning.

      I don’t have a rubber mallet, but my metal one did just fine !

      When I press the code, there is a click, but not as loud as before. The light says “Proceed”, but the handle failed to turn. As my safe is old (7 years old) and as I now live in Hong-Kong, the humidity got to it and it started to rust. Frustrated, I called a locksmith and started to hit the door with he hammer (right side, opposite as the electronic system) and it finally opened when I entered the code. However, the door doesn’t close anymore when I enter the code (but I have no intention to close it). I saved $200 locksmith, I’ll use it to buy another safe, a safer safe.

    157. 157
      Ward Says:

      Hahahaha… I’m a locksmith and our company sells safes, NOT SENTRY, because of these problems… Buyer beware. If you want to know something about an item before you buy it, call someone who has to deal with them on a regular basis. You think this stuff is flaky? Just wait a year or two and see how many people like the Weiser / Kwikset “Smart Key” syetem. Lose your keys? Buy a new one? Lock your keys inside somehow? Rip it off and buy a new one. Didn’t read the directions before you tried to rekey your locks? Buy a new one. Bought any of this stuff thinking it will work with the Weiser you have had on your doors for the last 50 years? Buy a different brand… Cheap, throw away hardware that requires no skill other than a screwdriver and a replacement lock. It may be cheaper, but so much stuff will find its way to the landfill. It is not worth the pot metal that it is made from…

    158. 158
      Penny Says:

      LOL, you made my day. I will try this method.

    159. 159
      David Stovall Says:

      I just bought a gun safe. I heeded warnings , do not get electronic locks. Get old tome dial combination lock.

    160. 160
      Adam Says:

      I had same problem, but got less help than you did when I called Sentry. I was never told about the rubber mallet trick, or any other way to open it. I was told that I would need to get a locksmith to open the safe for me. I wasn’t going to pay for a locksmith to come out and open a safe I would never be able to use again, so I just cut a hole in the top so I could get to the bolts to unbolt it from my floor (took less than 5 minutes, which makes you wonder how good it is at protecting your valuables if it is that easy to break into.) Then, I took it to the scrap yard and went away with a lesson…never buy a Sentry safe again.

    161. 161
      Sylvain Says:

      Thank god, I had the same problem with my safe. After reading this I decided to give it a try and went to bay a Rubber mallet. I hammered the middle top of the door and them tried my code and surprise, it worked. You just save me lost of trouble. I’m happy again.

    162. 162
      laurie Says:

      Thanks so much… rubber mallet worked like a charm. Loved your story. Thanks also for saving me the time from not having to call customer service myself!

    163. 163
      sad girl Says:

      You made me smile 🙂 Your story made me laugh. I have the same exact problem with the door handle. I did manage to get the safe open a few days ago by turning it upside down. Then the handle decided to engage. What a mess. But I did get out my engagement ring to return to my boyfriend. Kind of wish it had not opened. Now I will try to tend to it with the WD40, but as I have learned, when something does not work right, its probably better to replace it than to keep trying to fix it over and over. The treasures locked inside might never come out.

      RESPONSE: Relationships and Safes are two very different things, though they may both have keys, the key to love begins inside of you.

    164. 164
      BEVERLY Says:

      I’ve owned two bolted to the floor Sentury Safes without problem —
      until this morning when I really needed to get in it. No “click” I knew enough to change the batteries — still wouldn’t “click open.” So, I got on this website, and read about taking a rubber mallot and WD-40 — which I didn’t have. So, I thought about it a moment, and took my sneakered foot and kicked it a few times, tried the combination and, yes! The safe clicked open. Pretty scary. Time to rethink this whole “home protection” thing …

    165. 165
      RJ Says:

      I have the same safe and had the same problem in that it would not open. I could not here what I thought was an electromagnet (solenoid) working. I tried the mallet and it worked but now I will not lock it again (burglars skip this part) for fear it will not open. I will try to contact Sentry on Monday. I gotta say, it’s bad enough that the Chinese are getting all our money and all we have is stuff they made that doesn’t work, but now, that stuff cheap they made is keeping me from some of my money… what a joke. Sentry, I sure hope you make this right…
      talk to ya Monday.

    166. 166
      Eva Sandberg Says:

      I got same sh*t in Norway, trying to open, I was using ordinary hammer…. and it worked. Kicking from the top , pressing down. Thanks for all information. I would never thing that they can produce and sell so bad quality, never buy this product again.

    167. 167
      David Says:

      Hilarious Post by lighthouse, and Right On! I was having trouble opening our Sentry Safe, did the phone call thing, the phone rep was helpful, but nothing worked. I tried the rubber mallet trick, and bang!, the sumbitch opened. I tend to agree with the Locksmith poster: these Sentry safes, at least the under $500 ones, are freakin toys. I’m going to buy a real safe; don’t care what it costs.Glad I found this link and, help. There are pages of Sentry safe problems on the net; buy anohter brand, and buy a
      ‘real’ safe, imo. GL, D

    168. 168
      Mark Says:

      I am also a locksmith. All the above people bought their safes because they were CHEAP! When you buy cheap you get cheap. Everyone who wants the best security products need to go to a qualified security shop, ie. your local locksmith. They should have good quality product on the floor to see. You may pay two, three or even four times the cost of your sentry but the quality both of material and security (resistance to break in) will be there. We stock over 70 safes on the floor and constantly will have to compete with the Sentry, home centers quality safes. Even after seeing and hearing the difference 75% (that’s all of you) will walk out and buy the Sentry!

    169. 169
      Clisby Jarrard Says:

      Dude you,re the bomb. Two wacks with a rubber mallet and the safe opened. Thank you

    170. 170
      Gohar Says:

      Omg. You made our day! After days of trying to open the safe (including changing the batteries) we tried your “hitting method” and it worked! We used a men’s shoe instead cause we didn’t have a mallet Thank you.

    171. 171
      Paul Says:

      Did not have a rubber mallet, but just pounded it with my bare fist… worked great! Saved me a lock smith. Thanks!

    172. 172
      Brennan Says:

      Hilarious, and so true! thanks for the advice!!

