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What is in a Locksmith’s Toolbox?

You probably already know there is nothing more important than a worker’s tools – and locksmiths are no exception. Having the right tools for a job can help ensure a locksmith gets their work done easier and faster. Unless the locksmith is Macgyver, turning up to a job with the wrong tools is going to make things very interesting. (more…)
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What are High-Security Locks?

If you’ve ever taken the time to stop and look you may have noticed that some locks are better than others. This means using a lock from your local store isn’t necessarily going to protect you and your stuff. This is where high-security locks come into play. High-security locks are harder to compromise and will help increase your lock picking skills.

What Makes Them Better Than Your Average Everyday Lock?

The first difference you’ll notice between an everyday lock and a high-security lock is the price. High-security locks are more expensive thanks to their complex internal components. This provides a level of extra security that everyday locks can't compete with.

Everyday Locks Lock icon

You can buy everyday locks at any home improvement store or big box stores like Bunnings or Kmart. Most of the locks you will find in these stores are cylinder locks. These locks rely on conventional pin stacks and sidebar mechanisms. They provide the most basic level of protection. 

These basic locks are also susceptible to unauthorized access. If you only need basic protection, everyday locks are a good solution. This is because they can be re-keyed by a locksmith with minimal effort. This can be especially helpful if you tend to lose your keys or are starting out in lock picking.

Are Standard Locks Secure?

Why are most locks standard? In your community there is a level of trust. A standard lock will be more than sufficient for the majority of people. One of the benefits of lock sport is to understand weaknesses in your home or business security so we can make improvements.

There are three common methods an intruder may use to open an everyday lock without the keys:

⬇️

  • Bumping. This method opens a lock using a specially designed key (a bump key). This key forces the tumblers inside the cylinder to align. Once the tumblers of the cylinder align, the lock is easily opened. With this method, an intruder can open the lock with no evidence of tampering.

Picking. Lock picking requires the use of a special kit. This kit provides the tools needed to align the pins in the cylinder. Once these pins are aligned the lock will pop open, leaving very little evidence of tampering.

  • Drilling. This is a more intrusive method of opening an everyday lock. It uses an ordinary drill that you pick up from a home improvement store. The drill bores through the cylinder of the lock, opening it. Unlike bumping, drilling leaves behind evidence of tampering.

Remember the rules! Only pick locks you own!

This is, by no means, a comprehensive list of the ways to open an everyday lock without a key. There are locks designed to be resistant to such methods of access. However, the protection gained with these locks is still lagging when compared to high-security locks.

High-Security Locks

High-security locks are more complex than everyday locks. As their name suggests, they are much more difficult to break into. They use a complicated system of pins that include either diagonal or horizontal access. This is a system that holds its own against the traditional methods of opening a lock without a key.

The complex system of pins is only part of the equation on how these locks provide extra security. Here are some other characteristics that make it difficult to open a high-security lock:

  • Forced Entry Resistance. The design of these locks often includes reinforced rods and plates in the cylinder. This makes provides a layer of protection against drilling to gain unauthorized access.

 

  • Restrictive Keyways. The design of these locks boasts narrow keyways. This makes it difficult to use tools within the lock. This prevents unauthorized access via picking.

 

  • Key Control. High-security locks come with registered keys. Registering keys means that you must give permission to duplicate a key.
  • Manipulation Resistance. The design of these locks means that it would take a longer time to gain access to the lock. The design also means that the only way to gain access requires tools that will make noise. This alone is a deterrent for intruders, giving that extra bit of security.

 

  • Reinforced Doorframe Plates. These plates provide an extra level of protection. They help keep the doorframe secure and prevent an intruder from kicking in the door. This is a design feature aimed at protecting the integrity of the high-security lock.

The design of the high-security lock is carefully crafted. The methods used to gain unauthorized access are proactively addressed through design elements. However, rather than try to make the locks undefeatable, the design of high-security locks makes it too time-consuming and too expensive.

So Why Get a High-Security Lock?

High-security locks are a great alternative for both your home and your office. The unique features of these locks work to provide a high level of protection against intruders.

In your business, installing high-security locks almost serves as an insurance policy. These locks protect your business from theft, a problem that can cripple a business. These locks also ensure that private paperwork and data remain protected.

In your home, this means you, your loved ones, and your possessions are safe. You can sleep at night knowing that you are safe and that an outsider won’t easily open the locks on your doors.

Don’t Depend on The Label

The design and labeling of some locks can easily lull you into believing they are high-security. Walk into your local home improvement store or big box store and you'll know what we mean. Locks that claim they are high-security and will give you extra protection. The truth of the matter? True high-security locks are not found in these stores. Getting a lock that will provide the extra protection needed requires a lockshop or a locksmith.

When you're in the market for a high-security lock, here are some things to look for:

Security Lock iconHardened Steel Bolts. These can withstand high levels of force, preventing the lock from bending or snapping, or being cut.

Drill Protection. Make sure your set screws and the shear line of the lock have protection. It is common practice to protect these areas with hardened steel ball bearings.

Metal Content. You want a lock that is heavy and does not use plastic components as a cost-saving measure. Locks with empty space or plastic parts reduce your level of protection.

Bypass Resistance. While they may be convenient, they weaken the security provided by the lock. Make sure you research the model you are considering.

Registered Keys. This prevents keys from being duplicated without permission. Fewer duplicate keys means less access to what is being protected.

Before purchasing any high-security lock, make sure you review all specs on the lock model you are considering. This will help you identify any weak points with the lock. This also helps you ensure the lock is, in fact, a high-security lock--a necessity if you want true protection.

Best Practice Locks For Beginners

So you’re taking up lock picking? Welcome! First up, you’re going to need some practice locks. Keep in mind it’s definitely not a good idea to practice on locks around the house, and PickPals recommends never using an active lock for practice. These can break the bank if you end up breaking the lock, and you’re still new and inexperienced at this, remember?

