Introduction: How to Open Locks With Padlock Shims

I show how to open locks using padlock shims. Padlock shims are made of very thin spring steel, and come in several sizes to fit the contour of the shackle of the lock. The shim is placed between the shackle and the body of the lock and twisted to disengage the locking mechanism. They are made for padlocks with spring operated latches. For padlock shims to work there must be sufficient clearance between the shackle diameter and the holes in the padlock body to enable insertion of the shims. On single latch padlocks, any slack in the pivot side will help if the clearance is minimal.

When using them first determine whether the padlock is single or double latched. If you’re not sure, start by sliding a single shim down the inside of the pivot leg of the shackle to feel for a latch. Ideally, knowledge of the lock is the best way of knowing whether it is a single or double latch. For most single latch padlocks, the latched leg of the shackle is generally on the same side as the serrations of the key. Choose a shim that fits best with the diameter of the shackle. If the shim is too big or small it may not be able to slide down the shackle. Insert the shim into the clearance on the shackle, twist and push the shim down as far as possible. When the shim is inserted rotate it around the shackle so that the tongue of the shim approaches the latch from the side. Once the shim has been rotated enough to disengage the locking mechanisms the shackle can be pulled to open the lock. On padlocks with weak latch springs, it may be possible to force the shim down onto the latches directly from above, and ease them back. This video is for educational purposes only, only open locks you own or have permission to open. The padlock shims that I used in the video are from:

How to Make a Simple Lock Shim:

Lock picking is the art of unlocking a lock by analyzing and manipulating the components of the lock device without the original key. In addition, ideal lock picking should not damage the lock itself, allowing it to be re-keyed for later use, which is especially important with antique locks that would be impossible to replace if destructive entry methods were used. Although lock picking can be associated with criminal intent, it is an essential skill for a locksmith, and is often pursued by law abiding citizens as a useful skill to learn or simply a hobby.

Step 1: Watch the Video

(The video may not show up for mobile viewers)

How to Make a Simple Lock Shim: