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Are Progressively Pinned Locks Any Good?

Posted by Chris Dangerfield on

Locks are a progressive disease

Are Progressively Pinned Locks Any Good?

Let’s get straight into this. Progressive locks are a set of locks pinned with 2, 3, 4, and 5 pins. You learn to pick the 2 pin lock, then the 3 pin lock, then keep going until you’ve picked the 5 pin lock and Boom – you’re a lock picker! There you go – happy days. Or not.

So the question is – are they any good, are they worth getting? Well first of all there’s the cost. You’re looking at about $50 for a set of half decent progressive locks. If you know how to and you have the tools, you can make your own. But if you know how to repin locks, I would hazard a guess you already know how to pick them. So that’s $50. What else could you get for that? A load of ‘real’ locks for a start. A new set of picks? A night or two out, a couple of Clear or Cut-Away practice locks – basically, $50 worth of something worth having.

A standard set of 'Progressive Locks' each one pinned with an additional pin to the last. Seems to make sense, right? Wrong.

The bottom line is – I don’t think they’re worth getting. I mean, what are you getting for your money? In short – an artificial sense of achievement. Let’s look at the logic. The idea is you are going to have a smaller mountain to climb, with say a 2 pin lock. You’ll be able to easily find the binding pin because you have a 50/50 chance. You pick the first pin, then the second. The lock doesn’t open? No worries, start again and start with the second pin. It’s open – horray – you’ve opened a 2 pin lock.

Lock picking is all about identifying and then picking the binding pin, then finding the next binding pin, picking it, etc, until they’re all picked and the lock is open. To be honest, what would be excellent, would be a lock with 30 pins, so you are just having to find the binding pin, then again, then again – until you’ve identified 30 binding pins. That’s actually good practice. All you’re getting with progressive locks is the minor celebration of a lock opening. And come on, we’re not children, we don’t need these small – and artificial – rewards.

This fancy set allows you to spend money on a useless and rather ugly piece of wood too. Who needs a vice when you have a wooden triangle?

Would you learn to build a wall by laying one brick, then starting another wall by laying 2 bricks, then a wall made of three bricks, etc, celebrating in between each one that you’ve built another ‘wall’? No, of course not. You’d just build a damn wall.

What I'm basically trying to say is progressive locks remove the element that makes lock picking tricky - the ability to identify, locate and pick binding pins - which is a different job when there's five or six. To have a 2, 3, or 4 pin lock is to remove the actual skill required. In short you know what you'll learn? How to pick progressive locks!

This set looks really cool! Which is great if you want to look at them.

Remember this – like all shops, lock picking suppliers are always looking for new tools to sell, new items through which they can separate you from your money. Whether you need them or not is your call – and remember, you’re working against some very refined and professional marketing. A superb collection of retouched photos, some product description that’s been written and rewritten by a team of people paid a fortune to write this stuff to hypnotize you into believing you need the item, believing it’s going to solve your problem. Now of course you’re immune to such things, me too – we all are! None of us are silly enough to be duped by such wizardry. Sure. But ask yourself, how many things have you got in your shed, your desk drawer, under your bed, that you never use, never really wanted? Items you can’t quite work out why you even bought them in the first place. If you’re honest, I think you’ll see we are quite easily manipulated into such purchases.

Look - if you REALLY feel the need, make a set like this one. You'll end up learning more about repinning locks than you will picking them, but hey, you'll also save a few quid!

So, like I said at the beginning – for $50 you can get a bunch of ‘real’ locks – Actual locks of the type you’ll be picking in the big wide world. These are the best locks to learn with. You’re learning to do what you want to be able to do. Not something different, not something easier, but the actual thing. So do that - or - alternatively, buy some CLEAR or CUT-AWAY practice locks, where you can see what you're doing. People learning to pick - in my experience - learn quicker with clear and/or cut-away locks. Some of our cut-away locks are also repinnable too - so you can repin with however many you want, if you must!

At last - something useful. - some clear locks, that will teach you everything you need to pick locks. And 'progressive' in their own way - easy, medium, hard.


Equally of use, cut-away locks - which we have in padlocks, dimple locks, and like two in this photo - repinnable. Which means you can repin them with 2, 3, 4, 5, pins if you like! Value for money and actually good for learning how to pick locks!

Happy Picking! 

Chris Dangerfield

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