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Old July 2, 2013, 09:22 AM   #1
southjk
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Forgot safe combination under stress

I have a single pistol safe with a Simplex lock that I keep in a dresser drawer in my bedroom and have had it about 6 months. The combination is pretty simple and you press two buttons at the same time then one other after. Never had a problem opening it.

This morning on the way to work my wife calls me and whispers in the phone that something is upstairs and to get home fast. She is usually not one to panic so I hightailed it back and got there in about 5 minutes. Now, whether she should have called 911 or not is another discussion but the problem I had was when I came in the house and went to get my gun I couldn't get the safe open. I tried probably three times and it wouldn't open. I then tried another combination of the first two buttons and bingo, it opened. So, it was simple user error forgetting the combination under stress.

Do I need to change the combination to something easier or maybe just practice opening it until I've got it down?

The noise turned out to be some kind of animal on the roof we suspect. I checked out the upstairs and when I was in the attic I heard the thud she heard and it was definitely on the roof. She said it sounded like someone walking around the upstairs and really freaked her out.
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Old July 2, 2013, 09:35 AM   #2
BarryLee
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Wow, I understand why you are a little concerned and not sure I totally know the answer. You didn’t mention why you have the safe is it to keep the gun from children, thieves or maybe both. Either way a simpler combination might make it easier for the wrong person to open.

I guess my best advice would be practice and hope it just become second nature. I know it may seem counterintuitive, but I have learned the importance in stressful situations of “slowing down to go fast”.
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Old July 2, 2013, 09:56 AM   #3
SauerJackson
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I had a similar problem, only it took me a freak'n month to remember my combo again!!! (I did have a key backup)

But I decided that, at least for me, an easier combo wasn't the answer. Now I just make a point to open it regularly, and describe the sequence in my head occasionally (which I find much harder than just pressing buttons)
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Old July 2, 2013, 09:58 AM   #4
DBLAction454
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Re: Forgot safe combination under stress

Definitely feel your concern in this one.

I was in a very high stress situation with an individual trying to break in someone's home that I was staying at for the night. It was at 730 in the morning and I was groggy (worked till 3am), in my boxers and couldn't find my glasses. Luckily I don't need my glasses to barricade the door. I had my handgun with me but I'd rather the persons house I was at have to buy a new door than me use deadly force and start a world of legal hell. So the dresser went in front of the door (studio apartment) before my glasses were found and then the gun in hand was second. Cops were called and guy eventually took off.

We never think that something like that will happen at the worst time. I always practiced being awaken at my own home and having my glasses ready and gun ready.

My advice is to practice the code you already know. Changing it will make it more difficult. Practice it a few times everyday. I remember reading that something becomes muscle memory around 2,000 times after its performed. I think after a couple weeks you'll do it without thinking like you tie your shoes.

Hope this helps
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Old July 2, 2013, 10:07 AM   #5
arch308
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That right there is why I keep a couple handguns out of the safe and "hidden" around the house. I can afford that luxury since I live alone. When company with children come over I put them in the safe.
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Old July 2, 2013, 10:29 AM   #6
southjk
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Quote:
You didn’t mention why you have the safe is it to keep the gun from children, thieves or maybe both.
Yeah, both. I have an 11 year old daughter and I've always kept all but one in the large safe and the HD gun in my bedroom in a small safe. Driving back home I was wishing I could carry at work so i'd have it on my when I walked in the house but that's not possible.

Practice until I don't even have to think about it seems to be the solution.
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Old July 2, 2013, 11:21 AM   #7
Navy joe
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With the S&G lock on my safe I have to get it perfect, very picky on number line-up. I often screw it up when taking my time. All guns locked up, especially coming home without one is asking for it.
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Old July 2, 2013, 11:49 AM   #8
pax
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Quote:
Do I need to change the combination to something easier or maybe just practice opening it until I've got it down?
Practice.

Practice slowly, calmly, often.

Then pull out a stopwatch and time yourself. How fast can you get it open?

Compete with your wife. Who can open it fastest?

Then set an alarm clock for 3am some night. Time yourself then.

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Old July 2, 2013, 01:07 PM   #9
SgtLumpy
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I can suggest a way to simulate stress when the time comes to practice opening the safe under stressful conditions. Have someone press and hold the test button on a smoke alarm in the same room. Those things are uncomfortably loud, to me at least.


