Locksmith Education, Guidance, and Reviews

October 9, 2009

Types of locks, and Picking them – I

In this blog at various times we mentioned about lock picking, and we also put up a couple of articles about lock picking tools. In case you missed it, there was a video about picking locks, and you can search for that in the archives – it is real exciting!

This two part series is a basic run down on how one can pick basic locks of different kinds.

By definition, lock picking is the process of manipulating the interiors of a lock without spoiling or breaking them. Even since locks were invented, lock picking has been around, and even the most complex of locks can be picked. Contrary to what people think, the best locksmiths can even pick the modern locking marvels – provided they have the right information, the right tools, and the right information.

Let’s start our lock picking sojourn with a simple dead bolt.

You need a thin flat piece of metal and a lock picking tool to pick a simple dead bolt. If you have a torsion tool which bends to 90 degrees, that should be fine. Else, take the thin piece of metal and bend it to 90 degrees. Now, insert it into the lowest part of the keyhole and rake over the lock pins in the locking system. Raking over them makes them a bit loose and easier to pick. Slide the tool into the bottom of the keyhole and turn it as if you were turning a key in the lock. Apply constant pressure on it and insert the pick tool into the top the keyhole. When you are applying pressure with the torque tool, use the pick tool on top to rake each of the pins of the deadbolt lock. When the pressure on each pin is right, you will notice the pins moving up to their right positions. Let each pin come to their correct position, and you will notice the lock pop open.

If you are wondering if it is truly that easy, it is! Just that you need to get a hang of the process. Applying the right kind of pressure on the torsion tool is the key here, and each pin needs to be pushed up just right, so it pops open. The right position of all the pins is known as ‘Sheer Alignment’ and once that is reached, the lock will pop open. With time, you will be able to open the deadbolt faster.

There are some kinds of bolts however, which have an added level of a lock inside, and for those you need to work extra hard. If you are on the inside of a home, you will naturally turn an additional knob on top to keep it safe, and that is the way to go! From the outside, when you need to crack the door open, and you find that there is an additional bolt lock inside, you will need to repeat the whole procedure once again with the other set too. Here is a video which will help you open the door easily.

Video courtesy – Monkey See

September 4, 2009

Lock Pick Guns

PG-20 We mentioned earlier about tools used by locksmiths to manually open locks. That ran to two parts and if you have not read them, here are Part – I and Part – II. We also wrote about Slim Jims and other uncommon tools used by locksmiths in general and you can find them from our archives or you can use the search box on this blog.

What we did not cover is the lock pick guns, and that is what we will be doing in this article.

Ever since lock pick guns were invented a couple of decades ago, the concept of lock picking has undergone a radical change. This has also led to locksmiths complicating locks so that they cannot be picked by every amateur with this gun. Actually, unlike what a lot of people think, just owning a lock pick gun will not make any person a lock picker. A lot of people walk in to stores and ask for automatic lock pick guns, buy the best ones by spending a couple hundred dollars, and when they come home and try it on the lock at home, they realize that the lock is not popping open!

So what are these contraptions, and why are they so popular?

The basic reason these were invented was to partly automate the process of picking locks. Though the guns are called automatic, they don’t crack open locks all by themselves. What they do instead, is use Physics laws of energy transfer to put pressure on the pins and cylinders inside the lock, and make it easy even for an amateur to open basic locks. To open the more complex locks an expert with considerable practice in using these guns is needed, but most of the experts anyway don’t need this machine to open locks!!

The original concept of lock pick guns was so they could be used by law enforcement authorities to break into a house, when needed, without the need for additional training on lock picking. As locks got more secure, the lock pick guns also got more complex, and today (as you can see from the picture above), there are multiple picks that go into a gun to help open different kinds of locks. In fact, the picture we put up (courtesy – Internet) is just a basic lock pick gun, and there are ones which are far more complex. The modern versions of lock pick guns are with electric motors. These electric lock pick guns are for use on the locks which need more pressure exerted – like the cylindrical cam locks, or other modern locking systems which don’t give out so easily. Since a manual lock pick can only exert so much pressure, electric ones have been invented. We’ll bring to you a separate article about that in a few days time.

The basic kind of lock pick gun is called the ‘snap’ lock pick gun, as the action when you pull the trigger actually a snap of the spring inside. This snap exerts considerable pressure on the locking drum or cylinder inside the lock, and force it to pop open. For different kinds of locks there are different kinds of picks which can be added onto the lock pick gun as extensions, and there are about 10 different kinds of picks available in the market. Between them, they can snap open most of the kinds of locks we see normally.

A lock pick gun usually comes with a user manual, and these manuals have detailed information on how to use these guns. Then there are a series of videos which are anyway available (and we will bring you the best of them here next week) on using these guns to crack open locks that are more advanced. A good locksmith will be able to use a lock pick gun and open even the most complicated lock within a few minutes. With a bit of practice, you also should be able to open the basic locks we use in our homes. Lock Pick guns are quite an innovation, and the only real danger is that once you get used to them you can’t use the manual lock picks again!

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