    173. 173
      Tina Says:

      Haha, I look forward to trying this tomorrow. I’m thoroughly disgusted with my Sentry Safe. I wish now that I had opted for the other brand and purchased a gun safe. It would’ve served a wider purpose, plus it may have been better quality. I’m just so disappointed that it’s still so new, with a new battery, and teases me with the click that isn’t followed by an opening door

    174. 174
      Gary Says:

      I too was unable to get into my safe. Again! I decided to google for an answer and luckily found you article first. When I finished the article and stopped laughing, I said what the heck. With no rubber mallet, I hit the top left of the safe with my hand. It opened right up! Thanks for the entertainment and good solid information. Time to change safes as you never know when you might need whats inside.

    175. 175
      phil Says:

      my safe is only about 2 years old and already have the same problem. i love the 1-800 number that’s supposed to be open until 8 pm eastern time. it says the mailbox cannot take messages @ 7 pm eastern time. great customer service. thanks for the help. will not be buying sentrysafe ever again.

    176. 176
      todd Says:

      I have a sentry safe with a mechanical combination lock that will not open! I haven’t tried the rubber mallet method,but my frustration has reached the boiling point to try it. Oh, did I mention that my safe is less than 6 months old! It is made in china like everything else on the planet! Thats why there are no jobs in this country! Imagine that.

    177. 177
      doug Says:

      What a hoot. Our safe failed to open and Im sure I talked to the same sincere senty staff as you all did. As I was given this piece of junk they offered to sell me the solenoid $50. The safe isn’t worth 10 cents. Another post suggested removal of most gears and wheels and just use the key lock.

    178. 178
      Heather Says:

      I always wonder if remedies on the internet will work… this worked like a charm!
      Thank you for your post!!

    179. 179
      sherri Says:

      Thank you! I changed the batteries, tried to open my safe a million times, and it would not open. I took a regular hammer to the top left of the front door of it and holy you know what, it opened!!!

    180. 180
      doug Says:

      Dear Mark (locksmith) Your attitude is pathetic. I was given my piece of junk sentry safe. While you might have 7,000,000 different safes for sale where I liv e the only safe you can buy is a sentry. So Marky were not all 75% cheap.

    181. 181
      Doug Says:

      Thanks for the info. We had exactly the same problem.
      Hit the safe, keyed in the code, and it opened right away

    182. 182
      tbone Says:

      I had the same problem, unable to open the safe.

      The mallet trick didn’t work for me. Try flipping the safe

      The biometric never works. When I put the secure code in
      the unlock green light would lit up, but can’t pull the
      lever to open the door. I tried the mallet trick but that
      too didn’t work. I flipped the safe sideway and pushed it
      into my other room to be near the phone to call SentrySafe.
      Called SentrySafe, and the circuit busy message.

      I tried the same combination again, and lo-behold, this
      time it opened like a champ! So, my flipping the safe
      sideway may have dislodged the latches inside, which
      allows me to open the safe. Try flipping the safe side
      way and the put it back upright that may do the trick. It
      did for me! What a POS to put their brand name on!

    183. 183
      Steve Says:

      So yeah I tried a number of things before finding this post and read this article and the first two comments grabbed a hammer typed the code gave a little smack and viola…it’s open!

      Thank you!

    184. 184
      Pete Says:

      Amazing what a rubber mallet can do to one of these safes. I needed to get into mine for the family passports. It wouldn’t open. New batteries – twice, no luck. Started pounding on it and it opened. Now I have to get rid of this junk

    185. 185
      William Says:

      Really enjoyed reading this. Hilarious. Sounds like typical cheap corporate products. I was just looking at purchasing one of these safes. Thanks for saving me some money and aggravation. I will look at others.

    186. 186
      Thomas Says:

      After I got through laughing my ass off, I tried the olde BIG rubber Hammer and after the 2nd attempt…It opened!! You Rule. Happy New Year Dude!! From “Deli Dude” on You Tube!!!

    187. 187
      Kurt Says:

      HAHA…this trick worked like a charm….I’ll be sure to replace this safe soon.

    188. 188
      Ken Says:

      Amazing!!! I’ve had trouble opening the safe for the last several months and
      finally today it wouldn’t open at all. Replaced the batteries and still no luck! Discovered this
      website. Went back to the safe, banged the hell out of the top left front with my fists (feels like
      the front is plastic covered foam, so no need to worry about hurting oneself).
      Safe opened right up. At least ours lasted about 5 years before acting up. Reading all the posts
      made my day.

    189. 189
      mike k Says:

      got it open and now it wont shut WTF?

    190. 190
      Kenny Says:

      You post rocks! I love Google. You saved me big time.

    191. 191
      Joe Says:

      4-5 year old sentry safe, barely used wouldnt open. I tried everything including your mallet method and nada =(. Eventually the handle just spun around 360 degrees so at that point I went a bit crazy with the mallet….and then the crowbar….and 1/2 an hour later that door popped right off (literally)! I have 3 sentry safes and am beyond pissed. It just never occured to me that this company made junk! Buyer beware….

    192. 192
      Thomas Says:

      What ever you do, don’t try the rubber mallet trick on a new safe. I did, now i have a safe with a caved in top that want open. I guess I hit it a little to hard.

      COMMENT: Did you hit it in the upper middle door area of the sentry safe?

    193. 193
      John Says:

      rubber mallet worked…. how about that .. i really don’t want to use this thing anymore what good is a safe you can’t get into …

    194. 194
      ANDREA Says:

      Online Sentry wanted $35.00 for the same advice. THANK YOU

    195. 195
      Ann Says:

      Thanks so much. I needed my passport and the safe would’t open. Customer service couldn’t help me, but thanks to the rubber mallet I was able to open it. 🙂

    196. 196
      Thomas Says:

      Thank you! The rubber mallet worked great. Glad I did not have to waste time with the customer service.

    197. 197
      Angelena Says:

      OMG! Thanks for the laugh! Im gonna go try this on my
      safe right now.

    198. 198
      Bob Says:

      Thank goodness I’m not the only one! I’ve encountered the very same problem that lighthouse has most excellently described in the above post … Sentry Safe really should consider supplying a rubber mallet with every safe! Seriously; I’ve decided that I don’t dare entrust the care and safety of my most important documents, hard-drives etc.
      to my failing three-year-old Sentry Safe which uses many key components that are made from plastic, including the main cog which drives all the locking bolts home (it seems only a matter of time before the teeth become brittle and start breaking off). So I’ve disabled the code-activated locking pin with a suitable nylon cable-tie
      (a reversible solution, for those who are more cautious), which keeps it permanently in the unlocked position…I have no use for security which keeps even myself out! I’ve also eased the plastic holes which the locking bolts move through (using a narrow-bladed scalpel) because there was far too much friction where the bolts touched the plastic housing. This solution will suffice until I’ve saved up enough money to purchase a decent replacement e.g. a traditional fire safe which has a key, no plastic where it matters, which does not depend on electricity, and which has an all-metal mechanism. In my opinion this manufacturer are not only wasting people’s money and time, they are wasting the world’s precious material resources with poor quality, short-lived products which should by all rights last a lifetime. I’ll never buy a product from this company again.

