Content of the material
- Learn Lock Picking In Less Than 10 Minutes
- How do you unlock a door without a key? This guide teaches you how to pick a lock, fast.
- Recent Posts
- Tumbler Lock
- How do you unlock a combination lock when you forgot the combination?
- Turn the Dial
- Padlock Shims
- Master Lock Reset
- How do you pick a combination lock with a paperclip?
- How a Pin Tumbler Lock Works
- Parts of a Lock
- The Cylinder
- The Plug
- The Shear Line
- Key Pins
- Driver Pins
- The Springs
- Can I Tell If My Padlock Has Been Picked?
- 1. Visible marks on and around the keyhole
- 2. Discarded improvised lockpicks
- 3. Missing items in your storage
- 3. How to pick a pin tumbler lock
- Step 1. Understand how a lock works
- Step 2. Apply tension with the tension wrench
- Step 3. Use the lock picker to line up the pins inside the lock
- Step 4. “Scrub” or “rake” back and forth until the pins line up
- The Legality of Lock Picking
- Useful Lockpicks And Lockpick-Proof Locks
- Jimmy Proof Deadbolt
- Military Grade Bolt Lock
- Folding Pocket Set
- Pick Proof Lock
Learn Lock Picking In Less Than 10 Minutes
How do you unlock a door without a key? This guide teaches you how to pick a lock, fast
It’s not hard to start learning how to pick a lock. This is why we have created this quick start guide to get you started lock picking, that being said if you’re locked out of your house or car it’s always best to contact a professional locksmith. Check out our infographic and video below to get going.
1: Torsion Wrench: Put in bottom of key hole, lightly apply tension.
2: Pick Tool: Put in top of key hole to all the way to the back of the lock.
3: Put pressure on the wrench, move the pick from the back of the lock to the front quickly.
4: Keep raking until the tension wrench turns the lock cylinder and you are in.
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The tumbler lock is the locking mechanism most commonly used in padlocks, doors, windows and so on. It’s made up of a central barrel, or cylinder that consists of:
- A plug – this is the component that rotates when the correct key is inserted into the lock.
- The pins. There are two sets – driver pins and key pins.
The plug hosts the key slot, or keyway. When you insert the right key, the slots carved into the keys edge come into contact with the key pins. The driver pins are spring loaded, from above.
Once the key is engaged into the key slot and connects with the key pins, the key pins become aligned correctly and this is called the ‘shear point’ – the point at which the locking mechanism is freed up and allows you to rotate the key within the barrel.
This is your objective when lock picking: aligning the key pins to the shear point, in order to rotate the barrel.
How do you unlock a combination lock when you forgot the combination?
You can crack the combination code of your lock. Grasp the lock with the dial towards you with its latch facing upward. The locking system will lie on the left-hand side. Apply much pressure on the latch of your lock to turn the dial.
Exercise caution, you don’t want the dial to spin freely. The tension is necessary for you to determine when you strike the right combination number, and the system engages.
Turn the Dial
To turn the locks, begin clockwise before shifting to anti-clockwise. Remember the direction you started with. If the system still doesn’t engage, you haven’t applied enough pressure on your latch. If it clicks at each number, you’ve applied a lot of pressure.
To get pressure right, the dial should only click once. Once you establish the single click, add on five to the number to form the first number in your combination. After finding the first number, change the dial rotation direction to counterclockwise.
After one complete rotation, the dial will experience resistance at a specific number. That’ll make the second number in your combination. Once you’ve figured the first two numbers, you can find your third number by testing each option. Set your first two numbers and follow a sequence to establish the third one.
Assuming your combination lock is old, drive it open with a shim. Padlock shims are available from online retailers with special instructions. Often, you can access them from the left-hand part of your latch and dupe it into opening. Shims don’t work on newer locks, and instead can destroy the system.
Master Lock Reset
If your combination lock is from Master Lock, then you’ll first want to have its serial number. The manufacturer should be able to share this information with you. However, you’ll also need to provide proof of purchase and your ID, especially, if the lock is fixed to a safe. The manufacturer can easily reset your lock’s combination.
How do you pick a combination lock with a paperclip?
Uncoil your paper clip on one side, while the other side remains bent. Plug your paperclip in the hole up, just near the shackle, where the locking system is located. Press your paper clip down and push it against in the hole as far as it can go.
Tap your paper clip against the wheels as you turn them one number after the other. Keep tapping and moving the wheels until its shackles open, and the pin drops down.
Repeat this process until the pin drops at the final level. Once this process is over, you’ll reveal a combination both at the front and backside of your lock. It’s the latter’s combination that you should look out for as it indicates the current code on the lock.
Now, move the wheels over to get that code at the shackle side. Here, count the numbers from your current gateway code up to the side. Move the wheels on each row one click at a time and lift the lock. If it doesn’t open, keep moving the wheels until it finally opens.
