How to Pick a Lock and What Tools You will Need

There is no secret to picking a lock. Anyone is capable of learning how to perform this Art.

Learning  to pick a lock is learning how the lock works  and its particular characteristics. There are simply basic guidelines  and understandings.  Mostly its taking advantage of the Mechanical defects and understanding how the lock works. This manual is to get you familiar with the vocabulary and basics about locks and lock picking.


The only way to learn how to pick a lock is to practice.


You must practice and practice, start with one lock and continue to other locks, the more locks you can pick the better you will  get.

To learn the basics of the lock picking you will need the following tools:

• Lock Pick Hooks and Rakes Tolls.

• Lock Pick Tension Wrenches.

• Clear Practice Padlock or Lock.

Get yours Here

Lets talk about how locks and keys work:

The key is put into the keyway of what Is called the plug. On the sides of the keyway there are guides that stick out called wards. Wards prevent the wrong type of key from being put into the keyway. And on the top of the key are the key cuts, they move the pins inside the keyway so they are aligned and the lock will open.


The section of the lock that holds the plug is called the hull. The plug rotates inside the hull. And inside the hull are the pins, there are several pins. The first pin touched by the key is called the pin one, the rest of the pins are increasing in numerical order. As the key is inserted it lifts each pin so it reaches the shear line. There are two pins the key pin and the driver pin and the gap in between the two is the sheer line. When everything is aligned correctly the plug will turn.uld include a brief paragraph here to introduce yourself and talk about your story, vision or mission statement. Then add one or - even better! - two images, for a nice overlapping layout effect.

Lock Picking Wrench Tools:

Twist flex wrench: The twist flex allows for your fingers to cover a greater surface area on the wrench, so that you can feel the inner workings of the lock better. Also it has more "spring" to it which can serve as a gauge.

Double ended tension wrench.

Variable tension wrench: Those are designed for double sided wafer cam locks like you see on metal lockers and filing cabinets.

Lock Picking Tools:

This piece of metal comes in various shapes and sizes and is used to set the pins of the lock.

Hooks Picks (Short, C-Hook, Gonzo and Long): A pick that you can feel out a lock with. It is used to pick one pin at a time. A pick that you can feel out a lock with. It is used to pick one pin at a time.The tip of the hook is bent upwards. The degree of the bend is different on each hook tool, the reason for this is locks have different pin set warding requiring different bends to push the pin to the perfect spot.

Half Diamond and Full Diamond Picks: A multi purpose pick that is mainly used for picking individual pins, but also for raking a lock. This tool can also be used for wafer and disk locks.

Lock Raking Tools:

Half Ball, Full Ball, and Double Ball (Snowman): The Ball pick is like the half diamond pick, with the exception of the end being a half circle or full circle shape. It is commonly used for wafer locks.

Dimple Rake: This pick, is designed for a dimple lock. It is used to rake pins by sliding the pick past the pins rapidly, through this motion to cause the pins to bounce and align properly to open the lock quickly.

Saw Rakes: The proper way to use a saw rake is to put it in and pull it out swiftly, creating a gap in the shear line and turning the cylinder. Through this motion it causes the pins to bounce and align properly to open the lock quickly. They are best to use on a tumbler and wafer locks.

Get your Lock Pick Set

The Basics of Lock picking:

Scrubbing or Raking:

The concept behind this is to find the pin that gives the most resistance.  Take your pick and tension tool, set up the tension tool first, then take your pick and run it quickly in and out of the lock while applying a slight amount of pressure on turning the lock.  This will set some of the pins.  

Continue for several attempts each time trying to set more pins till the lock opens.  This will not work for all locks, some locks will have to be picked  one pin at a time.  Scrubbing/Raking  is a fast try at opening a lock.

Single Pin picking:

This is when you use a hook pick and lift each individual pin one at a time.  The first step is to insert the tension wrench and apply a little pressure.  Then put the hook pick into the lock.  Continue to apply pressure from the tension wrench, as you start to feel for each pin and lift it.  We are looking for the binding pin, which we can distinguish from the pins by feeling how difficult it moves, all other pins will be relatively easy to move.  One the binding pin is located it needs to be raised above the shear line.  You will notice a slight give in the plug when this happens.  If you release the tension the pin will drop back down.  

Once the first pin is set you move on to the next binding pin.  The process is repeated  till all the pins are set and the lock opens.  If the pins keep falling you probably need to readjust the amount of pressure you are applying with the tension wrench.

Get your Practice Lock

Practice Lock Picking Tips:

Insert the pick into the lock and feel how the pick moves the pins. Learn to feel when a pin or pins have been lifted up or drop down. Focus on the tip of the pick.

Play with the tension wrench. Insert the pick and while feeling the pins move up and down apply various amounts of pressure from the tension wrench and feel how the pins tighten and relax by dropping down.

Feeling when a pin is set. Play with the lock till you feel a slight give, as this is an indicator that a pin has been set. When you remove the pressure the pin will spring back.

Recognizing which way the lock turns. You can do this by inserting the pick and tension wrench, applying pressure and feeling the pins with the pick. If your turning the correct way a pin or two will set and when the pressure is released the pins will drop back down.

Some locks open either way you turn them and others will only turn one way. Sometimes you should jiggle the lock as you are picking it. It may help align the pins.

See yourself opening the Lock!, You can Do It!

Most of all have FUN, it’s a crafty art and a great skill

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Disclaimer: All material provided is for informational purposes only. Lock picking is the practice of bypassing a locking mechanism or system. By law, you can only pick locks that belong to you, or where you have explicit permission from the owner. Each state has different laws on lock picking tools. Know your state law and the law of your destination if traveling with these tools. We highly recommend against picking locks you rely on, such as your door or car. Picks and locks can break.