How To Pick A Door Lock

The Complete Guide On How To Pick A Door Lock

So, how do we find out how to pick a door lock? Surely, you’ve had sad door locked out emergency that practically ruined your day. After banging your head on the wall repeatedly I’m sure you wished you’d learned how to open doors with out a key. Not to worry, it’s not too late! While lock picking is an intricate skill that takes commitment and practice, it is learnable. You don’t need an expert instructor to master lock picking, that is why we exist here at Picker Of Locks. This guide shares comprehensive lock picking techniques that you can learn easily.

If you aren’t sure where to start, please use the table of contents below. It will guide you to the correct location. That way, you will be on your way to picking a door lock in no time!

Table Of Contents:

  1. Understanding Door Locks
  2. Hijacking Pin and Tumbler Technology
  3. Pin Tumbler: The Mechanism
  4. Pin Tumbler: Internal Anatomy
  5. Method 1: Traditional Lock Picking
  6. Method 2: Using A Bump Key
  7. Method 3: Pick Guns

How to pick a lock in key tumbler

Understanding Door Locks

As you take on a DIY door lock picking exercise, you should acquaint yourself with different mechanisms. Pin tumbler combinations are the most common styles you’ll learn to unlock. These are found in deadbolts, knob locks, lever locks, padlocks and others. Check out our Guide on Types Of Locks for more detail. Learning how these babies work will enable you to pick more effectively. The image to the left illustrates what happens when a pin and tumbler door lock is unlocked with a key. We will be teaching you how to manipulate these pins to open the door lock without a key.

Goal: Hijacking Pin Tumbler Technology

pin tumbler diagramMost of the doors that you will find boast pin tumbler combination mechanisms. You can practice how to pick a door lock to expand your knowledge of the science as different brands feature their own technology. There is some innovation going on here, but for the most part – these things have not changed much since the 19th century.



Pin Tumbler: The Mechanism

To the left you will see the front view of a pin and tumbler lock moving and turning. The red pieces is the pin that we will be touching with our pick. The blue piece is the top of the pin that will press against the spring at the top of the lock when we apply pressure with the pick.  The gap between the red and blue pins is the center line where the fatal flaw of these locks lay and what we are going to exploit in the door lock picking process.

Once all the pins line up such that the center line gap is aligned with the cylinder, the lock will open. Pin tumbler technology isn’t rocket science and there’s really nothing complicated about picking it either. What’s even more shocking to any learner practicing how to pick a door lock is that tumbler technology has been around for over a couple centuries. Surely, the technology has undergone monumental transformations, making the event of lock picking sophisticated intricate. Cylinder locks featuring pin tumbler technology made its breakthrough in 1861 and it’s still employed today. In fact, it’s the preferred mechanism employed for modern front doors on your home. It does lend a layer of security and safety to homes, but as you will see – not much.


Pin Tumbler: Internal Anatomy

Feature Image of how to pick a door lockBefore you can employ the skill of hijacking pin tumbler mechanisms after learning how to pick a door lock; you should explore the science in its entirety. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to employ a more pragmatic approach when hijacking pin tumbler technology. The exterior casing housing plug (shear line or center line) is cylindrical and sports a green sheath. When opening this lock mechanism, you’ll need to insert the key into the plug network or shear line. It’ll rotate when you employ the correct key.

The action of the mechanical key pins found in 5-6 custom holes drilled into the shear line head of this lock controls the entire network. If it doesn’t make the right connection, you won’t succeed in opening a closed door lock. All the reflex key pins are of a certain length and reddish coating. These key pins communicate with the spring-loaded drive pins positioned directly above the 5 or 6-pin mechanism. With the composite driver pins intercepting the connecting shear line, it’ll restrict the plug’s rotation.

If you’re witnessing your first lock picking exercise, you’ll find that the intricate key pins won’t interact with the wrong notches. It’ll cause the lock’s shear line to bulge if the notches aren’t the correct height. That said, it’s imperative to use the correct key that will activate the pins and move them into position. It’ll become coherent as you explore how to pick a door lock properly. Of course, this isn’t an attainable goal if you don’t gather the necessary tools and technology to mimic an original lock key. The perfect lock picking resource should operate similarly to that of an original cut key.


Method 1: Traditional Lock Picking

The Tools That You Need

tension wrench for lock picking

The Tension Wrench Tool: How It Works

While many claim to know how to get into doors without a key, some people lack the extensive knowledge of hijacking the fastener without damaging the system. With the torsion tool, it’s almost effortless to use the pick for elevating the lock’s pin sets. It’s the best tool to employ pressure on the housing plug. This will position the lock’s driver pin correctly as it intercepts the split line. In turn, this will coerce the plug to rotate and you will open the lock right up with no problem.




The Picking Tool: How It Works

So you’re finally getting educated on how to pick a door lock. Today, there’s an interestingly urgent need for common homeowners to learn. Surely, it’s not as daunting as you’ve long imagined but you’ll face a series of obstacles as you hone this skill. All lock picking specialists, professionals, and DIY amateurs alike need cutting tools to execute door lock hijacking correctly. If you’ve never held lock picking tools or are completely ignorant of the popular technologies, check these:


