Secrets Of Pick-Locking

This is a discussion on Secrets Of Pick-Locking within the Real Life Hacks board part of the Entertainment category; %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% SECRETS OF LOCK PICKING By Steven Hampton originally published by Paladin Press (c) 1987 (don't let the date ...

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    Secrets Of Pick-Locking

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    By Steven Hampton

    originally published by Paladin Press (c) 1987
    (don't let the date fool you. This is good stuff)

    brought to you by

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    Well, I'm bringing you this file because I have a scanner and an
    OCR package and I like to pick locks. This file is a complete transcription
    of the book, Secrets of Lock Picking by Steven Hampton, minus the chapter
    on warded locks (These locks are cheap. Use a hammer and a screwdriver).
    Before getting on to the subject, I would just like to use this opportunity
    to say that you can not just read this file and know how to pick locks. It
    does take practice. The good news is that by practicing you will learn how
    to open locks. And fast, too. I have heard many people say "It's not like
    the takes time to pick a lock." Well, sometimes thats true, but
    I have picked a Sargeant six-pin, high-security tumbler lock in three seconds.
    And other similar locks in the the same time frame as well. So I know that
    it can be done. But don't worry. Practicing is not boring. There is a
    certain thrill present when you pick a lock for the very first time.
    Imagine the sensation of knowing that you can get into almost anywhere you
    want. Believe me when I tell you that it is very cool.

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    Lock Identification
    Pin Tumbler Locks
    Wafer Tumbler Locks
    Double Wafer Locks
    Pin and Wafer Tumbler Padlocks
    Tubular Cylinder Locks
    Mushroom and Spool Pin Tumbler Locks
    Magnetic Locks
    Disk Tumbler Locks
    Tips for Success


    The ancient Egyptians were the first to come up with
    a complicated security device. This was the pin tumbler
    lock. We use the same security principle today on millions
    of applications.

    The most commonly used lock today is the pin tumbler
    lock. A series of pins that are divided at certain points
    must be raised to these dividing points in relationship to
    the separation between the cylinder wall and the shell of
    the lock by a key cut for that particular series of pin divi-
    sions. Thus the cylinder can be turned, and the mechanism
    or lock is unlocked.

    Lock picking means to open a lock by use of a flat piece
    of steel called a pick. Actually, the process requires two
    pieces of flat steel to open cylinder locks. It amuses me
    to watch spies and thieves on TV picking locks using only
    one tool. But it is for the better in a sense. If everyone
    learned how to pick locks by watching TV, we would all
    be at the mercy of anyone who wanted to steal from us,
    and the cylinder lock for the most part would be outdated.

    The actual definition of lock picking should be: "The
    manipulation and opening of any restrictive mechanical
    or electronic device by usage of tools other than the
    implied instrument (key or code) used solely for that
    device." A little lengthy, but more accurate description.
    With cylinder locks, it requires a pick and a tension

    By picking the lock, you simply replace the function
    of a key with a pick that raises the pins to their "break-
    ing point," and using a tension wrench one rotates the
    cylinder to operate the cam at the rear of the lock's cylinder
    to unlock the mechanism.

    The tension wrench is used to apply tension to the
    cylinder of the lock to cause a slight binding action on
    the pins as well as to turn the cylinder after the pins have
    been aligned by the pick; this opens the lock. The slight
    binding action on the pins caused by the tension wrench
    allows one to hear and feel each pin as it "breaks" or
    reaches alignment with the separation of cylinder and
    shell. The vibration is felt in the knuckles and joints of
    the fingers, and the sound is similar to that of a cricket
    in an arm wrestling match-a subtle yet distinct click.

    Usually you need very little tension with the wrench
    while picking the lock. In fact, it takes somewhat of a
    delicate, yet firm touch. This is the secret to picking locks
    successfully-a firm and yet gentle touch on the tension
    wrench. You should be able to feel the pins click into place
    with the right amount of tension; experience will be your
    true guide.

    Half of your success will be based on your ability to
    use or improvise various objects to use as tools for your
    purpose. The other half will depend on practice. I once
    picked a pin tumbler lock using a borrowed roach clip
    and a hairpin. A dangerous fire was prevented and prob-
    ably several lives were saved. The world is full of useful
    objects for the purpose, so never hesitate to experiment.


    I started picking locks using a small screwdriver and
    a safety pin. The screwdriver can be used as a tension
    wrench, and the safety pin is used like a "hook" pick.
    The last half inch of the screwdriver's tip was bent at a
    45 degree angle so as to allow easy entry for the pick (bent
    safety pin). Do not heat the screwdriver tip to bend it,
    as this will destroy its temper. Use a vise and hammer to
    do the job. Bend slowly by using firm and short taps of
    the hammer, otherwise you may break and weaken the
    shaft. The safety pin should be about one and a half inches
    long and bent in the same way.

    With the small screwdriver as a tension wrench, you can
    use more of a turning or twisting movement than with
    a regular tension wrench so you will generally need less
    direct force when using it. As I mentioned earlier, with
    practice you will develop the feeling for the right amount
    of tension on a cylinder. If the safety pin bends after a
    short time, use the keyway of the lock you are picking
    to bend it back into shape. Even after several times of
    bending, it should still be useful. Keep a few spares handy,
    though. File the tip of the safety pin flat in relationship
    to the bottom of the pins in the lock. Smooth any sharp
    edges so that you won't impale yourself. Also, if the tip
    is smooth, the pick will not get hung up on the pins while
    picking the lock.

    Granted these are not the best tools for the job, but
    they do work. If you learn to use your junk box as a rich
    source of equipment, then with your experience real lock
    picks will give you magic fingers. Also, you'll have the
    advantage of being able to improvise should you be
    without the real things (which are illegal to carry on your
    person in most parts of the country).

    Lock picks are difficult to get. I received my first set
    when I became a locksmith apprentice. All of my subse-
    quent sets I made from stainless steel steak knives with
    a grinder and cut-off wheel. They are much more durable
    than the commercial picks. If you do make your own,
    make certain that the steel is quenched after every 3
    seconds of grinding-do not allow the pick to get hot to
    the point of blue discoloration.

