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Grim Lock Picking School: Lock Picking Basics, How to Pick a Lock

 How to Pick a Lock - Lock Picking Basics

If your here, it's because you want to know more about how to pick a lock, if this is because you find yourself locked out right this second, skip to the below section called "How to use your lock picks" below. If your trying to understand more about how to pick a lock in case you ever need to use the information, then lets get into it! 

Check out our collection of Lock Picking gear HERE

and a quick reference credit card sized reference HERE

How to Pick a Lock - Lock Picking Basics for how to pick a door lock

Lock Picking Basics : Types of Lock Picks

For picking standard locks (Pin tumbler locks) there are three types of tools: 

1. Rakes - used to scrub locks

2. Hooks - used for single pin picking

3. The Tension Wrench


Rakes are the opposite of the hook. They are usually odd looking and are designed with several humps and bumps that help manipulate as many pins as possible in the shortest amount of time. This makes them ideal for raking where you rapidly and randomly pull them across the pins with the goal of setting multiple pins at once. Below you can find information on how to utilize a rake inside a lock.

How to rake a lock - lock pick rake wave rake lock pick


Hooks are narrow and pointy lock picks that are able to pinpoint and locate precise positions within the lock. This precision makes them ideal for single pin picking where you are required to locate and manipulate one pin at a time. Below you can find information on how to utilize a Hook within a lock. 

How to Pick a Lock with a hook - lock pick hook lock pick


The tensioning tool (or commonly called tension wrench) is used to apply torque to the lock and bind the pins. Without this tool, picking a lock is impossible. Below you can find information on how to use your tension wrench.

Lock Pick Tension Wrench

How to use your Lock Picks


 placing the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyway and applying a very light degree of force ( something similar to the amount of force that it takes to press a key on your keyboard ) in the direction that the key would turn to disengage the lock, typically clockwise. The next step is to find the first binding pin and push it above the shear line to begin opening the lock.

Once you've found the pin that is more difficult to lift, gently lift it and you will feel a very slight rotation of the lock or hear a light "click" usually indicating you've successfully set a pin. Now the lock is binding on the next pin, you must locate it (being the harder pin to lift) and continue setting them until you've found and lifted all the pins in the lock, at this point the lock will fully rotate and open. 


lock pick tension wrench how to pick a lock



 Using the rake is an excellent method for inexperienced individuals as it has the most "luck" involved, and less skill, and is often a very quick method. (though skill is a factor it is very beginner friendly)

apply tension using your tension wrench. Insert your rake into the keyway and push it all the way to the back of the lock, gently lift upward slightly lifting the pins, now with a fair amount of speed scrub your rake back and fourth across as many pins as you can (like you would with a toothbrush) changing the angle, height, and speed as you do this creating several different pitches and heights.   If the lock doesn't open after 10-20 seconds, release the tension and reset the lock starting over. Sometimes you have to reset a lock multiple times before you find success.  

how to rake a lock


Because of the tension you've created with your tension wrench, the binding pin will be stiffer and harder to lift than the other non-binding pins. So basically, you are just looking for a pin that is not loose!

Insert your hook type pick into the keyway and push it all the way to the back of the lock until you locate the rearmost pin. Very gently begin to raise each pin and gauge how it feels.

Continue to probe each pin until you find the pin that doesn't feel like the others and is more difficult to move. If you get to a point you cannot locate any binding pins you may have to release tension on your wrench, reset the lock and begin again.

how to single pin pick a lock

TIP - If your following all these steps but still can't seem to figure out how to pick a lock, try applying less, or more pressure with your tension wrench. 

 Check out our entire lock picking collection HERE


How to Pick a Lock with a rake - lock pick rake wave rake lock pick


Please be sure to know local laws regarding the possession and use of lock picking tools in your area. A great place to start is with a quick internet search "Is lock picking legal in ( insert your states name here)".

And above all. Never pick a lock that is not yours.