When learning the art of lock picking, practice locks are just as important as a set of quality lock picks. At PickPals we have a huge range of practice locks for beginners through to advanced. The most common practice locks are:

  1. Clear Locks
  2. Cutaway Locks
  3. Progressive Locks

So which locks are ideal for beginners? Good question.

Clear plastic locks are a standard keyway set in an acrylic plastic mould. Not only do these locks look pretty cool, the clear practice locks allow you develop an understanding of how the locking mechanism works when manipulating the locks.

Advantages of clear plastic locks

  • Very clear view of locking mechanism and moving parts
  • Great for absolute beginners
  • Come as a standard lock or a padlock form

Available in standard, spool and serrated pins

Padlock Practice Lock Picking

Cutaway locks are a standard lock, often cast in brass with a cutaway window so once again the pins can be seen as they are manipulated when picking.

Advantages of cutaway locks

  • Visually understand how pins work
  • Match feedback to feel – especially with the security pins
  • Mix of standard and security pins
  • Locks can be re-pinned

Available in standard, spool and serrated pins

We also sell locks referred to a progressive system. The progressive system usually comes as a set of locks, with an incremental the pins start at 2. The Sparrows Progressive Locks can also be re-pinned to make them harder/easier so they will last a long time and provide great value. The progressive locks are a great idea for those who want to practice without windows, much as you would experience in real life. This allows you to develop feedback and a real feel of the pins.

Advantage of progressive locks

  • The progressives are great and you can create a thousand combinations
  • Stronger and more realistic feedback
  • No cheating, learn to lock pick via feel
  • As you progress you can increase difficulty
  • All standard pin (can be re-pinned to security pins)
  • Locks can be re-pinned
Sparrows Progressive Lock

The Ultimate Bundle is a set we put together and includes a few more items. It is like our Night School on steroids. You could buy the Night School and the Reload Kit which lets you pull the locks apart and re-pin, but at that point, we’d steer you toward the Ultimate Bundle.

Sparrows Night School Tuxedo Cutaways

Honestly, here at PickPals we are huge fans of the Night School for beginners. It contains almost everything you’ll ever need in terms of picks, and once you master those locks you can modify them and then move onto other locks. These locks are actually the same too, and you can re pin the other locks in the same progressive system. The Night School can be added to later, while The Ultimate Bundle as explained above will keep you going for a very long time.

And what about buying locks from the hardware store?

We’re often asked if buying locks from a hardware store is good for practicing lock picking. Firstly, these locks can be very expensive to buy and while you may be able to pick them, they do not act as a training tool. Cheap locks from hardware stores are usually made in such a way that they are very easy to pick, but give you no understanding of actually how to pick a lock – and that’s what you’re here to learn, right?

High security locks that are harder to pick may be a good idea for your lock picking progression, however, due to the high quality and technology, you can also expect higher prices. Our recommendation would be to use locks you have lying around the house already that are not in use. Another option is to get involved with a Lock Picking Association and trade some locks with your new friends.

In short, all of our practice locks are great starters, and are designed as a learning aid.

Practice locks can range in the number of pins they contain (more pins = higher level of difficulty), standard, or security pins. The most common security pins are practice locks, which are perfect for refining your lock-picking skills. With many practice locks re-pinnable, if they are damaged you can rebuild the locks.

There are different practice locks for different purposes, and everyone has their own preferences. Over your lock picking career, you’ll amass a collection of locks; some you will find easy and others you’ll probably want to throw out the window!

So welcome to the world of lock picking, pal – let’s get picking!

  • Clear Practice Padlock

    $USD 32.04 $USD 17.80
  • Clear Practice Lock

    $USD 34.89
  • Sparrows Progressive Locks

    $USD 70.48
  • Sparrows Reload Kit

    $USD 28.48
  • Sparrows Revolver Cylinder Practice Lock

    $USD 63.36 $USD 52.68
  • Sparrows Cutaway Practice Lock – Standard Pin

    $USD 42.00 $USD 27.77
  • Progressive Bundle Reloaded

    $USD 120.32 $USD 98.96
  • Practice Hand Cuff

    $USD 32.04
  • High Quality Padlock Shims (Pack of 20)

    $USD 34.89 $USD 32.04
  • Sparrows Cutaway Practice lock – Spool pins

    $USD 30.61
  • Sparrows Cutaway Practice Lock – Check Pins

    $USD 30.61
  • Clear Practice Lock (Spool Pins)

    $USD 34.89

Lock Picking Facts about Topy

Many of you will be familiar with Topy and his amazing lock picking skills. Here at PickPals, we thought we’d get to know him a little bit better with a little interrogation of our own.
We put out any questions you may have to the Australian Lock Sport Guild and got some great questions that we put to Topy.
The answers are great reading and inspiration for your picking.  Like how Topy learnt to pick, his favourite locks to pick and where the future of security is heading.
Lets get to the questions…

One day, on school camp, I managed to open a lock with some poorly improvised tools and zero idea about what I was doing, but I got lucky and people thought it was super cool.

3. Is there anyway, other than lots of experience, to work out the best way to attack a lock. Eg. shimming, raking, SPP, bypass, bumping etc?

Get Behind Michael Maynard’s Gorilla Picking

Many of you will be familiar with MH Maynard and his amazing gorilla lock picking skills. Here at PickPals, we thought we’d get to know him a little bit better with a little interrogation of our own.

We put out any questions you may have to the Australian Lock Sport Guild and got some great questions that we put to Michael.

The answers are great reading and inspiration for your picking.  Like how Michael learnt to pick, his favourite locks to pick and where the future of security is heading.

Lets get to the questions…

I like Mul-T-Locks in general, and the Mul-T-Lock MT5+ in particular, no doubt about it. I love the precision that pin-in-pin dimple locks demand, and  Mul-T-Locks are the best of all of the brands available - they are engineered to amazingly fine tolerances so there's just no room for error. The MT5+ has the sidebar as well so to beat that thing you need to be incredibly precise with both pin in pin dimple picking AND sidebar slider picking. The other thing I really like about picking dimple locks is that dimple picks are amazingly personal - you can't just buy one and start picking.

