The art of lock picking is no longer a skill used exclusively by the dregs of society. In fact, most criminals have given up on lock picking all together. In the absence of criminality, an amazing hobby has taken hold. I know a lot of people think that it is illegal to own lock picks. I would refer you to our article on the legality of owning lock picks, but this is not the case in very many places in the United States. And just as an FYI, if you don’t have to consult a lawyer before getting into a hobby, then that hobby is most likely lame.
Cool hobbies are the things that people consider as going against the grain of society, but still not illegal. You want your hobby to be like a nice leather jacket. Rugged but still approachable. Practical, but without losing the cool factor. Forget about model trains. Forget about wine tasting. And try your hardest to forget about competitive dog dancing. There will be no need for any other hobbies once you get bit by the lock picking bug. But this bug is a werewolf! And it is going to turn you into a security bypassing beast. If you still aren’t convinced, let’s explore the topic a little further.
The Big Rules
It is important to get you familiar with the most basic ethics behind lock picking before I start giving you the sales pitch. Because lock picking gives you powers beyond the realm of mortal men, you must abide by not only the laws of your land but also the code of the lock pickers. These rules must be followed even when the law is absent or takes no stance on the issue.The guidelines are simple and easy to remember:
- Do not pick locks that you do not own, or have not been given permission by the owner to pick.
- Do not pick locks that are in use.
With that basic two rule framework, you can avoid the morally gray areas of picking. The second rule can have exceptions based on your chosen profession, but the first is a hard and fast rule. Even if you want tobecome a locksmith or other form of security professional, you will always need the permission of the person, whose locks you are picking. Getting this permission, as well as verifying their ownership, keeps everyone safe. It makes sure that you are not breaking the law, and it also makes sure that no one is gaining access that they should not have. The second rule is to protect the lock itself. Excessive picking of a lock will damage it. At that point you will probably have to find a locksmith well versed in the art of damaged lock repair. That means that you should not experiment with locks while they are being used for security. Again, if you are picking locks which are in use for your work, then that is a different story. As a hobbyist, it is important to stay away from such things.
1. It’s Marketable
There are a lot of hobbies that people take up, which don’t really transfer to a job. If you really like to pick locks, then there are actually jobs where you can do it, and get paid. It is true that there is quite a bit more to locksmithing then picking locks, but you don’t have to become a locksmith to use lock picking. There are other jobs in the security field that require quite a bit of lock knowledge and manipulation facility. Businesses and companies will hire private contractors to test out penetration attacks on their security.
Usually, people think about white hat hacking, which people in movies do from a remote location, without ever stepping into the building they are hacking. In the real world, the physical protection that a company has will secure certain servers that cannot be remotely accessed. Such physical protections require physical security penetration. These jobs really do exist and involve you being paid by companies to break in and steal their stuff. The path, to what sounds like easily the most exciting job on the planet, begins with learning the basics of lock picking and constantly practicing what you learn. From there you would move on to access code systems, and maybe even hacking. There is so much cool information that you can learn, and once you do, you are more qualified to use your abilities for legal and profitable employment.
2. It’s Practical
Not only is it practical because it can land you a job, but it also allows you and the people around you to save money on locksmith services. In almost every state you can have lockpicks, you are allowed to use them if given permission by the owner of the lock. Mother-in-law is locked out of her house? Head over there with your lock picks and get her back in just in time to catch Alex Trebek welcoming her to Jeopardy. This is also true for your own home. If you or any of your family members lock themselves out, then you most certainly have your own permission to pick your locks. This ITS Tactical article also talks about how lock picking can save lives.
Essentially, nonviolent entry into a home where an elderly person is living keeps them more safe than someone having to kick the door down. Even if you are not going to go out into the world and begin helping out all the people you know with their lockout conundrums, you will have a lot of knowledge to bestow on the people you meet. Being a resource for information will keep your loved ones safe from locksmith scams. If they think that something is fishy, all they have to do is give you a call. Some scammer is claiming that a basic Kwikset deadbolt (not the SmartKey cylinder) needs to be drilled open because it is “high security”. You are going to be able to tell your friends to send that conman on his way. Hopefully, you will also convince your friends to get better and new locks installed.
3. It’s Impressive
Lock picking is essentially magic to the general public. People do not understand it, and a part of them does not want to understand it. (Ignorance being bliss, and all that.) That means that when you have a couple pieces of metal and a padlock, you are a magician. People have fun and are entertained by the prospect of seeing something out of the norm. A person picking a lock and then passing it around is outside of the realm of basic social interactions. Being knowledgeable about subjects that have real world applications is also pretty cool. I have been at all kinds of parties where people wanted to know about locks and picking them. I once had an incredibly long conversation about how to decode a master key system.