How a Pin Tumbler Lock Works
To master the art of lock picking, we need to fully understand the vocabulary and components of the pin tumbler lock.
With this knowledge, we will truly understand how a lock works and how it can be manipulated with lock picks!
Parts of a Lock
The pin tumbler lock is made up of 6 primary components.
Let's quickly go over each of them!
The cylinder of the lock is nothing more than a little container that “houses” the rest of the components. This part is typically what slides into a door or padlock. The cylinder creates the upper limit of the shear line and can also be referred to as the shell, housing, or body of the lock.
The plug is a cylinder that rotates freely within the housing, creating a rotational shear line. The front of the plug is also where the key is inserted and on the back is either a cam or tailpiece which retracts the latch and opens the lock when rotated. The plug creates the bottom limit of the shear line!
The Shear Line
The shear line is nothing more than the gap between the cylinder and the plug. It is the conceptual line in which the plug rotates in the housing. If this line is obstructed in any way, the plug and cylinder will become “locked” to each other and the plug will not turn. Only when the shear line has been cleared of any obstructions will the plug once again be able to rotate freely. The shear line is one of the most important concepts to understand when it comes to lock picking!
In the pin tumbler lock, there are typically two types of pins. The key pins are the lower set and have the task of reading the cuts of the key. This is done by using a variety of different length pins and then cutting a key that matches those lengths. If you look at any key, you will notice that there are high spots and low spots. These spots are what we call “cuts,” and in a moment, we will see the role they play in how the lock works!
The driver pins are the upper set of pins whose job is to obstruct the shear line. They are basically the pencil from our simple lock above! Unlike the key pins, the driver pins are usually all the same length.
Last up is the springs and they have two jobs. Their first job is to force everything down into the plug and keep the driver pins at the shear line when there is no key in the lock. Their second job is to push the key pins against the key, which helps read the cuts. Without the springs, the pins could get stuck anywhere in the pin chamber, which could make using a key impossible.
Alright, now that you understand the core components of the pin tumbler, let’s take a look at how everything works together to make a fully functioning lock!
The following animation illustrates the pin tumbler lock in action!
As you can see, when the key is shoved into the plug, it pushes upward on the key pins. Because the biting of the key and the lengths of the key pins have been cut to match, the key pins will rise flush with the shear line causing the driver pins to exit the plug fully.
When the gap between the key pins and the driver pins is precisely that of the shear line, the key can rotate the plug to disengage the lock.
In short, the key has removed all obstructions—the pins—from the shear line!
By understanding this process, we can begin to see what we have to accomplish to pick a lock.
In essence, lock picking is simply the act of mimicking the key by manipulating the pins to the same state they would be at if the correct key were inserted.
But how do we do that? How can we hope to keep four or five pins from obstructing the shear line without the constant pressure of the key? How do we keep them from falling back into the plug?
The answer is pretty cool!
Can I Tell If My Padlock Has Been Picked?
Here are some red flags that notify you someone was going through your locker or storage without consent.
1. Visible marks on and around the keyhole
Scratches around the key hole are a sign that someone used an improvised lockpick. Based on scratches that appear when bending metal to a 90-degree angle, you can tell that someone improvised a tool to apply tension.
Through their role in positioning the cylinder, screwdrivers also leave marks around the key hole. The twisting and turning required to disengage the cylinder leaves marks on the keyhole.
2. Discarded improvised lockpicks
Household items are the most preferred tools for improvised lock picking. With their cheap prices and subtlety, petty thieves use such household items. However, only a handful of crook lock pickers remember to clean up.
It’s advisable to take pictures of the improvised lock picking tools and preserve them until the police can collect them as evidence.
3. Missing items in your storage
Some crooks carry a lockpick set when raiding storage facilities. Premium lockpicks don’t leave marks on the keyhole because they’re designed to slide inside just like a legit key. Also, they are careful not to leave the lock picking tools lying around the crime scene.
The best solution is taking inventory to identify the missing items from your storage. You’ll also have to request access to the CCTV footage to spot the culprit.
3. How to pick a pin tumbler lock
A more difficult type of lock to pick is the pin tumbler lock – although it’s not nearly as hard to do as you might expect.
You can do this with a proper lock-picking kit or you can do it with improvised tools. Let’s look at how to do it with a lock-picking kit first.
Step 1. Understand how a lock works
The first part of learning how to pick a pin tumbler lock is understanding how it works. This is because to learn how to do it, you need to be able to “feel” what is happening inside, and if you can’t visualize it, success will just be down to pure luck.
Inside a pin tumbler lock are around five spring-mounted pins. Below these are a set of other pins the move up and down when you insert the key.
Since the spring-mounted pins above and the free pins below are different lengths, if you put the wrong key in, they block the key from turning.
However, if you use the right key, the pins line up perfectly with what’s known as the shear line, and the lock can turn.
To pick a lock, all you need to do, then, is line the pins up correctly, but using tools instead of a key.
