Locksmith Charley

This page contains an explanation of the differences between "Ordinary" security locks and High Security locks and also explains the some of the differences in various grades of locks.  

In residential or commercial door lock applications there are 2 distinct types of locks - ordinary security and high security. Ordinary security locks most often can be readily picked open or very easily compromised by drilling. While it is true that ordinary security locks may be made more pick resistant by insertion of "mushroom" or "spool" top pins (or drivers) there is still absolutely no way to make them more drill resistant.  

There are 3 grades of locks - they are:
      Grade 1 - commercial - industrial
      Grade 2 - heavy duty residential / light duty commercial
      Grade 3 - residential only / consumer expendable (ie "throw-away" locks)

Most residences have ordinary security locks such as Kwikset®, Weiser®, Weslock®, Dexter®, EZ-Set®, etc. 
Even such honored brands as Schlage®, Corbin®, Russwin®, Baldwin®, and others are usually equipped with "ordinary security" cylinders - even in their grade 2 and grade 1 offerings.  

High security cylinders are made to be "virtually" pick-proof and usually have hardened steel inserts in them to help prevent physical attack by drilling. There are a variety of types of high security cylinders made by several different companies. Some of the better known ones are Assa Twin®, Medeco®, and Schlage Primus®. 

High security locks and cylinders are somewhat pricey, however the peace of mind and level of physical security that they provide are well worth the extra expense. 

I specialize in ASSA® high security locks for a couple reasons. First the keys are a lot stronger than those made by say Medeco. I've seen a lot of broken Medeco keys and have never seen any broken Assa Keys. Another reason is that ASSA locks utilize a second set of pins operating on cuts on the side of the key to form the second portion of their double-locking system. Medeco, on the other hand relies on only one set of pins and the rotation of those pins. I just like ASSA better. 

I have an exclusive sidebar code*  within the state of Arizona. What this means is that if you give a temporary roommate a key to your house you can rest assured that they cannot get it duplicated by anyone but me, and I will require ID and a signature matching that on the card signed when the original keys were provided. As an employer, what this means to you is that if you terminate an employee and they give the key back, you don't have to worry about "Did they have a copy made?" because you will have the peace of mind KNOWING they did not! 

If you like, You may download the ASSA product catalog  and  ASSA 2009 price list

The most recent (2009)  list prices for ASSA locks, keys and cylinders are: 

Product Single Cylinder
Double Cylinder
ASSA Grade 1 deadbolt $237.50 $332.50
ASSA Grade 2 deadbolt $115.00 $180.00
ASSA Rim Cylinder $100.00 n/a
ASSA Key-In-Knob / Lever cylinder $89.00-$115.00 n/a
ASSA Mortise Cylinder 1-1/8" $99.00 n/a
ASSA Mortise Cylinder 1-1/4" $107.00 n/a
ASSA Mortise Cylinder 1-3/8" $236.50 n/a
ASSA Mortise Cylinder 1-1/2" $241.50 n/a
ASSA Mortise Cylinder 1-5/8" $247.00 n/a
ASSA Mortise Cylinder 1-3/4" $252.00 n/a
ASSA Mortise Cylinder 1-7/8" $257.00 n/a
ASSA Mortise Cylinder 2" $262.50 n/a
ASSA E6540 Hockey Puck Padlock $115.00 n/a
ASSA Twin / Exclusive keys $13.50 n/a

Available finishes for ASSA locks are:
BHMA US        EURO  Finish Description
625 US26 11 Polished Chrome
626 US26D 13 Satin Chrome
605 US3 20 Polished Brass
606 US4 23 Satin Brass
612 US10 33 Satin Bronze 
624 US10B 46 Dark Oxidized Bronze (Chocolate) 

The various features of these locks and keys follow.



Assa Twin® - as you can see by the picture above the Assa Twin key has some cuts milled into the side of the blade of the key. Inside the locks there is a set of pins called sidebar pins that interact with those millings. When the sidebar pins are all raised to match the unique sidebar within the lock the sidebar will be able to enter the plug. If all of the "regular" cuts on the key are correct as well then the plug will be able to turn. If either the sidebar cuts are wrong or the "regular" cuts are wrong then the cylinder will not turn. Assa's website (http://www.assalock.com/products.htm) says "ASSA locks employ a patented dual locking mechanism that renders the lock virtually pick proof." and personally I believe them.  My company has been assigned a unique sidebar for this region so if you want high security Assa Twin cylinders I can guarantee no one in the area other than Locksmith Charley will be able to duplicate them. What this means to you is that if you give an employee, housekeeper, babysitter, etc. an Assa Twin key and they return it to you that they have NOT gotten it duplicated. Only customers whose signatures are on the card kept on file in my shop can order duplicate keys and only after signing a restricted key order form. 

*Sidebar Code - The cuts on the side of the key blank that operates the sidebar pins that provide the double-locking feature in an ASSA Cylinder. All ASSA high security key blanks have the sidebar code cut on them at the factory. It is not possible to get ASSA high security key blanks without the sidebar code already cut. 



The Medeco lock also incorporates a sidebar inside the cylinder, but there are no special cuts on the side of the key like Assa Twin and Schlage Primus. Instead Medeco uses unique chisel shaped pins with a slot milled into the side of them. The pins have to be rotated to the correct angle as well as being raised to the correct height in order for the cylinder to operate. In the case of this key the cuts are R-L-L-C-C-C. 




Schlage Primus is similar to Assa Twin but there are a few differences. But again, the "regular" cuts have to be correct AND the sidebar cuts have to be correct for the cylinder to operate.

Anyone with any questions about High Security locks or any other aspect of locks, keys, security, etc is encouraged to e-mail me at mailto:charley@LocksmithCharley.com



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