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Are electric picks and pick guns effective?
Posted 16 September 2007 - 06:25 PM
The LockAid is a manual variety. It is limited to locks that only have pins on one side of the lock, i.e. it won't do a thing for double-wafer locks. The principal is rather similar to bumping in that there is a transfer of energy to all pins, however, this is a more "brute force" method. It is often destructive to the internals of the lock, as there is a significant amount of energy thrown into the springs, and attempts that are not lined up perfectly can result in dented/chipped pins. Additionally, it will not work for all locks - if a lock is pinned strangely, with both large and small bottom pins, your chances of success are greatly diminished. However, this being said, it does work for a decent number of locks.
I have the exact model you're interested in. I also have buckets of bump keys and a box filled with standard picks, and I very rarely use my manual pick gun. I may be coming off as snobbish, so forgive me, but the pick guns are a bit unrefined.
Personally, I would get a simple pick set first, and perhaps get the LockAid for those stubborn locks that require a bit of convincing.
Posted 17 September 2007 - 06:03 AM
Posted 18 September 2007 - 12:33 PM
In my humble opinion, you should definitely give making your own bump key a shot. I have made several Lockwood keys, and they work very well for both the five and six pin varieties. The brand as a whole is rather easy to bump. Obviously, your experience will probably vary.
As far as I'm aware, Lockwood bump keys are not available commercially to individuals, as Lockwoods are not particularly prevalent outside of Australia.
Read the forums for instructions on how to make bump keys; if you have any specific questions don't hesitate to post them or PM me.
Posted 22 September 2007 - 09:52 AM
Posted 24 September 2007 - 04:43 PM
Where as the snap gun just pounds on the bottom pins, hoping for similar results to bumping, the electric guns generally have something attached to a vibrating mechanism of high frequency that looks like a "C-rake" lockpick. The lock is then carefully picked as per usual. The advantage over a normal pick set is that the vibrating pick can do a better job than the amateur's hand in terms of popping top pins over the shear line.
The disadvantages include the fact that the size of the unit makes utilizing it awkward, and it needs batteries. Thus, whenever you actually need the thing, the batteries will be dead. Murphy told me so. Then you have the problem of damage... there's certainly less force than with a manual snap gun, but the motion is different: a spool pin, jammed against the cylinder once by a snap gun will most certainly sustain less damage than one that is literally ground against it with an electric pick gun, assuming the user is applying too much tension, which is almost a given if the user has little or no experience with regular picks.
I make this all sound terribly negative, which is a bit unfair. Electric pick guns can be effective, applied correctly, I just don't prefer them due to their cost and the fact that with practice, they're really unnecessary.