Pro tip: In many places, it’s legal to own lock-picking kits, and lots of people enjoy picking locks as a hobby. The only thing that’s illegal, depending on where you live, is picking locks that you’re not supposed to be picking – to break into somebody’s house for example!
Step 2. Apply tension with the tension wrench
Place the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyhole and apply pressure. The most important part of the whole technique is applying the right amount of tension with the tension wrench.
The idea is to use your pick to lift up the lower pins and push the spring-mounted pins into the correct position. If you have just the right amount of tension, when the lower pin drops back down, the spring-mounted pins will stay in place.
Pro tip: This part takes some practice, and all locks are different. This is why, if you are currently locked outside of your home and reading this article trying work out how to get back in, you’ll probably find it difficult.
For this reason, if you want to learn how to pick a lock, it’s better to practice beforehand so you’ll have the necessary skills when you actually need them.
Although, of course, if you are locked out of your house as you’re reading this, don’t let that put you off at least giving it a go!
Step 3. Use the lock picker to line up the pins inside the lock
If you have got the just the right amount of torque, you can now use your lock picker in the top of the keyhole to try to line up all the pins.
If you manage to do this successfully, you should be able to feel the pins line up.
Step 4. “Scrub” or “rake” back and forth until the pins line up
By moving the lock-picking tool back and forth in an action known as “scrubbing” or “raking”, you should be able to coax the pins into lining up correctly. This might take a while, depending on the lock, but keep at it.
When you feel the pins line up, turn the tension tool and the lock will open!
Pro tip: This might be a little difficult to visualize, in which case, check out the video below that shows you how to do it with improvised tools – the techniques are the same, but with proper tools, it will be even easier.
The Legality of Lock Picking
The greatest deterrent of those interested in lock picking is not the skill itself, but its legality. In the eyes of society, lock picking has an extremely negative bias attached to it.
It is because of this bias that many people believe that owning lock picks must be unlawful. But in truth, owning and utilizing a set of lock picks is legal in most states and countries, so long as you have permission from the owner of the lock.
For those living in the United States, here is an interactive map containing current lock picking laws. Hover over your state to check the legality of possessing lock picks and click to read relevant law excerpts.
Also, be sure to check out our awesome new article that goes in more depth about the legality of lock picking. It's not too long and is totally worth the read. Knowing your laws is the best way to protect yourself against an unfortunate situation with the law! Stay safe!
CHOOSE YOUR STATE!
Please Note: This chart is specific to lock pick possession. Also, note that we are not lawyers and do not offer legal advice. We do our best to represent the current laws on this chart and keep it updated, however, do not guarantee its accuracy.
Useful Lockpicks And Lockpick-Proof Locks
There are two sides to every story. You may need a lockpick kit on hand to make things easier if you get locked out of your house. Or, you may be trying to prevent your door from being lockpicked.
Here we have some useful items for both sides of the story. Whether you need to pick your locks or keep intruders out. These are the best lockpicks and the best lockpick-proof locks you can buy online and install yourself.
Jimmy Proof Deadbolt
If you’re worried about your locks being lockpicked, this deadbolt will do the trick. It was designed to prevent lockpicking and it’s all your door needs to stay secure even if you have an expert lockpicker on the other side.
While most people prefer to add another lockset to their door, this will give you added protection. You can even test it out with your new lockpicking skills. Just be sure to keep your key with you at all times!
Military Grade Bolt Lock
The Commando lock isn’t just effective in theory, but in name as well. It is patented because it works that well. Not only is it jimmy-proof but it is also nearly impossible to cut. Even harder to cut than prison shackles.
This lock was made for military purposes and yet it is still affordable. Only get this lock if you mean business because you won’t find a stronger lock like it. Just don’t plan on trying to get through it.
Folding Pocket Set
This set is compact and effective. It works differently than a classic lockpick set because you can use it as a key. You’ll still have to shimmy and jimmy but in the end, it is much easier to use than a traditional set.
Because there are thirty options, it can be fairly easy to find one that works for each lock in your life. You can even unlock cars and other locks with it, not just exterior door locks. So it is a true multi-purpose set.
Pick Proof Lock
This traditional deadbolt lock is all the security you will need for your door. Not only is this one jimmy-proof but it is also drillproof and bump-proof so there’s a good chance no one will be able to get through your door.
If you lose your keys or need more, the company can make more for you as you’re not allowed to make them yourself. They can make as many copies as you need via their Amazon store, so let them know when you buy the lock.
In conclusion, Schlage is a brand that has surprised us by the technological capabilities of its products and the added value they provide to users in terms of safety and style. Today, Schlage locks are also considered a fantastic option for families and companies that want to show how well they adapt to the new needs of modern life and cosmopolitan life. Although they are not the only ones, they dominate over 95 percent of the market for residential locks when combined. Furthermore, the guide on how to pick a Schlage door lock highlighted above would be indispensable for users of this product.