 You have to go through a process of buying and modifying commercial picks until you find the shape that works for you, and I really enjoy that.  A pick that works for me, probably won't work for you in the same lock - you have to evolve your own style and technique.

Sparrows Tron
But more specifically...I'd just like to see more manufacturers do the basics very, very well. A standard six pin lock made to good tolerances and with a few security pins plus a tight paracentric keyway provides FAR more security than the average domestic or commercial consumer is ever going to need...and costs very little more to make than a lock with a wide open keyway and standard pins. Which is easier to pick? A German six pin DOM, or a six pin Lockwood with a C4 keyway?  I'd be willing to bet that the DOM costs barely a few cents more than the Lockwood to produce.

I've never even seen one, only heard about them.  This is one of the best things about lockpicking - no matter how good you get, there's always one more difficult lock to beat...

Unlocking Tipene’s Known Ways to Picking

Many of you will be familiar with Tipene Nga Puhi and his awesome lock picking skills. Here at PickPals, we thought we’d get to know him a little bit better with a little interrogation of our own.
We put out any questions you may have to the Australian Lock Sport Guild and got some great questions that we put to Tipene.
The answers are great reading and inspiration for your picking.  Like how Tipene learnt to pick, his favourite locks to pick and where the future of security is heading.
Lets get to the questions…

I should also mention I met Michael Maynard around this time after we engaged in a bidding war for 3 old Lockwood Padlocks on the Trademe auction site.  We have been mates ever since and his support and encouragement has got me where I am today.  The man's an unbelievable picker and has an incredible analytical mind.  If people aren't already watching his YouTube channel, they are missing out on a treat.
Sparrows Tron
Not being a Locksmith, I've never been “ON THE JOB”, so never.
Sparrows Progressive Lock

About Lock Picking

A history of locks, security, manipulation and an art.

Lock Picking has been around for hundreds of years, it is as old as the lock itself. So the story goes, an English engineer by the name of Joseph Bramah created a lock he was so confident couldn’t be picked he published the design and created a contest with a reward for anybody who could bypass the security features of this new design. His legacy continues today with the sport of Lock Picking also known as Lock Sport. The sport of Lock Picking became more mainstream in the 80’s, supposedly a group at MIT in the US came together weekly to practice the skill. Lock Picking is now coming out of the dark, and is rapidly gaining momentum throughout Australian and New Zealand. Lock Picking is fun, totally addictive and provides many other benefits, it increases your fine motor skills, patience, and concentration. The sport of Lock Picking is now enjoyed by thousands of people around the world with a growing number here in Australia & New Zealand. The participants of the sport of Lock Picking are ethical and follow a very strict code of conduct. Lock Picking, like any other sport requires a lot of skill, patience, and dedication. We would even go so far to say lock picking is an art, not something you will find used by criminals or alike.

So who’s into Lock Picking and Lock Sport?

The first thought when people come across lock picking is that it is for criminals, generally, it is portrayed this way in the movies. This simply isn’t true! Lock Pickers are men and women of all ages, people who enjoy games and puzzles, as well as military members, preppers and those tinkers who just like to know how things work are just some of the folks who enjoy the sport. Hobbyists and enthusiasts sharing a common interest now meet yearly to put there lock picking skills against each other. Lock Picking is very addictive, there is no other feeling like popping (opening) your first lock and you will be hungry for more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw4C6Y8MA8A  

Lock Picking as a Sport

There are competitions held all over the world. Those who are up for the challenge attend events and contests to test their skills against other lock pickers. The best part is you don’t even need to leave the house to practice this sport! At PickPals we try to support the sport of Lock Picking (Lock Sports) and promote the positive side of the sport, so that the people of Australia and New Zealand can enjoy it. In no way do we or anyone else involved in the sport condone any sort of criminal activity.

Lock Picking, not for criminals

Criminals are opportunists and are not walking around with lock picks ready to tackle a lock. Criminals act on impulsive using blunt force methods of entry, which are much simpler than picking the lock. Australia insurance statics back this up with the most common method of entry being smashing down a door or a window. Ok, so you’re ready to learn about how lock picking works? Check out our guide.
Easy Pickings - Guide Book

7 myths of lock picking

Oh, we get it. Lock picking is taboo. But believe it or not, it’s a fast-growing hobby both in Australia and around the world, and what many people don’t yet realize is that it is a very engaging, fulfilling pastime that comes with a range of benefits. So let’s explore some of the myths surrounding lock picking, debunk (most of) them, and then hopefully you’ll see why you should give it a go.

Myth #1

“Lock picking is only for criminals!”

Lock picking is an art. It takes time, skill and determination to understand how locks are picked. The lock picking community is dedicated to protecting the sport and follows a strict code of ethics.

Myth #2

“Lock picking is not a sport”

Lock picking is practiced all around the world. In many countries such as the UK, Netherlands, USA and Australia, competitions are held for challengers to test their skills against others in the community. Organisations such as TOOOL run these competitions and the trend has been growing year-on-year.

Intro Lock Pick Set
Pickpals Intro Bundle Clear Lock

Myth #3

“Lock picking is only used by locksmiths”

Lock picking was once the default practice of locksmiths, however with the advance in technology, traditional lock picking has taken a back seat to newer, quicker methods of entry. There are even groups within the lock picking community that are focused on protecting the art of lock picking.

PickPals Ultimate Bundle Learn LockPicking
Sparrows Vorax Lock Pick Set
Sparrows Night School Tuxedo Edition +

Myth #4

 

“Lock picking is hard”

Like any skill, lock picking is going to take time to learn. However, we have a range of products to get you opening your first lock and feeling the excitement that comes with hearing that satisfying first “click”.

