How To Pick A Lock With A Knife

Using Nothing But A Knife To Crack Open A Door

Alrighty then (echoing my inner Ace Ventura), what happens when you are stuck in the zombie apocalypse with nothing but a knife to take out walkers but you need to hide in a cabin quick before you get mauler? The obvious answer is that you are going to have to know how to pick a lock with a knife, otherwise your fate is sealed. In this guide, we will show you three different methods for opening a door lock with a knife. Depending on the type of door lock that you encounter, the technique and methods may vary, so let’s take a look at what we are working with and what type of knives work the best for this skill.

Method 1 – Simply Sticking It In

For most locks, this method won’t work. However, for the more un-secure door locks among us, it will work wonders. May apartments and houses cut corners by getting cheap locks which is what makes this method effective. This method requires a Swiss army knife or some other type of relatively non-wide blade. The reason that you can’t use your Rambo knife for this method is that it needs to be able to fit inside of the keyhole.

how to pick a lock with a knife - starter imageStep 1

Shove the knife all the way inside of the keyhole, as far back as you can make it go.

Make sure that you are putting it into the bottom of the keyhole because putting it into the top will do you no good.



lock picking with a knife part 2

Step 2

Turn the knife clockwise and then counterclockwise.

Keep wiggling it like this for a while.

I know this seems elementary, but it certainly works on low-level locks that are much more common than you may think.



Once you hear the lock click, then you are in! Keep turning it in whichever direction the click happened and you are inside and away from the walking dead. That wraps up our first of three methods. Keep in mind that this is may harm the lock, so if you are practicing at home, be careful or use a lock that you don’t care about. The cheaper the lock is, the better this technique will work.


Method 2 – Rambo Style

This is our favorite method for picking a lock with a knife because it requires a big ole Bowie Knife and we own lots of cool knives. In fact, the bigger the knife, the better for this one – even a machete would work wonders! This method is similar to that of the Credit Card Method that we show you in one of our other how to guides.

rambo style lock picking with a knife

Step 1

Put your knife in between the door itself and the frame that the door sits in.

Slide the knife in as far as it will go with the sharp side of the blade facing down.

It is important that you have the right side facing downward because otherwise you will not be able to pick it.


Start by sliding the knife in above the door lock in between the door and door jam

Then slide it down until it stops sliding – that means you found where the lock goes into the door


knifeb2Step 2

Once you have located where the bolt goes into the door, it’s time to apply some downward pressure and start picking.

Get a good grip on the knife handle and start pushing down on the knife.

The goal here is to get the blade in between the bolt and door jam.


Try rocking it back and forth in a seesaw motion while putting downward pressure.

As you work the knife, press your body against the door decently hard.

Keep repeating Step 2 until the door pops open. This method also works best with lower quality door locks but also works with much more sophisticated ones than the picking that we did in Method 1 above. Keep in mind that this is often a strength and timing game. Don’t over-muscle your way because that won’t work. A combination of timing, strength and precision will get you inside the door. Another thing to keep in mind is that your knife may get damaged. If you have an old beat up knife laying around that is your best option, perhaps even an old kitchen knife. The knife itself does not need to be very sharp at all in order to pick the lock.


Method 3 – With A Little Help

The third method is a bit different in that you will need one additional tool in order to complete it. Similar to that in Method 1, a smaller thinner knife is desired for this like a butter knife or Swiss Army. This method combines traditional lock picking with Method one to get the door open. The knife itself will be used as a tension wrench and you will have to find or fashion some form of picking tool from the materials around you. You can see the various types of lock pick shapes that you can choose from here: Lock Picking Tool Types And Uses.

knife3Step 1

The first step is to get your picking tool ready.

For this, we prefer using a rake style because it is much easier to work with out there in the field.

If you need to improvise one, you can check out our guides on: Paperclip Lock Picking and Bobby Pin Lock Picking.



Generally, you want a small metal object like a paper clip, safety pin or bobby pin and make a little wave form out of the end of it so it looks somewhat like the pick on top here.

knife4Step 2

Insert the knife into the bottom of the keyhole like you did in Method 1. However, there is no need to shove it too far backwards into the lock this time

You want the knife inside the lock just enough so that you can turn it.


Step 3

Insert the newly made pick from Step 1 into the top of the lock and rake it back and forth.

Essentially, you will be using an in and out method to scrub it open while simultaneously putting pressure on the tension wrench.

Check out the video below to see the method for raking the lock open, keeping in mind that the knife is being used as a tension wrench.

Now That’s How You Pick A Lock With A Knife

So, there you have it! Next time you are are out in the woods with no food and running away from zombies, the trusty knife will come in handy for more reasons than one. Keep in mind that you may muss your knife up so either use and old one or if you are in a sticky situation, it doesn’t really matter. That will do it for today’s lesson on how to pick a lock with a knife, keep on a pickin’ on.