How Do You Pick a Lock?


Quick Answer

To pick a lock, assemble the tools, visualize the inner workings of the lock, insert the torque tool and use the pick to manipulate the pins up onto the shear line. Turn the torque tool like a key to open the lock.

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Full Answer

  1. Select your tools

    Unless you already have a lock-picking kit, gather a pick and a torque. When locating a pick, look for a metal implement that curves up at the end. For the torque, find a flat metal implement bent at a 90-degree angle at the end.

  2. Visualize the interior of the lock

    To manipulate the inner workings of the lock, visualize the interior. Imagine the five stacked pins broken at different positions. Each break features a groove that rests on a shelf, called the shear line, when the key is inserted.

  3. Insert the torque tool

    Insert the end of the torque tool, using slight pressure in the direction the key turns. Keep the tool down as low as possible to leave space for the pick.

  4. Insert the pick

    Take hold of the pin as you would a pencil with the curved end facing upward. Insert that curved end as close to the torque tool as possible.

  5. Work the pins

    While visualizing the pins inside the lock, work the pick inside the lock. Cup each pin in the curved end of the pick, and gently raise it up to the shear line. Work your way down the row.

  6. Manipulate the binding pin

    One of the pins should give you slight resistance. Maintain your grip on the torque tool, and use the pick to press the pin up into the shear line. You should feel the torque tool shift. Continue turning the torque tool like you would a key to open the lock.

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