Myth #5

 

“Lock picking is expensive”

We have a range of tools for every budget. Our tools are of the highest quality and will last a lifetime if used and cared for properly. With our intro set starting at just $29, you can give lock picking a go without breaking the bank. In many cases we also offer free shipping as well as bonus guides and tutorials on our website.

Myth #6

 

“Lock picking is addictive”

Ok, this one is true. Lock picking is highly addictive. Once you open or ‘pop’ your first lock, you’ll just want more and more. It’s a great sense of accomplishment to open a lock, much like working on a puzzle. We’ve heard of some people taking days to understand and open a single lock!

  • PickPals Intro Lock Pick Bundle Plus

    $USD 88.28 $USD 70.48
  • PickPals Intro Lock Pick Set

    $USD 20.65
  • PickPals Intro Padlock Bundle – Limited time only

    $USD 49.84 $USD 35.60
PickPals Australian Bump Keys
Sparrows Progressive Locks Buy

Myth #7

 

“Lock Picking isn’t for me”

We sell lock picks to everyone. From mechanically-minded folk who want to understand how to work and manipulate a lock, to seniors who work on their fine motor skills, to die-hard Doomsday Preppers fans who need tools for the field, lock-picking appeals to people from all walks of life. Lock picking is a fantastic skill we encourage men and women of all ages to try.

 

If you have any more myths or questions, be sure to get in touch with us - we’d love to hear from you.

  • Australian Bump Key Set

    $USD 32.04 $USD 27.77
    Available on:
  • Brockhage BPG-15 – Downward Lock Pick Gun

    $USD 70.48 $USD 56.24
  • Clear Practice Lock Bundle

    $USD 98.96 $USD 70.48
  • Clear Practice Padlock

    $USD 32.04 $USD 17.80
  • Comb .45

    $USD 20.65 $USD 17.09
  • Cutaway 6 Pin Re-pinnable Euro Lock

    $USD 63.36 $USD 56.24
  • Cutaway Lock Bundle

    $USD 127.44 $USD 104.66
  • High Quality Padlock Shims (Pack of 20)

    $USD 34.89 $USD 32.04
  • HPC Flip-It Tool Plug Spinner

    $USD 77.60 $USD 70.48
  • Law Lock Tools – CTR Pro Lock Pick Set

    $USD 98.96 $USD 91.84
  • Law Lock Tools – EDC Pro Lock Pick Set

    $USD 98.96 $USD 91.84
  • Law Lock Tools – Tipene Hogsnout Hybrid Pro

    $USD 20.65 $USD 17.80

How To Apply Tension When Lock Picking

Okay. Topic of this video, guys, is how to tell when you've got the right amount of tension. Honestly and truly, this is a subject that beginners get hung up on all the time. So, listen. This is important. The first thing is, you can't give an absolutely specific number. If I said you want 3.2 Newtons, that's just ridiculous. What you want is enough tension so that one pin binds. That's it. That's as complicated as it gets, fellows. Let's say I've got no tension on that lock at all at the moment. I've put my pick in there, and surprise, surprise, none of those pins are binding. Right. On the other hand, let's say I put an absolutely ridiculous amount of tension on there. You can see how much that big, thick pry bar is bending. Everything’s locked solidly in there. I just can't get any decent feedback from that at all. Somewhere between those two extremes is going to be the point where just one pin, there we go, you heard me set the thing there, right? There was just one pin binding there. I could feel it was binding. I set it, and off I went. That is how you tension a lock. There's no mystery to it, fellows. It is just a case of finding that amount where one pin binds, and nothing else does. Easy as that.

Disk Detainer Locks – Lock Picking 101

What you're looking in front of you there is a disc detainer padlock. There's something you got to get straight in your head. This lock is a disc padlock, sometimes called a discus. That's not what we're talking about today, so put that thing out of your mind. We're not talking about that. What we are talking about is the locking mechanism of this padlock here. It doesn't have a normal key. It has a key like that, which is usually half round on one side, and flat on the other side. Sometimes in a really cheap one, it's flat on both sides, like this thing is, and it's got these funny angled cuts in it. These angled cuts fit into the little discs inside that mechanism, and it's lining up those discs that you've got to do to open the lock. The sort of pick that you use for that is one of these strange looking things. They pick completely different to any other lock that you've ever dealt with, guys. It's not a beginner’s lock. There's one more thing I need to tell you about these. They really come in only two flavors, Chinese, which is virtually every single one of these that you're ever going to see, in which case, they're fairly easy to get into. The other type that you'll see is the type made by ASSA ABLOY. A-S-S-A, and then A-B-L-O-Y. The ASSA ABLOY is pretty much the most secure mechanically keyed lock you can buy. Nobody can reliably pick those with an instrument like this. There are some guys that are learning, but there's nobody that's got it right every time. If you get yourself some Chinese ones of these and one of those, you can have some fun.

How to Choose The Right Lock Picks For You

What is the standard pick that you should use for most locks? I'll tell you now, it doesn't really matter about the brand. There are a lot of different manufacturers out there, but they will all have a thing called a standard short hook, and that's the Sparrows one. It comes in three different thicknesses, and that's really important because what you want to be able to do is get good with that particular shape and then have that apply to different locks with different sized key ways. I've got it here in the 25/1000ths and the 15/1000ths. There's a 20/1000 one in the middle there. Those two picks, I would say, would get you into literally 95% of locks that you are ever going to see. Those are the go-tos for me. Down below here is the Sparrows steep hook. This is the cousin to the short hook, and you can see that the hook, as its name implies, is a little bit steeper. You use this one for getting up underpins and seating something in the back of the lock. For difficult combinations of betting, these are the ones you need. For 95% of locks you're ever going to see, this is the one you use. Potted summary there, guys, find a short hook that you are comfortable with, make sure it comes in at least two, and hopefully three thicknesses, and get good with just that one hook. Don’t use a scattergun approach. Pick one, and use it well.

