We’ve all been there. UGH. You lock your keys in the house, forget them at work, lose them on a night out. You fight with the lock to no avail, eventually calling a locksmith who is in before you can even blink, but also comes with a costly fee. Luckily, you have G in your corner, sharing all of her practical #moderngirl survival skills. Without further ado, G breaks down exactly How to Pick a Lock.
How to Pick a Lock:
First Things First
Slow your breathing, and stop all the panic and think I’ve got this, I’m a bada** self-sufficient woman and I’ve got all kinds of amazing and tactical survival skills.
Now, the niddy gritty.
A Little Bit of Background
It is important to understand how locks work—that way, you will know what exactly you are feeling for. Most are basic pin-and-tumbler locks, which consist of a cylinder kept in place by several pairs of pins. When you insert a key into the lock, the unique cut of the key’s ridges matches the unique levels of the pins, pushing each pin a specific distance to the shear line—the point where the pins are outside of the cylinder, and the cylinder can turn freely (and so can the lock).
Step by Step Instructions:
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
Now you’re ready to begin picking the lock itself. The idea of picking a lock is to get all of the pins to bind, or rest on something called a drive pin, above the shear line. To do this, you will need to guide your pick around to find pins that bind in a unique order.
The Tools to Accomplish This Are:
- A Tension Wrench
- A Hook Pick
**They can be found online or at large retail and hardware stores.
Start by putting the tension wrench in the bottom of the keyhole, and apply a slight amount of turning pressure to the lock.
Take your pick and slowly lead it (hook side up, toward the pins) into the keyhole. Start feeling your way through the lock, testing each pin as you come to it. When you apply pressure, does the pin spring back, without any change? If so, that pin is not the binding pin—the pin you will need to find to begin moving each pin to the shear line.
** The binding pin is the pin that, due to imperfections in the lock (maybe from size issues, maybe from drilling imperfections), binds before all the other pins. When you find a pin that doesn’t spring back, but resists you, you have found your binding pin. Carefully move that pin upward with your pick until you feel the pin stop—that means it has reached the shear line. When this happens, the cylinder of the keyhole should turn (very, very little—so little that it will be nearly imperceptible).
Repeat this process for every pin in the lock, feeling each pin until you find the next binding pin. The order will be unique for each lock, so you will need to feel each pin until you find the one that binds. The binding pin will stay up at the shear line when you go on to find the others each time. Moving the first binding pin will allow a new one to become a binding pin and so forth.
Once the last binding pin has been pushed above the sheer level, the cylinder of the lock will turn freely, and you will have…
Successfully Picked the Lock!
Carry on about your day with a boost of confidence, having confirmed the true bada** #selfsuffient human you are.
Please, only use this skill when you find yourself or someone else in a pinch. This is not to be used to gain access to any places you shouldn’t be. Self-sufficiency is a blessing and shouldn’t be used as a curse on another. 🙂