Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Are electric picks and pick guns effective?


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Pickwick

Pickwick

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 16 September 2007 - 12:46 AM

I'm thinking of buying one called the lockaid.

Are they effective on Australian locks such as lockwood? Any advice is appreciated.

PS. Very interesting and usefull forum.

#2 theopratr

theopratr

    The Wise One

  • Members
  • 454 posts

Posted 16 September 2007 - 06:25 PM

The effectiveness of pick guns, be them manual or electric, really depends on the lock that you're trying to attack. Despite their being advertised as simply opening any lock without training, there is a bit of a learning curve associated with them, especially with more complex locks.

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.

#3 Pickwick

Pickwick

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 17 September 2007 - 06:03 AM

As you can probably tell I have no experience with this. Would the lockaid work on Australian lockwood five and six pin locks? What is the best way to go for someone with no practical experience. I can't seem to get bump keys for these locks ANYWHERE. I'm thinking about making one myself with a file, but I'm really that great with my hands.

#4 theopratr

theopratr

    The Wise One

  • Members
  • 454 posts

Posted 18 September 2007 - 12:33 PM

A LockAid would work on a Lockwood, but obviously your experience is going to vary from lock to lock. The five pin varieties are much easier to open with a snap gun; with the six pin varieties of any lock the probability that it's going to be pinned awkwardly (very high and very low cuts) is higher, and given the method of attack, it really boils down to luck. If you do choose to invest in a snap gun, always start with the least spring tension possible... this will (hopefully) prevent damage to the lock. Increase the spring tension only if absolutely necessary.

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.

#5 Pickwick

Pickwick

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 19 September 2007 - 07:34 AM

What about electric pick machines? Is it worth spending the extra money?

#6 Rogue

Rogue

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 25 posts

Posted 22 September 2007 - 09:52 AM

"Electric picks" are nothing more than a bump key on caffine. They operate the same as a bump key, but instead of hitting it once it can jar the pins a hundred times in a second (probably more, just making a point). I really don't think that they are any more effective than a bump key, and are a lot less effective than traditional lock picks. Additionally your chances of damaging the lock go through the roof if you use the thing incorrectly, not to mention chances of damaging the electric pick in the process. So not only is there a learning curve involved but during the learning process you can mangle some hardware, that doesn't tend to make owners of said hardware very happy.
You have a kwikset knob lock and no dead bolt on your doors and you think you can keep me out... aww thats so cute.

#7 theopratr

theopratr

    The Wise One

  • Members
  • 454 posts

Posted 24 September 2007 - 04:43 PM

I would say that they are more effective than manual pick guns, and perhaps less damaging, but for the price they're probably not worth it.

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.