Security Pins Explained

So, You’ve Found A Lock With Mushroom Security Pins Huh?

So you’ve been picking for a while with some success and then all the sudden you are met with mushroom security pins, now what? Well, not to worry – you can definitely pick these and in order for you to be successful you will have to understand the underpinnings (no pun intended) of how these mushroom pins work. You will commonly find these in high security door locks and in particularly Schlage locks and their competitors.

security pins

What is a Security Pin?

Security pins were invented to make pin tumbler locks much more difficult to pick using traditional methods, bumping and other methods. However, after you have studied these bad boys, you will be able to pick these too with some more time. There are other security features in other types of locks that we will cover in a separate post, so for now we will focus on the pin tumbler security pins.

Operating Mechanisms

These pins designed such that only a key will be able to push the pins into the correct position to get the lock open. In a way, the lock mechanically senses manipulation occurring, it will lock the security pin and prevent the lock cylinder from rotating. Once the tension is let off, the pins are set back to neutral. If you don’t recognize a lock that has security pins from the outset, you will likely be frustrating upon discovering these little buggers in your lock. Here is a list of some of the more common security pins out there on the market:

security pin typesMushroom Pins

These pins look exactly like they sound. There is one pin that has a slight bevel or incline to it, making it look like a magic mushroom. The majority of locks that you will find always put the mushroom pin at the top of the lock. It is in line with the other pins. As pin tumbler technology has progressed, many companies are now putting them on the bottom. Sometimes on both top and bottom.



These security pins have notches around the pin itself. They are not large notches, but notches nonetheless. These little notches get stuck in the shear line when pressure is applied to the cylinder mechanism. Often times these are some of the most incognito security pins to spot on the market.


This pin also looks how it sounds. Manufacturers remove the center of a pin such that it gets stuck in the shear line when manipulation is detected. Very similar to the notch design but with just one really deep and wide notch.




These are by far some of the most secure types of security pins that you can find. The hybrid style mashes all 3 other kinds of pins to make a much more difficult lock picking venture. Manufacturers combine the other three designs in various and often random ways.



With lock picking gaining in popularity and the pervasiveness of knowledge is spread, we suspect that more manufactures will be incorporating some type of security pins in the future. It vastly increases the security of the lock. That is, until you learn how to pick security pins – then the game is yet again over for them.