Beginners Guide to Lock Picking – Part 1

sparrows-creeper
Posted by: Lockie Category: Tips Post Date: 28/10/2016

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.

Hello there, my name is Michael Maynard and welcome to the PickPals beginner’s guide to picking a pin tumbler lock.  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. So the first part is telling you how it works and what it does.  The second part of the video, part two, that one is going to be putting the theory together and showing you how it all works in practice.  So, let’s get started and talk about this lock.

 

Now, what I’ve done here is disassembled a sparrow’s three-pin training lock and believe me when I tell you, this sparrow’s progressive lock set, which is what this is part of, is by far the best kit that you can get for learning to pick locks.  It really is a great tool.  Now, a pin tumbler lock is comprised of only a few parts.  It’s really elegant and really simple.  So what wants to happen is that this core, this bit here that the key goes into, wants to be able to turn to open whatever it is that you need to open, but we have got a whole bunch of pins here that are sitting in these holes and try to stop us turning the core.  That really is as simple as it gets.  Now, I just want to show you that in a little bit more detail.  There are some definitions that you need to learn and there are some things that you really need to see to appreciate.

 

So, what we’ve got here, first of all, are the pins. You can see that these pins are all different lengths. These are the key pins, these three here. These are the drivers that sit on top of them and these are the springs that keep everything together. Now, really simple concept fellas, these pins here need to be the right length to fit into these little notches in the key.  If they are the right length then when the key goes in, the pin will come to the top of its little hole here and no further.  That thing there is called the sheer line. So the pin will come to the sheer line and no further.  If the pain is too long or if the key isn’t correct, then it’s going to poke through a little bit or won’t go far enough, and so it’ll block the lock from opening and the core from turning. That literally is all there is to it.

 

Now, just to show that in action, what I’m actually going to do is put pin two in its little hole here.  Okay, so here we are with a key in place that is sitting where it should be.  Let me zoom in a little further.  You can see that, that, is sitting at exactly the right height.  Now, let’s say we’ve got the wrong key in there and the pin pokes up above the shear line, that lock’s not going to tune.  Let’s say we’re trying to pick the lock and we get that pin in the wrong place?  That’s not going to turn either.  So, picking a lock is all about figuring out how to get those pins to the right height.  How do we do that?  Well, we exploit a thing called the tolerances of the lock.  Now, if there was just one thing that I’d like for you to take from this five-minute video, it is the concept of tolerances.  Now I’m going to explain that in more detail in the second section, but let’s talk about it briefly now.

 

Each one of these little holes here is going to be drilled a very slightly different diameter.  It might just be by thousandths of an inch different, but they’re different. They might not line up quite perfectly so instead of being dead straight along the core here, the holes might be drilled kind of wiggly like that a little bit.  Similarly, these key pins here are all going to be very slightly different diameters. Again, just by a thousandths of an inch, okay, but it really counts because in order to pick this lock, what we have got to do is make one of those pins bind. We need to make one of those pins talk to us. We do that by rotating the core just a tiny fraction and I’ll show you how much force to use on this in the next video.  Once we’ve found which one of these pins is binding, we can then push it up with our pick until we get it at exactly the right height, we get it at the sheer line.  We might hear a click at that point or we might feel a click, or we might just feel the pin stop moving.  There’s a few things it can do.  Once we’ve done that, we just go and repeat for all the other pins.

 

Now, honestly fellas, it really is as simple as that, but if it was quite that easy, everybody would be doing it and there’d be no skill to it.  Believe me, not everybody knows how to pick a lock and not everybody has taken the time to learn.  So, now you know the basics.  We’ve spent exactly five minutes doing that.  What we’re now going to do is put a lock on a vice and get it picked.