    A diamond pick is the standard pick I use on most all
    pin and wafer locks. A small diamond pick is used for
    small pin tumbler locks such as small Master padlocks,
    cabinet file locks, etc. The tubular cylinder lock pick, we
    will discuss later. The double-ended, single-pronged ten-
    sion wrench is used with the diamond pick. It features
    double usage; a small end for small cylinders and a large
    end for the larger cylinders. A special tension wrench is
    used for double-wafer cylinder locks with an end with two
    prongs on one end and tubular cylinder locks with the
    single prong on the other end. We will discuss tubular
    cylinder and double-wafer locks later as well. The steel
    should be .030 inches to .035 inches thick for the picks
    and .045 inches to .050 inches thick for the first tension
    wrench mentioned above. The second tension wrench
    should be .062 inches square (.062 inches x .062 inches)
    on the tubular cylinder side (one pronged end), and .045
    inches thick on the double-wafer end (two-pronged end).
    You can accomplish this by starting out with .045 inches
    in thickness. The two-pronged end should be bent carefully
    in a vise at a 30 degree angle. This allows easy entry for
    the pick on double-wafer locks.

    Among the more common tools used by professionals
    around the world is the rake pick. The rake pick is used
    to "rake" the tumblers into place by sliding it in and out
    across the tumblers. I seldom use the rake pick because
    it is not highly effective and I consider it a sloppy excuse
    for a lock pick. I've seen the rake pick work on some dif-
    ficult locks, but you can rake with a diamond pick and
    get the same results. I prefer the diamond pick for most
    tumbler locks simply because it is easier to get in and out
    of locks-it slides across the tumblers with little or no

    A ball pick is used for picking double-wafer cylinder
    locks, though I never carry one; I use a large diamond
    pick and reverse it when picking these locks. This means
    I have one less pick to carry and lose.

    A double-ball pick is used like a rake on double-wafer
    locks in conjunction with a tension wrench (two-pronged

    A hook pick is used to open lever tumbler locks, though
    again, I use a diamond pick with a hooking action when
    possible. There are various sizes of hooks but they all have
    the same basic job-to catch the movable levers that
    unlock lever locks.

    There are also various sizes of tension wrenches. They
    are usually made from spring steel. The standard tension
    wrench is used for pin and wafer locks. A special tension
    wrench is called a Feather Touch, and it is used for high-
    security mushroom and spool pin tumbler locks. Its
    delicate spring-loaded action allows the pick to bypass the
    tendencies of these pins to stick. A homemade version of
    the Feather Touch can be made from a medium-light duty
    steel spring.

    As to getting lock picks for your own use, you cannot
    go down to your local hardware store and buy them. I
    could supply you with some sources or wholesalers, but
    I do believe it is illegal for them to sell to individuals. Your
    best bet would be to find a machine shop that will
    fabricate them for you. It would be less expensive and
    arouse less suspicion if you purchase a small grinder with
    a cut-off wheel and make your own. With a little prac-
    tice, you can make a whole set in an afternoon. Use a copy
    of the illustrations in this book as templates and carefully
    cut them out with an X-ACTO knife. Cut down the middle
    of the lines. Acquire some stainless steel (many steak
    knives approach proper thickness).

    With a glue stick, lightly coat one side of the paper
    template and apply it to the cleaned stainless surface, and
    allow it to dry. You'll need a can of black wrinkle finish
    spray paint. This kind of paint has a high carbon con-
    tent and can stand high temperature of grinding. Spray
    the stainless (or knives) with the patterns glued on and
    dry in a warm oven or direct sunlight for one hour. Set
    aside for twenty-four more hours. Peel off the paper
    template and you are ready to cut and grind. Please use
    caution when cutting and grinding. The piece should be
    quenched every three seconds in cold water. Smooth up
    sharp edges with a small file or burnishing wheel.

    Tools made from stainless steel will outlast the pur-
    chased ones. The tools purchased from most suppliers are
    made from spring steel and wear out after about 100 uses.
    The stainless steel ones, if properly made, should last over
    2,000 uses.


    There are many types of locks, the most common being:

    1. The pin tumbler lock. Used for house and garage doors,
    padlocks, mail boxes, and Ford automobiles.

    2. The wafer tumbler lock. Used for garage and trailer
    doors, desks, padlocks, cabinets, most autos, window
    locks, and older vending machines.

    3. The double-wafer lock. Used for higher security wafer
    tumbler applications.

    4. The warded locks. Used for light security padlocks and
    old-fashioned door locks.

    5. Lever locks Used for light security and older padlocks,
    sophisticated safe-deposit boxes, some desks, jewelry
    boxes, and small cash boxes.

    6. Tubular cylinder locks. Used for alarm control systems,
    newer vending machines, car-wash control boxes and
    wherever higher security problems might exist.

    These locks are the more common locks used yet there
    are variations and combinations of these principal types
    that usually pick open in the manner that will be discussed.
    Some of them just require practice of the basic types,
    others luck, and most of the rest of them knowledge of
    how that particular lock works and is keyed. This comes
    from experience.


    Pin tumbler locks offer the most security for their price.
    They have close machine tolerances and approximately
    1,000,000 different key combinations for a five-pin lock.
    Considering the thousands of different companies mak-
    ing pin tumblers (different shaped keyways for each com-
    pany or design line), the chances of someone having a key
    that will work in your front door lock are one in many

    Pin tumbler locks can easily be identified by peering
    down the keyway and locating the first round pin.

    Sometimes you can see the pin's dividing point, where it
    breaks with the cylinder wall (shear point).

    To successfully pick a pin tumbler lock, your sense of
    touch sould be honed so that both hands feel the tools.
    Once the hand holding the pick has located a slight relief
    in tension while picking a particular tumbler, the other
    hand holding the tension wrench will feel a relief or break-
    ing point. Both hands should be involved with the sense
    of touch, the sensing of the inner workings of the lock.