At first, I thought that no one would be interested in the nerdy lock knowledge that you pick up from being in this community, but people love learning weird things. Though I have never met someone that is not interested in learning a bit about locks, I still make sure that they are not bored to death by the subject. It is a subject that everyone has some preconceived notion about because they deal with locks every day. So everyone always has questions. I will often use this as a way to move the conversation on to movies. For example, how the most recent Mission: Impossible (Rogue Nation) shows you a bit of how locks work. Their cell phone lock pick makes no sense, but it still shows how a basic pin tumbler locks on the inside. Then they ask, “Well why wouldn’t it work?” That answer is a whole different blog post, but essentially this breaks the ice and moves the conversation along. All the while, people are impressed.
4. It’s Fun
This may sound subjective, but in my experience, it is a pretty universal truth. Granted, unless the person is very lucky, or naturally adept, the hobby will begin as frustrating. But the fun will come! As soon as you open up a lock you will get an amazingly rewarding sensation of euphoric accomplishment. I can only guess at the reasons for the seemingly across the board reaction to opening a lock, but whatever the reason, the sensation is addicting. Once a person gets a lock open, they rarely give it back. They will lock it back up and try again. This is the obvious reaction. Most people are in disbelief and riding high on wonder. They have done the impossible. After all that talk of how lock picking is not as easy as it looks in the movies, they have completed the same task as James Bond. I remember the first time I picked a lock.
A friend was passing around his picks and a deadbolt. Everyone was giving it a try, and then I got it open. I reluctantly passed it on to the next person, but I wanted to keep going. It may seem, from my example, that addicting is a little more apt than fun, but don’t let my personal lack of impulse control turn you off. There is no sickness that lock picking gives you. It is more like being bitten by a love bug. It is hard to shake. Even as I talk about it I am smiling. If you find it half as fun as I do, you are going to have a great time.
5. It’s Perfect for You
I mean you specifically. Doesn’t it sound perfect? I mean you somehow ended up here on the site, then you started reading the post. Then you got down to the last reason and started to read it. And for those who this doesn’t apply to, they will never see it. So you might say, “Well what if I have only read this part of the article, and haven’t read the rest?” First off: I appreciate the imagination and thought crafting, and even think that your contemplation of this fact shows a level of critical thinking which lends itself perfectly to lock picking. Secondly: I need you to back off. You are coming at me with a lot of hostility, and frankly, I am not in the mood for this level of sass. Are you cooled down? Good.
You should really pick locks. The hobby really compliments the way you live your life. It is going to open up so many different avenues for experience and financial opportunity. You were made to do this! Born into the fate that you would be a great lock picker. And there is no need to act against your destiny. The only thing waiting for you at the end of this path is happiness and treasure beyond your wildest dreams. And your dreams are huge, so that is a lot of treasure and happiness. It is going to be great, just you wait and see.
Between the marketability and the practicality, you would think that I didn’t need to keep going, but there are just so many reasons to take up lock picking. Sure you are going to open yourself up to having some of the coolest jobs on the planet Earth (perhaps even the universe), but more importantly, people are going to think you are a wizard. With the power to open any locks you can get your picks on, and the moral fortitude to keep yourself from using your powers for evil, you will become a real life superhero.
Am I perhaps blowing things out of proportion? Maybe. You, however, will definitely be blowing people’s minds with your veritable “Alohomora” charm. Blowin’ minds and havin’ a grand old time. Truly you will be enjoying yourself at the same time as you are becoming a more rounded and contributing member of your community. The hobby of lock picking just seems to make people better, and you were so great to begin with. Join us, and together we will rule the galaxy.
Is lock picking a good hobby? ›
Lock picking is a fantastic hobby that I would recommend to anyone, its easy to start, cheap to buy the things you need and learn.Why should you learn lock picking? ›
You have to develop muscle memory and sensitivity in your hands to recognize the minute tactile feedback of a lock that you can't see the inside of. Learning to pick locks doesn't just give you a helpful skill, it builds honorable character traits. Join a clever and ethical community of lock picking enthusiasts.What skill is used for lockpicking? ›
Additionally, there is a unique skill that falls under the scope of lock picking called “key impressioning.” This skill allows us to create a working key of basically any pin tumbler lock, a lock mechanism that uses pins, without disassembling the lock.Is lockpicking a crime? ›
Must Show Intent: In most states, and most of the world, owning lock picks is 100% legal. It is only when you use them in an illegal way that you will find trouble. Lock picks in these states are seen by the law in the same light as a screwdriver or hammer.How much do lock pickers make? ›
$13-$28/hr Lock Picking Jobs (NOW HIRING) ZipRecruiter.What are the benefits of locks? ›
- Intensified security. One of the most prominent advantages of installing electronic door locks in your business premises is that it intensifies safety. ...
