About This QuizIf you find yourself locked out of your house, you might be tempted to learn your way around a lock pick. But while the theory is easy, getting a lock to open without a key is a little harder.
If you want to pick the most common type of lock -- on your own property, of course -- your objective is to:
lift a set of pins to the right height
lock picking, tools take the place of a key. When you put a key into a lock, it lifts a set of pins to just the right height so you can turn the key and open the door.
compress a set of springs
pull a set of springs
The two main tools used in picking a lock are:
picks and a drill
picks and a tension wrench
The process of picking a pin-and-tumbler lock is deceptively simple. Just lift each pin while keeping pressure on the lock with the tension wrench. With just the right touch, you'll lift each pin out of the way. Do it wrong, and springs will push the pins right back to where they started.
picks and fine pliers
While a lock is being picked, the cylinder, or plug:
turns a little further with the movement of each pin
stays in place until all the pins are out of the way
moves away from the housing, creating a ledge
During lock picking, the tension wrench shifts the cylinder, which creates a very small ledge. Each pin rests on the ledge until they're all out of the way and the lock opens.
The point at which the pins in a lock line up perfectly, allowing the lock to open is the:
Inside a pin-and-tumbler lock are small pins of different lengths. In the wrong positions, they physically prevent the cylinder from turning. When lifted to the shear line, they let the cylinder turn easily.
If you're not patient enough to pick a lock, you can pull a wide-tipped pick out of the lock while turning the tension wrench. This is called:
Raking isn't as precise or as accurate as picking a lock. Its objective is to make pins bounce out of the way long enough to turn the cylinder.
Why is it often easier to pick wafer-tumbler locks than pin-tumbler locks?
Wafer-tumblers have only a few wafers to move.
Wafers are flimsier than pins.
Wafer-tumbler locks have a wider keyhole.
Wafer-tumbler locks use the same basic principle as pin-and-tumbler locks, but they use wafer-shaped tumblers instead of pins.
Tubular locks are the most secure type of key-opening lock because:
A tube of an exact diameter is required to open the lock.
The pins are located all the way around the inside of the lock instead of in a row.
In addition to having pins all the way around the outside of the lock, some tubular locks have specially shaped pins. These pins make the lock more difficult to pick.
The keyhole is designed to prevent picks and wrenches from fitting inside.
You can make a lock fit an existing key by:
reconfiguring the pins
As long as the lock is designed with a universal keying system, a locksmith can easily reset its pins to open with a different key.
reconfiguring the springs
You can't. You have to get a new key.
How does a pick gun open a lock?
by interpreting the weight of each pin in the lock
by using picks to vibrate the lock's pins
Using a pick gun is a lot like raking a lock. The picks in the gun vibrate, moving the pins out of the way.
by breaking the lock from inside
Most burglars don’t gain entry to homes by picking locks because:
Lock picking takes lots of skill and practice.
There are lots of easier ways to get into a building.
both A and B
You can buy the most impressive, most expensive tubular lock on the market or even use a fancy computerized lock ... but a burglar may just break a window and come on in.