    We are now ready to begin the first lesson. First open
    your front door and check for a pin tumbler lock on it.
    It should have one on it. If there is one, leave the door
    open to decrease suspicion. Do not lock yourself out of
    your apartment or house by being overconfident; not only
    will you raise suspicion, but window glass is not cheap.



    Without using the tension wrench, slip the pick into
    the lock. The "hook" of the pick should be toward the
    tumblers (up in most cases, depending on whether or not
    the lock was mounted upside down-you can tell by look-
    ing down the keyway and locating the first pin with your
    pick). Try to feel the last tumbler of the lock. It should
    be 7/8 inches into the lock for a five-pin tumbler lock
    (most common pin tumbler lock used).

    Make certain that you have no tension on the wrench
    when inserting the pick as this will encumber the frontal
    tumblers. When you feel the back tumbler, slowly raise
    it with a slight prying motion of the pick. Release it, but
    keep the pick in the lock on the rear tumbler.

    Now insert the tension wrench, allowing room for the
    pick to manipulate all of the pins. It should be placed at
    the bottom of the cylinder if the lock was mounted
    upright, tumblers toward the top of the cylinder. Apply
    firm and yet gentle clockwise pressure to the tension

    Slowly raise the back tumbler with a slight prying mo-
    tion of the pick. A minute click will be felt and heard when
    it breaks. It will lose its springiness when this occurs, so
    do not go any further with it. Any further movement with
    the pick will cause binding by going past the pins' shear
    line. Continue an even pressure with the tension wrench.

    Keeping an even tension pressure, proceed to Step Two.


    The fourth tumbler should be easily felt since it is the
    next one in line. Raise it until it breaks, keeping the ten-
    sion wrench steady. It too will give a sound and sensa-
    tion when it breaks or aligns.


    The third or middle tumbler is next. Again, it too will
    click. Maintain a constant, even pressure on the wrench-
    about the same pressure that you would use to replace
    a cap on a catsup bottle. You may feel the "clicks" in your
    tension wrench as well as hear them.


    Continue on to the next tumbler out, working toward
    you. When it breaks, raise the last (front) tumbler to its
    braking point and the cylinder should be free to rotate
    and unlock the door. Sometimes you may have to play
    with the wrench to open the lock because you may have
    raised a tumbler too high, past its breaking point. If this
    is the case, very slowly and gradually release the tension
    wrench pressure and the overly extended tumbler will drop
    into its breaking point before the other tumblers have a
    chance to fall. The cylinder should pop open at that point.
    I have found that this technique is responsible for over
    30 percent of my successes in opening all tumbler locks.

    If the lock still refuses to open after all that treatment,
    release the tension wrench pressure, allowing all of the
    tumblers to drop and start over. You may have more than
    one tumbler too high and would be better off to repeat
    the picking process.


    Wafer tumbler locks make up over one-fourth of the
    locks in use in the world. Since they are generally easier
    to pick than most pin tumbler locks, you will be 75 per-
    cent master after fooling around with these mechanisms.
    That is why I wrote about pin tumbler locks first-they
    are more difficult and make up over one-half of the locks
    used today.

    The term wafer refers to the general shape of the
    tumblers. The wafers are flat, spring-loaded tumblers that
    are much thinner than pins and the distance between them
    is less. Wafer locks are picked in the same way as pin
    tumbler locks, but you must compensate for the smaller
    dimensions. You can identify wafer locks simply by look-
    ing down the keyway and locating the first flat tumbler.
    The last tumbler on most wafer locks is located about one-
    half inch into the lock.

    Wafer locks are used on filing cabinets, lockers, most
    cars, garage doors, desks, and wherever medium security
    is required. The only wafer tumbler lock in common use
    that is difficult to pick is the side-bar wafer lock. It is the
    most popular type of auto lock. This lock is of different
    design than most other locks and offers much more secur-
    ity than a regular wafer tumbler lock, or even a pin
    tumbler lock.

    The side bar lock is used mostly on General Motors
    cars and trucks since 1935. It is used on ignitions, door,
    and trunk locks. Side bar locks are hard to pick because
    you cannot feel or hear the tumblers align with the
    cylinders breaking point. A spring-loaded bar falls into
    place to allow the cylinder to turn when all of the tumblers
    are aligned. There is no way to tell when that happens.
    One learns to sense the bar while picking so that it seems
    to fall into place by itself. But for beginners, I recommend
    this technique for emergency openings: Peer down the
    keyway and locate the side groove of any of the tumblers
    using a pick as a searching tool. Drill a small hole in the
    shell of the lock above the bar which is above the grooves
    on the tumblers. Since side bar locks have off-centered
    keyways, the usual place to drill is opposite of the keyway.
    Using an L-shaped steel wire, put pressure on the sidebar
    and rake the tumblers using a tension wrench for cylinder
    rotation and the lock will open.

    Fortunately, most GMC autos have inferior window
    seals; with a coat hanger, one can lasso the locking door
    knob to open the door. If you are going to be successful
    at opening side bars, you will do it within two minutes;
    otherwise, you are causing unnecessary wear on your picks
    not to mention wasting your time.

    Ford auto locks are relatively simple to pick. They have
    pin tumblers and you have to remember that the door
    locks turn counterclockwise. Most other auto locks turn
    clockwise. If you are not sure, remember this: If the
    tumblers will not catch at their breaking points, you are
    going in the wrong direction with the tension wrench.

    Wafer locks are a cinch to pick if you have learned how
    to pick pin tumblers. Just remember that wafers are thin-
    ner than pins and there is less distance between them.

    Generally you need less tension-wrench pressure with these
    locks, yet car locks can be quite stubborn and require a
    great deal of tension. Any heavily spring-loaded cylinder
    needs a substantial amount of tension.

