September 18, 2020 6 min read
The first impression one would get when you talk of picking locks is that it would be an unheard of act. After all, who would go out of the way to learn how to pick a door lock? Yet, it is a skill and can be learned with some effort and helped by a good Lock Pick kit. It can be a useful skill to possess if you were to face a situation of having lost the keys to your home or a particular door in the home or office. Learning how to pick a door lock involves learning how locks work in great detail.
The pin tumbler lock has been chosen first since it is one of the most commonly fixed door locks in the US. It works on the principle that there are pins of different sizes with springs at the other end. The pins have two parts, the key pins, and the driver pins. The line that divides the plug that holds these pins and the outer casing is known as the shear line. The key pins are the ones that come into contact with the key when you insert it through the plug present inside the lock.
The key has the inundations and the key pins fall on the slots if you insert the right key. This permits you to rotate the key. The key pins push the spring-loaded driver pins up during the rotation leading to the unlocking of the lock. The alignment on the shear line enables this rotation of the plug. The wrong key being inserted will result in the pins not falling into place and you cannot rotate the key. This is something you would have practically experienced.
You may be surprised to know that this simple lock technology seen in the pin tumbler locks has been around for over 150 years with very little changes in design or the mechanism.
There are a variety of tools available in the market to pick locks. The simplest combination is a tension wrench and a set of lock pick rakes. You may find different combinations of these sold as lock pick kits.
Once you are familiar with the insides of a pin tumbler door lock and you have obtained the tools, you can start practicing the art of picking locks.
The lock pick experts who guide you on how to pick a door lock give you some options on the methods to be used while picking locks.
In the first method, you insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyhole, while in the other, you do it on top. The technique involved here is to use the lock pick to work on lifting the pins while the tension wrench is used to apply pressure to enable rotation of the plug.
It may boil down to the skill and patience with which you use both your hands at maneuvering the two tools, the pick, and the wrench inside the lock. The secret to succeeding at picking a lock is an intense practice you will have to keep doing. The best advice here is to buy some pin tumbler locks and keep them with you. Whenever you find free time between tasks, you can keep trying it. You will learn to do it like a pro after some time.
If you choose to insert the tension wrench into the keyhole at the bottom, the action recommended is to apply a little pressure as if you are using the regular key to unlock. You should turn the wrench to the right or left as the case may be. Here again, you may only be able to achieve perfection through constant practice since the pressure to be applied through the wrench has to be neither too high nor low. The purpose here is to ensure that the driver pins lift above the shear line while making certain they drop down just as the plug begins its rotation.
There is another technique suggested as part of this process of learning how to pick a door lock. This is to use both your hands. With the left hand, you can hold the tension wrench (this is suitable when you have chosen to insert it on top). With your right hand, insert the rake and rotate it anti-clockwise. This movement has to be ever so light and slow.
After a few movements of this kind, you may find the lock yielding and getting unlocked. In this method, you are making the pins drop one by one till all the pins get into the slot and you can unlock.
The above steps are adequate for you to open a majority of pin tumbler locks. You should have sufficient practice in doing this.
The Way to Unlock Pad Locks and Other Lock Types
While the door locks may be of the pin tumbler type, there are also other types of locks in use. The broad principle of the pins may be the same. Some terminologies may differ.
For instance, the outer casing that holds the plug is referred to as the hull. The number of pins can be more in these locks. They are usually numbered. The other arrangements with the key pins and the spring-loaded driver pins are the same. The pins have to reach the shear line to pick the lock.
You can use more tools while picking these locks. You will find the twist flex wrench being increasingly used. It gives you certain advantages over your traditional tension wrench. If you have intentions of picking locks in filing cabinets or metal lockers, you can rely on the variable tension wrench. The locks in these cases are called wafer cam locks and have a different double-sided design.
There are hooks picks which form part of the lock pick kits. Then there are the diamond picks, usually in two models, full and half diamond. The tip of this pick has the diamond shape.
The rake picks are also made and sold in different designs. These include the ball picks, dimple rakes, and saw rakes. The ball picks, as the name suggests, have a ball-shaped end. The second one, dimple rake is so named since it is employed in picking the dimple locks. If you are not aware, dimple locks are the ones in which you turn the key 90 after inserting it into the lock. This locking system uses the flat side of the key to rotate the plug. The dimple rake takes care of the requirement for picking these locks easily.
The authorities running the government would not want lock picking to be misused in any manner to break into homes or other premises. If you are learning how to pick a door lock purely as a matter of academic interest and to be useful when you lose a key, then it should not pose any issue.
Across the United States, different states have laws that look at this from various perspectives. The central theme most of them pursue is the 'intent’. If your intent is genuine, then picking locks is permitted.
People supporting the cause of learning to pick locks cite examples of emergencies where someone needs help from behind a locked door. It could be an elderly or sick person who is unable to reach the door but needs urgent medical aid. Similarly, a child could lock itself in by mistake and cry for help to open the door. In all these cases, it would be very useful if you know how to quickly pick the door lock and open it.
The same goes for the laws governing selling the lock pick kits. These can be purchased online and are very useful to learn and practice the art of picking locks. Some people carry a small wallet type lock pick kit all the time. These tools are required during an emergency and you never know when an emergency may arise.
These lock pick tools don’t cost much either. You can order the kits and have them delivered to your home for as little as $20 or even less than that. What’s more, you can even find gift packs of the lock pick kits. You may want a friend or a nephew or niece to start learning to pick locks. The intent is to learn the skill and not to engage in a burglary.
While discussing how to pick a door lock, the funny side of it also surfaces. There is a suggestion that locks really do not provide you with any absolute security. Once you learn how to pick a lock, you may realize that if it was really that easy, why rely on the door lock to feel secure while being inside the home or out? It's just a thought. There are obviously other security locks that have come up in the last few decades.
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