Losing your keys can be very frustrating, especially when it happens during a time of emergency. Have you left your keys at a friend’s place or forgot it at the restaurant where you went to have dinner? And you are not the type that feels comfortable leaving a spare under the mat, then you will quickly realize that lock picking can be an incredibly useful skill.
It could be a lifesaving skill during those times when you lose or forget your keys. Lock picking is not rocket science and anyone can learn it. With just a bit of patience and the right picking tools, you crack any tumbler and gain access to any space. In this article, I will be sharing useful information on how to pick a lock with different tools and techniques. So sit back and learn everything you need to know about lock picking.
What Exactly Is Lock Picking?
Before we go into the intricacy of picking locks with different tools, it is good to know what lock picking is, especially for the sake of those new to the term or people having a wrong perception of what it is. While there are several definitions given to lock picking, only a very few of them actually tries to relate the term in terms of an absolute beginner. So let’s define lock picking in terms of a layman.
Lock picking simply refers to an art of trying to trick a lock into believing the tool you are using is actually the correct key when in the actual sense, it is not.
Locks are one senseless and extremely simple piece that was designed having just one fixed mechanism of operation. This simplicity of locks makes lock picking a very easy skill anyone can acquire and use at any time and on any lock.
But what does the law actually says about this art of lock picking. Of course, no one will want to learn what will put him or her at the cross of the law.
The Legality of Lock Picking
People have always believed that the only people the law allows to own lock picking tools or pick a lock are licensed locksmiths. Of course, that is a misconception. The truth is that in most states, so far you are not trying to gain entrance into someone’s house illegally with your lock pick set, you are allowed to legally own, carry, and use lock picking tools.
However, there are some states that count owning lock picking tools as evidence of criminal intent unless you can prove that you didn’t plan on committing any crime with it.
To cut the long story short and put all of these into a summary, learning to pick locks or owning the tools to do so is perfectly ethical and legal as long as you don’t have a bad intention for doing so. So let’s see some reason you need to learn how to pick locks in the first place.
Benefits of Learning How to Pick a Lock
Perhaps you are also wondering why you need to learn how to pick a lock since you don’t have the plan to break into someone else’s home. Well, there are also a few good reasons people should learn how to pick a lock – even the law-abiding citizens.
#1: It opens your eyes to illusions of security
Every one of us installs locks on our doors to ensure the security of our loved ones and also to secure our possessions during the day. But you will be surprised that locks don’t really do more than just create an illusion of security – thanks to lock picking skills that make people see things that way.
We often feel safe when we have locks on our front door, but if someone really wants to get into the house, they could easily bypass the lock on the front door by simply picking it. Learning lock picking will help you see how easily someone can walk into your home and cart away with your valuable without even breaking a window.
#2: It comes handy during lockouts
If you have ever been in a lockout situation before, then you will understand just how frustrating it can be. Standing outside your own home like a chunk waiting for a locksmith to show up at your place to help you gain entrance into the house because you lost or forgot the keys. Won’t you like it if you know just how to find your way in yourself? Of course, you will.
Not only can knowing how to pick a lock save you lots of money and precious time, but the joy of being able to resolve a problem like that on your own is also really fascinating. Not to mention that you can also be a lifesaver to your friends and neighbors in times of lockout.
#3: Knowing how to pick a lock can help save a life one day
There have been several instances where someone had to pick his or her way into an older parent’s house because they weren’t answering the phone, just to get there and found that they had collapsed on the floor.
It is true they could have easily broken the door or window in that situation, but knowing how to pick a lock will only take a few seconds and won’t cause any damage whatsoever.
#4: It is cool and fun
Knowing how to pick a lock often comes with the “cool” feeling. It can also be so much fun. You can get into a contest with other pickers to have fun and even with rewards most of the time. The fun is usually out of this world, knowing that you can easily get into any room in the house by just picking the lock.
Now that we know what lock picking is and what benefits we stand to gain by learning how to pick a lock, let’s see how to pick a lock with some tools and techniques. Trust me, this is a skill really worth learning about.
