Lock picking is a skill that everyone should develop because you do not know when it would come handy. Technically, there is nothing wrong with lock picking. However, there is a stigma around it that is usually associated with crimes such as burglary, theft, or robbery. This skill can help you get inside your home when you get locked out. In this article, you will learn how to pick a door lock.
You may not believe it, but other than personally made-up lock pick tools, there are ones that you can buy at a store. You can use ingenious tools like paper clips or bobby pins that you can use to pick your lock. So, in case of emergency, bring any of the two always with you. You do not know when it will come in handy.
How Do Locks Work?
Before learning how to pick a door lock, it is vital to learn what types of locks can be maneuvered using pick lock tools, paper clips, or in this case, hairpins. Tumbler locks are the most common type of locks that are used today. Inside the lock are a series of pins cut in a different length that prevents the barrel of the lock from turning unless each pin is pressed up to the exact right height. The grooves cut into the key are a unique match lifting each pin just enough for a split in their center to align with the edge of locks barrel, allowing it to turn.
How to Pick a Door Lock
Now that you know the type of lock were this lock picking trick can be applied, it is time to prepare the two simple tools: the actual pick that you will use to manipulate the pins and a small lever that will allow you to apply rotational pressure the barrel.
1. Create the Pin
To begin with the pick, a hairpin is bent open until the ends are about 90 degrees apart. You also need to remove the bit of rubber on the straight side of the pin. It can be done easily with a tool. If none is available, you can remove it using your teeth. The end of the pick now needs a slight bend, which can be done by pushing it into the lock itself and applying pressure.
The last improvement that can be made is to bend the other half of the hairpin into a bit of a handle, which will make the pick a lot easier to control now. Making the lever that will turn the “lock” is extremely simple and involves bending a pin and inserting it into a keyhole, which puts pressure on the arm to translate into rotational force on the lock.
2. Start Picking
- Pay attention that the lever is inserted into the lower side of the keyhole, leaving enough room for the pick to be inserted above.
Make sure to put tension on the lever with one hand so that the lock’s barrel is under pressure when you turn it. Of course, it cannot rotate because the pins are in the way and cause the barrel to seize, but it’s precisely this friction between the pins and the barrel that you’ll be taking advantage of by keeping tension on the barrel.
Once the pick is inserted, the first thing you’ll notice is that even though the lock is under pressure, some of the pins still move up and down freely because of inherent imperfections in all locks; only one or two pins will ever bind against the barrel at the same time.
- For now, the pins that usually rise and fall can be ignored, and your focus should be finding the one that is currently seized. Seized pins can be identified by one at the time, feeling each pin with the end of the pic pressing them up slightly and letting them fall again. When you find a seized pin, it will behave differently, harder to push up than the rest.
Assuming you are keeping constant pressure on the level this whole time, once the first seized pin is found, which happens to be the third in tumbler locks, it is very slowly and carefully forced upwards. Eventually, the split in the seized pin will align with the barrel’s edge, and there should be an audible click. The click is the barrel’s sound suddenly being allowed to rotate forward very slightly before hitting and seizing on one of the other pins.
- Since the barrel has been allowed to rotate slightly, it prevents the pin you just worked on from falling, and at the same time, a new seized pin has been created, which can be identified and treated the same as the first. As each seized pin is successively identified by feeling it with the end of the pick. Also, the tension in it is released by aligning its gap with the edge of the barrel.
Until every spin has been aligned and the lock opens once you believe every pin has been dealt with, you find that it still doesn’t open. There’s a chance that the two pins were pressed too high. Its gap is above the edge of the barrel of the lock. If this happens, there’s a chance that reducing the tension on the lever will cause the offending pin to fall into alignment and allow the lock to open, but it may also allow other pins that could require starting over.
Just like all skills, door lock picking requires a lot of practice. If you want to be very familiar with the mechanism of the lock mentioned here, you can buy transparent practice locks to see what happens inside the locks as you are inserting the picks. This will give you an idea of how hard you should push the other lever or whatnot and how to pick a door lock like a professional. Now, you know that there are a lot of ways to pick a door lock.
Whether you’re practicing to pick a lock for your benefit or want to fulfill your wildest fantasy of being a cool spy who can impress your friends with your impressive lock picking skills, it’s a practice that can benefit you. However, just a reminder. Your ingenious tools may break inside the lock and might cause further problems. So, when it comes to how to pick a door lock, invest in the right high-quality pick tools – there’s a lot of them in the market. Find out more about Door Locks.