Lock picking is a unique and rewarding hobby that is also an essential skill to have. People engage in lock picking either as a professional locksmith or for a recreational activity called locksport. In any case, it is also an underrated survival skill for emergencies. Like any sport or profession, having the proper tools will surely help individuals in the trade. So it’s important to get the best among a broad selection of lock pick sets to be ready for any lock challenge.
Advantages of learning lock picking
While the activity used to be associated with nefarious intent, lock picking is extremely useful in many life situations, such as missing house keys or getting locked out of a car. It can be expensive to call a locksmith every time these situations happen. However, individuals can practice lock picking to solve these problems on their own and other survival situations. Those who have become skillful in the trade can get paid for it, either as locksmiths or private contractors for companies’ physical security penetration.
People can also benefit from the mental exercise of locksport, where they learn the skills traditionally only known by security professionals. Locksport enthusiasts pick locks the same way others solve puzzles or play chess. It is a stimulating hobby where people can improve manual dexterity and patience. There are, of course, simple rules that all locksport and lock picking enthusiasts follow: that one should not pick locks that are not their own or without permission and not pick the locks in use.
Factors to consider in buying a lock pick set
Whether people engage in lock picking as a job, a hobby, or a survival skill, it is important to have proper tools to get the job done. A basic set usually contains rakes, hooks, half-diamonds, and a tension wrench. Here are a few criteria to consider in choosing among a variety of lock pick sets:
- The material used
Lock picks are usually made from stainless steel since this material does not wear down quickly. Lock picking involves pushing metal picks against metal pins inside a lock. The friction created from the process will cause poorly-made tools to wear down easily. Stainless steel is a hard metal that resists corrosion and rust and is resilient to constant friction.
- The width of lock picks
Most standard locks can only fit keys no wider than 3/32 inch; that’s why picks should not exceed the said dimension as well. Standard lock pick’s handle measure around 5/16 inch and taper to around 1/16 at the tip.
Rakes are pieces of metal that mimic the shape of keys. The rake’s teeth push against metal pins within a lock, simulating an actual key. However, this type of pick works with wafer locks without security pins, so its scope is limited. It also requires multiple rake designs to find which one most resembles the key and may be time-consuming.
A pick with a bent end is called a hook. It comes in three shapes, which are shorter hooks, offset hooks, and deeper hooks. Hooks are used for picking one metal pin at a time inside the lock. These types are long and thin to fit into small lock openings and reach farther pins inside the lock. One may need to have multiple hook designs for different lock styles and do a little trial and error.
A half-diamond pick has a diamond-shaped end used for lifting metal pins in the lock as it runs through them. Half-diamond picks tend to be larger than hooks or rakes.
- Tension Wrench
A tension wrench keeps metal pins from popping back into place while the other pins are being set. Without this pick, it would be impossible to pick a lock.
Lock pick professionals and enthusiasts start with the basic lock pick sets and expand further as their needs arise. From a 5-piece beginner set to a 70-piece advanced set or standard-issue locksets to specialized locks set, one must always be equipped with quality-made tools to meet professional and recreational needs.