    199. 199
      Cletus Says:

      We need to get a class action lawsuit. The number of people screwed by this is significant.

    200. 200
      Paul Says:

      I just missed my flight because of Sentry safe. Was on hold to customer service for 25 minutes and when someone finally did get on the phone, they were zero help. Same crap, “change batteries….hit it with a hammer…etc.” What a piece of junk! Had to change my flight since the only way in was with a grinder and pry bar. (took only about 5 minutes)

    201. 201
      Alex Says:

      Thank you! I had a plastic mallet (not rubber), but I tried banging it a few times, then tried the combo, and voila. I think I actually banged it just when the mechanism should have released (after entering the code) to get it to work. I didn’t go further than that in fixing it. This thing has lost my trust 100% as has Sentry. Mine was about 4-5 years old. Next time I’ll spend the money on a real safe, and stick to manual physical controls, and not some electronic control. Also to note, the rather light weight pastic hammer actually dented the door. Is the metal THAT thin? It sounded like the motor that is used to release was dying. So, no more motors or electronics for me. Thanks again. I was really needing access to my documents.

    202. 202
      Mike Says:

      Thank you for the help. I had the same problem you described. I read your solutiona, and after I stopped laughing, I got a rubber mallet and tried. To my amazement, the safe opened right away.

    203. 203
      brian Says:

      I read this and got my hopes up but still thinking,
      “it’ll never work”…but it did. The locksmith guy is
      right. You pay for what you get. I want my stuff
      firesafe and safe. I’m afraid now to close the damn thing.

    204. 204
      brian Says:

      Last time I couldn’t get this Sentry Fire Safe
      with electronic keyboard, and key lock, AND a finger
      print reader, I got on the internet just like I did today.
      Anyway, last time I found where you have to make sure the
      handle is in the “up” position or rather in a not sagging
      position. That worked fine for the last year or two, but then
      it wouldn’t open at all again. I just simpley hit it with
      my fist and then entered the combination and it “CLICKED”
      and then opened with the handle…THIS FRICKEN WORKED!!!

    205. 205
      Brian Says:

      Had the same problem. It took more than a couple of whacks, but it opened eventually. I’d say about 10-12 hits with the rubber mallet to a couple of locations on the door

    206. 206
      Brian Says:

      It took about 10-12 hits w/ rubber mallet for me, but this worked.

    207. 207
      Joe Says:

      I also used a hammer it did not work but as soon as I turned the safe upside down it opened.


    208. 208
      Gary Says:

      Stay clear of this product.
      Had to saw and crowbar it apart after trying everything
      to get it open. Don’t know how any company could sell such

    209. 209
      Merrill C Says:

      Great post…tried that 9-volt Battery trick and it worked like a charm….Safe opened and its a good thing because the Sabre saw was the next tool I was going to use to open this sucker. Did it with an earlier Sentry Safe and was ready to do it again.

    210. 210
      Roger Says:

      I have a DA3831 with an electronic keypad. The batteries are new but the keypad won’t lock the safe. That means the tubular key is the only way to lock and unlock the safe. Talked to SentrySafe and they want me to buy a $50 solenoid and do the repair myself. Based on all the other comments and your fine review I will leave the electronic keypad in place and write the combination on the front of the safe so potential robber(s) will not have to try to crack any codes. Of course, I will neglect to tell them it is a SentrySafe so the combo won’t work. I only hope they don’t come with a rubber mallet and WD 40. Then my valuables will be unprotected.

    211. 211
      Catherine Says:

      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! The rubber mallet did the job. I have to admit that I was hesitant about clobbering my safe, but after reading all the posts, I decided to give it a try. It took a few times – probably because I wasn’t hitting it hard enough. But I gave it a few hard whacks around the lock area and two lighter whacks on the actual handle, and when I input my combination, it opened right up! The next safe I buy will definitely NOT be a Sentry.
      Thanks again!

    212. 212
      Tammy Says:

      Unbelievable! I used an hammer and a folded towel to get my Mom’s safe open. She had attempted to unlock the safe for one month. I am still shaking my head in amazement that this really worked.

    213. 213
      Christina Says:

      Thanks. The hammer trick worked…I’m moving my stuff into the gun safe today!! What a piece of junk!

    214. 214
      Kimberly Says:

      Thank you so much….just opened it with a rubber mallet…what a piece of crap it turned out to be

    215. 215
      Danna Says:

      I have a Sentry safe and have for three days off and on been on the phone with customer service trying to get it to open. I have beat it, greased, turned it upside down and used the keys to no avail. I think it sucks to pay that much money for a piece of crap.

    216. 216
      Doris Says:

      The rotary combination lock on my Sentry Safe has worked very well every time since 1992.
      I bought a second safe for the accumulating years of 1040 tax returns, this time I thought
      I’d buy the key lock. BIG mistake. I have to fiddle with the key back and forth over and over
      still not able to figure out what the “magic” touch is to open. Yes, I finally got it open,
      however, 30 minutes later when I needed to open it again, same problem. I don’t use this second safe very often, and I’ve given up today trying to open it, as my frustration level has met its maximimum level. If I ever need another safe, I’ll stick with the rotary dial combination lock. And yes, I will probably check out the products offered by a locksmith for reliable use.

    217. 217
      Jerry Says:

      I had this exact problem (stuck solenoid). I found the
      rubber mallet solution (which worked), and then contacted
      their support to complain why they didn’t tell people
      about this solution to a seemingly extremely common issue.
      A guy called me back and told me the lubricant solution
      will ruin the solenoid (oil and electronics don’t mix), but
      he shipped me a *FREE* solenoid with instructions, so
      now everything works fine. I suggest if you have a similar
      problem to bypass the level 1 support person who is just
      reading from a script and can’t really help you and get to
      someone who can.

