Skip to main content

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 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.



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.


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

Hit enter to search or ESC to close