Lock Picking Facts about TopyMona
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…
1. How did you get into lock-picking and for how long have you been practising?
I got into lock picking as a kid in primary school. I used to watch spy movies heaps as a kid and I loved all the gadgets and stuff. The memory kinda stuck but I couldn’t follow it up until my first year in highschool when an older friend showed me his tools (a Southord set back in about 2003). I saved up some pocket money and eventually bought the same set for myself, I still have original tools from that kit in my regular kit today. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at physical security stuff since then, mostly on and off, but over the past 8 years while working full time in security, I’ve spent a lot more time. Hard to say exactly how much though!
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.
2. What is your most favorite lock to pick and why?
That’s a hard one, I think the most satisfying pick was probably my first Abloy Classic. That’s a pretty strong memory for me. So is a 1st generation bi-lock. I like picking unusual locks and having a bit of a project. But once it’s done, it’s onto the next one for me.
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?
Yep. Get a second, identical as possible lock and take it apart, examine how it works. Then pick it with one pin, then two pins, then three pins etc. You’ll have a good feel for the lock and that type of system then. And in the process, you’ll also uncover any design flaws. I think with higher security locks, having a few more of the variety also helps a lot and get practiced. A combination of SPP and raking is really the best option for most locks. Quick and simple method that works relatively well, rake into a false set and then SPP to an open.
4. What is the most overlooked yet useful pick in your opinion?
The tension wrench. But seriously. I’d rather have a couple of wicked waves, 2-3 choice hooks and as many different tension wrenches as I can carry.
5. With all your experience, if you could initiate one change, that lock manufacturers had to abide by to make locks more secure, what would it be?
That’s a bit of a hard one, the reason why locks are pickable isn’t a mystery, that’s all down to machining tolerances and cost of manufacturing and trying to keep prices competitive. I can’t really fault companies for that. If you want a more secure lock, you can buy it, it just costs more.
I can’t really speak highly of companies that introduce design flaws that allow super simple bypasses however. Maybe once, but not repeatedly like we see from some manufacturers… Not naming any names…
It would be nice, in my personal opinion, if the manufacturers had a way to remain engaged with the locksport community in a way that the community could provide feedback on flaws in their products that would result in them getting fixed in future locks.
6. How many times do you resort to brute force when “On the job”