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Old July 2, 2013, 03:06 PM   #10
deepcreek
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Many dial safes have small ranges of misalignment most are between 3 numbers some higher security ones are less. They are notorious for messing people up when they are stressing and jittery.
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Old July 2, 2013, 04:16 PM   #11
markj
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Open it, close it, open it, close it. Repeat until your muscle memory can do it without thinking about it.

or carry everywhere and train the wife as well.
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Old July 2, 2013, 04:31 PM   #12
L2R
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2 safes?

sounds crazy but I have one good fire safe where most of my firearms reside.
and it is a combination lock. It is pretty secure but I worried about the same thing, could I get it open fast enough under stress?

when I upgraded, I kept the cheap, thin steel, keyed safe and put it in the bedroom.

when one of us is home, it is unlocked and there is are options available.

when the last one leaves, the door is locked and the key is in our pockets.

If kids were around, I would keep it locked and key in pocket.

If a good thief comes in, I might lose a few items but if I am gone, there won't be much there to take anyway.
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Old July 2, 2013, 07:29 PM   #13
wayneinFL
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I have a cheap pushbutton lockbox that I always keep a couple of old revolvers in for an emergency.

I set the combination the same as my ATM PIN. My big safe has the same combination. I probably punch that combination at least once a day on average. I could hit it in my sleep.
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Old July 2, 2013, 07:38 PM   #14
stephen426
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I have a drawer safe as well and it is set to 6 digits. If you are in a rush and don't push the button all the way, it could be an issue. I set mine so that it doesn't beep with each button pressed. I want the benefit of silence, but it can also be a major issue, especially if you lock yourself out!!!
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Old July 2, 2013, 07:42 PM   #15
publius
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southjk,
you certainly know better than I, but do you think your daughter might be old enough to teach about guns. ( What damage they can cause, here is where I keep it and you are not to ever touch it w/o permission.) I was taught at a much earlier age and had my own .410 in my room at age 10. I think the others have very good suggestions on the use of the safe though. Maybe keep a keyed safe with the key on a necklace. i kept the key to my locker during Basic on my dog tags.
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Old July 2, 2013, 07:48 PM   #16
James K
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Make the combo something simple that you will remember but that won't be easily guessed. (If you live at 1234 Main Street, 1234 might be a bit too easy, but 6246 might not be (MAIN on the telephone dial).

Jim
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Old July 3, 2013, 08:01 AM   #17
FAS1
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Quote:
Practice until I don't even have to think about it seems to be the solution.
You already know the answer. I know these locks like the back of my hand, but since I cycle through the default lock codes several times a day, every day during assembly, my concern is that I don't try the default code on my personal handgun safe under stress.

Make sure you practice in the dark and right when you wake up. Also, you have to concentrate on being calm in a stressful situation as many simple things get difficult.
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Old July 3, 2013, 03:45 PM   #18
glh17
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I understand the problem but combination locks are just subject to this problem. A few years ago I forgot my ATM Pin. Just 4 digits and I'd used it at least once or twice a week for many years. One day it vanished from my memory. Tried 3 times a day for a few days and just couldn't remember.

I've got a combination lock or two somewhere around the house. Can't use them because I can't remember the numbers.
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Old July 3, 2013, 08:34 PM   #19
dakota.potts
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Mine is 5 digits and the pound. So far I can hit the numbers without thinking what they are but I've forgotten to hit the pound sometimes.
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Old July 3, 2013, 08:47 PM   #20
jimbob86
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Quote:
Practice.

Practice slowly, calmly, often.

Then pull out a stopwatch and time yourself. How fast can you get it open?

Compete with your wife. Who can open it fastest?

Then set an alarm clock for 3am some night. Time yourself then.

pax
Listen to Pax.

You should be opening that safe everyday anyway, to dryfire the gun.
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Old July 3, 2013, 09:12 PM   #21
WyMark
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The safe in my bedroom closet has a 9mm and a 45 in it, and has the same 5 digit combo as the lock code on my cell phone. So I use it dozens of times a day and don't really even think about the number sequence, it's just kinda there. But the code also spells out an alpha sequence that's meaningful and very easy for my wife to remember.
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Old July 4, 2013, 03:22 PM   #22
dave9969
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I have two guns safes one large an one small.
the large is a old school dial the wheel to open safe lots of storage room and heavy as hell.
the smaller one is a simple one digital key pad and key back up
when I'm home the key is in on my car keys to it, I put my pistol in and when I go to bed I place the keys where I know they are. its not a safe designed to keep a real criminal out, only kids and it keeps insurance companies happy.
I wouldn't trust it to keep a pro out. but I like the fact it takes keys or I can provide a code to the wife if needed, and I can change it to!(not always a bad thing sometimes I **** her off) after all I need to sleep to!
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Old July 5, 2013, 08:21 AM   #23
Dwight55
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After an event where two dogs (one was a large pit bull cross) tried to attack me through my glass front storm door, . . . AND, . . . I couldn't get the safe open, . . . I now leave it open any time I am home, . . . or my wife is home.

The event was a wake up for me, . . .

May God bless,
Dwight
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