How To Pick A Door Lock Step-by-Step

  1. Put the pick inside, it’ll pressurize the corresponding key pin which will descend as the parallel driver pin intercepts the end of the plug. It’ll keep it above the split line mechanism. In knowing how to pick this type of lock, you’ll realize that consistency is key. So, you should continue elevating the connecting key pins with the tension tool until the split line has no obstruction.
  1. According to basic lessons on how to pick a door lock, you’ll need to employ the best rake. The three-ridge pick rake can literally hijack any lock and it’s the least complicated tool to employ. When you’re picking the lock with a rake, you should slide it back until it’s completely engaged.
  1. As you increase the pressure on your tension tool, be sure to keep scrubbing the rake pick back inside the lock’s keyhole chamber. You should rake or scrub the cavity of the split line using the pick as you elevate it unison to pressurize the corresponding key pins.
  1. You should employ this technique until you have reset all the pins. For absolute results, be sure to increase tension on the parallel key pins using the tension tool. While it’s fundamental to employ a reasonable amount of pressure for the pins to reset properly, it’s equally important that you achieve balance. The scrubbing technique is a widely exercised method especially when hijacking pin tumbler designs.

rakes for lock pickingRaking/Scrubbing Method – The Easy Way

The pick rakes usually include a multi-ridge mechanism, which enables you to unlock a series of key pins at once. Have you heard the term “scrubbing” or “raking” used in the context of lock picking? If you’re learning about this the word for the first time, it’s actually a lock picking method. Certainly, it’s not everyone’s favorite, but it’s a widely practiced exercise. It’s popularity is mainly on the basis of its simplistic nature. This guarantees an immediate solution to your lock troubles, but it’s crucial to exercise as a cautionary approach in minimizing unwanted damages.

Grab your torsion tool (tension wrench) as you’ll need it for this how to pick a door lock exercise. With your torsion tool in hand, simply insert it into the lock’s keyhole foot and rotate the cylinder. It’ll be extremely difficult to handle this task without a torsion tool. So, even with all the key picks in the world, hijacking a compromised lock won’t be a trivial exercise if you don’t have the right tension wrench on hand.

Single Pin Picking – Just In Case

single pin picks for lock picking

You’re not required to hijack it in one go as there’s a specialized pick that allows single pin picking and unlocking too. By far the easiest and quickest method for traditional lock picking is to use a rake. However, if you run into mushroom locks or other sticky situations, you may have to pick each pin individually. When you use this tool, follow the basics of the tensions wrench as you would for raking.

This time however, instead of raking or scrubbing the pick back and forth, instead move the pick down and up, pushing each individual pin upwards until it is seized and eventually exposes the center line, opening the lock.



Method 2: Using A Bump Key

The Tools That You Need

bump key for lock picking

 The Bump Key: What Is It?

The bump key method is completely different than traditional lock picking and is often called lock bumping. As you can see in the image on your left, a bump key has equal peaks and valley carved into the key. The basic mechanism that we are taking advantage of is the space in the center line just like in traditional lock picking.

However, this time instead of picking, we are going to strike this bump key and in doing so, trick the pin tumbler lock to pop open. This method of lock picking works the best with expensive locks because the pins and cylinders are very smooth. Keep in mind, that not all door locks are able to be bumped so don’t think this is the only answer for learning how to pick a door lock. When practicing this, use a small piece of cloth to put where the key comes in contact with the lock because it is pretty easy to dent your lock


screwdriver tool for lock pickingA Striking Tool: Why

The second tool that you will need in order to pick a door lock is a solid object. A screwdriver is my preferred tool for this job, but you can also use a hammer, phone, or something else that has a nice density to it. Once you have this tool in hand along with your bump key, then you are ready to move on to figuring out how to pick this door lock with a bump key.



How To Pick A Door Lock With A Bump Key

First prepare yourself by putting the key inside the lock that you want to pick to see if it fits well. Generally, all these pin tumbler locks are so similar that you can bet on your bump key fitting perfectly inside that lock because the only difference is that each key as slightly different cuts. If you have a certain brand of lock, then a key for that brand will always fit better.

  1. Get yourself a nice bump key. You can do one of two things in order to get one of these. Firstly, you can go to a locksmith and tell them that you want a 999 key, where basically the valley of each cut is as deep as it can be and even between all peaks. Although, when you ask your local locksmith for a 999 key, they will probably think that you are looking to break into some places so beware. An alternative to this, is taking a key that you don’t need at your house and then file the teeth down until they are even and the valleys are deep.
  2. Now it’s time to shine! Put the bump key inside the keyhole and pull it out one click (you will hear it click). Then, start putting pressure on the key as if you were turning it and simultaneously hit the butt of the bumper key with a solid object like a screwdriver. When you get it just perfect, then the bump key will turn int he direction that you are pushing it in and the door will become unlocked. If you don’t get it the first time, repeat the process above! This method really does work.

Method 3: Pick Guns

The Tools That You Need

lock picking with a pick gunPick guns and bumper keys are intricate varieties that require a certain level of expertise to employ them properly. There are two basic types of pick guns, the electric ones and the mechanical ones. The great thing about mechanical pick guns is that they are never going to run out of batteries. The pro about the electric ones is that they can be a bit more dynamic and effective. So, the first and only tool that you need is the pick gun in either form



How To Pick A Door Lock With A Pick Gun

Insert the metal pieces of the electric pick gun inside the door lock. Pull the trigger and the pick gun will start to vibrate, as they vibrate the pins are pushed up into that center line inside the lock. Start turning the gun like you would turn a key, once the pins vibrate on up towards the shear line, you will know.

Often times, picking a door lock with a pick gun will result in having the door lock pop open in a couple seconds. However, sometimes this method is completely ineffective on certain locks. So even though a pick gun seems like the easiest way, it certainly is not the do all, be all in the world of figuring out how to get into that door. You must develop a fine tuned sense for the pins inside the lock and also be familiar with several different types of locks in order to become an expert lock picker.

Finding multifaceted lock picking kits isn’t a daunting exercise these days since they’re online for reasonable prices. As you check for the best modern technology to practice how to pick a door lock; you shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to explore online product reviews in our lock pick reviews here: Lock Pick Set Reviews.

Also, check out our collection of amazing: How To Pick Guides