Alright, so over the years tons of different kinds of best lock pick sets have evolved. Most out of necessity when new lock technology came into being.
Here’s a quick overview of the different types of lock pick set to get you familiar with the terms and what they look like. Bear in mind some are manual and some are not so much, so when you are purchasing your lock pick set, be sure to realize which you are getting.
This thing is also called a Torque Wrench, and it is used to apply, well, torque to the plug portion of the lock. This way it holds pins that you pick in place. One all of them are picked, the wrench turns the the barrel and plug and opens the entire lock. It looks like an “L”, sort of similar to an Allan key set.
These are also called “feather touch” wrenches. Sometimes, depending on the lock, they can look like tweezers as well. There are also digital ones now that can show you the exact amount of pressure you are applying to help figure out when a pin is set, since the tension will suddenly drop as the pin sets, then ramp up again as you get to the next pin.
You almost never see this thing in the movies or video games (except Thief!), and its undoubtedly the most important piece of the entire lock pick set.
Ahh the workhorse of the lock picking world. This guy is really great for getting single pin locks, but doesn’t work so good past that. You can, however, use this to rake over wafer and disk locks.
The business end of the half-diamond pick is half to 1 inch long. Each end has a triangular head that can either be steep or shallow and at an angle depending on the lock and design. You want this guy to work without affecting adjacent pins.
A traditional lock pick set comes with 3 of these, a few tension wrenches, and a double ended half diamond pick. All of these picks will have varying angles and sharpness.
Take the Half-Diamond, but make the tip hook shaped as opposed to a triangle. You use this as a finger of sorts, and don’t rake with it. Its also pretty basic, and most pros will only need this if the lock is going to be picked traditionally, versus using a rake or a pick gun.
Looks like a half-diamond (doesn’t everything?) but the end is circular and is primarily used for opening wafer locks.
Time to explain a term: Raking. To “rake” you quickly slide the pick past ALL of the pins in the lock, back and forth (yeah I know) until you are able to bounce the pins individually. They will eventually hit the shear line and lock into place.
This is a great way for getting into cheap cruddy locks and is super easy. This is the easiest way for beginners to get into it, and I recommend trying it with this technique.
Take this technique and your tension tool and you should be able to set the pins pretty easily. This is the tool that looks like the lock pick you see in movies: the squiggly line or “c” snake/rake tool.
This one is only really used for electronic locks, which you will seldom come across.
The decoder pick is a standard key that has had its notch height changed. You can use this guy for a template for getting a replacement key cut. It is one of the best lock pick sets available in the market.
The ultimate beginners tool. Insert a special key into the lock that has had each peak of the key cut to an equal height as well as having some be cut down to be the lowest groove possible on the key.
Then you hit the key head with a hammer or something to apply force while twisting it to get constant torque.
The force of the hit will make the top pins of the lock jump to above the shearline while it leaves the pins at the bottom in place. This is so easy in fact that people have been designing locks now with specific anti-bumping technology like false pins and foam inside that absorbs the force of a blow.
Your grand-dad’s skeleton key. Use this tool for opening warded locks, obviously. It is made to look similar to the actual key to open the desired lock. You can “rip” a lock with this, push it all the way in and pull it out quick. You should be able to bump the pins up to the correct shearing level.
Despite most movies and shows being inaccurate, these automatic guns DO exist. They aren’t cheap. You push a button after inserting it into the lock and it starts to vibrate (giving torque and tension) to the lock.
How to Pick Locks
The big secret of lock picking is that it’s simple. Now you may figure out how to pick locks
The idea behind lock picking and a lock pick set could be the theory of exploiting many subtle mechanical defects in a lock.
Here are several basic concepts and terms to get you started, but the majority of the meat on this topic includes tricks for opening locks with specific defects and characteristics. There is no reliable, quick or easy way to learn lock picking without practice.
I’ll be going over exercises that will help learn the skills and techniques of lock picking. I’ll finish with a directory of sorts that catalogs the mechanical traits and defects seen in locks today as well as with techniques accustomed to recognize and exploit them.
I’ll also have links to the different legal problems that may arise from owning and using lock pick sets. I’ll primarily focus on lock pick set use in the USA and various states.
The training is beyond important. The best way to learn how to recognize and capitalize on the defects with a lock is always to constantly practice.
Like any technical skill, there will be many failures so don’t get discouraged! Your lock pick set will work, you just have to train yourself and your brain to understand the concepts, terms, and applications of what I can teach you. This means practicing often on a few locks until you get the core concepts.
Now you may discover different ways to open office desk and filing cabinet locks, but the ability to open most padlocks and any real lock within a few seconds is really a skill that will require a vast amount of practice.
Before we delve into the specifics of locks and picking, it can is worth pointing out that lock picking is simply one way to bypass a lock.
Finesse and delicate hands does cause less damage than brute force. Don’t force anything, take it slow and listen to what the lock pick set and your training and ears are telling you.
In fact, it might be quicker and easier to bypass the bolt than to bypass the lock, but we’ll get into that later. Similarly, it can be much simpler to bypass various areas of the threshold or perhaps avoid the door entirely.
Remember: Often there is one other way, usually a better one. Picking locks should be a last resort if another avenue isn’t available. Only use your lock pick set if there isn’t another unlocked door, window, or some way to operate the mechanism of the lock without relying on lock picks themselves.
Like other hobbies, some people find locksmithing and lock picking to be cathartic and relaxing. Others like the challenge it presents as well as the mystery and thrill of using their lock pick sets to get through to ‘forbidden’ or restricted areas.
Different types of locks
Know your enemy! Here’s a brief overview of some of the more common locks you’ll encounter when learning how to use your lock pick set. There are almost infinite ways that these can be set up and installed. Deadbolts, padlocks, Door locks, window locks, etc. But there are rally only a few core components with pretty handles tacked on.
Pin Tumbler Locks
A Pin Tumbler is the most common and widespread lock in the entire world, bar none. The main mechanism revolves around a cylinder with an outer casing and an inner casing.
The outer casing, contains a ‘plug’ which must rotate in order for the lock to open. The key adjusts the pins (the red and blue cylinders) to the correct height, called the shear-line.
Once all these pins are in the correct height, the inner plug is allowed to turn and the lock can be opened.