How To Pick A Lock Without tools
Some people often ask if it is possible to pick a lock without tools. Well, the simple answer to that is yes, you can pick a lock without having any lock picking tools. There are many everyday items you can use to pick a lock – ranging from a bobby pin to paper clips and a knife. Below are some items you can use to pick a lock without tools.
- Coke can
Here, what you only need is a trusty knife and a soda can. You will use them to make a shim that will help you pick the lock. This tool is often used for picking most key-based padlocks and combination locks. You only need to cut the coke can into a rectangle.
Then carefully cut it into an “M” shape. You will need to be careful here because it can be very sharp. If you have a pair of gloves, you may need to use them. After cutting into an “M” shape, then fold the two outer sides of the “M” upward to that you end up with a short “T” shape.
Once the tool is made, just slide it down the sides of the “U” bar of the lock. Push the shim down in between the “U” and the body of the lock. Once it is all the way down, pull up hard on the “U” and the lock will open right up.
- Plastic bottle
It is also easy to pick a lock with a plastic bottle, and that is what most people are referring to when they say they want to pick a lock without tools. This method is often used for the least secure locks, such as the locks of many interior doors.
Here, you only need to tear or cut the bottle into a rectangle or square chunk, about the size of a credit card. What you are trying to do here is to wedge the piece of plastic in between the lock bolt and the door jam. Apply downward pressure on the bolt while you grab the door handle and rock the door back and forth, and the door will open.
- Paper clips
This is another method of picking a lock without tools and we are still going to explain how to do that into details in the course of this post. So keep reading. Paper clips are often used to pick master locks. The only thing you will need is two paper clips and a pair of pliers.
You can also pick a lock with a hairpin. It’s a simple and easy technique anyone can master. Just like the paper clip, all you also need here is two hairpins and a pair of pliers. Again, this will be explained in detail in this post. So just prepare yourself to learn how it is been done soon.
- A knife
This method of using a knife to pick a lock relies on exploiting the space between the lock bolt and the door jam. You just need to slide the knife down on top of the lock bolt. Then apply pressure downward as you push back and forth on the door itself. And boom! The door will be opened.
Now that we know that it is pretty much possible to pick a lock without tools, let’s see how we can do this in a more detailed way.
How To Pick A Lock With A Hairpin Or Bobby Pin
Although locksmith can help a great deal during lockout times, their service can also sometimes be pricey and time-consuming. Picking your lock yourself is a great alternative solution that can help you resolve any lockout issues. With such a simple tool as your hairpin or bobby pin, you might able to let yourself into your home again without any delay. Here are some simple steps when trying to pick a lock with a bobby pin or hairpin.
Step 1: Get the bobby pin and make it into a flat metal piece
The first thing you need to do when you want to pick a lock with a hairpin or bobby pin is to get the pin and try making a tool out of it. Not everyone will have access to professional picking tools, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make one out of a bobby pin.
Get the pin and bend it so that it becomes a long, flat metal wire. That will be your pick, and what you will insert into the lock and use to move the pins out of the way. You will also need to remove the rubber knobs at the ends of the pin so they don’t get in the way when the real deal starts.
Step 2: Bend the tip of the pin into a pick
You will need to bend the tip of your pin into a pick by sticking it into the lock at about one centimeter. Do this with the flat side facing you while you push the rest of the pin towards the left-hand side so it could slightly bend the end of the pin.
Step 3: Bend the other end of the pin to make a handle
While having bend one end of the pin to make your pick, you will also need to bend the other end to make a handle. This will make it easier to hold and put pressure on the pick. So take one end of the pin and bend it halfway on itself so that it creates a little loop.
Step 4: Make your lever by bending a whole bobby pin into a right angle
You can easily do this with a plier. If you don’t have a plier, you can also use your fingers with a little resistance. The lever you are making will function as the key which will turn the actual lock once you have been able to move the pins out of the way via your pick.
Step 5: Insert your lever into the bottom half of the lock
Stick the bent end of the lever into the bottom of the lock. Make sure it goes as deep as possible into the barrel but also as low as possible.
