After a few years, your SentrySafe Pistol Safe may not open like it used to. You can easily replace the original strut with an inexpensive replacement gas strut, to resolve that issue.
Sentry Pistol Safe Strut Replacement
Like so many pistol safe owners, my SentrySafe pistol safe lid stopped springing open, after I unlocked it. After months of searches, I was able to locate a compatible gas strut, that fits in the Sentrysafe Pistol Safe, including both the standard version and the biometric model. This is not the same gas strut, that originally came in the SentrySafe pistol safe, but it fits, and it works great.
There are a couple options. You can go inexpensive with the Apexstone 80N/18lb Gas Struts for around $10, or you can spend a bit more on the BOXI 4053 Universal Lift Support Struts ($22ish).
Apexstone 80N/18lb Gas Struts
These Apexstone 80N/18lb Gas Struts come in a 2 pack, for under $10 USD, from Amazon, so you have a spare strut, for later on. All gas struts will eventually fail, over time, so it’s nice to know, that you will have a spare strut for the next time.
The Apexstone 80N/18lb Gas Strut specifications:
- Length (Center-to-Center): 7 inch (180 mm)
- Compressed Length (Center-to-Center): 5.12 inch (130mm)
- Force: 18 Lbs (Per Strut)
BOXI 4053 Universal Lift Support Struts
If you want your SentrySafe to open further, and are fine with spending a bit more money ($22ish) on this project, the BOXI 4053 Universal Lift Support Struts (pack of 2) will open to to a length of 7.50 Inches, and with a force of 25lbs.
The BOXI 4053 Universal Lift Support Struts specifications:
- Extended Length: 7.50 Inches
- Compressed Length: 5.34 Inches
- Force: 111N = 25 Lbs.
- End Fitting: Ball Socket U Band (Nylon)=10mm=3/8″=.39″
I am testing some aftermarket springs also, to give the lid a bit more boost. I will update when I have one that works correctly. Please stand by, while I test and review the springs, for fit and function.
If you are in a rush to replace the spring, you may be able to find a fit in this spring assortment pack.
Replacing the Gas Strut on your Sentry Safe
You will need some simple tools:
- phillips screwdriver
- a wrench (adjustable works)
- socket set
Make sure to put something in the safe, to keep the lid from falling and locking shut, while performing this procedure. Also do yourself a favor and change the batteries, while you are doing this procedure. I’d recommend some fresh Duracell AA batteries.
Update from a helpful commenter:
In most cases you won’t need any screwdrivers, sockets or wrenches to replace the strut. You should be able to turn the strut body to unscrew the thread at the lid’s ball joint, then turn the stem to unscrew the thread, at the eyelet joint in the body. Reverse to install. The threaded ends of the Apexstone units match the stock one exactly, once you remove the ball sockets.
To remove the original strut, use a phillips screwdriver to unscrew the screw on the bottom of the strut, and use the wrench and socket to remove the connection at the top side of the strut.
Once the original strut is removed, the connectors, on the top and bottom of the strut, can be unscrewed and moved over to the new gas strut. The new gas strut has threaded fittings, on both ends, that also unscrew.
Keep in mind, once you install this strut, your lid will not open quite as far as it used to, but it will still open about 85%, well enough to retrieve your belongings from inside the Sentry Pistol Safe.
After a couple years, your Sentry Safe Pistol safe may not be springing open, after you unlock it, this should help you resolve the issue, or to prepare for this, when it does finally happen.
Please share this post on your Social Media and with your other Firearm friends, as there are many gun owners out there, with these types of safes, and they may need to know about this fix! After all, you want that safe to open when you need it to open!
Thanks!, life saver.
Ordered (2) of these for our safes. FANTASTIC!!! Quick to assemble and saved about$45.00.
Great job. Thanks Much !!!
I was in the same boat. Glad this helped!
Holy crap…I had called SentrySafe for new struts thanks to a failure, of course. Customer service said, “they’re back-ordered so call back in 6-8 weeks.” They’re dead to me. I ran across this in my frustrations and am so glad I did. Worked like a champ and took 15 minutes to install 2! Thank you!
I did this on 3 of my Sentry Safes last week. I don’t think it really works. The safe unlocks but the lid does not pop open. You have to coax it a bit. If you jostle it a little, then the new struts kick in and the lid opens. But on all three of my replacements, the lid stays stuck without extra intervention.
