How Can I Drill Out a Lock?

To drill out a lock, mark the drill spot with a center punch, drill through the lock face and tumblers while using spray lubricant, then clean out the hole and use a heavy screwdriver to open the door. Drilling out a lock takes roughly 10 minutes and requires a spring-loaded center punch, a drill with a 3/16-inch bit, spray-on lubricant and a heavy screwdriver.

  1. Mark the drill spot

    Use the spring-loaded center punch to mark a spot above the cylinder keyway. The center punch leaves a dimple, which serves as your guide for drilling.

  2. Start drilling

    Align the drill bit in the center of the dimple. Use this as a guide as you start drilling. Maintain the drill at a 90-degree angle so that the drill bit goes directly in.

  3. Apply spray lubricant

    Use a moderate speed to drill through the lock. Pause every few seconds to spray the drill bit with lubricant. This prevents the inside of the lock from melting from the heat caused by the friction of the drill bit, thus welding shut.

  4. Drill through the tumblers

    Most locks contain five or six tumblers. As you are drilling, feel for the moment when the metal offers less resistance. The tip of the drill is near the first tumbler. Keep applying pressure, and work through five tumblers.

  5. Open the lock with a screwdriver

    Remove the drill, and clean out the hole. Insert a heavy screwdriver into the hole. Turn the screwdriver to unlock the lock. If it does not unlock, there is a sixth tumbler. Repeat the process for drilling through the tumblers for the final one before inserting the screwdriver again.