Lock Picking 101
Lock picking as a hobby is enjoyed by people around the world who enjoy the physical and mental challenge of defeating mechanical and electronic locking devices. There are many skills lock picking hobbyists must learn, including lock bumping and picking.
Lock picking has a long and illustrious history as a hobby. King Louis XVI of France was a devotee of the hobby, as was noted Manhattan Project physicist Richard Feynman. In recent years, the hobby has become more formalized, and lockpicking teams and clubs have formed in Europe. In 2005, the term locksport was introduced to describe recreational lock picking, differentiating hobbyists from professional locksmiths and criminals. An international locksport organization, Locksport International, was formed in the mid 2000s.
If you’re interested in taking up lock picking, consider the following tips:
- Get the right tools. To get the most out of lock picking, you’ll need a few basic items such as feeler picks, rakes, ball picks and a half diamond. Feeler picks are used to feel each pin of a locking mechanism and press components of a lock individually. Rakes are used to bounce pins. Ball picks are typically used on wafer locks and come in several varieties. Half diamonds are versatile tools that can be used to rake pins or pick them on an individual basis.
- Practice, practice, practice. Lock picking requires patience and dedication. By practicing on a regular basis, you can develop the concentration and fine motor skills necessary to pick locks.
- Start off small. To avoid getting frustrated, start with simple locks and work your way up as you become more accomplished at lock picking.
- Learn more about locks. Talk to locksmiths and other experts about tumbler locks, combination locks and other types of locks and the mechanisms that they use.
- Seek out locksport organizations in your area. Learn from the experience of others who enjoy lock picking as a hobby by finding organizations devoted to locksport. If you live in an area where there are no such organizations, try to find an online group where you can share ideas and experiences.
- Learn new techniques. Lock bumping is an interesting version of lock picking that involves tapping a lock while a special “bump” key is inserted into the lock.
- Don’t do anything illegal or unethical. While you may be eager to show off your new skills to friends, be sure you avoid doing anything that may end with you trying to figure out how to pick the handcuffs you’ve been placed in by police.
To learn more about locksmithing and lock picking, you may want to visit your local Professional Locksmith in Fort Lauderdale. Some locksmiths are critical of locksport and lock picking as a hobby. They say it divulges too many weaknesses of locks to potential thieves. Others are supportive of the hobby, making the argument that it informs security companies about vulnerabilities in their locks, thereby improving their products. Be polite and diplomatic, however, and your local locksmith will likely show you a few tricks of the trade.