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Chapter 8

Lock and Key Systems

Locks are the most acceptable and widely used security devices for protecting facilities, classified materials, and property. All containers, rooms, and facilities must be locked when not in actual use. Regardless of their quality or cost, locks are considered delay devices only. Some locks require considerable time and expert manipulation to open, but all locks can be defeated by force and with the proper tools. Locks must never be considered as a stand-alone method of security.

Installation and Maintenance

8-1. The USACE is responsible for installing locking devices in newly constructed facilities. Installation-level engineers are responsible for maintaining the locking devices. Physical-security personnel must work closely with engineer personnel to ensure that locks meet the standards and are installed according to applicable regulations. One source of assistance and information is the DOD Lock Program Technical Support Hotline at the Naval Facilities Engineering Services Center, Port Hueneme, California.

Types of Locking Devices

8-2. The degree of protection afforded by a vault, a safe, or a filing cabinet may be measured in terms of the lock's resistance. Locking devices are listed in TM 5-805-8. Types of locking devices include key and combination locks.

8-3. ARs 190-11, 190-51, 50-5, and 50-6 prescribe specific types of locks for specific types of facilities. AR 380-5 prescribes standard facilities for storing classified material and contains guidance for different storage requirements.

Key Locks

8-4. Key locks consist of, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cylindrical locksets are often called key-in-knob or key-in-lever locks. They are normally used to secure offices and storerooms. The locking cylinder located in the center of the doorknob distinguishes these locks. Some cylindrical locksets have keyways in each of the opposing knobs that require a key on either side to lock and unlock them. Others unlock with a key, but may be locked by pushing or rotating a button on the inside knob. These locks are suitable only for very low-security applications. Using these locks may require compensatory measures in the form of additional locks on containers within the room.
  • Dead-bolt locks are sometimes called tubular dead bolts. They are mounted on the door in a manner similar to cylindrical locksets. The primary difference is in the bolt. When the bolt is extended (locked), the dead bolt projects into the doorframe at least one inch, and it cannot be forced back (unlocked) by applying pressure to the end of the bolt. The dead-bolt lock has the potential for providing acceptable levels of protection for storerooms and other areas where more security is desired. It is recommended for use in military housing as an effective security measure in the installation's crime-prevention program. In situations where there is a window in or adjacent to the door, a double-cylinder dead-bolt lock (one that requires a key to open from either side) should be used.
  • Mortise locks are so named because the lock case is mortised or recessed into the edge of the door. The most common variety of mortise locks has a doorknob on each side of the door. Entrance doors often have an exterior thumb latch rather than a doorknob. The mortise lock can be locked from inside by means of a thumb turn or by a button. Mortise locks are considered low-security devices since they weaken the door in the mortised area.
  • Drop-bolt locks (often referred to as jimmy-proof locks) are normally used as auxiliary locks similar to dead bolts. Both the drop-bolt lock body and the strike have interlocking leaves similar to a door hinge. When closed, locking pins in the lock body drop down into the holes provided in the strike and secure the locking system. Since the lock body and the strike are interconnected with locking pins when closed, the lock essentially becomes a single unit and is extremely difficult to separate.
  • Rim-cylinder locks are mounted to the door's inside surface and are secured by screws in the door face. These locks are generally used with drop-bolt and other surface-mounted locks and latches. They consist of an outer barrel, a cylinder and ring, a tailpiece, a back mounting plate, and two mounting screws. The tailpiece screws are usually scored so that the lock can be tailored to fit varying door thicknesses.
  • Unit locks are ideal in heavily traveled facilities (such as hospitals or institutional buildings). These locks are a complete, one-piece unit that slides into a notch cut into the door's latch edge. The one-size cutout of the door edge simplifies the door preparation for the lock.
  • Mechanical, push-button combination locks are digital (push buttons numbered 1 through 9) combination door-locking devices used to deny area access to any individual not authorized or cleared for a specific area. These locks are normally used for access control and should be backed up by door locking devices when the facility is unoccupied.
  • Padlocks are detachable locks that are typically used with a hasp. Low-security padlocks, sometimes called secondary padlocks, are used to deter unauthorized access, and they provide only minimal resistance to force. Low-security locks are made with hardened steel shackles. Precautions must be taken to avoid confusing these locks with similar brass or bronze locks. The brass or bronze locks are commonly used but do not meet the security requirements of the hardened shackled locks. High-security padlocks may be used to secure AA&E. They provide the maximum resistance to unauthorized entry when used with a high-security hasp.

8-5. Some locks have interchangeable cores, which allow the same key system to include a variety of locks. Padlocks, door locks, cabinet locks, and electrical key switches can all be operated by the same key system. Because these cores are removable by a special key, this system allows for rapid rekeying of locks in the event that the key is compromised.

8-6. Locks are keyed in several different ways. When several locks are keyed differently, each is operated by its own key. When they are keyed alike, one key will open them all. Locks that are master-keyed are keyed differently, yet have one key that will open them all. Master-keying is done for convenience and represents the controlled loss of security. Master-keying is not used unless permitted by regulation.

Combination Locks

8-7. Combination locks are available as padlocks or as mounted locks. They are low-security padlocks with combinations that are either fixed or changeable. Combination locks may be either mechanical or electronic. They are operated by entering a particular sequence of numbers. When the correct combination is entered, the lock's bolt is retracted. Combination locks used for securing classified material must meet Federal Specification FF-L-2740.

8-8. Although the lock is the most accepted and widely used security device, it is only a delay device and should never be considered as a positive bar to entry. A lock can (and will) be defeated. The best defense for locking devices is a good key-control program. Refer to AR 190-51, Appendix D, for standard key and lock procedures. Additional key and lock procedures for AA&E can be found in AR 190-11, Chapter 3.

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