Tubular Locks – Are There Any Improvements?

First let me define what a “Tubular Lock” is. It is round in shape and has 7 or 8 combination pins pushing downward against 7 or 8 bottom pins. The pins are in a circular arrangement around a central post. The key is also round in shape and has 7 or 8 cuts that correspond to the combination pins so that when inserted, the correct cuts on the key will created a sheer line between the combination and bottom pins allowing it to operate.

The first tubular or radial pin locks was first marketed by Chicago Lock Company in 1933. Since that time many other manufacturers made the same lock with very little changes. During this period, lock picks were invented that could pick this lock and other physical methods were developed to defeat the it.

In 2009 a U.S. Patent was issued that made vast improvements over the standard Tubular lock. The Cobra-7 Lock began selling in 2007. It changed the tubular lock by adding security and design features that made defeating the it very difficult and also controls the key blanks.

Features of the Cobra-7 Tubular Lock:


  • Unique 7-sided front (instead of having a round center post (spindle), the center post has 7-sides with one of those sides a different size than the other six.
  • A key to match the seven sides, instead of having a round key, this key has seven sides.
  • A dimple on the face of the lock to deter drilling.
  • Picking is greatly reduced by the 7-sided face and key and also by the better spindle design.
  • Ability to have different keyways by repositioning the odd cut and also by changing the odd cuts size.
  • All keys are controlled by the manufacturer.
  • All lock and key codes are registered to the end user. china cam lock


This is an example of a complete redesign of a very popular lock to gain many more years of useful service by higher security users. The improvements to the lock and key show the difference between a higher security and a standard tubular lock.

The Cobra-7 is also designed to use the same external dimensions as those of the standard lock, allowing it to retrofit into any application where a standard lock is used. These types of locks are referred to as ¾” diameter locks.

Tubular locks are cam locks, cabinet, vending, switch and computer locks, anywhere a ¾” mounting hole can be drilled they can be used.

George Uliano is a security professional with law enforcement and security experience. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and Business graduating with honors. George holds 3 patents on different Padlock and Cam Lock designs.This combination gives George and His Company Locking Systems International Inc the unique ability to provide “The Right Lock” with The Right Security” at the “Right Price”.

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