How To Pick A Lock

Lock picking is a very important survival skill. We lock our doors to keep our property and loved ones safe. But how secure does a lock make your home? Locks make us feel safe, but they are very easy to bypass in reality, and anyone who wants to gain access to your home could do so. You cannot just rely on a lock to protect you and your family. You need to use other tactics and tools further to reinforce security – some sort of two-factor authentication.

In this article, discover all you need to know about lockpicking and how it can benefit you and others.

Why Should I Learn To Lockpick?

You find yourself in certain situations, and you wish that you had the skill of lockpicking. Suppose you have ever been locked out of your car or home or watch someone in a potentially dangerous situation struggle to gain access into their locked vehicle or apartment. In that case, you will understand the relevance of lock picking. The knowledge of lockpicking is more than just a criminal pastime.

Here are a few reasons you should consider learning how to pick a lock:

It can get you out of tricky situations

If you live in an unsafe area or work in a sketchy location, the last thing you need is to be locked out, especially at night. Knowing how to pick a lock can come in handy in such a situation.

It is a marketable skill

If you’re planning on joining a law enforcement agency or enlisting in the army, proper knowledge of how to pick a lock is a great skill to show off.

It boosts your patience and sensitivity to detail

Lockpicking is a complicated and delicate skill that requires patience. You need to develop sensitivity and muscle memory in your hands to minute tactile feedback of a lock since you cannot see the inside of the locks. Knowing how to pick a lock goes beyond being a helpful skill; it helps develop honourable character traits.

It helps preserve your safety and that of your property

You will have a great deal of confidence if you do not have to rely on someone if you experience a lockout.
You will be better equipped to help others: lockpicking is a useful survival skill for both you and other people who may need help.

It will help you save money on locksmiths

Lockpicking saves you hundreds of dollars that you would have to spend to get back into your house in the event of a lockout.

Is It Legal To Own Lockpicking Tools?

In Canada, the possession of lock picking tools is regulated both at the provincial and federal levels. Provinces such as Ontario and Alberta require you to have a government-issued license to obtain lock picking tools. To obtain said license, you need to apprentice as a locksmith for two years, have your fingerprints on file and get a criminal record check. This helps to ensure that anyone with lockpicking tools and the knowledge of how to bypass locks is trustworthy.

This doesn’t mean you cannot purchase lockpicking tools online. It is legal to possess lock picking tools even without a license; however, it is illegal to have them on your person outside of your home. If caught with lock picking tools and no license, you can be charged with the intent to use them maliciously.

How To Pick A Pin Tumbler Lock

There are various tools and techniques used when lockpicking. The most common tools to use are pick rakes and a tension wrench. The easiest way to pick a lock is to use the dirty and fast method called scrubbing. Here are the steps to pick a pin tumbler lock:

Step 1: Begin by inserting the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyhole while applying slight pressure

The tension wrench is primary when it comes to picking a lock successfully. As you lift the pin sets using your pick, you need to apply tension to the plug. The right amount of torque on the plug will cause the plug to rotate slightly when the driver pin passes the shear line. Once you pull out the pick, the key pin will drop back down; however, the driver pin will catch the edge of the plug, keeping it above the shear line.

Once all the driver pins have cleared the shear line, take your tension wrench and place it at the bottom of the keyhole. Apply a bit of pressure in the direction you would normally turn the key. Ensure the pressure is as slight as possible because too much pressure can cause the driver pins to bind below the shear line. It would help if you had enough given for the driver’s pins to rise above the shear line while providing enough torque so that the edge of the drive pin can catch the plug as it starts to rotate while dropping down.

Step 2: Insert your pick at the top of the pin tumbler lock

Step 3: Scrub your pick back and forth in the keyhole while applying slight torque to your wrench

Continue to apply slight pressure to your tension wrench. With your free hand, rake or scrub the inside of the plug using your pick. As you pull the pick back, lift simultaneously to apply pressure on the pins.

Step 4: Repeat until all the pins are set

Continue applying torque to your wrench while scrubbing the pins until they are all set. You may need to increase the pressure and torque on the pins with your pick as you approach the last one or two pins that require setting. If you observe you are not making any progress, it is probably a result of too much torque applied with the wrench. Relax, allow the pins to reset, and begin again, focusing on not using too much pressure.

You may run into locks requiring a bit more finesse by picking each pin set at a time. With these trickier locks, look for the pin stack with the most resistance and pick it first. Repeat the process until you have picked all pins successfully.

Can I Pick A Lock With A Credit Card?

Practically, using a credit card to unlock a door is not the easiest method. There are other means of bypassing locks and doors, such as using improvised tools like bobby pins or professional lock picking tools. However, if you find yourself in a fix, using a credit card is a viable option if the lock you want to bypass is the right type.

Choose Your Card

Picking a lock with a credit card looks a lot cooler and easier in the movies than it is. The card you use will require a lot of bending and wiggling and might be too stressful for a typical credit card. Most credit cards are too stiff and thick to be used effectively, which might even cause them to break. It is a much better option to use a flexible, lightweight card and of less value than a credit card.

You can use cards such as:

  • Old hotel key cards
  • Gift cards
  • Insurance cards
  • Membership cards

What Locks Can You Pick With A Credit Card?

Credit cards cannot pick every lock. They will not work on deadbolts, only on slanted latch-style locks with downward-facing slants. To determine whether or not your credit card can pick a lock, look out for the following:

  1. Ensure that the lock is not a deadbolt: deadbolts have a rod that can only be retracted by lockpicking or using a key.
  2. The slant of the latch must face towards you: this can easily be determined by looking at the door. If the hinges are located on opposite sides of the door as you, then the slant is facing you. If the hinges are on your side, credit card lockpicking will not work.
  3. Ensure no excessive moulding or metal plates will restrict your card sliding between the door crack to reach the strike plate.

Once you have confirmed nothing is blocking the door’s crack, the hinges are on opposite sides of the door, and there is no deadbolt, you can then begin unlocking the door with a credit card.

How To Pick A Lock Using A Card (step-by-step guide)

Step 1

Slide the edge of the card between the strike plate and the door at an angle. Once the corner is in, straighten the card, so it is perpendicular to the door, and the whole edge of the card is lodged between the strike plate and the door.

Step 2

Bend your card towards the doorknob, give it a little push to enable it to slide further into the door.

Step 3

Bend and wiggle the card while applying pressure to the door. Continue to bend and wiggle the card between yourself and the door. Eventually, the card will slide in deep enough to compress the latch and unlock the door.


If you need a professional Toronto locksmith to help pick your locks, you can contact TBC Locksmith for your needs. We are an affordable locksmith company, and our team of skilled locksmiths offers top-notch solutions for car lockouts, homes, storefronts, offices, and so on.
Our services include installing new locks, top-notch door repairs, rekeying locks, and making new keys.
We understand that having proper security solutions for your commercial building is very important; that is why we are the first choice for a Toronto locksmith. All our locksmiths are licensed and insured, and we offer you affordable pricing with a 90-day guarantee as well as emergency services.

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