Key Retaining Padlocks

Right. Key retaining. What does key retaining mean? Key retaining, usually it's a padlock that does this. It means that you can't get the key out until the lock has been shut. Here's our lock locked. We unlock it, and just now, we cannot get that key out no matter what we do, but once we lock the lock back up again, key comes back out. It is a mechanism that's used to stop the loss of a key, obviously. Key retaining padlocks. It doesn't make any difference to the way that they pick. It does make a little bit of difference to how the inside of the lock works.

Understanding Lock Pick Feedback in Lock Picking

  The subject to this video is feedback. That is a subject dear to every lock Pickers heart, believe you me. What do we mean when a when we say a lot gives good feedback, or if we say that a lock is talkative? What we mean is that it's quite easy to work out what is going on inside the lock. With most locks, when you've got your pick in there, and when you've got the finger on the tension wrench, you can feel an awful lot about what's going on inside there. What pins are binding and what's moving against what, whether or not you've got something on the shear line, all that sort of stuff.   On the other hand, some locks give you virtually no feedback at all, and they are very difficult to pick. This old Lockwood here is one of the best examples of that. These Lockwood padlocks have been around about 50 years, and in Australia and New Zealand, we see heaps of these. Don't try and use this as the first lock you try and pick, guys. Half of the time, even I can't get decent feedback out of these things. That's not done by design that way. That's just how these padlocks are. Other locks are designed specifically so they don't give you feedback, so they're harder to pick. Every lock gives you some. Some gives you more than others. The ones that do give you a lot of feedback are called the talkative ones, and they are generally the easier ones to pick.

Your Christmas Gift Guide

So – NEWSFLASH - it’s already December, which means Christmas is SO FREAKING CLOSE GUYS. *Swears softly*. If you’re like many of us who prefer to live on the edge, you may not have even made a list yet, and are planning on saving shopping till the very last week before Christmas. This is not ideal for three reasons: a) parking is a nightmare; b) there are crazy people EVERYWHERE; and c) if you’re shopping online, courier wait times at this late stage can also be a pain in the bum. So if you need to pick up some sweet and swift gifts with same-day shipping (and express shipping options), never fear: we’ve got you sorted. Stuck for ideas? Check out our top picks for every budget…

Under $30

Our Practice Padlock (Was $45, ON SALE $25) is perfect for those in your life entering the art of lock picking. Not only is it affordable, its unique clear construction ensures the user learns how a padlock functions, making it a great starting point. Stocking filler gold right here, people.

Under $80

This price range offers so much choice. From the PickPals Lock Pick Bundle Lite ($69, save $14.99) to the PickPals Intro Padlock Bundle ($50, save $20 - YASSSS!), the new pickers are well catered for. For something a little more advanced, the SouthOrd Pocket Pen Pick Set or the ever-popular SouthOrd Jackknife Pocket Lockpick Set is sure to please. Not for the faint-hearted, the Revolver Cylinder Practice Lock ($79) is the ideal choice for the picker who loves a challenge.

Gifts under 100
Gifts Under $50

Under $150

With this high-security re-pinning kit you can turn those old tired locks into some of your own mind-bending locks! For something a little different but just as good, the European Multipick Super-Set Practice Cylinder comes complete with a re-pinning kit and tweezers in a beautiful box, guaranteed to impress. 

Under $200

Valued at nearly $250, the Sparrows Night School Tuxedo Plus Bundle ($199) is perfect for the beginners OR the upgraders. This high-quality kit includes everything you need including every practice lock you’ll ever need, plus some fabulous extras. It’s all bundled up in a sweet case to keep everything together.

Hey big spender

If bucks aren’t a biggie, The Ultimate Lock Pick Bundle is your guy. For the person who craves only the best, this premium kit is our crème de la crème. Bonus: you’ll automatically receive free express shipping wherever you are in the world. That includes our Australia and NZ customers as well as those of you further abroad.

Want to spend even bigger or still don’t know what to get them? Simples - grab a gift voucher. And remember, we offer same-day shipping with express options available. Standard shipping within Australia and NZ is always free. 

For more Christmas Ideas check out our complete gift guide over on the website, featuring a range of specials and kits for everyone. Merry Pickmas!

Movember-Foundation

Pick of the Month: Movember

In case you’ve been living under a lock for the last 15 years (see what we did there?), Movember – curiously held during November - is a month where dudes around the world grow their best moustache to raise awareness for men’s health.

The cause aims to raise much-needed funds and promote education and awareness of various areas of men’s health, in particular prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Yikes. It’s serious stuff that needs serious moolah to help guys stay alive and healthy.

How does Movember work?

Mo, flavour saver, cookie duster, caterpillar. Whatever you call it, the humble moustache has made a bit of a comeback thanks to Movember, which sees guys growing theirs all November long. Tracking their progress with pics on Instagram and Facebook, mo’owners get their family and friends to sponsor them in their mo-growing quest, with all funds raised heading straight to men’s health research. It’s usually then a big affair when the mo’ gets shaved off come December 1.

So how the heck is Movember relevant to lock picking?

We thought you’d never ask! Well, ongoing research suggests that working with your hands and solving various types of puzzles may have many benefits and positive effects when it comes to the brain and mental health. Additionally, some of our customers have told us how relaxed they can become when they are lock picking, and that they often pick locks to calm nerves, ease anxiety and reduce stress levels. Given a lot of our customers are male, (and Movember is all about helping guys stay strong and healthy, right?) it seems quite fitting that we discuss lock picking as a potential way to boost feelings of wellbeing, mindfulness and better health.