You may want to replace the stock spring with a stronger spring. You might be able to find a spring that fits in this assortment pack https://amzn.to/2XbQNK8 . I am still trying to find the exact size for purchase!
I used two springs that were suggested in this post and my safe is working fine
I unscrewed the bottom screw with a screw driver. I added the two springs to replace the single spring. I kept the original strut and the safe opens and closes fine. I still plan to keep this safe but buy a Fort Knox simplex safe instead
I had a fort knox simplex that failed even quicker. The mechanical keypad buttons failed in about two years of daily use — and that part is not replaceable. I tried wd 40 to get it going and no dice. And with fort knox you cant get in with a key as an alternate and you got to hack them open
Called SentrySafe in late Dec 2019 and was put on back order list. By Mar, was told it will be another month! These Apexstone substitutes arrived in one day and cost half of the SS cost! They work perfectly! Many thanks!
This worked great. The fastener for the screw end was a bit tight, but the bench vise conquered that. Thanks for the tip.
God bless you
You literally don’t need any screwdrivers / sockets / wrenches to replace the strut. You can just turn the strut body to unscrew the thread at the lid ball joint, then turn the stem to unscrew the thread at the eyelet joint in the body. Reverse to install. The threaded ends of the Apexstone units match the stock one exactly once you remove the ball sockets.
Pete above is right you do not need any tools. You literally just twist and unscrew the old sytrut, then screw in the new Apexstone 80N/18lb Gas Strut it is an almost exact replacement. Took around 20 seconds with just my hand and no tools. My Sentry Safe works as good as new.
Pete above is right you do not need any tools. You literally just twist and unscrew the old strut, then screw in the new Apexstone 80N/18lb Gas Strut it is an almost exact replacement. Took around 20 seconds with just my hand and no tools. My Sentry Safe works as good as new.
Wow! Thank you for this! Ordered the new struts and it’s works. Ill be waiting for the spring updates, mines always still sticks a few seconds after a couple days of not opening it. I think a new spring will work better.
Thank you very much for putting all this together. I purchased the new struts and replaced the old one with ease.
Also changed out the batteries as recommended. Life savor and again thank you.
will the piston work on model qap 1 be?? hand gun safe by sentry ?
Yes, it should also work on the SentrySafe QAP1BE
I tried BOXI 4053. Was very slightly longer than the original piston. As a result it could not not line up properly/square with the attachment hole on the lid. Will send back and use the APEXSTONE instead.
Thank you for the post though!
THANK YOU!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! Works better than new!!!!!!
“I did this on 3 of my Sentry Safes last week. I don’t think it really works. The safe unlocks but the lid does not pop open. You have to coax it a bit. If you jostle it a little, then the new struts kick in and the lid opens. But on all three of my replacements, the lid stays stuck without extra intervention. -Jason”
I ran into the exact same issue as described by the above commenter, spring or no spring with the BOXI 25lb struts. After a bit of testing using a screwdriver to simulate the lock strike (the piece of metal with a hole in it that the lock clasp fits in) I discovered that if there is a relatively low amount of upward force placed on the clasp (which the 25lb spring creates), the solenoid that releases the clasp is not strong enough to retract the clasp and the safe remains locked. I validated this by testing with the 25lb BOXI and the failed original strut with keypad and then with the manual key.
If you are reading this, I’d HIGHLY recommend not getting the 25lb gas strut. While I don’t have a force meter to 100% verify, I suspect that anything over the original strut pressure lbs creates too much force and will keep the clasp from retracting.
For my Sentry Safe QAP1BE, I did exactly the same as Orlando Santiago Jr. above. Used two springs that came in the SP 9706 package (link below). Initially, I tried just used one replacement spring and estimate that the lid was popping open like it did when new. After adding the second spring it seems like the lid pops open faster than new. So, I left mine with 2 springs installed.
Thanks for creating this page and helping others!
Are you guys testing on the larger safes? The 80N (80 newton)/18 lb Apexstone struts will not work on my non biometric, keypad only single firearm “QAP1RE” circa 2013 sentry safe.
When I put it in the solenoid cannot overcome strut pressure binding the latch, and will not open the lid as a result.