Step 6: Slightly turn the lock
Remember you are using your lever here as the key, to help turn the lock just like you are about to open the door. Although it won’t move that far, you need the pressure. You will need to hold the lock throughout the whole process.
Step 7: Insert your pick, bent side up, and try to feel the pins in the lock
Try to feel the pins by moving them up and down with your pick. When you are able to feel them, push a few of them up as you feel them move and drop back down as you work on the lock. Here, you will need to move your pick up and down around the pins, and try to note the ones that freely moved and the ones that seem stuck.
Step 8: Find the first pin that seems stuck and try to push it up until it clicks
By now, you should have a good mental grasp of the pins that are moving freely and the ones that seem stuck. So try to find the first pin that seems to stock or difficult to move. Apply a consistent pressure on the lever and gently push the pin up until you hear an audible click.
When you hear the click, it means you have just matched up the split in the center of the pin with the barrel, and the pin will now no longer be standing in the way of the lock.
Step 9: Find the rest of the stuck pins and repeat on them too
After finding the first pin that seems to be difficult to be moved and you have got it to click, you will need to find the other stuck pins too. When you find the next pin, gently lift it up also until it clicks in the lock. Go to the next stuck pin and do the same thing until the door finally opens.
That is it. You’ve just picked a lock with a hairpin. Very easy and simple. So next time, you are thinking of breaking down your door because you lost the key, wait and think for a few seconds. Think of how you can pick the lock with a bobby pin and follow the steps above to get the job done.
How To Pick A Lock With A Paperclip
It is also pretty easy to pick a lock with a paperclip. It doesn’t require many materials and can save you money and time when compared with calling a locksmith to help pick your lock. When you want to pick a lock with a paperclip, the first thing you will need to do is to get some paperclips – between 3 and 6. You actually need about 3, but you should also take some extras just in case one of them breaks while bending it or while using it to pick the lock.
Go for a larger version of paperclips because the standard small paperclips are more fragile and could break in the process. You will need one paperclip for the rake and another for the tension wrench.
The second material you will need for this a good pair of needle-nose pliers. You will be needing them to bend the paperclips into shape. If you can’t find a needle nose plier, you can as well use your hand to bend the paperclips if you are the strong type.
You can also do the bending of the paperclips on the door frame or anything that has a hard corner. So let’s now see how to pick a lock with a paperclip.
- Create a tension wrench
This is nothing difficult at all. You only need to entirely straighten out your paperclip but leaving only one loop left at the bottom. Then bend the paperclip at a 90-degree angle. It is important the bent part is about 2-2.5 cm so that the wrench will be long enough to fully fit inside the lock in such a way that it is enough to make it turn.
- Create two picks
You will need to make two picks here. For the first, you will be making what is called a rake. Entirely straighten out a paperclip. Now, bring out your plier and start using it to make small 45 degree bends in the paperclip every 2-3mm. make around 2 to 5 of these bends. Whether more bends or fewer bends, it simply doesn’t matter but I will suggest you go for 3 bends.
The second pick you will be making is going to be a single pin pick. In order to do this, simply straighten half of a paperclip like the others. At the straightened end of the clip, bend it up slightly. The next thing is to start picking the lock.
- Start picking the lock
Now that you have the tools you need to get the job done, now, it’s time to start picking. Stick the tension wrench in the bottom of the lock hole. Then insert the rake inside the top and begin pushing it in and out quickly while you also put pressure down on the wrench in the same direction that you would turn a key. And boom! The lock will open for you.
That is how easy picking a lock with a paperclip can be, so you don’t have to work your head off next time you lost your key, just get your materials and get to work.
Gone are the days when you have to sit and wait for several hours for a locksmith to show up in your house to help you pick your lock. It is now a skill anyone can learn, plus it is absolutely legal so far you don’t have any criminal intent for learning or using it.
There are different ways you can pick a lock without tools and many of them have already been highlighted in this post. Whether you prefer to use a bobby pin, hairpin, paperclip, or knife, there are several options available to you to gain entrance into your house without easting any time.
Don’t wait till the emergency comes, learn lock picking today and enjoy the several benefits that come with the skill.