- Keep Intruders Away. ...
- Eliminate The Use of Keys. ...
- Secure Your Confidential Items. ...
- Tough To Go Through. ...
- Easy Monitoring and Access.
Why should I lock my doors? The harder you make it for a burglar to enter, the less likely a break-in will occur. When you decide to keep your home locked up at all times, you are making a strong effort to protect your family, self, valuables, and privacy.Why is locking important? ›
For centuries locks have been part of our lives we all want to keep our belonging save and our homes too. Door locks are used for security and protection. No one wants to live in a house that does not have a door and locks. It is important to have door locks so that we feel secure in our homes.How do you get good at picking locks? ›
The trick is to start on a clear practice lock or a cut-away lock so you can see how the pins respond to your picks and the key. From there you'll learn how to visualize what's going on in a 'real' lock when you're picking it, and learn how to interpret the information you get from your picks and tension wrench.How easy is it to lockpick? ›
Lock picking is easy to learn and apply, and in a short amount of time, you can learn all the basic lock picking concepts and techniques. While some locks are more difficult to pick than others, a fundamental understanding of lockpicking can help you pick the majority of the locks used today.
Can lockpicking break a lock? ›
There are many ways in which lock picking can permanently damage a lock. Several common ways include breaking the springs, eroding internal components, or even breaking your pick in the keyway. For these reasons and more, you should never pick a lock that is currently in use.What is a 999 key? ›
Bump keys are specially cut keys that can bypass the security mechanisms built into traditional pin and tumbler locks. Bump keys are also referred to as “999 keys” because all of their ridges are cut to the maximum depth (999) in a key-making machine.How long do lockpicks last? ›
The standard lock picks are 0.025” thick and will last for years.What locks can you not pick? ›
6 Locks that Are Hard to Pick and Why
- EVVA MCS. ...
- Baldwin Prestige 380. ...
- The Nuki Smart Lock 2.0. ...
- Kwikset 980. ...
- Yale Keyless Connected Ready Smart. ...
- Abloy Protect 2.
Although lock-picking can be associated with criminal intent, it is an essential skill for the legitimate profession of locksmithing, and is also pursued by law-abiding citizens as a useful skill to learn, or simply as a hobby (locksport).Is locksmithing considered a trade? ›
Locksmithing is the science and art of making and defeating locks. Locksmithing is a traditional trade and in many countries requires completion of an apprenticeship.Is lockpicking a trade? ›
Simple lock picking is a trade that anyone can learn. However, advanced lock picking is a craft that requires mechanical sensitivity, physical dexterity, visual concentration and analytic thinking. If you strive to excel at lock picking, you will grow in many ways.Why do girls wear locks? ›
The lock necklace is an ancient symbol that signifies security and protection. It has become a valuable fashion accessory these days, especially when the world becomes more unsafe outside.Is a lock of hair lucky? ›
A common superstition holds that a lock of hair from a baby's first haircut should be kept for good luck. An old Irish superstition holds that it is unlucky to accept a lock of hair (or a four-footed beast) from a lover.What is the spiritual meaning of locks? ›
Locs represent a devotion to purity, and since the locs are found around the head and face it acts as a constant spiritual reminder to its owner that they own force, wisdom, and are expected to generate goodness onto themselves and others. Shiva. In Hindu culture Shiva was said to have “Tajaa,” twisted locs of hair.
What are the key features of locking? ›
It relies on fast and distinct arm and hand movements combined with more relaxed hips and legs. The movements are generally large and exaggerated, and often very rhythmic and tightly synced with the music.Do locks prevent theft? ›
Doors and Locks
Despite the high number of open-door-and-window break-ins, most burglaries do involve some sort of forcible entry. Many locks—particularly those placed on secondary doors like those on back porches and garage doors—aren't strong enough to keep the people out.
The name is based on the concept of locking movements, which basically means freezing from a fast movement and "locking" in a certain position, holding that position for a short while and then continuing in the same speed as before.What is an example of locking? ›
The car locks automatically when you start the engine. The wheels locked and the car skidded off the road. They were locked in each other's arms. She locked her hands around the steering wheel.Who invented first lock? ›
The earliest patent for a double-acting pin tumbler lock was granted to American physician Abraham O. Stansbury in England in 1805, but the modern version, still in use today, was invented by American Linus Yale, Sr. in 1848. But, other famous locksmiths patented their lock designed before and after Linus.Can most locks be picked? ›
Essentially, every lock that has key cylinder is susceptible to lock picking. But the most common locks that you will find on domestic doors are a mortice and/or Yale (night latch) for a wooden door and a euro cylinder lock for a uPVC (plastic) door.What is the fastest way to pick a lock? ›
- Insert Tension Wrench into the Bottom of Key Hole and Apply Slight Pressure. ...
