Guides

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…)
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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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.
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