Locks & Lock Picking

Lock picking

Set yourself and the kids the challenge of picking locks.

My interest in lock picking was sparked after some neighbors of ours got disturbed at night with someone trying to break into the back doors of their house. I started researching locks and discovered the deficiencies in some of our standard Euro door locks.

Euro Cylinder Lock Snapping

A very common weakness and frighteningly easy attack on Euro cylinders is lock snapping (Euro locks are very common on UK PVC doors).

I found it had been covered widely on UK TV some years back. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxMID-Uxpkg

I had a couple of spare Euro locks and set them up in my vice and found out first hand just how easy it was to break them open with only a pair of mole grips and a screwdriver to access the lock mechanism.

I have since replaced all our locks with snap and drill proof versions, they cost a little more but whats the point of having cheap locks on your house that are so easy to defeat.

Whilst researching I came across you tube videos by “The Lock-picking Lawyer” a very talented guy who posts on a regular basis on picking locks. You always know its a good video by its duration, the shorter the video the quicker he’s overcome the lock. I really do advise you take a look at his videos as it highlights just how bad a lot of locks are.

Lock Picking

From these videos I wanted to know if I could pick a lock, so I acquired a cheap pick set and training lock.

A training lock is a lock made with a clear plastic body that allows you to see everything that is going on inside the lock while your picking.

How a lock works

Pin and tumbler lock

A basic pin and tumbler lock is made up of only a few items and the principal of how they work is really simple.

They are made with rows of pins, each row has two pins an upper and a lower. These pins are different lengths and only when the correct key’s inserted do the split lines between the pins all align up and allow the lock barrel to turn.

Picking is manipulating the pins into position with a metal hook.

You apply rotational pressure to the barrel with a tension bar, while manipulating the pins with a pick. Due to the tolerances in machining the lock, different pins will bind at different times and you can position each one after the other looking for the loose pins to move into position.

William picking a lock

You can find a brilliant description of how to pick a lock here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqgyDsDvq_Y

We now have children well skilled in the art of lock picking and both can get into the training lock without much difficulty.

I have since bought a variety of cheap padlocks and sitting on the sofa at night picking locks while watching TV is quite satisfying.

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