Learning how to pick a lock is a skill worth cultivating. Whether you’re in the CIA, are locked out or have lost a key to a door that you need entry to, knowing how to pick a lock can make all the difference. Therefore, let’s go over how to pick a lock for the one time you will need it.
Lock-picking is also an enjoyable hobby that requires concentration, focus, manual dexterity, and will teach you how to make your home safer and more secure from the actual criminals of the world. It can also make you a little extra money, both by helping others and through competition should you become skilled enough.
For the purposes of this guide we will be focusing on pin tumbler locks, since those are the most common type of locks around the world. The doors in your house or apartment likely have locks of this type, as will most bike locks and security chains.
The pin tumbler lock consists of six distinct parts. The first is the cylinder, which is the container that houses the other components. It sets the upper limit of the shear line. Next, we have the plug that rotates freely inside the lock, creating the rotational shear line. The front of the plug is where the key goes, and the back has a cam that retracts the latch when rotated.
The shear line is the gap between the plug and cylinder. If the shear line becomes obstructed, then the device locks. By picking the lock, we will clear the shear line and allow the plug to rotate freely. Two sets of pins create the obstructions. The key pins’ design helps read the key. This is done by varying the length of the key pins and cutting a key to match. The second set are the driver pins that obstruct the shear line and prevent the lock from opening. The last components are the springs that force the pins into the plug.
Picking locks has been a maligned skill for far too long. The common belief is that lock-picking is a skill that only criminals would have, yet rarely do actual criminals ever take the time and care to pick a lock. They kick in doors, break windows, and show a general disregard for property, since they’re only interested in the goods stored inside. Lock-picking is actually used by clandestine government operatives who don’t want their presence to be known, by professionals who want to gain entry without damage, and by ordinary people who sometimes find themselves locked out of their own home who don’t want to pay the exorbitant fees of a locksmith.
Being able to pick locks won’t make you a criminal, but it will certainly allow you the confidence of knowing that should you, a friend, family member, or loved one ever need to get through a locked door, you’ll be able to provide a useful service. You may also need to check on an elderly or infirm person who may be hurt or in need of help.
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