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How To Pick A Lock

Posted by Customer Support , 16 April 2009 · 540 views

How To Pick Locks

A Locksmith defines lock-picking as using something other than a key to manipulate a lock's internal components to open a lock without a key. They also define ethical purpose for using lock picking. Anything not on their list is considered to be a criminal activity. If using an actual lock is something you're not interested in, we strongly suggest checking out our wide array of bump keys as these keys can manipulate pin tumblers.

The most common type of lock used on buildings is a standard cylinder and tumbler lock that you can find on most front doors. Inside the lock, a movable bolt or latch is embedded into the door so it can be extended out of the side. This bolt is lined up with a notch in the door frame. When you turn the key in the lock, the bolt extends into the notch in the door frame so the door can't move. When you retract the bolt, the door moves freely. If you have the proper key for the lock, the bolt will move freely. Without the proper key the bolt will not move.


The proper key has a series of notches that were cut to push the bottom tumblers in this specific lock up so that all of the tumblers line up along the shear line as discussed earlier. This alignment allows the inside plug to turn and retract the bolt. To pick this kind of lock all you have to do is move each individual pin into the correct position one by one. A lock picker uses two main types of tools to pick a lock: lock picks and a tension wrench. Lock picks are long thin pieces of metal with an upward curve at the end that is used to push the pins up into the correct position.


You can use the following steps to pick a tumbler lock:
  • Insert the tension wrench into the lock and turn it in the same direction as the key turns to unlock the door. This will turn the plug a slight amount creating an opening so you can lift the pins.
  • While continuing to apply pressure on the plug, insert the picks into the keyhole and begin lifting each of the pins until you hear a slight click which means it is in the correct position.
  • Once all of the pins are in the correct position, the plug can rotate freely and the lock will open.
While the process is quite simple it takes a lot of practice to master the skill. Locksmiths spend years learning how to pick each different type of lock.


Another common method of lock picking is called raking. To use this method you need a lock pick with a much wider tip. Then do the following things:
  • Insert the tension wrench into the lock and turn slightly in the direction that the key unlocks the door
  • Push the rake all the way into the lock
  • Then pull the rake out quickly so that it bounces all of the pins
  • If the lock doesn't turn freely, use regular picks to move the pins that did not move far enough.