A Hacker On Cheap Gun Locks & Safes

“Deviant Ollam Cluebat Quartermaster” gave a fascinating talk at DefCon 19 on breaking open cheap gun locks and cheap gun safes.

[ Many thanks to Aaron @ Weapons Blog & Simon for the video. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • David H.

    Locking picking isn’t my thing, but I found it a very interesting video all the same. And, from a Gun Guy stand point, he kept emphasizing to Teach Your Kids About Guns.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Kevin

    I’d love to see him, Barry Wels or Marc Weber Tobias doing a talk about the actual security of “gun safes”. Or the two safe techs who post on THR, a1abdj and CB900F.

  • Max

    I’ve got a gunvault for my pistols, but I don’t consider it protection against theft. It’s so light it’d be easy to carry out, even if the robber didn’t have a crowbar handy to pry the thing open. It should at least keep curious visitors away, though.

    Nice video.

  • Nadnerbus

    that was actually pretty interesting. I liked the part about finger print readers, I learned a few things. Thanks

  • Komrad

    Yep, cheap safes don’t offer much protection. Nor do padlocks. I have two separate infographics saved on my computer describing two different ways to defeat cheap (or even mid range) padlocks. I am not surprised that it is also easy to defeat cheap safes.

    • jdun1911

      You can defeat any locks. Either by brute force or by picking it.

      One of my friend’s dad (retire) was a locksmith and from what he told me he could pick any locks of his time.

      I had a customer that lock his keys inside his car a couple of weeks back. Got a locksmith to come over and he pickred the lock in less than a minute. Charged him $40 for the job. The car was 2-3 years old.

    • I have a Mossberg cable lock, a blue one, that I can pick open in about a second most of the time with the swipe of a wave pick, within about 3 seconds almost every time. The red/orange ones that come with Glocks are a little bit tougher, but not by much. I can pick open the usual laminated steel with blue ring Master padlock, but it’s much much harder and takes me about 20 minutes. I think I manged to pop a Schlage deadbolt once, but it took me about 45 minutes.

      With the padlocks, it’d be a lot easier just to cut the chain or hasp, and just remove the still-locked padlock. Mom or Dad would know junior’s gotten at the guns, but a thief wouldn’t care.

  • Sian

    Deviant Ollam is good people, and his advice/accounts of flying on various major carriers w/firearms is invaluable. He also knows his locks.

  • I was able to sit in on this talk at Defcon last year.

  • RickH

    Interesting vid. He could learn to sound more mature when speaking in public. I mean fuck, he could try to stop saying fuck so much. Am I fucking right?

    • jdun1911

      The people that are running the show are a bunch of kids in adult bodies. They are attention whores for the most part.

      • John Doe

        The rest of us mature people appreciate it.

    • Griffin

      His presentation was entertaining, engaging, educational, well paced, and well prepared. Far better than 99.9% of the presentations I’ve had to sit through given by “mature” people.

      The subject matter was, at it’s core, encredibly dry but he made it fun.

      Sucessful public speaking is all about knowing your audience; I hate to break it to you RickH, but we aren’t his intended audience.

    • MrMaigo

      DEFCON is all about having fun, even the FEDs have fun at DEFCON

  • KM

    “bring your kids to defcon” They’ll learn some neat new words : P

  • Kevin

    Cheap safe still beats no safe. Most robberies are done by dumbasses in a hurry. Plus, safes are hard to move. Sometimes I smile when I imagine coming home to find some asshole crushed to death at the foot of my stairs with my safe on top of him. 🙂

    • Nadnerbus

      This is the philosophy behind my safe. Cheaper safe, but it is bolted to the wall and would make quite a racket trying to either open it or break it lose. I live with neighbors on two sides and a downstairs neighbor, which should deter things more.

      Security isn’t necessarily about being invulnerable, but more about being a harder target then most others. If you raise the effort and the stakes enough, they will hopefully go to one of the many other lesser defended targets.

      That said, get the best safe you can afford.

  • John Doe

    There was a school shooting in Ohio, and it really got me thinking about how important gun safes are.

    If the kid got one illegally, there isn’t much we can do. But if he took it from his house, it’s completely the parents’ problem, since they should’ve locked their guns up tight in a good safe. Can’t have fun without some safety.

    • Reports indicate the teen stole the pistol, a Ruger MKIII, from his grandfather’s barn. There are no details I am aware of as to what degree, if any, the pistol had been secured at the time it was stolen.

  • noob

    I wonder, if you had a little gun, could you shoot through the sheet metal of a cheap in-car gun safe to get to the release leaver and get a bigger gun?

    • Nadnerbus

      The family guy where Mel Gibson shoots the lock off a safe, opens the safe, and gets another gun.

  • David I also like how they emphasize teaching your kids about guns. Education is one of the best ways to avoid accidents. I also think this shows the importance of getting the better safes. Yes they may cost more, but they would be worth it in the end if they actually keep your possessions safe.

  • Tuulos

    I have to agree with him, especially on the part about Abloy locks. The new ones are very difficult if not almost impossible to pick. And as he said, the safe might be improved radically by simply changing the lock into a better one.

  • Brown M.

    I’m always looking to take my kids to places where calling people crossbreeds (25:07) is not only acceptable but elicits laughter from the crowd.

    • Stupid Face

      I think he said “Crotch fruits”.

      • Brown M.

        Y’know, I’m not sure what was in my ears but you are correct sir and I am in error. Now I’m back to enjoying the video, thank you.