There are good reasons why we could all benefit from the knowledge of how to pick locks.
- Knowing how easy it is to pick a lock opens our eyes to just how frail our security arrangements are. Locks are illusory. They may make us feel safe, but they don’t do much else. Picking locks teaches us we need to utilize other tactics and tools if we want to be secure.
- It's a useful skill. It's all but guaranteed that at some point in our lives we will find ourselves locked out of our homes or our cars. It's annoying and frustrating to be left in such a helpless position. Rather than paying out for an expensive professional locksmith imagine how cool it would feel if you could just gain entry on your own. It'll save money and time plus the feeling of relief and satisfaction is worth its weight in gold.
- Once you have this skill, you can help others, and there have even been cases where a picked lock has led to lives being saved!
Picking a common Pin Tumbler
The most common locks found in front doors are pin tumbler locks. It's hardly surprising as the basic technology has been around for thousands of years and the modern design dates from the mid-19th century. But knowing how a pin tumbler lock works is not a pre-requisite of successfully picking one, although it helps.
Pin tumbler locks have an outer casing which houses a plug. The gap between this casing and the plug is known as a shear line. The plug has a key opening and when the key is inserted the plug rotates to unlock the lock. The plug's top has five or six holes which hold different length key pins - called thus as they are in contact with the key when the key is inserted in the plug. Each key pin is topped by a spring-loaded driver pin.
Due to the different lengths of the key pins, the driver pins make it impossible for the plug to rotate by crossing the shear line. When an incorrect key is used, the notches can't lift the key pins to the correct height.
Each key pin and driver pin has to be lifted to the right height for the plug to rotate. This mechanism is designed so the gap between the two types of pins can reach the shear line.
The process of picking a lock merely uses lock picking tools rather than the key. The tools are still lining up the gap between the pins with the shear line between the plug and the outer casing. It's as easy as that.
The Tools for Picking a Pin Tumbler
Various tools are available for picking locks. The most common tools are called pick rakes and a tension wrench.
The rakes have various numbers of ridges. These ridges enable several pins to be picked at a time. There’s also a pick available which enables one pin to be picked at a time. There are a variety of lock picking sets from which to choose.
The important thing to remember when setting out to learn how to pick locks is that lock picking is not a science. It's more of an art. And, like with most things, the best way of learning is to pick as many locks as possible.
For practice get yourself a variety of lock types and when you have a spare moment just practice picking them.
There are training locks available too. In these training locks, the plug is in transparent plastic, so it's possible to see the pin stacks moving about the shear line as you pick.