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How to Pick Simple Locks/Latches with a Paper Clip

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You would be surprised at how many of the locks and latches around us can be bypassed with a simple paperclip. Some are cheaply constructed. Others are simply poorly installed. I am going to show you several examples. This illustrates how most locks are primarily just a deterrent and aren't 100% secure.

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Step 1: Improperly hung doors

You may have heard of people opening a door with a credit card. Well, you can usually do the same thing with a paper clip.

There are a number of ways that a door can be improperly hung that make it easy to get through. If a door does have not a deadlatch or if it isn't functioning properly, then the door latch can be pried open. It is even easier if there is a large gap between the door and the strike plate. Here is a quick video tutorial.


If you can't pry the latch open from the front side, you can also use a paper clip to pull the latch open from the back. To do this, start by bending your paper clip into a large hook. Then insert it into the gap in the door and feed it behind the latch. Keep feeding it through until the end of the paper clip comes back out the front where you can reach it. Grab both ends of the paper clip and pull. The door should pop open.
argha halder8 months ago
great instructable.clear pictures videos and instruction.a thief would really enjoy this instructable
Master9786511 months ago
My dad refuses to have anything to do with lock picking or crime, so when he went to help the neighbors kid get out of the parents room that the kid accidentally locked, he used a ladder to climb into the window rather than just sticking a rod into the privacy lock hole thing.
Uh....
What?
Perhaps FuzzyBearGeek is wondering why your father even had to make a choice between his principles against lockpicking and climbing a ladder, as your later statement implies that the door was unable to be unlocked with a "rod into the privacy lock hole thing". In that case your father would not have been able to pick it, his laudable principles would be unchallenged, and he would indeed have had to use a ladder.
It's amazing! The Great Fintoni! Complete with awesome mind reading hat! :-)
I love reading that line "His laudable principles would be unchallenged." Sounds great. :)
Thanks Fuzzy - that really made my day! :]
My wife and I can now toddle of to a well-earned rest with a smile on our faces.
Yours,
The Great Fintoni
Woohoo!!!! Ripple effect is always in motion. I now am in a fantastic mood as well. :)
lamerc Master9786510 months ago
Um, but that's why the hole is there.... it's a built-in safety feature in case a young kid (or someone passed out) is locked in there. That's the whole point. (And also why it's only used on internal doors. It's a privacy feature, not a security feature.) *facepalm*
I don't think that door was able to be unlocked from outside unless you did it the credit card way
sid810 months ago
One should know this type of tricks to pick the lock but people use bump key to pick the lock. Bump keys are used for the depth lock pick..
kbeedle10 months ago
Does this mess up the door at all?
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  kbeedle10 months ago
In most cases no but it is possible. Just be careful and don't force anything that is stuck.
tinkermac11 months ago
A J Mansfield! Please show us. Thanks
arfeenmushtaq11 months ago
very nice how to
mutinyishell11 months ago
I used to have to do this every day after school when i was like 13. funny its on here now. At first i used a flathead screwdriver to delicately pull the latch away from the frame while pulling on the handle with my other hand, allowing me to move the screwdriver back and forth. I would just do that until i had it far enough from the frame and the door would swing open.
stealthop11 months ago
thank you , this was instantly helpful .
AgilePhil11 months ago
This one is important for parents to learn. Your young child can lock themselves in the bathroom accidentally.
useful tricks, what about picking more complex locks?
The instructable is just about how to "jimmy" a simple lock, not actually pick it. There are instructions online for lockpicking though. If you're interested, it's worth buying a $20 lockpick set and a couple padlocks to practice on; it's a cool skill to have.
That is difficult. Any lock with a set of tumblers usually takes a decent amount of force to turn. A large paper clip is usually too fat to manipulate the tumblers and a small paperclip is usually too weak to turn the barrel.
rhiannoncjs11 months ago
We had these in our house as kids. You can also unbend a coat hanger and use that.
Every wire hanger we had in the house was oddly shaped because of this!
alzie11 months ago
Great post!
Its my experience some times that
the cheaper the lock, the harder they are to pick.

Ive had great success raking quicksets and the like.
Theyre mechanically refined,
takes like 15S after you get practiced.

Cheap tool box locks are tough because theyre unrefined.

Some of the hardest are car door locks
because of the high torque that must be applied while raking.

Medico? Forget about it!
But, the above covers about 99% of whats out there.

I always keep a paper clip rake in my wallet and
a pocket knife for torquing.
Ya never known when yer gonna need em!
Closer11 months ago
Interesting but using a credit card on the type of lock in the video will not work. There are two parts that move in and out of the door. The wedge shaped lock and the smaller part beside it. When you move both together with the door open, they will move smoothly. However, when the door is shut the wedged shaped part goes in the hole in the door frame while the smaller part does not.
When the two parts are no longer lined up - when the door is shut - the wedge shaped part cannot be pushed back. That is why the smaller part is there - to prevent such a thing from happening. You can demonstrate this your self by depressing the smaller part and then trying to depress the wedged shaped part. You cannot move it. If you can, you need a new lock!!
wa7jos Closer11 months ago
You are absolutely correct. This is how these security pin latches are SUPPOSED to work.
But you'd be surprised how many are improperly installed. If you can "over-close" the door so that BOTH pins fall into the strike place, then it isn't a security latch anymore and can be opened as if it were the "vanilla" type latch.
chrwei11 months ago
some privacy locks use a twist lock instead of a push plate to unlock. they still do not need a key, but a small screw driver, or a cleverly bent paperclip, can work.
ill take my credit card size set of rakes and picks any day over a paper clip
AJMansfield11 months ago
With a second paper clip, you can pick real locks.
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