September 08, 2019 2 min read
There are all kinds of locks commercially available. Pin locks are the most common locks found on home doors. So, this is a good first lock to learn how to pick and open with your lock picking tools.
It’s not 100% critical to know how a pin lock works in order to understand how to use your favorite lock picking tools to open them up, but it will help your understanding and broaden your knowledge base.
The basic design of the pin lock has been used for 4000 years BC. Of course, this has become more complex over the millennia. The design used in most barrel locks - like your door lock - has been around since 1861 and has not changed much. Most countries are using technology that has existed for a century and a half to protect their most valuable assets.
The pin locks consist of a cylindrical outer casing in which is housed a plug or slot. The small space between the outer shell and the plug is called the “shear line”. (Please remember this, as it’s going to matter later.) . This will be useful in a few moments. The plug has an opening for the key. When the appropriate key is inserted into the plug, the plug can be rotated, which unlocks the lock. On the cap, a series of five or six holes is pierced. The holes contain keys (of red color) of different lengths. They are called key pins because they touch the key when you insert a key into the form. Above each key pin is a spring-loaded pilot pin, which “catches” because of the spring.
Now, this part is variable for various locks. Due to the different length of the spindles of the key, the pilot pins traverse the shear line, which effectively (in most practical cases) prevents rotation of the plug. This is by design; if you put the wrong key in a lock, the notches in the key will not lift the key pins to the correct height, which will cause them to protrude through the shear line, and thus fail to create an opening.
Lock picking is the art of using your combination of variable tools to duplicate the actions which would occur if you possessed and were using the correct key for that lock.
Locks are extremely simple and senseless creatures that have only one fixed operating path. This simplicity makes the choice of locks very easy to acquire and implement for those who want it. But to acquire this skill, we must first learn the basics of how a key works in order to learn to reproduce it.
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