“Lock picking is a form of therapy for me I have multiple mental illnesses and its become a wonderful aide and helps me cope with certain conditions.”(sic) - Cobra6460 (Reddit)

Don’t just take our customers’ word for it

We’ve scoured forums and found fellow lock pickers across the globe feel the same way as some of our customers, citing they find it “therapeutic” and even “meditative”. Who knew?! Here’s what some had to say…

“I find picking to be a form of meditation. I'm usually alone in a quiet room just listening to the pins.” (sic) - Pikmor (Reddit)

Now, we are definitely NOT suggesting you go out and swap your current stress relievers/medications for lock picking. We just love that some of our customers and fellow lock pickers can practise and benefit from mindfulness by picking locks, and hopefully you might too.

PickPals, You and Movember

If you’re keen to jump on the mindfulness bandwagon and start reaping the mental and physical benefits that lock picking may offer, why not try our Sparrows Night School kit. For the month of November only, we’ll be donating a portion of all of our profits from the sale of each of these kits to Movember - so get in quick while stocks last to support a great cause.

Sparrows Night School Tuxedo Edition

  • Sparrows Night School Tuxedo + Edition

    $USD 113.20
  • Sparrows Night School Tuxedo Plus Bundle

    $USD 177.27 $USD 141.68

If you are depressed or require assistance with mental illness, help is available.

Call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

 

If a life is in danger contact 000 immediately.

Lock Picking in Action

How to pick a lock – in 3 simple steps

So, you’re bored and need a new hobby. Want to learn a new skill that’s both challenging and fun. Or maybe you’ve seen the awesome products in Australia’s leading online lock pick shop, and want to get in on the action.

Welcome to the awesome world of lock picking. Question is – where do you start? Should you just buy a lock pick set and figure it out?

Nah. Make things easier for yourself and just follow our handy guide. We’ve even got a simple, step-by-step video that walks you through the steps below, so you can see lock picking in action. And follow along using your own lock pick tools.

Why bother learning lock picking?

Alright, before we begin let’s look at why you should even give a toss about lock picking. Why are some people so into it? And what’s the point of picking locks if you’re not a crim with a penchant for stealing 50” TVs?

Here’s why we (and other lock pick enthusiasts) get a kick out of it:

  • It’s so cool. Chicks dig it. Alright, they probably don’t, but lock picking is still cool. It’s like being part of a secret society of stealthy, handy ninjas. And once you learn how to pick locks, you’ll know how to do something a lot of people don’t. Suckers.
  • It’s fun. Knowing that you have the knowledge and knack to open doors without a key (legally, of course!) is pretty fun. And practicing lock picking gets pretty addictive, especially as you test your skills on tougher locks. Lock Picking has grown in popularity here in Australian and New Zealand. You can even enter comps.
  • It’s cheap. Some hobbies are so expensive (yeah snowboarding, we’re looking at you). It’s like you need thousands of bucks just to buy the most basic gear, and then there are membership fees and all the rest. Lock picking is a pretty contained hobby, when it comes to cost.
  • Increase your skills. Like most puzzles lock picking requires a lot of patience. While some locks are easy to pick others can be very challenging and take a pragmatic approach to understand the workings of the lock before you can successfully pick the lock. Lock picking is also great for dexterity and fine motor skills.

 The legal stuff

Before we go into how to pick a lock, let’s get something straight. This guide is not to be used for opening locks that you shouldn’t open. It’s illegal. And dumb. So be sure to stick to the ‘lock pickers code of conduct’ and stay tuned for our FREE eBook on the legal side of lock picking in Australia.

How to pick a pin tumbler lock

Alrighty, you eager beaver. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: it’s time to pick a lock!

We’ve used a pin tumbler lock (see it in action in the video above) because it’s the most commonly used one in lock picking. And it’s an easy one when you’re starting out.

Which lock pick set should you start with? We recommend the PickPals Intro Lock Pick Set. Check out other lock pick sets and practice locks.

 How does a pin tumbler lock work?

 You need to know how a pin tumbler lock works, cos otherwise you won’t be able to pick it.

Bit of pub trivia for you – pin tumblers have been around for over 6000 years! And the basic mechanism hasn’t really changed in that time.

There are only a few parts in a pin tumbler lock:

  • Core: also known as the plug. This is what the key goes into. It turns to open.
  • Pins: on top of the core are holes, which the pins go into. When the key is inserted into the core, the pins try to stop it from turning.

A word about the pins: these need to be the right length to fit the notches in the key. So when the key goes in, the pin will only go to the top of its hole (the ‘shear line’). If the pin is too long or the key is incorrect, the lock will stop the core from turning and the lock from opening. See a demo of this in the video above.

It’s all about figuring out how to get the pins to the right height. How do we do that? We exploit the tolerance of the lock.

What does that mean? Well, we have to make one of the pins bind or ‘talk to us’. We do that by rotating the core just a tiny fraction. We get it to the sheer line (you might feel or hear a click, or feel the pin stop moving). And then, repeat it for the other pins.

This is what happens when you put the right key into the right lock. The key pushes the pins into the right position, and the door unlocks. When you pick a lock, you do the same thing, but without a key.

It’s as simple as that.

But it’s also not as simple as that! Those are the basics, but there is a true skill to doing this right – and on more complicated locks.

How to pick a lock

It takes a little bit of knack and patience to pick your first lock. But after that, you’ll get a feel for it, and it’ll become more second nature.

The easiest method for learning how to pick your first lock is called, raking. The below method will focus on this technique.

Let’s go through all the steps:

  1. Put the tension wrench in the bottom of the lock

Get your tension wrench. You need to use it to place tension on the core, while the pick does the jiggling. Most locks and all our practice locks turn in a clockwise motion. It's really important to be very gentle and light on the tension otherwise the pins can't move. Our video explains more.

Put the wrench in the bottom of the keyhole. Add a tiny amount of pressure, turning in the same direction as the key would turn (if you were using one). Don’t be heavy handed, otherwise the pins will stick beneath the shear line.

 

  1. Put the pick in the top of the lock

With tension applied, get your pick, insert it into the top of the lock, and slide it all the way in. Very gently move the pick back and forth, you should be able to feel the pins moving.

