Useful Skills: Lock-picking

Today we are starting a new series here on the site. I want to cover several different skills that can prove useful in your life. There will be a variety of different skills highlighted here ranging from simple skills that fit into your everyday lifestyle to more sophisticated skills that belong in the outdoors. These posts will not be detailed instructions but rather an overview of the skill followed by how it is used in my life and ending with how it might be used in yours.

For the launch of this new series, I want to look at the skill of lock-picking. I remember being a kid and seeing locks being picked open left and right in movies using nothing more than a bobby pin or paper clip and the sheer will to get through the door. Of course, I knew that this was not quite how the process worked but I still didn't quite understand how complicated Lock-picking could get. There are many different tools and techniques that can be used to get through a seemingly endless supply of lock styles. One thing you will have to discover if you take up lock-picking is that due to the large variety of ways to get through a lock you will need to experiment somewhat to find what works for you. I also want to stress that you need to know you local applicable laws before attempting to pick locks and should always do so in a legal manner.

I picked up lock-picking last fall as somewhat of a time-killing exercise as well as just an activity I had always been interested. I had had a very small set of lock-picks for about a year that I received as a free gift from some source that I cannot recall. These had just sat in my nightstand unused for quite some time so I decided to give it a try. At first, I wanted to test my skills without any instruction just to see if I could get lucky, but I soon watched several videos in order to get the hang of it. While I am continuing to try and further my skill so that I feel comfortable with more difficult locks I tend to do most of my lock-picking sitting on the couch watching a show. It is still predominantly just an entertaining activity for me. However, as I mentioned I do want to get to the point where if I locked myself out I could pick my way in. In addition, there are a few methods I want to work on as right now I predominantly rake the pins. I have tried picking the individual pins (very rarely successfully), and I want to try bump keys.

I want to take a look at the tools I use currently. Like I mentioned earlier my first set was this small pouch that I received for free. I still use these frequently as I have gotten comfortable with them and feel confident in their usage after wrapping some gaffers tape around the handle for comfort. In addition to those picks and rakes, I also own a few of the options from Grim Workshop through their Kickstarter campaigns. I keep the small micro tools on my work bag as a set that acts as a zipper pull. I also have the updated lock-pick and escape card that I featured here. This card stays in cardholder along with several other wallet tools. I have found that the micro-tool design is the least comfortable and most difficult to use just do to the size, but it is still possible to pick a lock depending on its size in my experience. I plan on getting a full sized set with a larger tension wrench, and also want to try bump keys as I mentioned.

Check out the Grim Workshop products here.

Once again, this skill should be used in a lawful manner. That being said, it can definitely be useful in the event of you locking your keys in your house or other similar situations. You could also potentially use it like me as a sort of mindless activity to keep your hands busy.


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