- Insert Pick at Top of Lock. ...
- While Applying Slight Torque to Your Wrench, Scrub Your Pick Back and Forth in the Key Hole. ...
- Repeat Until All the Pins Set.
That's only 1.36% of TOTAL burglaries that utilize either picking a lock or shimming.How thick should lockpick be? ›
As shown in the pictures of Peterson picks below, the thickness can vary greatly between picks (0.37mm vs 0.64mm). Shown below are the Peterson Slenders at 0.015 of an inch vs the standard 0.025 of an inch.Can you lockpick every lock? ›
In conclusion, every lock can be lockpicked. However, keep in mind most you will encounter (90%) are low security, and that with training you will be able to open 90% of the locks you see within a minute, usually within fifteen seconds, and that you will be able to open 95% of the locks without five.
What percentage of burglars pick locks? ›
Less than 2% of burglaries involve shimming or picking a lock.What are the golden rules of lockpicking? ›
Rule 1: never pick a lock that you don't own or do not have permission to pick. Rule 2: do not pick locks that you rely on or that are in use. Rule 1 is pretty straightforward. It's your good old fashion, common sense, “stay-out-of-jail” rule.How long does it take to lockpick a door? ›
It can take anywhere from 7 seconds to 45 minutes for a locksmith to pick open a lock. Generally a locksmith should be able to unlock most doors in about 10 minutes. Of course this is effected by the type of lock.Can I bring a lock pick set on a plane? ›
Tools that are 7 inches or less in length are allowed in carry-on bags. Please check with local law enforcement regarding traveling with this item. Any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.How long should it take to pick a lock? ›
It can take anywhere from 7 seconds to 45 minutes for a locksmith to pick open a lock. Generally a locksmith should be able to unlock most doors in about 10 minutes. Of course this is effected by the type of lock.Is it really possible to pick a lock with a paperclip? ›
Picking a lock with paper clips works pretty much the same way as picking a lock with a traditional tension wrench and rake. You just need to turn two paper clips into those two very same tools, and then pick the lock with them like you'd normally do.How much should it cost to pick a lock? ›
You can expect to pay between $65 to $200. A locksmith should be able to open your door in minutes by picking your lock. You should be wary of a locksmith attempting to use a drill immediately for this task.Is lockpicking destructive entry? ›
Lockpicking is the art of opening a lock through the analysis and manipulation of its components without using a key intended to open the lock. The process is generally non-destructive and covert and is contrasted with various forms of destructive entry.What is the easiest lock to pick? ›
One of the most common (and easiest to pick) locks is the pin-and-tumbler, which is a type of cylinder lock. Cylinder locks are used in most deadbolts. When picking a pin-and-tumbler lock, put the tension wrench in the keyhole and turn it as if it was a key.Which lock is harder to pick? ›
In the world of lock manufacturers, the name Abloy holds an exalted reputation. Their series of Abloy Protect 2 locks are near unpickable due to two key factors. The locks have advanced manipulation resistance, making them impossible to be picked.
Can a lock be pick proof? ›
No locks are truly pick proof, or ensure that an intruder cannot pass them, but you can take steps to improve the security of your current external doors. If you are concerned your current lock may be vulnerable, you might want to consult an experienced Locksmith.Is there a lock that Cannot be cut? ›
Contrary to the name, these actually do have a shackle, but the steel body completely encases it. No part of it is exposed, making it impossible to tamper with or cut the shackle.
However, sometimes a broken lock pick can turn into a nightmare—with clowns and everything. You see, one of the most common reasons why lock picks break is due to getting snagged or pinched in the keyway while the picker is maneuvering them.
However, any professional, trustworthy locksmith will know how to pick your lock and get you back into your home or car without damaging the lock.Can locksmiths pick all locks? ›
A licensed locksmith possesses the skills and tools to unlock almost any door lock, including safe combinations locks. The first thing a locksmith will do is try to manipulate the mechanism that is intended to open the lock, this is known as picking the lock.How do you stop lockpicking? ›
This is because fewer components need to be manipulated to gain entry. In order to prevent this type of manipulation, locks should be produced with a higher number of pins. Alternatively, locks with side locking pins can be used as they provide a different pin angle to overcome when picking.
A false set, or fake set, is when the pins in the lock are set, but not truly set. You'll need a tension wrench and your lock pick and a padlock to try this out, to learn all about false sets.