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Lock Picking is an incredibly exciting and powerful skill, but it can be fairly daunting for a beginner when faced with such a huge range of tools and techniques.
In this article I have put my decades of experience using and supplying lock picks to help you know where to start, and what tools and techniques the beginner can learn quickly, and start opening locks like a pro. Let's go!
In this list I have not included guides, books etc. We have a variety of guides for various lock picking techniques, including our exceptionally good and well respected eBook about Single Pin Picking. Using a combination of such a book, and information that can be found on YouTube etc, there's enough information out there for you to know the theory or lock picking, so here I am focusing on the practice, the tools a beginner should consider when venturing into this incredible skill.
1 - Lock Picks
Lock Picking proper, the idea most people have and what we see in the movies, is known as Single Pin Picking (SPP) and does exactly what it says on the tin, you pick the pins individually until the lock opens. It takes practice and knowledge, but if you're prepared to put the time in and get quality tools, there's no reason why you shouldn't be picking locks SPP within days, if not hours. And this technique will open the most locks.
So you need a set of picks and there are many available. As a beginner I would suggest you look for the following: A good range of picks and tension tools. Many beginners also have trouble holding picks so perhaps look at a set with handles, or consider getting a set of handles which you can slip onto your picks. Read the reviews and see what other customers have said. We are blessed with very honest customers who leave helpful feedback, so equip yourself with a good set of picks and you're ready to go. I will add that cheap is not always cheerful, and you'll get a better quality small set than a larger set for a cheaper price.
2 - Practice Locks
Having taught literally 100s of people to pick locks I am still yet to find a better method than practice locks. Coming as both clear and cut-away, these are locks that allow you to see and understand the way a lock works, how the mechanism moves and how it responds to both the correct key and your lock picks. Practice locks can be studied as you pick and you can later choose to cover them with a piece of tape, hiding the springs and pins and putting your newfound knowledge to the test.
3 - Lock Rakes
Raking is a technique everyone should learn. It's quick, relatively simple to learn, and will have you opening locks in hours, if not minutes. Most people will learn to rake before they learn SPP as it's good for morale to see some locks opening quickly. There are a variety of raking techniques, and there are a selection of tools. While most raking techniques can be tackled with some standard picks, there are some amazing sets of just rakes which I would definitely recommend to a beginner. If an entire set is beyond your budget there are many individual rakes that are superb and definitely worth a look. If you're on a tight budget, when you're selecting your lock pick set and want to get involved with raking too - look for a set with a decent selection of rakes.
4 - Pick Guns
A pick gun is an early essential as it gives you a very different approach to opening locks than SPP and raking. Pick Guns work by flicking a thin needle at the pins while you apply tension. after several flicks of the needle you very frequently have 'set' all the pins and the lock opens. Because Pick Guns rely on the flicks of the needle, Electronic Pick Guns (EPGs) work better and faster than manual pick guns, although a decent manual pick gun is worth having in your collection. Being a successful lock picker is all about having a variety of tools and techniques you can approach a lock with. Since no picking tool or technique is 100% and since some locks won't respond to one technique but will to another, its worth having a variety of approaches, and a pick gun is a must.
5 - Bypass Tools
A bypass tool is opens locks in another way that doesn't tend to include manipulating the pins such as a pick gun, raking, or SPP does. For instance, rather than picking a car door lock there's the Goldfinger and Air Wedges kit, which allows you to create a gap between the door and roof of the car to insert a rod, and then pull, push, or grab a handle. There's bypass tools that you slip right past the pins to engage the cam of the lock directly and others that work with the wheels of combination padlocks. I would suggest a beginner start with a bypass tool like MICA. This is the real version of the old 'credit card trick' from movies. MICA is a material that is very flexible and very strong, meaning it can slip round the right angles of a door frame and be brought down on the curved latch of a front door lock. This simple trick is so effective I have opened literally 100s of locked doors using this technique.
So there you go - a few thoughts for someone new to lock picking. Remember, if you're totally new to this amazing skill that just keeps giving, if you like the challenge, maybe enjoy puzzles (each lock is a new puzzle!) you can even buy sets with a few picks, some rakes, a guide and some practice locks.
So it doesn't have to be daunting, and you're no longer in the dark, or, if you want any further advice, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to help you work out the best kit for your requirements.
Chris from UK Bump Keys