    As a rule, though, wafer locks need less play with the
    tension wrench than with pin tumbler locks. But if you
    find yourself having difficulty in opening these, you may
    try a little tension-wrench play. Usually they won't pop
    open like pin tumbler locks, they just slide open; you don't
    get the warning that a pin tumbler gives before it opens
    because there is less contact area on the wafer's edge than
    on a pin, so the sense of climax is reduced with these types
    of locks. Still, they open quite easily.


    Double-wafer locks are picked in the same way as single-
    wafer locks, but there are two sides to the story. Not only
    do you have to align the top wafers, but you have ones
    in the bottom of the cylinder to align as well.

    The Chicago Lock Company was the first to come up
    with this type of lock. It is a classic example of the race
    toward better security. Certain tension wrenches allow
    uninterrupted picking using ball picks. You can also use
    a standard tension wrench or small screwdriver and place
    it at the center of the keyway. To eliminate unnecessary
    baggage, use a diamond pick, reversing it to encounter
    both top and bottom wafers.

    The last tumbler in this type of lock is located less than
    one-half of an inch in. The picking procedure may have
    to be repeated more than one time-top wafers, then bot-
    tom wafers, top, bottom-back and forth. Yet these locks
    are easier to pick than most pin tumblers.

    Locate the last wafer on the top side and move it to
    its breaking point. Do the same with the other top wafers.
    Keep the tension wrench firm, remove the pick, turn it
    upside down (if you are using a diamond or homemade
    pick), and reinsert it to work the bottom wafers. You may
    have to repeat this process a few times, but double-wafer
    locks can and will open with such treatment. Schlage has
    a doorknob lock that opens this way, but the last tumbler
    is about one and one-half inches in.

    Double-wafer locks are easy to master if you have
    learned to pick pin and wafer tumbler locks. Since double-
    wafer locks are more compact, you have to compensate
    for the fact-slightly closer tolerances. These type of locks
    are used on old pop and candy machines, gas caps,
    cabinets, etc.


    Cylinder padlocks require a technique of holding them
    with the same hand with which you are using the tension
    wrench. This technique allows one to pick the padlock
    without going into contortions over a dangling padlock.
    Assuming that you are right-handed, hold the padlock
    in your left hand by gripping the body of the padlock with
    your thumb and forefinger. Insert the tension wrench at
    the bottom of the keyway and hold it in a clockwise turn
    with your ring and little finger, causing a slight binding
    pressure on the cylinder. Now your right hand is free to
    pick, and your left hand does the job of holding both the
    lock and tension wrench. The overhand method works
    well, too, but the thumb controls the tension wrench
    instead. Switch around to find which is most comfortable
    for you.

    When tumbler padlocks pop open, it is quite a sensa-
    tion because the shackle is spring-loaded and gives one
    quite a jolt. It's a feeling of accomplishment. You may
    need a little more tension on padlocks than on door locks
    because the cylinder cam has to operate a spring-loaded
    bolt. Overall, padlocks are the most fun to open. Prac-
    tice using old or discarded padlocks that you have found.
    I've worn out hundreds of them.


    (Note: Diagrams of tubular lock were omitted due to the fact that picking
    them with conventional methods is a complete waste of time. There are picks
    available that are specifically designed to pick this kind of lock in a
    matter of seconds)

    We will gradually proceed to more sophisticated locks
    from here. I would like to remind you that success is not
    based on personality. If one is arrogant about one's lock-
    picking skills, one could easily be made a fool of by a
    lock. And no matter how many times you bash a cylinder,
    you will still be locked out. The only thing you accomplish
    is attracting an audience-so be cool.

    If at this point you have had much difficulty under-
    standing the principles of pin and wafer locks, please
    restudy this book from the beginning. Read it several times
    so as to absorb it. The information that you now have
    has taken me almost two decades to gather, so please be
    mindful of that.

    Now you are about to learn how to open the more dif-
    ficult locking mechanisms-some of the other 25 percent
    of the locks used today. You should feel confident with
    pin, wafer and double-wafer tumbler locks before you
    attempt rim cylinder locks.

    Tubular cylinder locks stand out as the most generally
    accepted lock in all important industries using high-quality
    locks for protection of property, merchandise, and cash.
    They are recognized as giving the maximum amount of
    security for their price range.

    Tubular cylinder locks are pin tumbler locks arranged
    on a circular plane. Unlike conventional pin tumbler locks,
    all of the pins are exposed to the eye. The central section
    of the lock rotates to operate the cam when all of the seven
    pins have reached their breaking points. When the pro-
    per key is entered into the lock, the tumblers are pressed
    into position so that the central section (plug) can be
    turned. This manual operation of inserting the key places
    the tumblers in position so that the lock can be operated
    and ensures that frost, dust, salt, or unfavorable climatic
    conditions will not affect the smooth operation of the

    The Chicago Ace lock is a product of the Chicago Lock
    Company of Chicago, Illinois. It is an effective security
    device and is used on vending machines, coin boxes, and
    burglar alarms. A larger, more complex version of it is
    used on bank doors and electronic teller machines. The
    key is of tubular shape with the cuts arranged in a circle
    around the key.

    The pick used for this lock is the tubular cylinder pick,
    or you may use a straight pin or your homemade safety
    pin pick. The one-pronged end of the tension wrench is
    a little more specialized and is used for rim cylinder locks.
    It must be .062 inches square for best results. Any square
    steel stock is acceptable, as long as it fits snugly into the
    groove of the tubular cylinder plug.

    This type of lock is a burglar's nightmare because it
    takes so long to pick. You have to pick it three or four
    times to accomplish the unlocking radius of 120 to 180
    degrees. And the cylinder locks after each time you pick
    it-every one-seventh of a turn.

    If you leave the lock only partly picked, the key will
    not be able to open it, so you must pick it back into the
    locked position after opening it-another three or four
    picking sessions. In all, to unlock and lock the cylinder,
    you have to pick it up to eight times-quite a chore if you
    don't have the right tools or time.

