Locksmith Education, Guidance, and Reviews

September 2, 2009

Common (and some uncommon) tools used by locksmiths


As we mentioned in a couple of articles earlier, there are several tools used by locksmiths for a wide range of services that they provide to the community at large. While most of them are to do with the opening of locked cars and doors, there are some uses which are pretty surprising to even read!

If you have not read the earlier articles we’ve written about the tools used by locksmiths, you can do so here and here.

We also mentioned about the usage of a unique tool called a Slim Jim and if you’ve missed out on that, you can get updated here.

But that is not the entire range of tools used by modern locksmiths. Since the profession has gone hi-tech, there are a lot of tools used by them to open electronic tools, but we won’t go there in this article. That is for later. But what we’ll do in this article is run through some of the most unique tools used by the profession.

The pic we have here (courtesy – Internet) is of a common set of tools which can be obtained at any good hardware store – provided your state laws allow the possession of these tools. Some of the other tool sets are

  • JackKnife Picks
  • Tubular Lock Picks
  • Vehicle Entry Tools
  • Snap Guns, Electric Picks, and other automatic equipment


The Jackknife set is among the most popular ones in the recent times. Like the name suggests, it is a set of lock picking tools that fits into a small pocket knife styled holder. Actually, it is more of like a Swiss knife, which opens different lock picks in different angles and they all fold back in. Most of the common tools including the ones shown in the picture above are present in this innovation, and thanks to the ease of carrying, this happens to be one of the most sold over the counter items. Especially for amateur locksmiths and for people whose hobbies include picking locks for fun.

The next set of tools are the tubular lock picks, which are again a modern innovation. Since the invention of locks that are tubular in nature (the shape, that is), the traditional locks have gone down in sales. Most houses now feature advanced locks that come with a tubular frame and the pins inside are operated by keys which cannot be duplicated normally. To open those locks, there are tubular lock picks, and these picks are capable of working with the tubular locks with high spring pressures as well. These are available in 7-8 pin configurations.

Vehicle entry tools are some of the most popular lock picking sets sold over the counters, and most cars would have some sort of a tool – be it a normal wedge that goes into the beading to pop the door open, or a more advanced set of auto lock jigglers which are quite popular with experts. Since modern cars don’t open with sheets of metal or with plastic wedges, there are new kinds of door openers that have come into vogue. For instance, there is an inflatable car door wedge that fits into the gap between the window and the beading on the front door and can be inflated through a little balloon on one end. This leads to additional pressure exertion – and that too without damaging the locking rod or other parts. Then there is a more advanced navigator locksmith scope that is perfect for lockpicking experts. This scope, like the name suggests, comes with a viewer that shows the user the lock’s functions once it is inserted into the keyhole. This kind of an opener is especially useful in opening automatic locks, and since most of the new cars come with this kind of a locking system, these navigator tools are quite in demand.

We won’t talk here about the electric and electronic lock openers as that is a lot of articles by itself. But most of the people out there would know about the way these lock openers work – including the most popular snap gun lock pick.

In the next articles, we’ll go into each of these kinds of lock picking tools in detail, and also come up with videos that show how each can be used. Stay tuned.


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