      That said, if they insist on charging you for the solenoid,
      just remove it (behind the cover as mentioned in the post)
      and use the key lock (or don’t lock it). As many have said,
      this isn’t an anti-theft safe but a fire safe, so a key
      is just as good as the combo.

      COMMENT: Not one person who has bought this safe should have to go thru the run-a-round in order to get to a qualified technician at Sentry. That is Sentry’s responsibility, it just speaks further to their lack of quality control. As to the calling it a fire safe, why have a key or combo for a fire safe then? Why was that incorporated? Seems like some are just trying to run around the issues.

    218. 218
      Kim Says:

      Thank you … thank you … THANK YOU! 40 minutes of punching in the code and then found your site. Banged for ten minutes and boom! It’s open and will never close again. Hummm…. Class Action maybe… $250 down the drain… it’s never closing again!

    219. 219
      Kathy Says:

      Thanks so much! I used a 2 lb rubber coated weight and I got my safe open. I had tried about 25 times throughout the day. I googled the Q & A for the manufacturer website, and a message appeared that I could get an answer to my question for $30. Really?

    220. 220
      Jan Says:

      Thank you so much for the “open sesame” secret. We used a mallet on the area right below the handle, put in our code, and the door finally opened. This safe has caused so much frustration in the 5 years we’ve had it! Sentry should be sued because they make you go through all these steps every time you call customer service and nothing works. They know the safe is a lemon. Thanks again for sharing your technique.

    221. 221
      Patrick Says:

      Thanks for your Post!!!

      I had the same problem, your Post
      with a rubber mallet helped me a lot. Thank you!

    222. 222
      Michael Says:

      Of course I had the same problem. I tried the mallet
      and it worked! I can’t believe it. I wouldn’t waste
      my time posting this if it didn’t. I had to hit it on
      the middle top edge of the door and it opened. I
      tried hitting it in several other spots to no avail …
      then I re-read the post about where to hit it and it
      worked. Unreal!

    223. 223
      Andy Says:

      Ran into this problem this morning and luckily it
      happened immediately after I got our passports out for
      our honeymoon. Eventually got it to open using the
      shoe-hammer technique. Took about ten minutes and forty
      or so whacks. Sentry is sending a new solenoid so we will
      see how it works in the future. Of note, during my call
      with Sentry, the little battery indicator is not how much
      battery you have left but it just means you that you need
      to replace the battery. I though the fact it showed two
      bars meant they still had plenty of life (not so much).
      I still don’t think the battery had anything to do with
      it. Sentry said it will be as good as new once the
      solenoid is replaced.

    224. 224
      Gregg Says:

      Well, well well…Are you kidding me. Same sad story. Needed entry into safe, replaced batteries etc… no luck. Google search, found you folks. Hit safe with hammer 5-8 times and poof door opens and my millions of diamonds fall to the floor. True story, well except for the diamonds part. Anyway, this is outrageous – but honestly a bit therapeutic. After a few hits with the rubber mallet I am a bit less furious at Sentury Safe. Take care everyone

    225. 225
      Roy Says:

      Thanks so much for the hammer trick. I had the same issue and after getting it open can see where the white actuator arm is sticking. I’ll call Sentry in the coming week to figure out whether to lubricate or replace the actuator before locking it shut again. Thanks again, you saved the day.

    226. 226
      margret Says:

      wow one wack and it opened ….THANK YOU

    227. 227
      Greg Says:

      I tried the mallet trick after reading this post. I have a Sentry OA5848 safe. The handle popped out after hitting the safe with the rubber mallet several times. Now I can’t reposition the safe so the door handle will go back into place. Now what?

      RESPONSE:This was never intended to be a repair article, make your own choices what to do with the thing.

    228. 228
      Alyssa Says:

      It worked!! Thank you! I had to hit the upper middle part of the door about 12 times, I punched in the code and it popped open. This safe is a piece of junk.

    229. 229
      marcel Says:

      that worked for me too. what a piece of garbage.do not recommend this safe as i alone know 3 people with a Sentry safe that can no longer open them.

    230. 230
      ray Says:

      Very frustrating with the spinning handle thing. Thanks for the mallet suggestion. Got this POS open finally.

    231. 231
      J.C. Denton Says:

      Found this via Google. Beat the door with a hammer as you described, and it opens! Thanks.

    232. 232
      Bill Says:

      The rubber mallet trick worked!! Thanks all for the helpful hint.

    233. 233
      Lyn Says:

      THANK YOU!!! This worked!! Relief!

    234. 234
      kyle Says:

      Customersevice was closed – saw this article! Mallet trick worked!! Better choice than a crow bar!!! Thanks!

    235. 235
      gerri Says:

      I also had a nitemare with my safe. the mallad method worked for me….It took me many many tries before the handle released…everything inside was a mildewed and falling apart….so much for keeping your papers being safe. Let me say i had 4 moisture bags in the safe…they wern’t enough. Nothing was. I’m going back to a safety deposit box in the bank.I had the A3750 model. What a waste of money.Did i mention the safe is destroyed. Thanks for letting me vent.

    236. 236
      Tom Says:

      The mallet trick worked, but now I am leery about closing it again. I may just go buy a gun safe instead.

    237. 237
      Michele Says:

      I tried the rubber mallot – banged the entire front of the safe. That knocked out the batteries, so I unscrewed the battery compartment and popped them back in. The safe then opened after I punched in the combo. So the mallot works… thank you!!

    238. 238
      jackie Says:

      The mallet worked! Thanks!

    239. 239
      Dimitrios Says:

      Thank you for resolving hours of frustration with this.
      Plenty of lubricant on the solenoid that is inside the plastic cover has fixed the problem.

    240. 240
      Jenell Says:

      I had the same problem where my safe wouldn’t open, so I beat it with a mallet about 20 times (at the top of the door as suggested) and it opened right up! Thank you!

    241. 241
      Juanita Says:

      Found this blog when I googled “I can’t open my Sentry Safe”. Thank you for posting this info. Since I didn’t have a mallet I used my foot, that worked too. What a waste of money.

    242. 242
      Tim Says:

      09/21/2013 I just used the rubber mallet
      and it opened. What a relief.

    243. 243
      Sara Says:

      After a move, had to access car titles from our Sentry and was swearing up a storm – what the…it USED to open. Finally googled, and then giggled after reading your post. A few whacks and it opened. Then we just started busting up laughing. Thanks so much for your solution!

