Lockpicking Introduction

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Created on Fri. 12 aug 2022

This is a bit of a different post compared to the technical stuff I am always posting about. I have wanted to do this post since I started picking in December ish.

This post will not be a specific tutorial or something I will just explain how locks work how different picking attacks work and I might put a few videos of me doing it as a little bonus mind you that I am recording those videos with my laptop camera, sorry in advance for the shitty quality.

How Locks Work

Locks are usual built of 6 main internal components a spring, two set of pins, a cylinder containing the first set of pins and a frame containing the spring and second set of pins and finally the key that moves the pins to be aliened with the frame and the cylinder. Here is a photo of what a lock looks like disassembled:

I am also providing here a 4 step picture that I found on the internet explaining how a lock works. No 1 is without a key no 2 is with the wrong key and no 3 and 4 are with the correct key.

The common flaw in locks

In lock picking or lock sport (yes it is named like that) the vulnerability instead of being a mistake made by someone else like in software the vulnerability is physics and manufacturing. Basically the cylinder that rotates cannot be fully flush with the frame and the two little pins have a gap between each other. Basically you would want to have the gap between the pins stuck against the line between the frame and the cylinder. That line is called the sheer line. Usually to accomplish this you can use rotating force against the cylinder and by pushing up the pin you will hear the click of gap between the pins arriving at the sheer line. Not all pins are made the same and some will click before the others. The main attacks is basically putting enough turning pressure on the lock and finding the order in which the pins can be pushed up to make contact with the sheer line.

To accomplish this you have multiple tools at your disposal lets first look at the two basic ones. The wrench on the left and the pick on the right:

Using the wrench you can apply tension to the lock like so:

You can then use the pick to lift up the pins like so:

Now I am doing this with one hand you would be using one hand for tension and one hand for picking like so:

Picking tools

In lockping there are many tools at your disposal I will cover the ones that I personally own but there are multiple others that aren't mentioned in this post you can find others on picking websites or youtube. I will provide a few links for shops to buy picking kits and youtube channels I enjoy watching when I'm in the mood for lockpicking.

Single Picks

Single picks are used to pick one pin at a time like shown in the previous video.


Rakes are used to pick multiple pins at a time using momentum the objective is to hit the pins so that they get set on their own by "luck".

City Rakes

City rakes are used to impersonate a key instead of going in and out of the cylinder the objective is to go up and down to impersonate the shape of a key.

Diamond picks

Diamond picks are mainly used for dimple locks or can also be used for single pin picking.

Z shaped tension wrench

Those tension wrenched have two sides a deep one and a short one mostly used for bottom of the key way tension. They can also come in different thickness

Top of the key way tension

My personal favourites those are set at the top of the key way to leave you a maximum amount of picking space.

How to take care of picking tools

I think this is an important section for anyone starting to pick usually when you buy your first kit you'll be to hyped to start picking and won't really be taking care of picks. Struggle around in the lock because if you buy lower quality picks you wont have much smooth sailing in the locks.

The best thing to do if you have new picks is to sand the tip of the pick so that is can be flush in the lock and flow with ease.

Some picks also might not come with handles so its important to buy shrink tube to put around the handle section of your pick tools to help you hold them properly while picking.

Defense mechanisms

Now lock manufacturers know about lock picking obviously and have put measures to make our lives harder here are a few examples or pins that will make it harder to pick locks.

Spool pins

Spool pins have a big gap in the middle of them and can be picked by releasing a bit of tension to allow the bottom section to pass the sheer line.

Serrated pins

Those pins have little serrations so you can just push them up with pure force most of the time


They are other kinds of pins that are used for more challenge kind of locks and are not present in manufactured locks.

Leaving thoughts

Hopefully with this you have a better understanding of lockpicking. I really wanted to showcase the cool shit I got and to write about this hobby I started last December. In the links section I will drop a few links showcasing youtube channels about lockpicking that inspired me to start and a few links to stores to buy this kind of stuff. As usual I am not affiliated this blog is 100% independent and that wont change. the only promotion I do is for my own shit.

Thank you for reading this my github now accept sponsors so if you like my content you can sponsor my projects over there and XSS Bomb is on the app store I will keep updating it throughout the years.