How to Pick a Lock : An Incredible Skill

How to pick a lock or just Lock picking is no doubt an incredible and useful skill and it can be considered a lifesaver in case of a lose of keys or event where someone forgets the keys.

With just simple, plain looking tools and a little bit of patience, you may crack open, any of those tumbler locks, giving a full access to everything from any secured rooms to closed padlocks.

Let’s divide the process of how to pick a lock in three steps, namely :-

  • Preparing a Lock for Picking
  • Solving a Common Tumbler Lock
  • Using the Raking Technique

Part 1 : Preparing a Lock for Picking

  • Check the condition of the lock. If the lock is broken, you won’t be able to pick it. If locks are rusted , it must be considered frozen shut, no matter how skillful the lock picking technique you have. You must consider the overall condition of a lock before picking it.
  • Rusty locks might be restored, depending on the condition, to make them pickable by applying a suitable lubricant.
  • Gather your lock picking supplies. A professional lock picking kit has tension wrenches, picks, and raking tools and must have a suitable lock lubricant, like lubricating graphite. It is available at a local hardware store.
  • You can include some of the household items to act as substitutes for picking tools. It may be a bobby pin or a paperclip.
  • You must go to a store which has spy or locksmith articles.
  • You may refer to an online seller also, to buy a lock picking set.
  • Identify the uses of the three main tools in lock picking. Knowing the names and uses of basic lock picking tools can make it easier to talk about them. The three main tools include:
    • A tension wrench is a thin piece of metal with flared ends. It is L-shaped or Z-shaped, where the diagonal line of the Z is straight, which is inserted into the plug to apply tension to it.
    • A lock pick is a handle that narrows to a thin, pointed piece of metal that curves slightly at its end to manipulate the inner parts (pins) of the lock mechanism.
    • A rake having many ridges, with a triangular point on the end or be rounded to be scraped across the inside of the lock mechanism (pins) to disengage it.
  • Understand the lock mechanism. When a key is inserted into the keyway of the plug (the turning part of the lock), the wards (ridges/teeth) of the key push up spring-loaded pins, which is actually made up of a set: a key pin and driver pin. Key and driver pins aligns with the lock turning mechanism, also called the shearline, for the lock to turn and open.
  • You won’t be able to see inside the lock when picking it, so having a firm mental image of the mechanism is vital.
  • The number of pins is different for every lock. Padlocks have 3 or 4, while door locks have 5 to 8.
  • Lubricate the lock. To remove frozeness and dirtiness, the best chance of picking the lock is by applying lock lubricant to it.
  • Many lock lubricant have simple spray applicators allowing direct lubricating into the key way.

Part 2 : Solving a Common Tumbler Lock

  • Understand main goals of the lock picking. While applying light pressure with tension wrench, you push up pins inside the keyway with pick. When pin is lifted, wrench prevents it from falling for next pin to be set. Setting all the pins will unlock it.
  • Direction the key turns. Insert tension wrench into the top or bottom of the keyway and gently turn to apply torque (tension) to the plug to check direction in which the key turns.
  • Easy to apply to tension wrenches. Get the feel for picking locks, you may wish to use a single finger to apply tension to the wrench.
  • Check the pins with pick. Insert pick into the keyway and feel the outline of the pins using pick. Single out accessible to apply light and slowly increasing pressure to the pick to springs of the pin to give way and remove the pick.
  • Try to hold the image of the pins in the mind to reset the lock and begin picking afresh.
  • Inner workings of locks are relatively delicate so apply little force to prevent accidental lock or pick breaking.
  • Apply gentle pressure to the keyway with a tension wrench. Insert tension wrench into the bottom or top of the keyway to turn with gentle pressure.
  • Get a sense of the tightness of the plug and position the pins to bind in the lock mechanism, freeze and stop the plug from turning.
  • Identify the binding pin. Apply gentle pressure to the plug again with tension wrench. Continue to identify that resists more than others when light tension is applied which is the first binding pin.
  • While identifying the binding pin, apply steady pressure on tension wrench.
  • Setting pins one at a time. While maintaining consistent pressure with tension wrench, lift the first binding pin with pick little by little. Repeat this until all pins are set.
  • Lifting a pin slowly will allow it to set more easily. This motion can become significantly more rapid with practice.
  • Open the lock. When the last pin sets, the lock should fully disengage and open.

Part 3 : Using the Raking Technique

  • Feel out the lock with your tension wrench and pick to get a feel for the plug with tension wrench. Insert your pick into the keyway and lightly feel the position of pins.
  • Press a single pin to test pin spring stiffness.
  • Rake the pins with a rake-tool with a normal pick or a rake. Apply light, steady pressure to the plug with tension wrench. Insert rake-tool into the keyway slowly and smoothly to draw the tool upwards and out of the keyway in a snap.
  • The pressure applied by the tool should be on its tip only, when drawing rake-tool out of the keyway,
  • Listen for pins falling. Raking usually takes multiple attempts before it is successful. Listen to sound of pins falling.
  • Draw rake-tool back and forth. Rake the pins while keeping pressure consistent with tension wrench, use the tip of the tool to “scrub” unset pins.
  • When all of the pins are set, increase the pressure on tension wrench and lightly intensify scrubbing.