Restricted Key Control Solutions

Restricted Key Control Systems are designed to manage and limit unwanted duplication of keys. There are several different systems available with different features, functions and price points to evaluate when choosing the best fit system.

Open Key Systems vs Patented Restricted Key Systems

Standard “open” key systems are the most common. An open key system is where the cylinders and key blanks are available in the market to all locksmiths, end users and hardware stores. Therefore, any person in possession of the key can go to multiple locations to get a copy made. “Do not Duplicate” is commonly stamped on open keys. But Do Not Duplicate stamping is not a legal protection or physical protection stopping people from duplicating keys, only a psychological deterrent. In order to physically stop keys from being duplicated openly the key has to be restricted.

Patented Restricted Keys are protected by filed patents by each manufacture. Other key blank manufactures cannot make those key for sale. Only the original manufacture can produce and distribute their patented keys. The manufacturers further restrict their Patented keys via approved dealers and distributions channels.  They will not sell them outside of an approved dealer. The restrictions are also made Geographically. That is each dealer is provide areas where no other dealer has that same key system. When providing a Geographically Patented Restricted key system means that people holding the keys cannot get them duplicated outside of the dealer that provided them.

You may ask, “Well what stops my employees coming to your shop and getting duplications without my permission?”. A great question. All patented restricted key systems require each dealer to have an authorization form who is able to order keys for their system. Secondly, an order of each key and who ordered the key is kept on file. This creates an audit trail for the key system. Therefore if there are multiple authorized people per system we can tell you who ordered which key when.


The next critical component to choosing a key control system are features. All the key control systems we offer are patented restricted keys. The critical difference here are additional drill resistance, pick resistance and UL437 rating.

UL 437 is the highest pick and drill resistance certification available. Simply put this is a US Government grade security requirement.

Below is a feature comparison chart.

System Patented Restricted KeysDrill ResistancePicking Resistance Special Machine to Cut KeysUL 437 ListedLocksmith InstalledUser Can Instal

Cylinder Types

The third factor in choosing a key control is cylinder type compatibility. Each system is compatible with certain cylinder types and not others, or requires specific housings.  The cylinder types are knob, lever, mortise, rim, small format interchangeable core (SFIC), large format interchangeable core (LFIC), padlocks and cabinet locks. SFIC systems like Cormax require compatible SFIC cylinder housings.

Below is a comparison chart of the system and cylinder type compatibility.

Knob & LeverMortiseRimSFICLFICPadlocksCabinent Locks

Locksmith vs End User Servicing

A fourth factor in choosing a key control system is servicing. The majority of systems are locksmith serviceable only. That is we will need to come out onsite. Whereas SFIC or LFIC are end user field replaceable. SFIC and LFIC have control keys to remove just the cylinder core and replace a new cylinder core withing a few seconds. SFIC and LFIC are primary for end users who have a lot of rekey turnover or need immediate rekeying onsite while having pre pinned cylinders on hand, or have multiple locations in remote areas. This is common for chains, franchises and apartment buildings. Where cylinders can be pre pinned and shipped out to each location and a manager onsite with no technical experience can switch cylinders.

Now that we have looked at the features, compatibility and servicing functions or different key control systems, let’s take a look at each key control system we offer.

MX Key System

MX is an entry level key control system that provides geographical key protection – where users can not get a copy of the key anywhere except us. It does not offer pick or drill resistance. It is not available in SFIC, but is the most economical key control system. This is a great entry level system for eliminating employees copying keys with manager authorization for small local systems.

Cormax Key System

Cormax is a SFIC key control system that provides geographical key protection, drill resistance and end user servicing. Cormax does not provide pick resistance and requires all locking hardware to have SFIC cylinder housings. Cormax is best suited for retail or franchises with multiple locations that requires centralized key control and field changeable for onsite managers. Apartment complexes also benefit from SFIC systems to have cores pre pinned in advance and have onsite for emergency tenant change overs. The most important feature to a Cormax SFIC key control system is the ability for non technical rekeying on site by local staff via a control key.

Medeco X4 Key System

Medeco X4 key system has the most compatible cylinder types of all key systems – covering knob, lever, mortise, rim, SFIC, LFIC and padlocks with multiple manufacturer hardware compatibility. It does not have pick resistance or drill resistance. This system is best for existing buildings or complexes with a variety of different branded locking hardware because we have to switch the least amount of hardware to install the restricted key system. It also comes with the well know Medeco Brand name and quality.

Medeco M4 Biaxel Key System

Medeco M4 Biaxel key system is hands down the overall best system for security, it is literally government grade for government buildings with it’s field serviceable UL437 certification. The downside is it is the most expensive system on the market. Medeco M3/M4 has pick resistance, drill resistance, and requires specials key machines to duplicate the restricted key blanks. This system is best for when you want the highest level of key and cylinder security while price is not an issue.


Subject to change.

~ cylinders~ Keys 

Questions to Answer for Choosing the Right System

Q: Do I need onsite managers at each location to have field changeable cores?
A: Yes, Cormax. No, MX, Medeco X4 or M3/M4.

Q: Do I want the highest security possible without regard to pricing?
A: Yes, Medeco M3/M$. No, MX, Cormax or Medeco X4.

Q: Do I want the most economical key control system?
A: Yes, MX. No, Medco X4, or M3/M$ or Cormax.

Q. Do I have multiple locations in geographically separate locations I want serviced locally while retaining centralized control.
A: Yes, SFIC or LFIC Cormax, Medeco X4 or M3/M4. No, any.

Q: Are my locks already all or mostly all SFIC?
A: Yes, Cormax or Medeco X4. No, MX, Medeco X4 or M3/M4.

Q: Do I have a wide variety of brands and hardware types from different manufactures through my complex?
A: Yes, Medeco X4. No, MX, Cormax or Medeco M3/M4.

If you have any additional questions about which restricted key control system would be best for you, give us a call at 541.632.3968 or email

Security Solutions