MASTER KEY SYSTEMS 101: How They Work

master key systemsMaster key systems consist of a number of cylinders/locks that allow different groups or individual key holders to gain access to all or individually defined areas of a building(s).

The key itself is nothing special or different, but rather, the type of lock it fits into.

These master-keyed locks are designed to open with different keys. Master-keyed locks also have another set of mechanisms that are used to operate them. These are identical to all of the others in the set of locks.

Most locks are based on a fairly similar concept. The most widely used lock design is called the cylinder lock.

However, one of them is cut specifically to fit each lock perfectly- the master key, which opens all of the locks in the set, or system.

How Master Key Systems Work

This is how it works: the key turns the cylinder, which turns an attached cam in the lock. When the cylinder is turned one way, the cam pulls in on the bolt and the door can be opened. When the cylinder is turned the opposite way, the cam releases the bolt and the spring snaps it into place so the door can’t be opened.

Why Use A Master Key System?

There are quite a few benefits in using master key systems. The most common one is that you can control access to an entire building. That way, you can control exactly who gets access to which parts of the structure. Plus, it is easy to use, as only one key is needed for all the relevant doors.

This option gives departmental heads and supervisors the pleasure to have access to the premises at any time and is very convenient during emergencies. Other master key systems include rekeyable padlocks, interchangeable core locks and door key compatible locks.

One can also master High Security Keys which put the owner/manager in total control of all the locks with a single key. Which should be duplicated with the right authorization, of course. Only a few people have access to the controlled blank keys. Therefore, you have to have it cut where you bought the key.

When you consider master key systems, you’ll want to think about the following advantages and disadvantages:

Pros:

  1. You will be able to rekey locks without altering the master key. Therefore, if a pass key is lost or taken, it’s cheap to have a professional locksmith rekey that single lock.
  2. There are less keys to keep an eye on (and less keys to lose).
  3. You save a lot from always having to buy replacement keys.
  4. You can offer various levels of access to different areas. Within a master key system, you can have sub-master keys that open all locks in a set without offering complete access to an area.
  5. In an emergency situation, anybody (like firemen, paramedics, locksmiths, and so on) can have access to the master key via a “knox box”, a locked box mounted on a structure outside of an apartment complex which holds a master key in it.

Cons:

  1. Monitoring who has a master key is necessary.
  2. Losing a master key has big consequences.
  3. Poorly designed master key systems might lead to pass keys that open incorrect locks or other security spaces.

Overall, Master Key Systems work great if you’re a landlord or a large business that doesn’t want their employees to lug around large amounts of keys everywhere. If you’re considering getting a master key system yourself, why not let a professional locksmith do the dirty work for you. ABM Keys Services Orange can advise you on the best master key system for your particular business or building complex. So give us a call today, especially if your building’s location needs the extra security at nighttime.

What is Lock Bumping and how to prevent it?

A common practice for many yearsLock Bumping

Have you ever heard of a “Bump Key” or “Lock Bumping”? No one has, outside of the locksmith profession. Lock bumping is a technique used by locksmith professionals for many years. It is a common practice for a locksmith to bump your lock to gain entry when a key is not present. The locksmith would slide the correct bump key from his set into the matching lock cylinder. Every lock sold on the market today has a matching bump key or technically, it’s called a 999/rapping key. Every good locksmith will carry a set to match the most common locks sold.

What is lock bumping?

Here is basically how it works- you buy yourself a set of bump keys on eBay for about $8.00 to $20.00. Regardless of which one you bought, the technique is the same. You find the right bump key that matches the lock cylinder that you’re trying to open. The bump key consists of extra teeth or cuts on the top that runs along the same number of pins inside the lock cylinder. These extra notches will hold up the pins for a split second long enough to turn and open the lock. When inserting the right bump key, the outer part of the exposed key is bumped with a screwdriver or small hammer. With a little amount of force from the hammer, the inner pins are all pushed up in a line for a second long enough for the key to turn, thus opening the lock.

Easy access for criminals.Lock Bumping

On eBay and Amazon, you can find a number of vendors selling sets of bump keys for very cheap prices. Criminals are taking advantage of this technique because of the easy access to purchase a set. Now criminals have the power to open virtually any lock sold at the local hardware store. Not only is it easy to do with practice but it leaves no trace of forced entry. You would never know if someone was in your home. With that being said, you can only imagine that it would be like a kid in a candy store for a career criminal. Another concern is that since there is no forced entry, some insurance companies will refuse to pay out on these claims. So it’s probably a good idea to read over your insurance policy, no need to get robbed twice.

How to prevent getting bumped.

Professional lock manufacturers like Medeco, Schlage, Miwa, Dorma, Assa, and Kaba all created their own version of bump-resistant or bump-proof locks. These are high- security cylinders, which are harder to pick or manipulate. Some manufacturers have implemented patented sidebar mechanisms and/or anti-bumping pins within their standard cylinders that also prevents getting bumped. Another anti-bumping technique is shallow drilling, which one or more of the pin stacks are drilled slightly shallower than the others. Thus, preventing the pins to line all up at the same time and not allowing the door to open.

Keyless LocksLock Bumping

Another option is installing a keyless door lock. These types of locks are becoming more and more popular. Moving out of only commercial use, the keypad door lock is gaining popularity with homeowners today. This type of lock possesses many security factors as it eliminates possibly losing your keys. It is anti-bump as well. All the major lock manufacturers have seen this rise in the residential sector that now there is a wide variety of keypad door locks to choose from. You are sure to find a style that fits your taste. If all else fails, get a guard dog.

Locksmith Orange