You are here:

Locksmithing/Mosler File Cabinet Safe locks/replacements



I purchased 2 used Mosler file cabinet safes.  One lock doesn't work (broken# and the other works but the readout is bad with one line missing making it hard to read the numbers.  I really like the safes but want reliable locks on them.  Also I have the opportunity to purchase 3 more at what I think is a reasonable price.  I've attached some photos to try to help.  I don't know anything about these but am learning and willing to be educated.

1. - Are these existing locks reliable going forward?  I'd hate to rely on them and get stuck some day.
2. - What would be a decent replacement if that can be done?  I'm open to combination #preferred)in mechanical or electronic and possibly key.
3. - I pretty good mechanically and since the drawers are open, can I change these myself if I go that route?  It looks fairly simple.
4. - What are the approximate costs for the various lock replacements?  This will help me decide if I'll buy the other safes.
5. - In reading answers to other questions I see you talk about maintaining GSA.  What does that mean?  It sound like some locks will do that and some won't.

Thanks in advance for spending the time considering my questions.



First question - did you acquire these GSA Mosler containers because of GSA security requirments (job or DOD requirements), or did you simply acquire them for personal use????

The lock on the safe (photos) is a Kaba-Mas (Mas-Hamilton) X0-(7, 8 or 9).   The X0-7 and X0-8 versions are no longer available as the X0-9 is the current version.

Second item, these containers are NOT safes.   The government has a different idea of security than the civilian sector.   There containers are NOT designed to keep someone out if the container is forced or burglarized.   The walls of this container are thin sheet steel and easy to cut open.    The government is more interested in covert or surreptitious methods of entry.

These containers are NOT generally fire resistive, and are NOT burglary resistive beyond basic designs.

in answers to your questions,
1.  These are not reliable locks, and they are difficult to operate.   they are extremly expensive and offer NO options based on the price.
2.  For about 1/2 the cost of an X0-9 lock, you can get a digital lock with lots of extra features like multiple users, audit trails, time lock, time delay, duress alarms, etc., etc., etc....
3.  Basic digital locks you can probably change out yourself, however the more features the more you will need them installed by someone who is trained.
4.  Costs can run from $200 to $2000 depending on the features that you want.   Price isn't going to change regardless of what container you are planning on getting.
5.  Unless you are REQUIRED to have the containers for GSA ratings, and/or are EVER planning on selling them as a GSA container, then the container HAS TO MAINTAIN its integrity.     You cannot weld onto, or in any way modify the containers.   While YOU don't have to have a GSA approved lock, you can't modify the container to accept another lock, it has to be directly retrofitable, with NO modifications.

So back to my original question - WHAT is/are your requirements???    If you are looking to obtain an actual safe, then look somewhere else - these are security containers, NOT safes!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks a bunch Andy for the fast answers.  I bought these Mosler locking file cabinets for personal use and I'm fine with minimum security and not having fire protection.  I have a decent fire resistant gun safe for my really important stuff.  I'm also not interested in maintaining the GSA rating now that I understand it better.  As of this time I don't plan on modifying the cabinets but may for some reason in the future.  So now knowing more about these it boils down to this:

1. Can you suggest some cheap locks (and cost)- digital or mechanical (if that's the correct term) that I can replace these with?  I don't need anything fancy - just a combination to open it.

2. If it's more than I'd like to put into this is there a key lock that would fit that would be cheaper?  Cost?

2. Assuming I can install them myself, can you please offer some information on where to get them?

Thanks so much for helping me with this project.  Bob


extremely easy lock to install, which will mount directly without any modifications, would be something like the AMSEC ESL10XL or ESL20XL.   While there are other locks which will work, this one would be the easiest lock for YOU to install.

LaGard has several locks that would also work, however, I don't recommend any of their swingbolt models for this particular application, which would mean installing the standard bolt with a keypad which turns to retract the lock bolt.   With alignment problems, I recommend using a safe tech for installation.

A number of mechanical locks will also retrofit on to these containers.   Again due to installation and alignment problems, this is a job for a safe technician.  So if you are planning this as a "DIY" project, for ease of use, I would stick with the AMSEC ESL series locks for now.

ESL10XL / is single user / no extras.   The ESL20SL, has a manager and up to 9 user codes, plus time delay capabilities.

Cost would be ESL10XL / $220 and the ESL20XL / $305

If you would like to install a key lock, these should also retrofit, however without having the container here, I would recommend your measuring the diameter of the spindle hole so I can make sure the keys will fit through.

The LaGard 2270 lock is around $95 and a set of 3 keys is $60
The S&G 6870 series lock is around $165, with a set of 2 keys at $50.

You can check with a local safe company for these items, or you can order them from me.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland safes from the 1860's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2014 - Listed in AllExperts Top 50 Experts. All Expert Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service Area is Northern California (Fresno to Oregon and Western Nevada)

©2016 All rights reserved.