Lock picking: a short Introduction

What is

lock picking?

Simply put, lock picking is the act of opening a lock without a key and without damaging the lock. Most commonly this is done by using two tools, a tension wrench and of course a lock pick. The tension wrench is used to turn the lock, just like you would do with a key. The pick is used to push down small pins that keep the lock from opening. It is also possible to pick a combination lock, a lot of times this can be done without any tools.

Important: Picking a lock without the owner's permission is highly illegal!

Lock being picked

Here's an example of how a lock works.

When the pins are at rest, the driver pins on top are blocking the core from turning. When we put the key in the core, the lower key pins get pushed up to the shear line. This is where the upper and lower pins are able to separate from each other making the core able to turn.


Most common tools used for lock picking

Standard picks and tension wrenches

Standard picks and tension wrenches, used for regular pin-tumbler locks.

Tubular lock tension wrench

Tubular lock tension wrench, used in combination with standard picks.

Dimple lock picks

Dimple picks, used in combination with regular tension wrenches.

Disc detainer pick

Disc detainer pick, here we use the pick itself as tension wrench.

Most common locks used for lock picking

Regular pin tumbler lock


Tubular pin tumbler lock


Dimple pin tumbler lock

Dimple lock.jpg

Disc-detainer lock


These are the very basics of lockpicking, just an introduction so you have an idea of what lockpicking is. For more in depth information take a look at the education centre.