Top Articles of 2023

Jan. 3, 2024
Locksmith Ledger looks back at some of our favorite feature articles from the past year.

Locksmith Ledger takes a look back at the top magazine articles of the past year, based on both Google Analytics data and input from our editors.

Narrowing down the choices was hard, but these are the articles that stood out in 2023. In case you missed them, we include a very brief summary and both a link to the online versions and the issue month for those readers who save our magazine issues.

Not included are some special sections like the Know Your Distributors section from April, the State of the Industry report from November and the Top Products from December. These can all be found on our website.


Preload: Electric Strikes Under Pressure

Preload is a condition whereby enough pressure builds up on a door that it causes binding between the latch and the electric strike keeper. This binding could cause the door to fail to open electrically, unless the user pushes and pulls on the door to reduce the pressure. If this happens frequently enough, it can cause headaches for building managers having to deal with constant complaints, which then can be turned on the security pros who installed the strike.

A few manufacturers make electric strikes that operate under preload conditions. These strikes typically cost more than similar-size standard strikes, which is why not every strike is made to handle preload. It’s important to be aware of how and where preload can cause problems and what security pros can do to alleviate such problems.

January 2023, 21288458


The Autel MaxiIM KM100 in the Field

From Steve Young: The more I use the new Autel MaxiIM KM100 key programmer, the more I’m convinced that this is a game-changing tool for automotive locksmiths.

Before you use your tool, you have to set up a Wi-Fi connection and register the tool. Remember, the KM100 is a two-piece tool, so you have to pair the Vehicle Communications Interface (VCI), which plugs into the vehicle’s OBD-II port, with the base unit. This is a one-time operation, and you should check for updates to the firmware for the VCI as well as for the base unit. If you lose the VCI, you can’t use it to program a vehicle without a way to communicate with that vehicle.

January 2023, 21288374


The Results Are In: Locksmith Van Contest

Locksmith Ledger received 20 outstanding entries in our service van contest, so our judges had some difficult decisions to make. We thank everyone for submitting images and information on their mobile offices.

Our contest was judged in the following categories: Best Exterior, Best Interior Storage, Best Interior Workspace and Best Innovation. In addition, one overall winner was named. We will do this again in late 2024.

February 2023,


5 Common Masterkeying Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Simply put, master keying is the art of making one lock operate by two different keys. The difficult part is preventing the lock from operating by using other unauthorized keys. With this in mind, here are five common mistakes in master-key systems.

1: Documents Not Up To Date

2: Damaged Locks, Bad Keys

3: Progression Errors

4: Master Key as Change Key

5: Shoebox Master Keying

February 2023,


Five Code Considerations for Multifamily Residential Buildings

Door openings play an important role in the safety of multifamily residential buildings. Egress doors facilitate evacuation during an emergency as well as under normal operation and must comply with the code requirements that help to ensure life safety. Fire door assemblies help to compartmentalize a building to deter the spread of smoke and flames and protect the means of egress as a safe escape route. The accessibility standards also apply to door openings in apartment buildings and condominiums to facilitate access for all people, regardless of physical abilities.

Many doors must meet all three sets of requirements, facilitating code-compliant egress, fire protection, and accessibility. There are dozens of applicable code requirements for doors, frames, and hardware in a multifamily residential building. Here are five to consider:

  • Fire Door Assemblies on Dwelling Unit Entries
  • Releasing Operations for Egress
  • Electrified Hardware for Access Control
  • Panic Hardware and Fire Exit Hardware
  • Fair Housing Act Requirements

March 2023,


Installing the PAC-BLU Access Control System

The PAC-BLU access control system is a Bluetooth-operated security system that is managed through a smartphone app. The reading module is mounted inside the secure location. Because this system runs on Bluetooth alone – with no internet connection required – the system stays up and operational even if the Wi-Fi is down.

PAC-BLU, which PACLOCK calls “enterprise keyless security,” simply is an electronic access control system that uses BLE connectivity to allow people to manage an unlimited number of connected devices and users. 

The system consists of the ACCESS series of door controllers and the Sentinel web management platform that can be accessed through the PAC-BLU NexGen app. The software handles all standard EAC requirements.

April 2023,


Success Story: Action Safe & Lock

Action Safe & Lock in Bristol, Pennsylvania, is an example of a family-owned lock shop that has been serving its customers for 60 years. Locksmith Ledger interviewed owners Ken and Bryan Chew to learn more about their strategy for promoting and maintaining a successful locksmith business.

March 2023,


Installation: Schlage AD-Series Lock

The Schlage AD-Series lock is a multi-card and PIN technology lock that also uses Wi-Fi and NFC credentials and readers. It’s a wireless lock. This lock is a great option for schools and retrofits because it can be used standalone and it can be used in a network.

Wayne Winton’s crew had quite a large project for this particular installation. Before we arrived, another worker used the jig to drill the door and prep the holes. Now it’s time to install the lock.

May 2023,


Testing the Bulls-I Door Coring Jig

Drilling a door to run wires for electronic access control can be a delicate process. Using the new Bulls-I door coring tool from Framon makes the job easier and more accurate. The Bulls-I products used was the 300 3PCT-300/PDH300.

May 2023,


Classroom Locks 101: Best Practices and the Future of School Security

One approach for school safety can be as simple as a locked door. Security experts and PASS, the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools, agree that classroom doors should be closed and locked whenever students are in the classroom. Doors locked from the inside should allow free egress in emergencies and must be accessible in alignment with national accessibility standards.

This article explains why the traditional classroom function and storeroom function locks are no longer recommended to support the current classroom environment in schools. Instead, there are three improved alternatives aiming to balance security and convenience for students and staff, from daily security concerns to emergency lockdown situations.

