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How to Pick a Lock: Basic Lock Picking Techniques

May 23rd, 2010

lock-picking-tools.jpgThere is something compelling about getting into a place labeled “no entry.” At some time or other, many people fantasize about bypassing security guards and slipping into an off-limits room in the dark of night. In reality, few people will ever do such a thing; however, knowing how to pick a lock is a useful skill that may someday save you an expensive call to the locksmith. With a few basic tools, patience, and practice, anyone can master this skill.

Many lock picking kits are available on the Internet, but you can overcome most locks with homemade tools. Basically, you need a tension wrench (also called a torque wrench) and a pick. The tension wrench sets the tumblers into a position where they will stay put once you push them back into their cylinders. Locks come in various sizes, so you should get a few different sized files for your tension wrenches. Flat-bladed screwdrivers will also work. Whatever you use, make sure it fits just into the keyhole. If your tools are too large, grind them down to a suitable size. Then you will also need some picks. Commonly, paper clips or straight pins (with the pointed end filed down) work well. Again, get various sizes.

Actually picking the locks is not that difficult, but mastering it takes practice and patience. Therefore, start with locks that only have one or two tumblers. Inexpensive locks such as Master locks are good for practicing.

First, slip the wrench into the keyhole and turn the cylinder as far as possible. This rotates the openings in the cylinder enough so that the pins will stay in place when you push them back. Typically, there are two pins in each opening: the driving pin and the key pin. Keeping tension on the wrench, use the pick to push the pins one by one into their holes to the shear point. Each “click” signifies that the driving pin is out of the way and the key pin is at its shear point. The plug will turn a bit more as each pin falls in place, thus holding it in position. Once you have succeeded in placing the last pin, the lock will open. Note that if you push the pins too hard, you may force them too far into the recess, thus pinching the key pin between the plug and the cylinder shaft.

Practice and gradually increase the number of tumblers you work with, and you should master lock picking within a week. MacGyver, watch out.

This article was supplied by Mel MacKaron from Constant Content.

One Response to “How to Pick a Lock: Basic Lock Picking Techniques”

  1. comment number 1 by: helen

    Thanks for sharing about lock picking. Learning any new skill involves getting to know the tools used by the skill masters. There are many different types of tools involved in lock picking. It is important to understand how a lock works.

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