    These locks almost always pick in the clockwise direc-
    tion. Make certain that the tension wrench fits snugly into
    the groove on the cylinder. Very slowly push the first pin
    down until it clicks, maintaining a definite clockwise
    pressure on the tension wrench. Once the tumbler has
    broken, do not push any further and proceed to the next
    one, and so on. As you reach the last tumbler, the ten-
    sion wrench will feel more slack and give way if the lock
    were properly picked.

    There are special keyhole saws for these locks in which
    you drill out the tumblers and turn the cylinder. Also there
    is a special tool used by locksmiths to open rim cylinder


    High-security pin tumbler locks may contain specially
    made pins to make picking them more challenging. The
    pins are machined so as to make picking them quite dif-
    ficult. When picking these locks, the pins give the impres-
    sion that they have broken, when in fact they could be
    a long way from breaking. You can tell whether or not
    you are picking a pin tumbler lock that has these pins by
    the fact that the pins seem to align so easily with a louder
    than normal click. The cylinder seems eager to open but
    to no avail.

    The picking procedure relies on a well-yielding tension
    wrench. The tension wrench has to be lightly spring-loaded
    so that the pins can bypass their false breaking points.
    You also have to "rake" (seesaw in and out) the pins with
    your pick. The feather-touch tension wrench is ideal for
    the job. Use light pressure with it, and it will let you in.

    (Note: A feather-touch tension wrench is not necessarily required. A normal
    tension wrench will work fine with an extremely light tension on it. The
    weight of just your index finger alone should be enough in most cases.)

    The mushroom and spool pins are used in locks for
    high-security purposes such as bank doors. The American
    Lock Company uses them in some of their padlocks.


    Magnetic locks are fascinating. I almost hate to open
    them because I feel that I have breached their uniqueness.
    In reality, you do not pick them, but "confuse" them. They
    generally work on the principle that like magnetic
    polarities repel each other. The key is a set of small
    magnets arranged in a certain order to repel other magnets
    in the lock, thereby allowing the spring-loaded bolt or cam
    to open the lock.

    By using a pulsating electromagnetic field, you can
    cause the magnets in the lock to vibrate violently at thirty
    vibrations per second, thereby allowing it to be opened
    by intermittent tugging of the bolt or turning of the door

    This method may also ruin the small magnets in the
    lock by changing their magnetic status or properties. So,
    if you have to perform an emergency break-in with these
    locks, do not relock the door. The card or key will not
    operate the lock.

    The magnetic pick can be used on padlocks by strok-
    ing it across the place where the key is placed. It is also
    designed to fit into the doorknob and is used by stroking
    one pole in and out or by using the other pole the same

    If you have had little or no training and experience
    building something like this, please have a friend who is
    familiar with basic electronics do it for you. Do not take
    the chance of electrocuting yourself. Make sure that the
    coil is also completely covered with electrician's tape after
    you have wound the 34 gauge wire. Also make sure that
    the steel core has at least three layers of tape over it. Do
    not leave the unit plugged in for more than two to three
    minutes at any one time as this may cause overheating
    which could cause it to burn out or start a fire. It is safe
    to use if constructed properly and not left plugged in
    unattended. Opening magnetic locks requires only 30 to
    60 seconds anyway, so don't leave the unit plugged in for

    For magnetic padlocks, use a back-and-forth stroking
    action along the length of the keyway. For magnetic door
    locks, use a stroking in-and-out action in the slot of the
    knob alternating from one side (pole) of the pick to the

    The "key" for a magnetic door lock is a metal or plastic
    card containing an array of magnetic domains or regions
    coded in a specific order to allow entry. The magnetic pick
    bypasses that.


    Combination or "puzzle" locks were invented to fur-
    ther improve security and the protection of valuables. The
    older safes and lockboxes were good security devices when
    they came into the market, but some people became
    curious and realized that these safe locks had inherent
    weaknesses. One of the main problems was that the disk
    tumblers were not mechanically isolated from the bolt that
    unlocks the safe door. In other words, you could feel and
    hear the tumblers while turning the dial by applying
    pressure on the handle of the bolt.

    When that problem was recognized and solved, thieves
    started drilling through strategic places in the lock itself
    to open it. Knocking off hinges was an all-time favorite
    tactic as well. Then came punching out the dial shaft,
    blowtorching, and just plain blowing the door with ex-
    plosives. Greed can breed great creativity.

    The first problem, that of manipulating the tumblers
    open, was rectified by making use of the dial to operate
    the bolt upon completion of the dialing of the correct com-
    bination. This made it nearly impossible to feel or hear
    the tumblers. Drilling was deterred by laminating the safe
    door with hard steel and beryllium-copper plates. The
    beryllium-copper plates pull heat away from the drill tip
    quickly, and the bit just spins without effect; drilling can-
    not take place without the generation of heat at the bit's
    cutting edges. Knocking off hinges was discouraged by
    using three or more bolts operated by a main linkage net-
    work. Punching out the dial shaft to let the tumblers fall
    out of the way of the bolt was corrected by beveling the
    shaft into the wall of the safe door.

    Presently, safe locks are quite sophisticated. Picking
    them would require supernatural power. The older safes,
    however, are much easier and even fun to pick. Picking
    combination padlocks is a good way to start learning how
    to open safes, and we will get to them shortly. But first,
    let us discuss some basic prmciples of disk tumbler locks.

    Disk tumbler locks work by the use of flat, round disks
    of metal or plastic with a notch and a peg on each disk.
    The notch is called the tumbler gate. The gate of each
    tumbler has to be lined up with the pawl of the bolt
    mechanism by usage of the linking capabilities of the pegs.