    244. 244
      carol jenkins Says:

      I am so grateful to read this article… Has been several weeks I have been trying to get into this dam safe.. All it took was a rubber hammer… No more safes for me.. will use the bank safety deposit box at the bank….

    245. 245
      TM Says:

      Mallet works!! My husband has been calling himself a safe cracker since the first swing was to the front plastic cover and it now has a big crack. So glad I found your post.

    246. 246
      Ryan Says:

      Ditto. Sentry should be ashamed to sell these safes. Could easily cost lives when someone can’t get to their gun during a break in.

    247. 247
      Jay Says:

      Came across this when my Sentry Safe wouldn’t open after too many tries to count. I changed. the batteries as they suggested(new 10 year ones – they insisted). Nothing. So I see the rubber mallet trick. Don’t have one but I wrapped my regular home with a thick sock Two bangs- put in combo and voila click and it opened. No what?? Close it and maybe go through this again. What a lousy product. Any suggestions??

    248. 248
      Jay Says:

      Any class action lawsuits started or discussed here or elsewhere ??

    249. 249
      Ronnie Says:

      I am so glad I found this article. We just went to open our fantastic SentrySafe and the wrotten thing wouldn’t open, well every thing is safe I suppose, even from us. Husband used his fist, as no rubber mallet handy and low and behold it worked. Thank you so much for your information. Will have to search make an emergency kit – rubber mallet, wd-40 and a screw driver, so handy :-).

      In Australia, and we can’t even get a phone contact for SentrySafe, just sent them an email, let’s see how long it takes them to reply.


    250. 250
      Vinay Says:

      Oh yes. Mallet worked for me too. Got yelled at by wife for using her sweater to wrap the hammer in, but got the safe to open.

    251. 251
      Bob Says:

      Thanks for the post. The rubber mallet worked, although the safe now has a few dents that reflect my frustration. I have not been happy with this safe. Sure, it’s fireproof, but the thing is so moist inside that everything you put in it will mildew or rust. I’ll take my chances with the fire.

    252. 252
      Kirk Says:

      Well written, very much like my interactions except my handle broke off and I was left with only the square bolt and a pair of vice grips to continue opening the safe. I’m not sure if I figured it out or a technician mentioned it but I use my fists to pound on the top of the safe to rattle the actuator loose (ironically, in the IT world we call this “percussive maintenance”). Very poorly made although I do like the larger model I now own, it has a mechanical key backup to the digital keypad and overall feels like it’s built a bit more sturdily.

    253. 253
      Bob Says:

      Rubber mallet saved the day. THANK YOU!!

    254. 254
      sam Says:

      Omg, I was rolling with laughter from your story!!! The Sentry safe such a bastion of safety for your stuff – never going to believe what i just found with mine. along with not being able to get the door open at times – just found the whole inside front frame, where the door meets the body, the frame of body is completely filling with RUST! You can’t actually see it yet because most of the black paint is still covering it. I had no idea this was going on until I opened the safe this week and was met with an awful smell of something going on in there. I knew I hadn’t stored anything damp in there so I started investigating. This safe has never seen a drop of water to initiate such a huge rusting process underneath the paint, and has been kept inside my house from day 1. Tomorrow I’m going to call Sentry to find out what magnanimous offer they will make me to replace this safe. I’m looking for a completely FREE replacement as is warranted and justified (although not still under warranty). If they try to offer me 10% they can keep their crap and I’ll even mail this one back to them so they can keep it as a giant $300 paper weight as they think I’m going to do. Should be an interesting phone call. Thanks for your post and your humor in the matter!

    255. 255
      Sunnie Says:

      Thank you so much for this post. My safe wouldn’t open and after changing batteries I was freaking out. Banged it with the fist a few times on top and it finally opened! Can’t believe these expensive safes are so POORLY built.

    256. 256
      debby Says:

      Tried the mallet thing but no luck. Read on thru to the post that mentioned that the battery indicator only shows when the battery needs to be replaced so grabbed a 9v a voila it opened easily as ever. Will keep the mallet in mind for future reference. Thank you for posting and for taking your time on hold with the service reps!

    257. 257
      unhappy Says:

      mallet FTW lol

    258. 258
      Troy Says:

      This post saved us a $500 lock smith fee. Needed passport for emergency trip and safe wouldn’t open. Of course, on a weekend when no one from Sentry was available. Luckily, found this post. Used my fist to pound the top (I had enough frustration built up I didn’t need a hammer). Then it popped right open. This defect is unacceptable.

    259. 259
      kitty Says:

      HA! Got my safe to open. I did not have a rubber mallot, but I did use my foot and kicked it several times with the my heel while sitting in front of it. I had been trying to open it for 30 minutes!!!! Voila!!!Opened with my next attempt. Thanks.

    260. 260
      Nancy and Don Says:

      Oh my word! The hammer worked just fine! Thanks, saved us on the locksmith bill!

    261. 261
      Diane Says:

      Thanks so much…..I woke up to my husband trying to open the Century safe. Same thing…code didn’t work/key didn’t work and my husband definitely doesn’t have the patience part to call and wait for someone to tell him something he already knows of course so we put in new batteries….and waited 1 min…then read your article and banged it on the front to wake it up and VOILA the code finally worked…..A pretty safe safe especially when YOU can’t even get into it!

    262. 262
      Vernon Melton Says:

      I had to use a 9-volt battery and it didn’t open. Then I used a hammer and it still didn’t open. Then I had to use a hammer and a chisel to cut a hole in the front to open it. Do Not Buy a Sentry Safe! Buy a combination safe if you can find it.

    263. 263
      Richard Says:

      Thank you so much!!!! I purchased this safe at Costco several years ago and have not been able to get into it for years!

      After many hours over the years on support calls with the manufacturer, like most people, I was not able to open the safe. They were of no help.

      I stumbled across your blog and the whack with the mallet worked.

      Since Costco still deals with Sentry, I’m trying to get them to take the safe back, it’s useless to me now and has been since it failed about 2 years after I purchased it.

    264. 264
      George bahr Says:

      Sentry safe e .waiting to make police report.door fell off while opening.lots of valuable gone now what

    265. 265
      Todd Murray Says:

      Lol hitting it worked like a charm. Off to get a new, different brand, safe.

