So, you want to learn to pick locks eh? Well then, let’s see what we can do about that. First and foremost, I want to set the tone and goal of this post: I am not going to try and teach you how. The goal of this post is to be a resource that facilitates your learning process in the best way possible; it is to be a road map if you will. I will share tips and tricks that I have learned in my journey, but as far as laying the foundation, I will leave that to those who are far more experienced and better teachers than I.
The subject of picking locks, or “Lock Sport” as it is commonly known, is huge. Not only is it huge, there are also folks who push the misconception that picking is “just this easy” so that they can sell you their picks or kits. There are so many different facets that it is not only easy but very likely that one will get “lost” in the beginning. So, with all that being said, let’s get started.
There are a couple things to think about when getting into lock sport. You need to define your goals so as to better set a starting point. Do you want to learn covert entry and testing? Lock smithing as a hobby? Lock sport as a personal challenge or hobby? Destructive entry? If your main interest is just in destructive entry, then there is little point in focusing on the in’s and out’s of repinning standard door locks in the beginning. I do think that as time and your knowledge progress that your interest will expand to include most, if not all, aspects of lock sport.
With this in mind, tailor your searches to your interest. “Lock Sport” videos on YouTube tend to have their own vernacular so it may take a bit of practice, trial, and error to get the results that best suite your interest. YouTube channels who post mostly Lock Sport videos tend to be labeled in this format:
(video#) – Type/Make of Lock – Method of Entry .
For example : “(200) – American Padlock 1100 – Blown Open with Dynamite” would translate to “This users, 200th video showing how they blew open a standard American padlock.”
For convenience sake, here is a search bar for YouTube; go ahead and try a few iterations of your interest and see what shows up.
Unless your sole interest is in destructive entry, your starting point will likely be opening locks with a pick of some sort. Here you have two main choices: do you want to learn to rake or single pin pick first? In laymen’s terms, raking is a method of rapidly moving a multi-shaped pick in and out of a lock to “bounce” the pins in the proper position. As simple as this sounds, there is definitely an art to this method and does take some learning. The second method mentioned is SPP, Single Pin Picking (my personal favorite). Simply put, with SPP, you use a single “prong” pick and force the pins into place one at a time. This method takes a lot of practice to gain any proficiency.
With that brief introduction out of the way, let’s get into the meat of the subject. If you want to learn this hobby, the following videos are absolute must watches in my opinion. Together they lay a solid foundation for these skills to grow on.
- This is quite possibly the most important video in this list. Learning how to properly tension a lock is likely the hardest part of picking a lock. LockPickingLawyer – My Approach to Lock Picking Tension.
- This is one of, if not the best, beginner’s guide to picking locks. Bosnianbill – Attacking Locks (For Beginners)
- This video builds off the last. Bosnianbill – How to Improve Your Lock Picking Skills (for Beginners)
- For Covert and/or Improvised Entry and Security Testing Deviant Ollam is the place to start.
- For Destructive Entry on Common Locks, LockPickingLawyer has an excellent Playlist with over 100 videos.
Is your brain overloaded yet? It is a massive subject for sure. This is a good spot for us to pause. If you’re ready to kick the brain back in neutral and look at customizing a Jackknife kit from Southord, take a peak at the video below. Next time we will talk a bit about my mistakes and what I learned from them when I first started out. Until then, happy picking!