The Complete Guide To Lock Picking

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Then what? You know, just in case the world ever goes to shit and our survivalist instincts kick in ; lock picking will go a long way. While there are a vast variety of technical definitions surrounding lock picking, none quite resonate well with the absolute beginner. So, let us define it in terms of the layman. Locks are extremely simple and senseless creatures that have but one fixed path of operation.

This simplicity makes lock picking a very easy skill to acquire and implement for anyone looking to do so.

Complete Guide to Lock Picking

But to acquire this skill, we must first learn the very basics of how a key works so that we can learn to mimic it. For the purpose of this guide, we will be looking at the most simple and commonly utilized lock today: the pin tumbler lock. This type of lock has been in use for over 6, years yes, really!

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Seller Inventory n. A "Slim Jim" is used for this purpose. A locksmith or other public service official should be very careful when performing this operation, as modern cars contain a plethora of sensitive electronics and wires within their doors. Always first consult a manual to determine that it is safe for the particular make and model of car. This method is also beneficial because it does not require a great amount of skill. Vibration picking works on most pin tumblers, but is less successful with wafer locks and is not recommended.

Law enforcement officers, or other professionals, who must open locks in emergencies where time is critical, often use this method. Often they also have other issues to worry about, and do not have the time or inclination to learn the art of lock picking. Vibration picking is useful, because they do not have to spend time practicing. Instead, they can just pick up the right tool and use it effectively. The pins are violently vibrated up and down with the hope that at some point the shear line will be clear and the plug may rotate.

The physics is similar to those desk toys that have one marble swing and hit a second. The momentum from the first marble is completely absorbed and passed to the second, which moves on with roughly the same speed, leaving the first marble in place. This is what the vibration pick attempts to do.


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It impacts the tips of the key pins with just enough force to knock them up and into the driver pins, thus knocking the driver pins up into the hull. The key pins themselves stay down, because they imparted all of their energy into the driver pins. You really don't have to know all of this tiieory to effectively use a vibration pick.

Just put it in the keyway, pull the trigger, and rotate your torque wrench. You do, though, have to have the appropriate vibration pick. The most common is the "pick gun. Remember, you still need to use a torque wrench with these devices. Place the pick gun all the way into the keyway, insert the torque wrench, apply a rotating pressure on the wrench and squeeze the trigger a few times. As the pick strikes the pins and knocks them upward, the torque Pin Tumblers Vibration Picking 43 wrench catches the driver pins in the hull casing.

Modern electric versions that are battery powered are also available. It is widely believed, though, that electric ones are slightly less effective and more cumbersome. If you are feeling creative, or desperate, ad-hoc versions are also possible. These could be made from modified coat hangers, clothespins, or anything that has a springing or vibrating action.

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Use your imagination in making your new vibration pick tool, or just buy one off the shelf. For locks that are not susceptible to vibration picking, however, you are just out of luck and will have to resort to one of the manual methods described above. When you first attempt a lock, the pins will do their own thing and while the lock may open, you may not recognize exactly when the various pins set. Or, you may not be sure when you pushed the key pins up into the hull. In order for you to get to know what the pins are doing, here are a few exercises you can try: First, find or buy a practice lock.

These can be bought from almost any hardware store or locksmith. Also, be sure to get a pin tumbler. Make certain that it is one that is relatively easy to pick. Usually you can use price as a guideline for its difficulty. Locks designated for deadbolts make good choices for this exercise purpose. Feel free to pick up a more difficult lock for later on or for making comparisons.

Now, open the lock and remove the plug. Be careful when you do this, as the springs and pins will fly out.

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The key will only work the lock if the key pins are in the correct order. If you want to use the key, be sure to take note of their order. Of course, what do you really need the key for? At this point, reassemble the lock, but with only one pin. Picking this should be easy. Next, push up on the pin with a hook pick while applying a rotational torque with a torque wrench. When it reaches the breaking point, the plug will spin. Feel how the key pin is binding and the plug holds it in place. Also, feel how you can almost sense when the plug will turn a split-second before it actually does. Take the lock apart again.

Put it back together, only this time with two pins.

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While applying a small amount of torque, push up on first the front pin, then the back pin. Notice how one of them binds and the other one is springy. If they are both binding, then you know you are applying too much force. This is a very valuable lesson. Now that you know how to determine which pin is binding, push up on that pin until you feel it "set. Set the pin, clear it, and then set it again a few times.


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This is the response that you are trying to detect when you pick locks. After you set it, notice how the key pin PinTumblers Exercises 45 free falls down. Feel how the pin is now loose in its pin column and is neither binding in place nor is the spring pushing down on it. Now, set the pin and continue to push up.

There will be significant resistance, and then the key pin will begin to enter the hull.

When this occurs, the key pin will bind and the resistance of the pin will be as it was when the driver pin was binding. That is why it is so important, that you know what exactly it. If you do not notice it, you might keep going and the key pin will bind and get stuck in the hull. You can tell when this has happened when you remove your pick and the key pin remains up in the lock and neither free falls down nor is pushed down by the spring.

Experiment with this for a while and become familiar with it.