    266. 266
      Chris Says:

      This must be affecting 10’s of thousands of owners, and as such there should be legal action taken
      against Sentry Safe. If this was a vehicle the Feds. would be prosecuting. What is someone is raped or maimed or killed because they could not gain access to their weapon secured in this piece. If there is an attorney out there I hope someone will make Sentry address this.

    267. 267
      Gina Says:

      I just tried the rubber mallet. It worked for me also! That is crazy but I am glad it worked.

      Thanks for posting this.

    268. 268
      betty Says:


      I am so happy I found this! I had put all my narcotics in my safe because workmen were coming over. Imagine how distraut I was to find I could not open it to get my pain meds out! I so appreciate your humorous posting that helped me get my meds out!


    269. 269
      keydiver Says:

      Worked for me! Every time we entered the code, the display would show the “unlocked” icon, but there was no telltale CLICK. I tried dragging the safe out of the closet, and flipping it on its back, thinking that perhaps something inside was putting too much pressure on the door or jamming it, but to no avail. Thanks to this website, a couple whacks of the rubber mallet on the upper middle of the door (then resetting the batteries in their holder which became dislodged from the whacking), I re-entered the code and heard the familiar “CLICK”!
      I pulled off the plastic rear panel and lubed the solenoid, so we’ll see how long that lasts. I also noticed that its rather important that the handle be in the full UP position, so the mechanism doesn’t rest upon the solenoid while attempting to enter the code. I can’t imagine how many hundreds of people your website has helped in the past 5 years.

    270. 270
      Laura Says:

      I’ve been repeatedly hitting this darn thing with a rubber mallet for the last hour…nothing. We are leaving on vacation soon and need our passports. I am now starting to panic! What a piece of crap! How can they continue to sell something that has so many complains. I see some people on here used cut part of the safe to gain entry. Can anyone tell me what part of the safe to take the saw to? I’m thinking that may be my only option to get in here!

    271. 271
      johnny Says:

      same here. mine wouldn’t open and i got the low battery sign to boot. so it was either i was going to open it or the battery would die before i could after entering in the code multiple times.

      took a rubber mallet to it. softly at first and then harder and harder. wd40 the handle. wacked it a few more times. and finally after a bunch of jiggling the handle, it finally popped open.

      i locked it again w/o closing it and tried to open it again and yup…it’s stuck again. pos. class action lawsuit..please include me in it. wtf.

    272. 272
      Tim from CMH Says:

      Another satisfied customer…. of this posting, not of Sentry Safe. I had the exact problem described and the rubber mallet solved the issue. Turning it on its side wasn’t really an option for me seeing as how its bolted to the floor… from the inside. Thanks for the helpful post.

    273. 273
      Werner Heil Says:

      That was the best advise I had fo a long time . My safe would not open like it was in your article. The mallet works wonders . Fantastic .It was very funnyThanks and thanks again.

    274. 274
      Jeff Says:

      Bang! Bang!

      My story is very similar to yours. How insulting to ask if the batteries were fresh.

      I am gonna find a good, old-fashioned tumbler lock safe.

    275. 275
      Rodg Says:

      Make my response 275! Same story as most. Call from Sentry not available, emailed them. Started to look for locksmith. This one page on the web saved me hours of wasted time and mucho bucks! Still gotta find another NON-SENTRY safe for my goodies now. Thanks again to all on this thread!

    276. 276
      Trixie Says:

      After 3 days of trying.
      I have dented the daylights out of it whacking it EVERYWHERE!
      I only had a hammer (and towel) and a coated hand weight.
      I finally borrowed a mallet – but that wasn’t working.
      Then, I disconnected the 4 Double A batteries and connected the 9 v
      I noticed a different click, so I banged it harder with the mallet,
      UNDER the combination part and it opened.
      I cannot believe how I was celebrating!
      I was so scared because I had a loaded firearm in there!
      I don’t want to close it now!
      Feel so ripped off! This was one of their top of the line products
      I remember paying at least $500 for it – Grrrrrrrr.
      Thanks so much for this website!

    277. 277
      Randy Holland Says:

      Thank you so much! The mallet worked!

    278. 278
      Leroy Says:

      Mallet worked for me. Noticed that the switch on the
      hinge side of the door was sticking. Lubed it with WD40
      and seems to be working.

      Other posts have mentioned moisture inside the safe. I
      have not had that problem, however I live in Arizona.

    279. 279
      Jan Says:

      I just whacked it with my fist and it worked….this is a serious problem. I’ll definitely be contacting Sentry.

    280. 280
      Lucia Says:

      Thanks for the post, wish I found it earlier. My safe won’t open, even with new a brand battery, but Sentry customer support was stuck on telling me that I needed batteries expiring after 2020, I had to search the whole area and after a week I finally found them; of course it won’t still open. Finally I called Sentry again (had to wait one day because customer service closes at 6:00 pm :-() and they told me about the hammer trick. To Sentry: don’t treat customers as stupids, if I tell you the battery is new and the safe stopped working all of a sudden, why don’t you tell me about this trick immediately? Luckily I didn’t have to take something from it in a hurry…

    281. 281
      Charity Says:

      You are a lifesaver! Mallet trick worked, thank you for sharing!

    282. 282
      Dan Davis Says:

      Best post EVER! Same thing happened to us. Trying mallet tomorrow! Thanks!

    283. 283
      Danny Gossett Says:

      No luck for me. The numbers beep when i hit them, but it goes to beeping 5 times while the red light blinks. No kicking, hammering, or cussing will open this thing. going out of the country and need my passport. I will never buy this crap again.

    284. 284
      Brad Chilton Says:

      didnt have rubber mallet but I pounded with open palm of my hand … I must say it worked and I’m so relieved… Thnx to all on this site for the info …Panic attack averted !!

    285. 285
      Gregory Freeman Says:

      It worked for me, too. My Sentry safe has been opening only about every 20th time I entered the correct code, making me feel like I was playing a slot machine in Vegas and just waiting for my big win.
      I hit the damn thing with a mallet in the upper left corner of the door and it opened the very next time. Sprayed some WD-40 on the bolts, closed it and tried the code. No good. Hit it with the mallet and it again and it opened the next time.
      So now it’s opening only if I hit it with the mallet first. But at least I know how to get into it.
      Sentry will probably start selling a special Safe Whacking Mallet as an accessory soon.

    286. 286
      Robert Says:

      Who needs a rubber mallet…..I simply used the sole of my Reebok running shoes! I feel like an accomplished safecracker now!