June 2023,


Mobile Credentials in 2023

Generally speaking, your smartphone becomes a mobile credential when it is used as an electronic key, transports lock or key data, or updates standalone locks. In this article we’ll review recent developments, distribution channels and how they affect your pricing and access to various markets. Remember, the marketing triad of quality, price and availability still drives buying decisions.

June 2023, 53059032


Smart Locks Opening Doors for Locksmiths

Residential security has seen swift changes over the past 10 years, especially with the surge in smart home products, services and options. From smart doorbells and locks to thermostats and blinds to gates and garage doors – you name it and there is a smart sensor for it connected to an app or network.

Fortunately for residential security professionals, the focus is returning to the door, as more homeowners – and multifamily property owners – are looking to add convenience to the simple function of granting, or not granting permission, from wherever, in addition to seeing and communicating with anyone at the door.

July 2023.


Succeeding in the Residential Market

The stars aligned for Venus and Mars Locksmith, profiting through superior customer service. Mike Hitman is the owner of Venus & Mars Locksmith in Hammonton, N.J.  He has built a successful locksmith business by providing great customer service in a relatively small market. He shared some of his tips for starting and running a locksmithing business with Locksmith Ledger.

July 2023,


2023 National Average Price Survey

The last 12 months have been challenging, with the annual inflation rate expected to hover between 3.5% and 4% this year and higher interest rates meaning that financing new equipment is more costly. The products that locksmiths install have become more expensive, too, with most distributors passing price increases down the line to their customers. One positive is that the average cost of a gallon of gas is $3.46 for March 2023, down from $4.22 a year ago.

In this uneasy economic environment, we hope Locksmith Ledger’s 2023 National Average Price Survey, will be a tool for commercial locksmiths to use when setting their prices. We are interested in seeing if locksmiths held the line or passed on their rising costs to their customers.

July 2023,


Multifamily Housing Sector Heating Up

Smart lock and mobile access trends are here to stay, which is why manufacturers are turning their attention to providing total solutions in this area.

“Interest and adoption of electronic locks have been strong over the last five years and get stronger each year,” says Bobby Welliver, AVP, Multifamily Housing Solutions, dormakaba. “We are seeing incredible growth of, and interest in, smart locks and mobile access solutions. Streamlining operational efficiencies while reducing property liabilities are two of the most common discussions our multifamily housing group has daily with developers and management teams. Today, access control solutions play a huge role in these initiatives and should be discussed in detail.”

August 2023,


Rekeying the ABUS 83-50 Series Padlock

In this installation, we are going to be rekeying the ABUS 83-5- Series padlock to match a customer’s existing key. On the packaging, you’ll see the OB number of 300. This indicates that it will have a Schlage SC keyway, so that we can rekey it to match other locks that have a similar Schlage keyway, such as a deadbolt or lever lock.

September 2023,


Locksmiths Talk Top Access Control Trends

For locksmiths who have traditionally just focused on the mechanical side of the business, these are exciting and challenging times as electronic access control is expanding both residential and commercial customers’ expectations for what is possible.

“If the locksmith doesn't come out of just doing mechanical work and go into electronic access within the next 10 years, their business is going to be really affected in a negative way because keys are important, but a lot of people are turning away from keys,” says John Nolan, Reliant Security. “The mechanical locksmith is always going to be there, but ultimately when we talk about electronic access, it's anywhere from someone putting a real simple electronic deadbolt on their house to putting electronics on access to every single door inside of a building.”

September 2023,


Commercial Security Goes High-Tech

The rise of electronic locks, cloud, AI and automation is transforming commercial spaces. In just a few years’ time, the terms “remote” and “hybrid workforce” have become a part of our vernacular, as many companies pivot to the new normal of having some, and in many cases, all their employees working remotely from home. This has created a shift in how companies, property owners and businesses are securing their commercial building spaces.

October 2023,


Auto Dealership Job: No Cars Involved!

Large drive-in showroom doors get a continuous hinge upgrade Today’s jobsite involves two doors that are attached together at a car dealership. One butt-style continuous hinge is mounted on the left door, but unfortunately it is not holding the door up all the way. We’ve got about a three-quarter of an inch – maybe more – of play up in the top. (Photo 2)

The Select SL57 is the only hinge that will allow us to have a tapered reveal in that side and actually compensate for the frame being out of square. That is the problem here. This door is so heavy that it began to pull this frame out of square because we’re hanging two doors on one hinge. Now we’ll get this adjusted properly and fix it.

October 2023,


A Personal Overview of the 2023 ALOA Convention

Since it is only a six- to seven-hour drive from Pensacola to Orlando, and I’m now 71 years old, I decided to attend the 2023 convention as an attendee just for the heck of it.  I didn’t attend any classes, and I didn’t have anything to sell, but I did have a great time catching up with old friends and basically checking up on what I’ve been missing out on since 2017

As I strolled around, I saw a lot of familiar faces and a lot of people that I didn’t know or didn’t remember, recognized me.  The show was smaller than it was back in 1988, but that is the way that things have been going for all the associations for quite some time.  But I was pleased to see that the show was bigger and better than I had remembered.  All in all, I think things are improving despite the economy.

November 2023,


Back to Basics: Rekeying a Kwikset Knob Lock

In part of our new Back to Basics series, Wayne Winton will be rekeying a Kwikset knob lock. These used to be very common in some parts of the country. If your customer isn’t ready to upgrade to a newer lock, this article and video will show how to rekey these locks. You will need a specialty tool called the Kwikset lever cylinder release or rekey tool. It’s a long, pickle-fork looking device. He will also show you how to do it the hard way without the tool.

November 2023,