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How to Pick A Door Lock?

There could be hundreds of reasons why you would want to learn to pick a lock. There are so many situations when you or a family member have forgotten the keys to your door, misplaced the keys, or had your bag stolen only to realize your keys were in it. In all such situations, you can either rely on someone like a locksmith to come and help you out with key cutting or you can rely on your physical strength to break the lock and enter. However, it is much easier to learn to pick a lock and try it yourself.

The only difficult thing in picking a lock is to find the right “kit” or lock picking tools that help you in the process because it is not just a pin and stick with which you can open a lock without its key. You require a whole set of specially designed tools for the job.

What does a lock look like from the inside?

The most run-of-the-mill door locks have the same internal components and the mechanism that runs them. A typical door lock will have cylindrical housing that contains:

  • Driver Pins that are spring-loaded to make for up-down movement.
  • Key Pins attached to the driver pins that touch the key once inserted.
  • Plug or the hole where you insert the key.
  • Shear Line to align the driver pins once the key is inserted.

It is imperative to understand this in order to know what you are up against if you want to pick your own locks. The moment you insert the key in the plug, the key pins push the vertically aligned driver pins, to which they are attached, upwards, against the springs. This causes the unaligned driver pins to get aligned against the sheer line due to the groves on the key. Once the driver pins are aligned, it allows the whole cylinder to turn and release the latch.

The technique that gets it done

Insert the tension wrench at the bottom of the plug or the keyhole and slightly press in the direction you turn the key to apply torque on the cylinder. Next insert the pick on the top of the hole. Now you need to scrub the pick back and forth in the hole so that the key pins push the driver pins to align with the shear line. This is more like a hit-and-miss initially.

The torque on the lock is important because the moment your pins align, the cylinder will rotate and will prevent the pins from dropping in the lock position again while you are scrubbing the pick. You might not be able to get all the pins in a single sweep hence you need to keep moving the pick back and forth until all the pins have aligned with the sheer line and are in unlock position. Remember to practice this because it is only with multiple attempts that you will be able to master the art.