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A quick-fire guide to lock picking

A quick-fire guide to lock picking

Lock picking is a skill that requires patience, practice, and an understanding of how locks work. It is important to note that it is illegal to pick locks you do not own or do not have permission to pick. This guide is meant to provide information for legitimate and legal uses, such as locksmith training or lock sport.


Disclaimer: This guide is intended for educational purposes only. Always follow the law and respect private property.


Understanding the Lock Mechanism:


The most common type of lock is the pin tumbler lock. This lock uses a series of pins of varying lengths to prevent the lock from opening unless the correct key is inserted. The key raises these pins to a specific height that allows the cylinder to turn and unlock.


Plug: The part of the lock that turns when the key is inserted.


Shear Line: The line where the plug meets the shell. When all the pins are aligned at the shear line, the lock can be turned.


Key Pins: These sit in the plug of the lock and are different lengths corresponding to the notches in the key


Driver Pins: These are spring-loaded pins above the key pins. They keep the key pins in place until the correct key is inserted.


Essential Tools:


Tension Wrench: A small L-shaped piece of metal used to apply slight pressure to the plug of a lock, which will hold the pins that have been picked in place.


Picks: There are several types of picks (hook pick, ball pick, diamond pick, rake pick) used to manipulate the pins.


Steps to Pick a Lock:


1 – Insert the Tension Wrench: Insert the short end of the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyhole and apply slight pressure in the direction the key would turn. The tension wrench will keep the picked pins in place.


2 – Insert the Pick: Insert a pick into the top of the keyhole.


3 – Feel for the Pins: Gently push up on the pins with the pick. You should be able to feel the pins push up and down.


4 – Pick the Pins: Apply slightly more pressure with the pick to push the pin up. If the pin stays up, that means it has been picked. If it falls back down, you may need to apply more pressure with the tension wrench.


5 – Turn the Cylinder: Once all the pins are picked, use the tension wrench to turn the cylinder and open the lock.


6 – Practice: Lock picking requires a lot of practice. Start with a simple lock and work your way up to more complex ones.


Tips and Tricks:


Light Pressure: One of the most common mistakes beginners make is applying too much pressure with the tension wrench. It should be just enough to hold the picked pin in place.


Patience: Lock picking takes time and patience. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t get it right away.


Practice Locks: There are practice locks with transparent shells that let you see the inner workings of the lock. These can be very useful when you’re first starting out.


Listen and Feel: A big part of lock picking is listening and feeling for subtle clicks and movements.


Different Picks: Experiment with different types of picks. Each has its strengths and weaknesses depending on the type of lock.


Lock Picking Ethics:


Lock picking should only be done on a lock that you own or have explicit permission to pick. The purpose of learning lock picking should be for personal knowledge, locksmith training, or for the sport of lock picking. It is illegal and unethical to pick locks that you do not own or do not have permission to pick. Always respect private property and the law.


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