    The first tumbler of the disk tumbler lock (also the last
    combination number dialed) is mechanically connected
    to the dial through the safe door. When the dial is turned,
    the first tumbler picks up the middle tumbler when their
    pegs connect. The middle tumbler in turn picks up the
    last tumbler for one more complete turn and the tumblers
    have been "cleared"-you are ready to dial the first com-
    bination number by aligning the last tumbler's gate to the
    pawl. After you have reached this number or position,
    rotate the dial in the opposite direction one complete turn
    (for three tumbler locks; two turns for four tumbler locks)
    to engage the middle tumbler and drive it to the second
    combination mlmber. By rotating the dial back into the
    opposite direction to the last combination number, the
    bolt can be operated to open the lock, or as in the case
    of newer safes, the dial will operate the bolt by turning
    it once again in the opposite direction.

    One of the innovations that developed to deter sensual
    manipulation of combination locks was the use of ser-
    rated front tumblers (last combination number dialed).
    These were designed to foil listening and feeling of the
    tumblers' gates by burglars.

    When the bolt encountered any one of these shallow
    gates, the safecracker could never be sure whether or not
    a tumbler was actually aligned with the pawl-bolt
    mechanism. Some burglars solved this problem by attach-
    ing high-speed drills to the dial knob to rotate and wear
    down the first tumbler's shallow false gates against the
    bolt, thereby eliminating them altogether, or at least
    minimizing their effects. Still, today the serrated tumbler
    is used as an effective deterrent to manipulation in com-
    bination padlocks where space is a factor.

    Let us move on to combination padlocks. The most
    common and difficult to open of these small disk tumbler
    locks are the Master combination padlocks, and they are
    quite popular. I have had good luck in opening these locks
    with a wooden mallet or soft-faced hammer. The manip-
    ulation of Master combination padlocks is quite easy-I
    have done it thousands of times, and you can learn it, too.
    The newer the lock is, though, the more difficult it will
    be to open at first. If the lock has had a lot of use, such
    as that on a locker-room door where the shackle gets
    pulled down and encounters the tumblers while the com-
    bination is being dialed, the serrated front tumblers will
    become smoothed down, allowing easier sensing of the
    tumblers. So, until you have become good at opening these
    locks, practice extensively on an old one. Let's try to open



    First, clear the tumblers by engaging all of them. This
    is done by turning the dial clockwise (sometimes these
    locks open more easily starting in the opposite direction)
    three to four times. Now bring your ear close to the lock
    and gently press the bottom back edge to the bony area
    just forward of your ear canal opening so that vibrations
    can be heard and felt. Slowly turn the dial in the opposite
    direction. As you turn, you will hear a very light click as
    each tumbler is picked up by the previous tumbler. This
    is the sound of the pickup pegs on each disk as they engage
    each other. Clear the tumblers again in a clockwise man-
    ner and proceed to step two.


    After you have cleared the tumblers, apply an upward
    pressure on the shackle of the padlock. Keeping your ear
    on the lock, try to hear the tumblers as they rub across
    the pawl; keep the dial rotating in a clockwise direction.

    You will hear two types of clicks, each with a subtle
    difference in pitch. The shallow, higher pitched clicks are
    the sound of the false gates on the first disk tumbler. Do
    not let them fool you-the real gates sound hollow and
    empty, almost nonexistent.

    When you feel a greater than normal relief in the shackle
    once every full turn, this is the gate of the first tumbler
    (last number dialed). This tumbler is connected directly
    to the dial as mentioned earlier. Ignore that sound for now.
    When you have aligned the other two tumblers, the last
    tumbler's sound will be drowned out by the sound of the
    shackle popping open.


    While continuing in a clockwise direction with the dial,
    listen carefully for the slight hollow sound of either one
    of the first two tumblers. Note on the dial face where these
    sounds are by either memorizing them or writing them
    down. Make certain that you do not take note of the driv-
    ing tumbler (last number dialed). If you hear and feel only
    one hollow click (sounds like "dumpf"), chances are that
    the first number could be the same as the last one.

    You should have two numbers now. Let us say one of
    them is 12 and the other is 26. Clear the tumblers again
    just to be safe and stop at the number 12. Go
    counterclockwise one complete turn from 12. Continue
    until there is another "dumpf" sound. After the complete
    turn pass 12, if you feel and hear a louder than normal
    sound of a tumbler rubbing on the pawl, the first tumbler
    is properly aligned and the second tumbler is taking the
    brunt of the force from the shackle-you are on the right
    track. When the second tumbler has aligned in this case,
    you will feel a definite resistance with the last turn of the
    dial going clockwise. The final turn will automatically
    open the shackle of the lock. If none of these symptoms
    are evident, try starting with the number of the combina-
    tion, 26, in the same way.


    If the lock still does not open, don't give up. Try search-
    ing for a different first number. Give it a good thirty- or
    forty-minute try. If you play with it long enough, it will
    eventually open. The more practice you have under your
    belt, the quicker you will be able to open these padlocks
    in the future.

    Using a stethoscope to increase audibility of the clicks
    is not out of the question when working on disk tumbler
    locks, though I never use them for padlocks. A miniature
    wide-audio-range electronic stethoscope with a magnetic
    base for coupling a piezoelectric-type microphone is ideal
    for getting to know the tumblers better.

    Filing your fingertips to increase sensitivity might not
    be such a good idea for beginners since their fingertips
    will not be accustomed to operating dials for a long period
    of time. With practice, you may develop calluses and need
    to file your fingertips. But I don't recommend it at first.

    After some time you may find that in some cases you
    can whiz right through the combination of an unknown
    lock without looking at it and pop it open in seconds.
    It becomes second nature. I've done this on many occa-
    sions-something beyond my conscious control seems to
    line up the tumblers without my thinking about it.

    Another type of disk tumbler padlock is the Sesame
    lock made by the Corbin Lock Co. Its unique design
    makes it more difficult to open than Master padlocks, but
    it can be opened. Let's take one of the three or four wheel
    mechanisms, look at a cross section, and see how it works.
    The wheel has numbers from zero to nine. Attached to
    the wheel is a small cam. Both the wheel and cam turn
    on the shaft. Each wheel in this lock operates indepen-
    dently with its own cam and shaft. The locking dog is
    locked to the shackle. In this position the shackle cannot
    be opened. The locking dog operates with all three or four
    wheels. The locking dog is riding on the round edge of
    the cam. The spring is pushing up on the cam. The lock-
    ing dog cannot move up because it is resting on the round
    part of the cam. When the wheel is turned to the proper
    combination number, the locking dog rests on the flat of
    the cam. The spring can then raise the locking dog to
    release the shackle, and this opens the lock.


