Lockpicking 101

Picking locks is a fairly misunderstood concept for most people. I suspect that this is because TV makes it looks so easy. TV shows an actor pull a bobby pin out of his girlfriend’s hair and he picks the lock in 3 seconds flat. Then I show up on a real lockout and the home owner is surprised that it takes me a few minutes to open their lock. So, how does it really work? I will usually spray a good quality speciality lock lubricant in the lock and work it in with an uncut key. Once the lock is good and lubed up, I will put a tension tool on the keyway and apply a little pressure to bind up the pins. Then, one by one, I will find the pin that is binding the most. One at a time I will pick the most binding pin until it is even with the sheer line of the lock. Then, with a little luck, the lock will open when the pins are all at the sheer line at the same time. Simple in practice, but very difficult in reality. There are restricted keyways, security pins, crazy bitting, wafer style locks and other things that are all designed to prevent lock picking. About 90% of the time we successfully pick the lock in a few minutes. On rare occasions we have to resort to drilling a small hole in the face of the lock to remove the pins. Distructive entry is always the last resort. It is expensive and most times, unnecessary. If you call a locksmith and he/she immediately pulls out a drill without a plausable explanation, call a different locksmith.

Geff Greenwood