My original strut is 0330 – 13/17 at 50 newtons (11 1/4 lbs force). Struts should be labeled. My original factory strut is labeled 50n (11.25 lbs). 60n is about 13.5lbs, 80n is 18 lbs
So if the 80 newton/18 lb one is too much for anyone visiting, get the following:
— 189mm/7.44″ length. measured center hole to center hole (the original is 189mm, the replacement apexstone recommended here is 180 (functional but shorter than original, while 189mm/7.44″ is in fact what original measures.
— 50 to 60 newtons. In my case anything more bound the latch disconnect and usually failed to open. 60 newtons is actually enough to make case jump on opening if not bolted down, so it is plenty enough. And it opens every time.
Also when looking around at various measurements make sure that you get the correct class of part. You want a “strut” aka “spring” aka and NOT “dampener”
On ebay I found “60N/13.5lb Strut, Spring,Lid Support, Shocks, 7.44″ length CQL189-55-15-6-60N” It works perfect on both safes I placed it in
I purchased the 60N/13.5LB Strut from eBay as well and it was ~$12 with shipping. It works perfectly on my SentrySafe QAP2EL. Unscrew the two ends from the original strut and use them on the new strut. Your installation will be less than 5min. Replace the batteries in your unit as will if it has been a few years.
I just ordered the struts and springs so thank you for this.
Has anyone updated their QAP1BE with the interior light like the newer QAP1LX comes with?
Thank you for the write up, very thorough. I tried the Apexstone 80N/18lb Gas Struts about three months ago and it did not work. The pressure is too much and won’t allow the lid to unlock. Still looking for an option, possibly the 10lb Boxi will work.
Sorry it was not the Boxi I was referring to above, it was a different version of the Apexstone but a 10lb pressure. Not sure the dimensions of it will work. I will post if it does.
Thanks – just successfully replaced 2 safes. The suggested Apexstone 80N/18lb was out of stock – same for the Boxi 4053.
I tried The Lift Supports version which was 7.5″ extended with 20lbs
They came with plastic end connectors that support the 10mm ball stud in the safe. I unscrewed both plastic end connectors that the replacement unit came with. The thread is a perfect match for the bottom strut support in the safe. The top – I found that if I re-used the original plastic connector for the 10mm ball stud – it worked great – using the replacement connector made the unit just a bit too long and I could not close the safe.
Found a cheaper alternative if only needing some spring action for replacement. Will install soon and update posting but here is the link for anyone looking for a cheaper option after the pandemic. The costs had doubled on the listed above.
Not sure about if the 8 versus 10 inches will cause any headache but will find out soon.
My Sentry is playing this game also. I am going to try a piece of swim noodle inside the safe to serve as a pop-up booste before buying parts.
I just purchased the two pistol Sentry Safe. I Noticed that the spring to assist the strut in opening is taller, thicker wire, stiffer. Also the finger print sensor is improved. Thanks for the research.
This was a very helpful post for me. My Sentry gun safe would open only about 1/16 of an inch when the combination or my fingerprint was entered.
I decided that instead of replacing the air strut, which was a tad expensive, I’d start by replacing the spring first.
I found a compression spring 1 15/16 in. long with an external diameter of 3/8 in. at Menard’s for 91 cents, and now the lid of the safe is popping open just like it did when the safe was brand new 7-8 years ago!
I’m not sure if the strut is shot also, but as long as the lid opens fine, I’m leaving the strut alone.
Thanks a ton to johnb for outlining this so eloquently, and to Pete Schneider for his simple way to remove and then replace the strut ( which I had to do to replace the spring.)
Props to the author. I was thinking I may have to buy a new mini-safe until I found this post. Thank you! Mod works perfect. Also you get two struts. Save one for later or give it to your homie. Peace.
Thank you for posting this.
need replacement shock
My Sentry safe is playing this game also. The key will usually pop it open, new batteries don’t help. I am going to try using a piece of foam swim noodle to act as a pop-up spring booster before I try changing/ordering parts.
One thing that may or may not have been mentioned, is prop the safe open once you take off the strut, if it closes, it is very hard to open, so just put a screwdriver or something in to prevent it from closing tight.
Thanks man ! Great help
Mark from Canada