    You will undoubtedly encounter a pin tumbler lock in
    which there will be a pin or two that is keyed too low
    (the shear line of the pin is too high). In this case the lock
    is difficult to open because the breaking point of a long
    bottom pin doesn't allow room in the keyway for the pick
    to manipulate the other pins. Your success in opening
    "tight" locks will depend on the skill you have developed
    with your tension wrench. Sometimes it helps to play with
    the tension wrench. Try bouncing it left and right slightly
    while picking, allowing some of the tumblers to drop occa-
    sionally. You may also try picking the front tumblers first
    or picking at random on these locks. You can tell if you
    have a lock that is keyed like this because your pick may
    get jammed during the picking process.

    After you have opened a cylinder and unlocked a lock,
    be sure to return it to the locked position. You will hear
    the tumblers click into place when this happens. Other-
    wise it may be difficult to unlock it with its key because
    the bottom pins cannot "float" like they normally would.

    To tell whether or not the cylinder should go clockwise
    or counterclockwise when picking a tumbler lock, there
    is an easy rule to follow. If the tumblers (pin or wafer)
    will not break, or stay broken, you are going in the wrong
    direction with the tension wrench. There will be little or
    no progress with the cylinder, and few, if any, "clicks."

    Some keyways are cut at an angle (Yale, Dexter, and
    Schlage, for example) so you want to be sure that you tilt
    your pick to follow that angle while picking or your pick
    will get hung up. A slight twist of the wrist will compen-
    sate for this problem.

    Should your fingers become tired while picking a lock,
    lay down your tools and shake your hands and fingers
    to relieve any tension. After some time the muscles in your
    hands will become accustomed to such activity. Practice
    and persistence will tone your hands and senses to the
    point where you will be able to pop open a cylinder in
    three to five seconds (that's seconds) in total darkness. The
    combination of touch and sound lets you know almost
    a split second before you open the lock that you have

    If the lock is a well-machined one, the cylinder will feel
    tight and you will need a little firmer hand on the ten-
    sion wrench. While picking, if any one of the pins at any
    time feels firm or difficult to move, chances are it's aligned.
    If it feels springy, it is not.

    Use the shaft of the pick if you have to when working
    the frontal pin of a pin tumbler lock. This may save you
    the trouble of aligning the tip of the pick on the front
    pin where there is little or no support for the pick. All
    of the other pins allow the pick to be supported by the
    inside wall of the keyway.

    Master keyed pin tumbler locks are generally easier to
    pick open because they have more than one shear line or
    breaking point in the pins. Master keying allows a group
    of locks to be controlled by a master key holder while the
    individual locks in that group are controlled by individual
    keys. Hotels and apartment complexes are usually master

    There is a simple technique to open pin and wafer
    tumbler locks. Simply drill through the shear lines of the
    tumblers. This point is located just above the center of
    the keyway on the face of the cylinder. By doing this,
    though, you obviously ruin the lock and make a lot of
    racket. If the lock is a Medeco or some other high-security -
    lock, you risk damage of one hundred dollars or more,
    so be sure you know the value of the situation before you
    decide to rape the lock. Use a center punch to start a
    reliable hole on the cylinder face and use a one-quarter
    inch drill bit with a variable speed drill. With a large
    screwdriver, turn it to unlock. The cylinder will be dif-
    ficult to turn because you may be shearing the tumbler
    springs that have fallen down past the cylinder's shear line.

    Dead bolt locks are those mounted on a door above
    the knob. All dead bolt locks unlock counterclockwise
    with left-hand doors and clockwise with righthand doors.
    If you have trouble remembering this, just remember that
    the bolt of the lock has to go in the opposite direction
    of the doorjam.

    Dead bolt locks are just as easy to pick open as knob
    locks are. They both have cylinders that can be picked
    open. The main difference is that dead bolts cannot be
    opened by sliding a plastic or metal card through to the
    bolt so as to work it back. In other words, they are not
    spring loaded. That's why they are called dead bolts. Most
    knob locks now have guards in front of the bolts to deter
    opening with cards.

    Kwik-sets, Weisers, and some of the less-expensive knob
    locks may open in either direction. Schlage and Corbin,
    along with more sophisticated locks, can open only in one
    direction. Auto locks will open either way. Another
    method of picking pin tumbler locks is with a pick gun.
    As the pick snaps up, it hits the bottom pin. This bounces
    the top pin out of the cylinder and into the shell. As you
    apply light turning pressure with the tension wrench, the
    top pins are caught in the shell, the cylinder will turn. I've
    never used a pick gun, but they do work well for lock-
    smiths who use them. They are cumbersome and expen-
    sive, and show some lack of professionalism.

    (Note: If you don't care about professionalism and want to open 95% of all
    pin tumbler locks out there - and fast- buy this device. It is very awesome.
    I even recommend it over a Cobra Electronic lockpick. Trust me, I have both,
    and I feel the $60 Lockaid pick gun blows away the $350 Cobra)


    If you bought this book to learn how to pick locks in
    order to become a more efficient burglar, then there is
    not a whole lot I can say or do to stop you. But I must
    say this: the locks used in prisons are nearly impossible
    to pick even if you get or make the right tools. They are
    usually electrically controlled from an external station.

    Do not carry lock picks on your person. If you get
    caught with them, you could get nailed for most any pro-
    fessional job in town for the last seven years. If you must
    carry them, as in the case of rescue workers, etc., please
    consult your local authorities about details and ask about
    registering with them. As a former locksmith, I do not
    have that problem.

