Lock Picking Primer

Included with AdaBox 007 is a clear practice lock and a set of pin tumbler lock picks and tensioners. You can learn how a typical pin tumbler lock works, and then practice opening them without keys!

Check your local ordinances before picking any locks outside of the comfort of your own home. Never pick a lock that isn’t yours or for which you haven’t gotten permission from the owner.

Pin Tumbler in Action

Here’s a quick look at the clear lock in action with a key, and then being picked one pin at a time. This lock has six pin stacks, each comprised of a key pin on the bottom and a driver pin on the top. For the cylinder to turn and the lock to open, each key pin must be raised to the point where the driver pin is lifted just above the "shear line" that separates the cylinder from the lock housing. Once each stack is lifted to the proper height, the cylinder is free to turn, opening the lock.

Larger Look

Here’s a bigger (much bigger) look at a demonstration pin tumbler in action, being picked open with a comically large tensioner and hook pick.

Greater Depth

If you want to see more details, check out this episode of John Park’s Workshop!

Next Steps

There are lots and lots of great resources online for learning to pick locks, as well as many events you can attend to learn from people, such as TOOOL, (The Open Organization of Lockpickers).

For example, here’s a really good introductory slide deck on picking from TOOOL. 

Have a look at that deck and start practicing to hone your lock picking skills!

As you get deeper into lock picking as a hobby, an excellent YouTube channel to check out is lock picker extraordinaire Bosnian Bill.

A fun related hobby is making your own lock picks, when you need something just so! For example, maybe you'll want to build a deep hook to get past that really annoying seven pin lock with multiple security pins! 

For more on making picks and tensioners from street sweeper blades and feeler gauges, check out these two other videos from John Park's Workshop.

This guide was first published on Mar 20, 2018. It was last updated on Nov 19, 2018. This page (Lock Picking Primer) was last updated on Mar 20, 2018.