How to Pick a Lock

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How to Pick a Lock

When most people think of lock picking, they think of thieves or spies in the movies. While this is no doubt one of the more sensationalized uses of lock picking, it’s by no means the only one. Knowing how to pick a lock can be a great skill to have as an average person.

It can help you get out of a jam if you lose your keys or are locked out of a locker, building, room, or car. It can also provide you with a better understanding of how locks work. With these skills, you’ll be more able to determine when you can pick a lock yourself, or when you might need the services of a locksmith.


The Benefits of Knowing How to Pick a Lock

There are many good reasons to know how to pick a lock – and none of them have to do with criminal activity or being a spy. Having these skills can help you in several ways. The benefits of knowing how to pick a lock include:

  • Understanding how locks work, which provides you with a better sense of the security that different kinds of locks can provide
  • Helping you know when you should get door locks replacement services from a professional locksmith to improve your security
  • Better enabling you to complete door lock installation on your own
  • Improving your understanding of how secure your home, office, or other locked places are based on the type of lock you have
  • Know when you can pick a lock yourself, or when it’s too complex and requires a residential locksmith or commercial locksmith to help
  • Being able to help yourself and others if you get locked out or there is an emergency or unforeseen situation

Is Lock Picking Legal?

Many people worry about the legality of lock picking, or carrying lock picking tools in their car or bag.  However, there’s no need to fear. Carrying lock picking tools, and using them to unlock something you own, is perfectly legal. Obviously, criminal activities, such as breaking into buildings, lockers, cars, and so on that aren’t yours, are still all illegal acts. But simply carrying the tools or using them to pick a lock on your own locked items is absolutely, 100% legal – and practical, too.


Basic Principles of Lock Picking

There are several different kinds of common locks that you may encounter when you attempt to pick a lock. At their core, however, most locks involve one or more pins or cams that need to be moved into the correct position in order to release the lock. This can most easily be seen in simple door locks, known as pin and tumbler style locks.

This kind of lock is made up of a cylinder, inside which is the hole for the key, and the lock mechanism, along with several pins. Then the key is inserted into the hole, it pushes the pins into the correct position (matching the teeth of the key), which allows the lock to rotate and unlock the latch. To pick a lock of this kind, we use tools to manipulate the pins in the absence of the key. The techniques used are the same that processional locksmiths use to pick these same kinds of locks.


How to Pick a Lock

The tools you’ll need in order to pick a lock include a tension wrench and pick rakes – collectively, a lock picking kit. These are readily available from reputable sites online. The tension wrench, as the name implies, is designed to keep tension on the lock while you work, holding it in place slightly rotated, so you can work with the picks. The picks are the actual tool you use to manipulate the lock pins.

  1. Put the tension wrench into the key hole, and gently rotate the lock slightly. You’ll feel the key pins move slightly. Light pressure should do the trick – you just want mild tension on the lock plug so that when you pick the pins, they will catch.
  2. While still holding the plug in tension, insert a pick into the top of the lock. Slide it all the way into the lock. Continue keeping pressure on the tension wrench.
  3. Now, slowly pull the pick out, using a raking motion and upward pressure on the pick as you pull back. This is designed to help catch each of the key pins, and let them fall into position as you keep the lock tensioned.
  4. Repeat Step 3 until all the pins have latched into place, at which time you’ll be able to fully rotate the lock and unlock it.

When to Call a Locksmith

The above process of picking a lock is much easier said than done, of course. It can also be ineffective on many more exotic types of locks.  It also doesn’t bypass security systems, deadbolts, or other measures that may cause you problems. If you have no luck picking a lock, and need to get into your possessions, home, office, or other locked space, it’s best to call a locksmith. This is also true if a lock is linked to a security system or other electronic/sensor systems. Car locks can be tricky, as they often have associated alarms. Many people prefer to call a residential locksmith rather than try to pick a car lock themselves.

In all cases, if you’re looking for a Silver Spring locksmith, then Carmeli Locksmiths should be your first call. Whether you’ve tried and failed to pick a lock, or don’t even want to attempt it and just get professional help, Carmeli Locksmiths has the experience, tools, and skills to get the job done. We’ll get you back into your home, office, car, or belongings ASAP!