    287. 287
      John Says:

      Thanks for the article. I will have to agree with most here that the safe is a great paper weight, no exactly a good or even an ok safe. After hitting the top door with large rubber mallet, it was all i had, it opened with no problem. I haven’t tried to WD40 and pry off the plastic yet to see what I’m gonna find back there, I’m scared to see it and realize nothing was really protected. And yes I realize I’m not hoarding bars of gold in there by any means, but the these are items I dont want to lose in case of a break in or a fire. I just wanted to say thanks and saved me a major headache with just a quick internet search and find this. I leave with a question though, does anyone have any recommendations for a replacement safe. We’ve had this one for quite a long time and after many years of just hitting the keypad hundreds of times and hoping it would open I think I’m ready for a replacement. Any help appreciated, and thanks again!!

    288. 288
      jean claude gaudreault Says:

      Very well written ! Bravo ! That company deserves very much all those bad comments ! My safe does not open anymore because of the circuit board ( not a battery problem ) — I called SENTRY : they cannot help. My passport is in the safe, i need it this weekend. What will i do ? — will i have to pay a locksmith because SENTRY builds bad products !

    289. 289
      Craig Says:

      Rubber mallet worked for me.

    290. 290
      Strawman Says:

      All the time I wasted … looking for my owner’s manual for the master code. Would not have helped anyway as my ‘Personal Code’ shows Green … working … just wouldn’t open.

      Acting like a Clown pushing on the door while entering code, STANDING on the left side of the door while entering the correct code …..

      Among about a Dozen other Idiotic attempts to open the Frigggging Safe Door!

      ALAS ….. FORUMS!!! to the Rescue … Again!

      If it weren’t for ‘Normal, Regular’ people that post helpful things, tips & tricks, Workarounds, How To’s, DIYs, …. I think this country’s wheel would grind to a halt.

      Took me just a few minutes to locate a two sided rubber mallet (two different hardnesses) from one of my Lord only knows how many Toolboxes …..

      Two ‘Raps’ on the door … VOILA!!! 🙂

      Thanks, ALL!!!

    291. 291
      Jeremy Says:

      I have been a locksmith for 15 years and I can tell you that it isn’t only Sentry safes that have this issue. It is true the plastic parts are shocking and no other company I know of include plastic pieces, but the solenoid issue is very common in electronic safe dials. It took me a few years of drilling them open to figure out a swift strike from a mallet would jolt the mechanism enough to work at least once more. I would advise anyone to use only brand name batteries in your electronic safes, as this is the cause for a lot of the failures. Most of these companies are pleasantly surprised when the dials last two years. In contrast I have seen a manual dial fail one time in 15 years. Digital is convenient, but if it is only to store something you need once a year at tax time i would say put up with the hassle and get one with a manual dial.

    292. 292
      robert Says:

      needed to get title out to complete sale of vehicle and
      safe wouldnt open, while on Hold forever with Sentry, found this
      sight, had phone on speaker, grabbed my mallet and one hit and
      safe opened, THANK YOU for the tip. Piece of junk safe, I see on
      here that I was not only one having mildew smell inside of
      supposedly sealed safe. this thing going to the recycle yard.

    293. 293
      Bob Gravell Says:

      Thank you!!!! I knew it was a malfunctioning solenoid and tried a few gentle taps, but no luck. As several folks said you have to beat the crap out of the front door to free it up. Thank God that worked! You can bet I’m not using this safe again and will NEVER buy another Sentry Safe product.

    294. 294
      Kathy Vosburg Says:

      The rubber mallet trick worked for me on a Sentry A3860 that is
      easily 15 years old. This was the first time it would not open.
      Will also apply WD40 to internal mechanisms on inside of door.
      I also have MAJOR powdery mildew all over EVERYTHING, and I
      have Central HVAC, so no excuse there.

    295. 295
      Denny Cary Says:

      thanks for the info 3 taps on upper center of door and it opened

    296. 296
      Alison Says:

      Wow, you saved tears and many swear words! O.K. Maybe there were still a few of those. We used the 9 volt, no go. We used a hammer wrapped in sock 5 thumps to the top front, voila. Magic. I owe my spouse a big favor for this save. Thank you soooooo much!

    297. 297
      Laura Says:

      My parents gave me this safe. What as piece of…
      I have not been able to get into it for two years. Thankfully my passport is not in there!
      Last time I had it open mildew had ruined an antique watch.
      I will try a hammer when I get home.
      I HATE this safe.

    298. 298
      Jaymes Brandon Says:

      Thank you for this post. We used its applications, and were able to retrieve important
      documents, etc.
      I’, in the market for a better type of office safe now, and have temporarily put items in another location safe. NOT a Sentry safe.
      For the record, my Sentry Safe is Mod. 0A5889, and Ser.#
      is; BD742221, just in case any responsible personnel at the SS company actually read this. I’ve had this safe for about 6 years now, so I know the warranty is over.
      I’m strongly considering getting a small ‘fireproof’ safe that is sold for firearms, and convert the inside to a practical office-type safe….that should do the trick:-)
      Thank you ‘Lighthouse’, for your expertise and sharing the information!!! Blessings to you and yours, throughout the New Year of 2016:-)
      For those who have not yest discovered this, ‘Lighthouse’ pointed out a very important aspect about plastic (nylon) and metal in the use of safe combinations. They are ultimately doomed to fail, usually after the warranty, and that is ultimately how a company stays in ‘business’. It’s not a ‘remove and repair’ world anymore….but a ‘remove and replace’ one.
      Semper Fi!

    299. 299
      Wendy Says:

      Thank you for this information. I have wasted countless hours putting in my combination over and over again (the definition of insanity —- doing the same thing over and over again with the same result) One hit with a hammer and it opened. Shouldn’t there be a class action suit for this? People keep very valuable things in their safe and the consequences are quite serious if they can’t get at them.

    300. 300
      Steve Says:

      I didn’t have a rubber mallet, so I used a sand hammer (same effect) and after 3 minutes of hitting the door around the center… IT OPENED!!! Great information – no more Sentry digital safes! Class action suit, I agree!

    301. 301
      Becky Says:

      Thank you – the rubber mallet worked! You know when you
      need important docs you are probably doing something that is
      not fun to start with – then to not be able to open your safe
      to get to those docs – well I was about to lose it! Your article
      kept my blood pressure from going through the roof! Three solid
      smacks and WhaLa – open sesame! YAY!