  1. Scrub the pick

What do we mean by scrub? Basically ‘rake’ the pick back and forth. Be sure to keep putting a little pressure on with the wrench at the same time. When you pull the pick back, be sure to lift it up. This will put pressure on the pins.

Do this action until all the pins are set into position. Still not getting anywhere? You might have put too much pressure on with the tension wrench. So ease off, reset the pins, and go again with light hands.

Congrats, you just picked your first lock!

Practice makes perfect picking!

 Those are the basic steps for picking almost any lock. But because lock picking is a skill, you’ll get better at it the more locks you (legally) pick.

Grab yourself a few practice locks (they’re clear so you can see the pins) and have a go at practicing lock picking whenever you’re bored or have free time – like when you’re watching TV.

Remember, stay calm and keep the tension light. The more relaxed you are the more success you will have and most importantly,  have fun!

sandman-lock-pick

Lock Picking Guide – How to pick a lock

Introduction & Rules

So, you’re interested in lock picking? Maybe just curious? Well, the sport of Lock Picking (Lock Sport) is a hobby shared by many people worldwide and is growing rapidly in Australia and New Zealand.

We can’t offer you legal advice regarding lock picking legality but we can point you in the right direction. Remember, here at PickPals we want to promote and encourage the benefits of Lock Picking and help the sport grow in Australia and New Zealand. We need your help to do this. In this Lock Picking Guide, you’ll find a few simple rules and a code of conduct we follow here at PickPals.

Lock Picking Legality

Disclaimer: None of the advice below constitutes legal advice in respect to lock picks and lock picking in Australia or New Zealand.

First, we need to establish a couple of rules shared by pretty much every locksport association worldwide:

1. Never pick a lock you don’t own without the owner’s permission

2. Never pick a lock in use

The first rule is pretty understandable, the second needs some minor explanation. When you attempt to pick a lock you are exploiting weaknesses in the design, it is completely possible that in doing so you will damage or break the lock. You don’t want this to happen to any lock that is actively in use. Do not practice on your front door, windows, car or anything else that is actively used. If you lock yourself out of your house: call a locksmith.

There are plenty of other rules published by different associations, this one published by locksport.com is very good and covers most of the important points. Follow the rules and keep lock picking legal for all.

Lock Picking Australia Law & Legalities

You should also be aware of the law regarding possession of lock picks in your state of Australia.

Download our FREE ebook on the laws in your state of Australia.

Lock Picking New Zealand Law & Legalities

For those of you in New Zealand check out the following document.

Locks, How do they work?

Ok, so you’re here because you want to know how to pick a lock? There are different methods for picking locks, we will talk about the most common type of lock first, the pin tumbler lock. Unless you live in Norway (for some reason high end security locks are common there!) this is likely the type of lock you have on your front door.

🔒 Pin Tumbler

Lets have a look at a pin tumbler lock in its locked and unlocked states now.

The pins prevent the barrel from turning when in the locked position.

Unlocked:

unlocked_front unlocked_side unlocked_real

The key raises the individual pins so that the break lines up along the sheer line, allowing the lock to turn.


🔒 Lock Picking – How to pick a lock

So, how do we get our pins into the correct position without a key? Welcome to the art of lock picking.

Lock picking, like hacking, exploits flaws in the manufacturing process of lock making. Almost every household lock is made with these flaws (don’t be shocked). Even quality brands have these flaws, unless you pay hundreds of dollars for a high security lock, the imperfections will be present.

When we try to turn the lock without a key there is normally a single pin preventing the lock from turning. This pin is known as the binding pin. If we put tension on the lock with a tension wrench and raise the binding pin to the sheer line, it will stick there!

We continue this process for each pin, whilst it is hard to know which pin will be the binding pin (no there is no set order) we can just go through each remaining pin feeling for the one that sticks. We use feedback through the pin to ‘see inside’ the lock. We then know another pin is locked in place.

At this point we should take a look at a lock picking technique called raking in which while holding tension on the lock we move the rake back and forward over the pins of the lock. This is more of a brute force attack, which is the best place to start when you are learning how to pick a lock.

 

 

New to Lock Picking?  Try our best selling PickPals Intro Set. Everything you need to get started!

How do you pick a padlock? Well, a padlock is the same configuration as a “door” lock and works in the same manner. Learning to pick locks on one of our clear practice padlocks is easy and fun and the best way to learn how to pick a lock! learn how to pick a lock.

PickPals Intro Lock Pick Set

Acknowledgements

Images and animations are mostly sourced from http://deviating.net/ and are licensed under creative commons. Any other images/animations are original creations and are also licensed under creative commons.

clear cutaway practice lock

Guide to Picking Your Perfect Gift Bundle

Well this is your chance to spoil someone special or maybe even yourself, get yourself that shiny new set you have been waiting for – or maybe a chance to upgrade your hardware and enjoy old favourites.

And that means there’s plenty of potential gifts for the friend, family member or partner in your life.

So you want to purchase a lockpick set for someone for Christmas? Great idea!

Intro Bundle Plus$99

  • Intro Lock Pick Set with leather case.
  • PickPals Expansion Set
  • Clear Practice Lock 
  • Easy Pickings Guidebook
  • BONUS: Rubber Handles!
Shop Now

Sparrows Night School$157

  • 7 Picks
  • 6 Tension Tools
  • Zip lock Expandable Case
  • 3x Re-pinnable Brass Locks
Shop Now

There are many types of different pickers, whether you’re looking for a newbie or wanting to grab them an upgrade, we have a package for everyone. Some are the competitive type; others like their picking to be a soulful relaxing affair, other just want the satisfaction of knowing they can do it. In this guide I'll break down a couple of options for those different types of people, one for those who are trying to keep spending down, and another for whom money is no object (relatively speaking).

Buying your first set or for someone else may seem overwhelming. In this guide, we'll make it easy. To put it simply, you need lockpicks, some tension tools and locks to practice.

