Introduction: How to Lock Pick

I am a forgetful person. I forget things such as my wallet, car keys, and jacket on a daily basis. I leave them places, or don't even remember to bring them in the first place if I am in a rush to leave. But what I always regret forgetting the most is my house key. Not being able to get inside your house when you're right outside it is the worst feeling ever! However, thanks to lock picking, I've never had to experience that feeling again.

Not many people know how to lock pick, and it is a great skill to have in your back pocket just in case you need it. Though it requires a little practice and patience, it isn't as hard as it looks, and successfully picking a lock is in my opinion one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. Here are the steps to becoming a great lock picker;

Step 1: Understand How Most Locks Work

To be able to pick a lock, you first have to understand how it works so that you can then manipulate it to your advantage. The majority of locks out there and the type that I am going to tell you how to pick are called pin-tumbler locks. Pin-tumbler locks have two sets of pins within the lock. The upper pins are known as driver pins (blue) and the lower pins are the key pins (red). The shell is the part of the lock that rotates and contains the key pins.

The two pins in each pin column (a driver pin + a key pin) aren't the same length, however they are all set so that if each key pin is pushed up a certain height, the point where the two pins meet will be the same for every pin column, and that will allow for the shell to be rotated because the line where the shell and the rest of the lock meet will be the same line where all of the driver and key pins meet. If the wrong key is inserted into a lock, or there is no key, the shell won't be able to rotate and unlock whatever it is on because there will be pins in the way.

Step 2: Aquire Some Lock Picks

Though many tutorials exist about trying to use bobby pins or paper clips to pick locks, I have tried both of those, and it is extremely hard to pick a lock using them. The most effective I have found to pick locks is to use the single pin picking method, which only involves the use of a tension wrench, and 1 pick that has a hook-like bend at the end.

A tension wrench is just a small piece of metal that is used to apply rotational force to the shell, and the pick (which is called a hook pick) is used to manipulate the pins. You can buy just a few picks, or a large set. I recommend buying just a few picks first before you purchase a large set, in case you end up not liking it.

I also highly recommend purchasing a clear practice-lock!!! I bought one when I was learning how to lock pick, and found it to be extremely helpful when I was learning how to pick locks. They aren't that expensive, and I guarantee using one will help you learn how to lock-pick.

Step 3: Using the Tension Wrench

When you are going to pick a lock, first, insert your tension wrench into the bottom of the lock. Simply insert the tension wrench, and push it to one side. You must keep pushing the tension wrench the entire time you are trying to pick a lock, and when you want to reset the pins and try again, release it. The tension wrench shouldn't be pushed too hard, but hard enough to give it a slight bend. You might see the shell rotate slightly as well. After you successfully pick the lock, you will use the tension wrench to rotate the shell, so push the tension wrench so that the shell will rotate clockwise (in most locks the shell rotates clockwise, pressure the shell to rotate the way it would if you were to put a key in it, which is usually clockwise).

Pictured above is the tension wrench being pushed so that the shell has pressure to rotate clockwise.

Step 4: Picking the Lock

When you put the tension wrench in the bottom of the keyhole, there should be enough space above it so that you can get your hook pick under the pins, and all the way to the back of the shell. You will be able to feel it when you reach the back. You need to be applying pressure with the tension wrench for the whole time while you are attempting to pick the lock.

You can then use the hook pick to start feeling the pins. Use the hook part to push each pin column up. In every pin-tumbler lock, if you were to use the hook pick and push up on each pin column, they would all go up when you pushed them, and come right back down. However, there will be one pin column that you will find to be a lot harder to push up than the others. We'll call this one the rogue pin. Once you find that one, you need to push it up until you hear and feel a little snap in the pick. You will then notice that the pin you just pushed up won't follow the pick back down, it will stay pushed up. You have just picked that pin, and it is at the line that it would be if a key were to be inserted.

You then need to search all remaining pins until you find a new rogue pin, there will always be one. Once you find that one, push it up until you hear a click and feel it in the pick, then search the remaining others and do the same thing.

If you think you picked all of the pins and they all stay up, you might've over-picked one. To fix this, you will need to reset the pins by releasing tension on the tension wrench and start over.

Good luck and remember, only use your power for good, don't abuse your lock picking skills.

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