    302. 302
      Timothy Lee Russell Says:

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

      Had the key for the manual override. Had the electronic combination but the safe would simply not open.

      Sounded like the worm drive was engaging – it said “unlocked” but no “click” like it used to do when it actually worked.

      Went to home despot and picked up a 1/2 cobalt bit and a masonry bit and was about to just start exploratory drilling. But then I thought, I’ll see if the internet has some advice on where to drill when I found this post.

      So, I beat the ever-loving crap out of the front with a rubber mallet. Nothing.

      Then I thought, don’t give up. So many people showing their affirmation in this thread. It must work.

      So, I beat it some more, yanked the handle upward hard to make sure none of the components were engaged. Then jiggled the handle as I beat it some more. Then I heard a small piece fall to the bottom of the door…and voila, it opened.

      Thank you!!

    303. 303
      Natalie Says:

      I have two of them and both quit at the same time. After numerous phone calls to Sentry customer service and paying for master codes and keys and replacing batteries they still do not work. I can open them but at this point anybody can also. Company is absolutely not helpful. What a piece of crap . They need to go out of business.

    304. 304
      David Says:

      Yes!!! Rubber mallet magic. Nonetheless, we’ll look for another brand.

    305. 305
      Joe Says:

      I haven’t been able to open my safe for 5 years. Tried the rubber mallet trick
      and it opened right up. Sprayed WD40 and it seems to be working fine now.
      There is mildew over everything. So disgusted right now. Thanks for helping me open
      it at least.

    306. 306
      Greg Says:

      Wow! that’s a lot of comments on a safe that’s obviously a serious problem. Last time I’ll be buying that piece of garbage. I’ll be letting Costco know they’re buying poorly built products that reflect badly on them.

    307. 307
      Glen Says:

      Thank you!! Been trying to open it for 2 days, tried everything, then after finding this page I tried the hammer trick, worked straight away! The only thing I don’t understand is whey Sentry did not include a rubber mallet and WD40 and a screwdriver with the purchase??!!?!

    308. 308
      1abrasax Says:

      I was dying laughing, the entire comment was unbelievably funny, and followed up by posters comments cemented the deal. Ok, i as well, did not think this would work for me, since I had a blue keypad of death… no inputs accepted. So what the heck had i to lose. I sprayed wd40 into the door crack. I got my mallet. I got my crow bar. I was leaving no stone unturned.

      Then i got busy.

      Here’s what you basically need to know. the lock bars (depending on your model, it can have two or three). The ‘groove’ that the locks, lock against are about 4mm (3/8″) threshold. You basically need to just get your crow bar into the seam of the door to pry it open. So hitting it with the rubber mallet as suggested, it didn’t open the door per say, but it bent up the metal cladding. Just jam your crow bar, and pry. Voila. Open.

      REPLY: Sounds like you have a different model, however if your comments help anyone then it’s all good!

    309. 309
      Robin Says:

      I will never buy this brand again!! I am sick of it jamming and not i need to try these tricks!! BULLSHIT SENTRY FOR A LOUSY SAFE!! YOU LOST ME AS A CUSTOMER SEEMS I HAVE TO GO THROUGH ALL THIS SHIT!

    310. 310
      charlotte Says:

      this is the funniest thing i have ever read. i will do what you suggest and see what happens otherwise i will go for the crowbar

    311. 311
      charlotte Says:

      wow it worked what now? do you suggest i not use this safe anymore? will it eventual not open? i haven’t closed it yet to find out.
      i have two sentry safes they are a bit different haven’t had trouble with the other as of yet this one has given me trouble for the last year or so have been putting things of importance in the other just in case
      have a great day and thank you for such humor, it gave for a much needed laugh.
      thanks again

    312. 312
      Rex Says:

      My sentry safe would not open. I have the combination
      and tried several times to no avail. Then I was searching
      the internet on how to get it open and ran across this site
      and tried the rubber mallet. It worked after a few bumps wih
      the mallet. I am very happy now. Thanks,

    313. 313
      Nicko Says:

      I had the misfortune of buying a Sentry Safe Model OA3807.
      Recently it decided not to work. I entered the default code and kept getting ‘Err’; no other feedback.
      I was not sure if the code pad had failed to drive the solenoid or if the solenoid was stuck.
      I belted the day-lights out of it with a rubber mallet and got no satisfaction.
      I asked ‘Sentry Safe’ for support; I wanted to drive the solenoid directly; they said get a lock smith. With all the mucking around the code pad died.
      So I used a crow-bar (seemed no alternative) and it opened easily after forcing the top right corner of the door. The inner locking mechanism of the door failed dramatically. The metal used was brittle and cheap.
      I examined the solenoid and found a small circuit board between the solenoid drive and the code pad.
      The circuit board contained a voltage regulator, diodes, resistors and a transistor (surface mounted). In short if your code pad fails and you want to drive the solenoid directly disconnect the wires from the code pad; connect the black and red together and connect them to +6V. Get the green wire and connect to 0v (use the battery pack). Note the circuit gets hot doing this so don’t leave the connection for too long (maybe 20 to 30 secs); while connected the solenoid may operate or you may need to use the rubber mallet if it is stuck. I hope this helps someone and saves them breaking in with a crow-bar (this was not fun).

    314. 314
      Nicole Says:

      Thank you so much!!!
      I’d searched and tried everything even the mallot trick was banging the wrong area as recommended elsewhere. When I read your review and banged the mid upper, the light finally came on and beeped. I entered the code and presto!

      Sentry Safe SF123ES

    315. 315
      Barry Says:

      I, too, found this thread hilarious until a couple of days ago when I discovered that after entering the correct code to unlock that the handle will move all the way up or down but the door remains shut tight. Is the best solution to attempt prying the door open? Can the hinge pins be removed? Thanks

    316. 316
      pat Says:

      These safes are a piece of crap. Mine is a simple key lock fire safe and it is vacuum locked!!
      Called Sentry and they said the release button was probably broken. All my valuables and important papers are in that safe and we can not get it open. Out of warranty of course and so what are they going to do anyway? THey suggested calling a locksmith. What is a locksmith going to do? The key works fine. What I need is a safe cracker!! They then suggested turning the safe upside down and spraying WD 40. How is that going to fix a broken button that will not release? Besides we are seniors and turning the safe over is not gonna happen.

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