    I advise that you do not teach your friends how to pick
    locks. The choice is yours, of course. You paid the price
    of this book and the knowledge is yours-be selfish with
    it. It is for your own protection as well. The fewer people
    who know you have this skill, the better. Getting blamed
    for something you didn't do is unfair and a hassle.

    When you become proficient at picking locks, you may
    decide to get a job as a locksmith. But believe me, there
    is more to being a locksmith than being able to pick locks.
    You have to be a good carpenter as well as a fair mechanic.
    But you may want to approach the owner of a lock shop
    and ask if you could get on as an apprentice.


    There isn't a locking device on earth that cannot be
    opened with means other than its key or code. It's just
    that some are easier to open than others. Anything with
    a keyhole, dial, or access port is subject to being opened
    with alternate means, though some of the newer electronic
    and computer-controlled security devices would be a
    nightmare even if you had extensive knowledge of elec-
    tronics and electromagnetics. Some devices also use palm
    prints as a readout to allow entry.

    On the mechanical side, there are locks that have nor-
    mal pin tumblers, but they are situated in various places
    360 degrees around the cylinder. Some locks use pin
    tumblers that not only have to be aligned vertically within
    the cylinder, but also have to "twist" or turn a certain
    number of degrees to allow the cylinder to open. This is
    because the pins' shear line is cut at an angle. These locks
    are made by Medeco.

    I have witnessed only one Medeco lock being picked-
    by a fellow locksmith. We both spent hours trying to pick
    it again, but it was futile. We estimated the chances of
    opening it again to be one out of 10,000. They are excellent
    security devices, but their price keeps them limited to areas
    prone to security problems such as isolated vending
    machines and for government use. The only one I have
    been successful at opening (after an hour of picking) was
    one I drilled. By the way, they are easy to drill because
    the brass that's used is soft.


    Most of us know how to touch. We touch objects every
    day, and yet we do not truly feel them. It seems so
    commonplace that we forget that we are actually feeling
    while we touch.

    Here is an exercise that will develop a delicate touch.
    Gently rub and massage your hands and fingers-
    preferably with hand lotion. Do this for five minutes. Once
    the lotion has evaporated, shake your hands and fingers
    so that they flop loosely. Gently pull each finger to relax
    each joint.

    Now with a piece of fine sandpaper, gently draw the
    tips of your fingers across it. Try to feel the texture of
    the grains on its surface. Relax your fingers, hands, fore-
    arms, shoulders, and chest. Take your time. Do this for
    several minutes.

    After a few weeks of practice, you will be able to feel
    each individual grain of sand on the sandpaper. This
    allows you to feel the slightest sensation vibrate through
    your bones.

    Try to remember to practice touching and feeling dur-
    ing your everyday experiences. Practice feeling wood,
    metal, and various other objects. Play with the feel of
    mechanical vibrations, even your television set. Try to sense
    the world around you as a source of information. This
    could and will open a whole new horizon of experience.

    After a while, you will be able to feel or sense the move-
    ment of the tumblers of a Sargeant and Greenleaf safe.
    My first safe opened in three minutes because of that
    technique that took me years to discover.


    If you respect the security of the lock and do not
    become overconfident, you will never become disappointed
    if you fail to open it. You also increase your chances of
    opening the lock because you personally have nothing to
    gain or lose by opening it. Give up trying to be an expert
    and just pick the lock.

    With such an attitude, you may find the lock will usually
    pop right open. I never received a trophy for being the
    best lock picker in the state. My satisfaction is in know-
    ing that I am never helpless in a lockout situation. The
    quality of your success is almost romantic; it involves sen-
    sitivity and compassion in the face of curiosity as a means
    to help others.

    Visualization and imagination are important to the lock
    picker. I've noticed that people who have the ability to
    visualize the internal parts of the lock that they are pick-
    ing seldom fail to open it in moments. Anyone can learn
    to do this by simply remembering to do it while picking
    a lock. Since sight, sound, and touch are involved with
    the process, visualization is very easy to do. Try to keep
    all of your attention on the lock during the picking pro-
    cess. This will help you to learn how to use heightened
    sensitivity for picking locks.

    So in that respect, an unopened lock is like a new and
    unexplored lover. You imagine all of the qualities of an
    attractive person whom you've just met and apply that
    feeling to the lock that you are picking. Use visualization.
    It will help immensely.

    (Note: All this Zen stuff may sound like a load of shit, but it's not. I
    myself cannot pick a lock unless I am comfortable. If I am craving a
    cigarette or I am hungry or something else like that, I have a difficult time
    opening a lock. Also, attitude is important. Don't show off.)

    Have fun
    - Risker

  2. #2
    ownedbysyka's Avatar
    ownedbysyka is offline Mentor
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    Some Good, useful stuff. Thanks
    Something I do as a hobby.

  3. #3
    dog_keeper's Avatar
    dog_keeper is offline Teh Sexy One.
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    Ahh too many words! picture's will be nice!
    thanks anyway
    By eZ]aCx of

  4. #4
    risker is offline Banned User Array
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    Thanks for rep guys

  5. #5
    Kidades is offline Advanced Hacker
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    omg its 2 long but enyway

  6. #6
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    sr_slayerz_ is offline Member
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    very long! haha but nice + rep

  7. #7
    USMC-Syndicate's Avatar
    USMC-Syndicate is offline Hacker
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    I read the first section about pin tumbler locks,

    I am gunna buy a lock picking set danm you!

    after I finish readin it.

    Damnit my dads gunna kill me for jackin his knives lolz
    Last edited by USMC-Syndicate; 01-02-2009 at 11:15 AM.
    If Liberty means anything at all,
    it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear,
    in times of Universal Deceit, telling the truth..
    Will be a revolutionary act.

    WC3: Synd1cate ...wisper me.

  8. #8
    Zeus's Avatar
    Zeus is offline Advanced Hacker
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    Good to know.

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    luciddreamrc123 is offline Wannabe Member
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    very lengthy

  10. #10
    gjaffe's Avatar
    gjaffe is offline Wannabe Member
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    Very useful and long thanks

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