How To Pick a Lock: The Complete Guide

how to pick a lock
how to pick a lock

Imagine a situation where you come home from work after a long, hard day, step in front of your house door, feel your pockets, but you cannot find your key. Without the key, you cannot get into your house. In such a scenario, being able to pick a lock would come in handy.

Picking a lock involves using any item other than a lock’s key to open it without damaging the lock.

Lock picking is a skill that anyone can learn. Although it may look difficult when demonstrated, it is something that can easily be done so long as you have the patience to see the process through.

In this article, we discuss the DIY of lock picking. However, before delving into the main point, it is essential to first understand what a lock is made of. Understanding the components of a lock will give you a better insight into lock picking.

For this tutorial, the Pin Tumbler lock will be the subject. This lock is selected because it is, by far, the most common type of lock and the chances are high that it is what you would have installed on your doors.

Parts Of A Pin Tumbler Lock

1. Housing: This is the metal case that houses the entire component of the lock. Everything that makes the lock work can be found in the casing.

2. Plug: This is the space through which a key is inserted into the lock to open it. The right key would be able to move the position of the plug which then opens it.

3. Driver Pins: The driver pins can be found between the housing and the plug, and they protect the lock from opening without the use of the correct key.

4. Key Pins: The key pins correspond with the points on the correct key so that when the correct key is inserted, the pins are pushed up, releasing the driver pins which allows the plug to rotate.

5. Springs: The springs have the simple job of pushing the pins down in place and pushing them up when a key has been inserted.

6. Shear Line: This is what you get when the correct key has been placed in the plug, causing the pins to align, allowing the lock to open.

Lock Picking

The technique to be discussed in this article is called ‘raking’ and is regarded as the easiest and quickest way to get your door open without a key. To achieve this goal, you will need something called a rake, which is a small pick that has edges at the end. These edges can be used to mimic the action of a normal key. You will also need a tension wrench or tool.

According to this top locksmith, below are the steps involved;

1. Insert the tension tool to the bottom of the plug, applying very little pressure. The tool should be placed in the direction you will turn the key. Let the light pressure be on the tension tool all through the lock picking procedure.

2. Next, insert the rake into the plug, ensuring it goes into the back of the plug.

3. Then, run your rake along the pins while still maintaining light pressure on your tension tool. Make sure you apply upward pressure to the rake while you run it back and forth.

4. At this point, some of the pins may have reached the shear line and you will notice the plug slightly rotate.

5. Insert the rake in again and begin the process of scrubbing it back and forth along the pins. If you applied the right pressure on the tension tool, the pins would set at the shear line and the plug would rotate, causing the lock to open.

6. If after trying with the rake the lock does not still open, you should release the tension tool, take it out, and insert it again with the right pressure. Then repeat the whole process again till the lock opens.

Where Can I Get A Rake From?

You can order a lock picking kit from online stores or any store that sells locks and accessories. Since the kit will most likely be used for emergencies, you should keep it in areas where it can easily be reached.

Is Lock Picking Legal?

Many people often wonder if lock picking is legal, especially as it allows  you to open a lock without the key. At this point, we would like to state that the purpose of this tutorial was mainly to educate and to know what to do in the event of an emergency.


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