With these three bundles, you can't go wrong. Pick sets are like any toolset, you can add to it, grow it and get specialist tools. These three are a great foundation and will get you or your giftee on the way to lock picking success.

I won’t go into the benefits of we have covered that here…Well, the below give you a small understanding of what your getting and the benefits,  to ensure you get the perfect pick this Christmas.

Let's start with our PickPals Intro Bundle...

PickPals Into Bundle Plus

BUY NOW

We took our most popular items and bundled them to help you save. Included quality tools and a beautiful double stitched leather case, acrylic lock and easy pickings guidebook.

This is a fantastic, unique gift that is sure to create a buzz, and get them opening their first lock. These tools are all you need to get started and nothing more. You can even purchase handles and give thee picks an upgrade.

Benefits:

  • Great price point.
  • Everything needed to get started.
  • The clear lock is a real hit!

Sparrows Night School Tuxedo Edition (Our Pick!)

BUY NOW

The all in one kit is a top seller at and you can see why. With it’s beautiful tools and 3 solid brass locks,  all wrapped up in one tough case. Play at home, pack it up and take it with you.

Great for taking with you on the go or around to a friend’s house. This set perfectly aligned with the new budding lock.  The newly released version too is adding the strength of the previous version. The new version includes easy to hold locks, made of solid brass, you can really see and feel the quality.

Benefits:

  • Includes 3 locks of varying diffculty
  • Locks can be re-pinned and re-built
  • All in one convenient case

The Ultimate Bundle

BUY NOW

Want to go to level 70 wizard? Want to learn how to make stupid ridiculous hard locks? Introducing our Ultimate. For those who know what they want.

We took one of our best sets, took some great locks and supercharged it with the reload kit. Whether it is an upgrade or for the newbie who knows what they want and doesn’t mess around this is the set. Not only can you learn, but with the addition of the Reload Kit, you can learn how locks really work and how to re-pin and build the ultimate. This gives you endless combinations.

It’s the higher end but you get a lot for your money, they’re so much in this kit you won’t need to get the giftee anything else, they'll be chuffed to bits with what this set can do.

Benefits

  • Super HOT Vorax
  • Lock Picking Manual
  • 4 Progressive Locks
  • Reload – re-built the ultimate locks
  • Bonus – Tweezers
  • Exclusive to Pickpals

Free Shipping

Don’t forget all these bundles have free standard shipping to Australia and New Zealand so you know you’ll be wrapping your new picks in no time!

ALG_Emblem_Logo

Lock Picking Associations

At PickPals we take supporting the Lock Sport community seriously and is an important part of keeping lock sport legit. Thousands of people around Australia and New Zealand already enjoy the sport of lock picking, and every year lock sport continues to grow with momentum.

Below are a number of lock picking and lock sport associations we are involved with and are proud to sponsor. Get in touch, share and learn from like minded people. If you are passionate about lock sport it’s very important you get involved with these groups. You will meet like-minded people who enjoy learning and challenging themselves. These lock picking and lock sport associations and groups can also offer great discounts. Have fun and improve your skills – you are not alone in the world of lock picking with PickPals and our friends below.

AFFILIATES

The Australian Locksport Guild brings together the Australian community of hobby lock pickers and lock sport enthusiasts.

facebook, fb icon

ALG Facebook Page

Toool

Toool or The Open Organisation of Lockpickers is a growing group of enthusiasts interested in locks, keys and ways of opening locks without keys. Originally founded in Europe, Toool Australia has now been formed! Woohoo! Make sure you sign up today to be part of what is set to be a very fast growing group in Australia.

Sign up to our infrequent mailing list with information about upcoming meetups and events.

Sign up ➡️  TOOOL.COM.AU

CASSA represent the interests of computing and security students at ECU. Our activities include organising workshops and events of both an educational and recreational nature.

We assist each other in the pursuit of knowledge and technical expertise. We also have a good time with LANs and activities to relax in between all the hard work we do.

WAHCKon (West Australian Hackers Conference) is a Perth based Hacker conference that launched in 2013. We cover a wide range of topics focusing on Information security and Hacker subculture as well as locksports, activism and related areas.

Join in  ▶️  WAHCKon – Perth

LockSport is New Zealand’s first and only lock picking community.

Join in 🔓 LOCKSPORT NEW ZEALAND

 

NZ ISIG

We are a professional interest group for people working in Information Security. We currently run a private discussion mailing list and informal meetings on the last Thursday of every month about 6pm in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch cities. Anyone who works in the information security industry is invited, so if you are interested please join in.

Lock iconISIG Website
ISIG Meetup Group

BRISBANE LOCKSPORT

Brisbane Locksport is a group for anyone interested in lockpicking, physical security, the inner mechanics of locks, etc. All skills levels are welcome.

Interested in locks, lockpicks, lock sport or physical security as a hobby? Have you ever been interested or involved in locksmithing? Do you want to learn a cool hobby that has practical applications in your life?
If you answered yes to any question, then locksport is for you! Whether a beginner, novice or experienced professional, you have a place in Brisbane Locksport.

It is envisaged that, initially, meetups will be at Brisbane pubs in the evening. Therefore, participation will be limited to those 18 years and over. If there is enough interest from younger folk, and we can find a suitable venue, then we may do some family friendly events.

Be one of us 🔐 Brisbane LockSport Meetup 

PickPals Lockpick bundle plus

Why Buy Quality Lock Picks

A common question asked is why purchase our picks over the $5 sets manufactured in China. The reason quite simply is: You'll open more locks! In this article, we'll look at the value of owning a high-quality lock pick set, the difference in quality and what this means for you. (more…)
sparrows-creeper

Beginners Guide to Lock Picking – Part 1

Now, what we’re going to do here today guys is make a two-part video.  So part one of the video is the fundamental stuff about a pin tumbler lock. We’ve got one disassembled here and how it works because if you don’t know how this thing works, you’re not going to be able to pick it. (more…)
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