At the recent DefCon conference in Las Vegas, researchers opened many of the top commercially available gun safes with simple tools like a straw or a paper clip, and in one case, just by shaking it a bit. The investigation began after the researchers, Toby Bluzmanis, Marc Tobias and Matt Fiddler, learned that certain Stack-On safes, issued to some law enforcement officials to secure their firearms at home, could be opened simply by jiggling the doorknob.
They then performed tests and found that the magnetic pin that open the door when the correct combination is entered could be triggered by gently bouncing the safe. One of the researchers had his three-year old open the safe simply by lifting it a few inches off the ground and dropping it, a technique very similar to the "smack" method that Alex Lewis showed us a few months ago on common digital safes.
They also tested three different models of Stack-On PS Biometric safes that featured a combination keypad, biometric fingerprint reader and key bypass. All three can be opened easily by pushing the fingerprint reader in, and using that hole to insert a wire or paper clip to move the solenoid that opens the lock.
Meanwhile, the Stack-On PC650, which apparently meets TSA airline firearms guidelines, can be opened by removing the rubber plate on top of the buttons, and inserting a small pick into the button recesses to reach the locking mechanism. Alternatively, you could also use a screwdriver to insert a metal shank into the safe to reach the reset button, which would allow you to reset the combination.
The Stack-On PDS-500 drawer safe can be opened by tearing a small hole in the soft plastic plate on the front. From there, a wire can be used to move the solenoid. The key-based bypass lock could be hacked instead using simple paperclip methods.
The Stack-On QAS 710 has space around the safe door that can fit a flat piece of metal, or even a drinking straw, which can be used to trigger the locking mechanism. Once again, the key bypass lock is even easier, opening by applying a little pressure with a screwdriver and turning it.
It's not just Stack-On safes either though, the research team opened models by Bulldog, GunVault and Amsec with similar methods, and all of them presented the same vulnerabilities.
For example, Bulldog BD 1500 could be opened with the metal shank method, or by inserting a coat hangar into the battery port, causing it to short out and open.
The Gun Vault GV2000S, obviously designed to hold firearms, is crackable by once again peeling off a cheap rubber cover, and pushing a wire through the exposed holes on the top.
It should be noted that almost all of these methods don't do any permanent damage to the safe, and therefore can be performed without the owner ever noticing the break-in.