Lockpicking is an interesting hobby that anyone can enjoy. It’s also a great way to make some extra money on the side. To help you get started, we’ve compiled 6 lockpicking tips for the new hobbyist. The key to successful lockpicking is all about patience and practice, so don’t be discouraged if it takes some time before your skills improve.
1) Buy Quality Lockpicks
When shopping for lockpicking equipment, you want to make sure that the tools are of good quality. Cheap locks can be picked with cheap picks, but it will take longer and is more difficult than picking a high-quality lock. This also applies when choosing between different sets of pick tools–a complete lock pick set in one price range is almost always better than a set made up of tools from several different price ranges.
When it comes to metal, stronger isn’t necessarily better–stainless steel picks are harder and more rigid and more likely to break under tension when trying to pick a lock. The best material for lockpicks is spring steel; this material is strong and flexible, making it perfect for the job.
2) Learn the Basic Tension Wrench Techniques
Tension wrenches are used in lockpicking to apply rotational tension inside a lock’s cylinder, which is necessary for picking pins and other locking components. While you can buy specialty tools designed specifically for this purpose, it’s possible to use almost anything that fits into the keyhole–paperclips, coins, bobby pins, etc.
The easiest way to use a tension wrench is with the “scoop” method: insert your chosen tool into the keyhole and position it so that one end pushes against the face of a pin while the other end catches on a nearby ledge inside of the lock. By simply applying pressure to both ends of the tool at once, you can apply rotational tension to whichever pin is caught under the ledge.
3) Start with a Practice Lock
The best way to learn to lockpick is probably by using an actual lock, but you must start with one of the many practice locks on the market. One major reason for this is that some types of locks are more difficult than others; In contrast, pin tumbler locks are widely considered (even by law enforcement) to be the easiest type of lock to pick; warded locks are considerably more difficult.
Warded locks do not use pins and have a series of narrow channels that obstruct passage through the keyhole. While this makes picking extremely challenging (and in many cases impossible), it also allows for quick entry from an experienced lockpicker–a skilled lockpick can slide a specially designed tension wrench into the keyhole and release all of the obstructions at once.
4) Try Different Techniques for Picking
While the “scoop” technique works well for most locks, it’s important to realize that every lock is different. Each pin stack will have a unique shape, size, and orientation within the keyhole–as such, each will require its own picking method. For example, some pins might be easier to access from the front of the keyhole, while others might be easier to access from above.
The best way to learn how different locks work is by practicing on as many different types of locks as possible. Once you become familiar with these techniques, it will be much easier for you to determine which tool works best in each case and pick your lock more quickly and efficiently.
5) Use Locksmith Training Courses to Level Up
One of the best ways to improve your lockpicking skills is by attending a professional locksmith training course. While these courses are typically designed for those looking to become licensed as paid, full-time locksmiths, they provide an excellent opportunity for hobbyists and others who want some extra knowledge.
Locksmithing courses typically include in-depth lessons on every type of lock, including how they work and what tools are used to pick them–in some cases, you’ll even have the opportunity to practice your skills with real locks under supervision from an experienced instructor. These classes will help you learn new techniques for picking different locks, and you’ll get the bonus of meeting other people with similar interests.
6) Find a Lockpicking Group
Finally, one of the best ways to learn lockpick is finding a local locking group and attending their meetings. These groups are typically very friendly toward beginners–most members will be more than happy to help you practice your skills under supervision or even teach you some new techniques if they have them.
Lockpicking is a great hobby for those who enjoy the challenge of solving puzzles. It’s also beneficial knowledge if you happen to work in law enforcement or security, but it can be just as fun and exciting even if that isn’t your job. By following these tips, you should have no trouble picking up this skill quickly and easily and you’ll have a great time doing it.