How To

How to Pick a Lock for All Kinds of Locks

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Learning how to pick a lock, how to fix a zipper, and other nifty skills can be very useful in case of an emergency. Particularly, lock picking is an essential survival skill that your life might someday depend on.

If you have ever been stuck outside of your car or house, you might have an idea of how inconvenient this can be. Not to mention, it will take more time and money to hire a professional locksmith to solve your problem. 

If you want to avoid this in the future, read on to learn how to pick a lock for all kinds of locks. Do keep in mind that this guide is to help you in case of emergencies and not to encourage criminal acts through the use of this skill. 


Practical Uses of Learning How to Pick a Lock

There are a lot of advantages that one can acquire from learning how to pick a lock. This skill can be extremely handy in case emergencies arise and can even be a career venture for you. Moreover, it can also help you learn how to save money and time while also learning how to survive various scenarios.

Some of the practical uses of this skill set include:


Gain Access When Keys Are Missing

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People tend to forget or lose their keys for various reasons, such as being in a rush or having a lot on their minds. Of course, missing keys will lead to being stuck out of your room, car, or even house. Additionally, you may lose access to your valuables that might be locked away in a locker or safe.

While these can sometimes be out of your control, you still have other options to enter your property or acquire your belongings. One option is to hire a professional locksmith to prop your door open. Another option is to pick the lock on your own. If you have this skill set, you can also save more time and money.


Better Chance of Survival

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Knowing how to pick a lock can also help you when catastrophes or emergencies arise. For example, if a loved one is in danger and locked inside a room, you can pick the lock to open the door instantly and check on them. Moreover, lock picking skills can also help you escape in situations where you might find yourself held in captivity.

Another scenario where you can utilize this skill is in case of weather calamities. For example, if you are stuck in a storm, you will need to find shelter. In a worst-case scenario, you might even need to break into an abandoned building to survive. By learning how to pick a lock, you will have a better chance of surviving such calamities.


New Career

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With a lock picking skill set, you might also have the opportunity to start a new career or business venture. Being a skilled locksmith can help you earn a living. If you already have a job, you can also utilize your skill as a side job to make more money. As a professional locksmith, your leverage on urgency and skills will help you acquire more customers and earn more income.


How to Pick a Lock Using Different Methods and Tools

You can utilize various lock picking tools and perform different methods to pick all kinds of locks. If you want to become even better at the skill, you can purchase lock pick sets to master lock picking. In case of an emergency, you can also use a lock pick set to unlock different kinds of locks.

Different locks require various devices. Additionally, a technique that works on one lock may not apply to another. This guide will provide you with an overview of the most common types of locks and how you can pick them.


How to Pick a Door Lock

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Finding yourself locked out of a room can be such an inconvenience. If you do not know how to unlock a door without a key, you might need to spend money to hire a professional locksmith. At worst, you might have to break down your door or destroy your lock. These can lead to greater costs for replacement or repair of damaged materials.

Fortunately, you can learn how to open a locked door and avoid any hassles and costs.



  • Lock pick
  • Tension wrench


  • Gradually insert your tension wrench into the doorknob’s keyhole. Then, push it to the side of where your key’s bottom portion should go.
  • Next, try rotating the tension wrench into a clockwise and counterclockwise manner. By comparing both directions, you will know what direction has the tension wrench moving more easily. This direction is where you should turn the tool all the way later.
  • You can then start inserting a lock pick above the tension wrench. Gradually and continuously apply force on the farthest pin from your wrench. When you hear a clicking sound or feel that the pin changed its position, you can move on to the next farthest pin from your wrench.
  • Repeat the previous steps with every pin until you reach the last one, which is the nearest pin to your wrench. Take note that you should continue applying force to prevent the pins from going back to their initial positions.
  • Once you have successfully moved each pin in place, turn the wrench and doorknob. Once it propped open, you have successfully learned how to pick a lock. As a final note, do make sure that you gently remove each pin and tension wrench from the keyhole to avoid any damage.


How to Pick a Car Lock

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Getting locked out of your car can be dangerous if you are in a remote area at night. You might have the option to break your car window, but that in itself can also be risky and not to mention costly as well.

Fortunately, there is a way for you to get into your car in case of an emergency. Do note that this process does not apply to all kinds of vehicles. Newer models might require other lock picking tools because of their more advanced security systems.



  • Slim Jim tool


  • Gradually insert the Slim Jim tool between your car window and weather stripping. Be careful because you might apply too much force or slip. Doing so might break your window or weather stripping adhesive.
  • Then, carefully move the Slim Jim around to feel for a lever in place. Keep in mind that this might take some time because the lever’s position will vary depending on the vehicle model and make.
  • Once you’ve found the lever, move it using the Slim Jim to unlock your car door. Then, gently remove the Slim Jim between your window and weather stripping. With this, you have learned how to pick a lock by using merely a Slim Jim tool.


How to Pick a Mailbox Lock

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People also refer to a mailbox lock as a lever handle lock or letterbox lock. These locks are used to secure common household and office items. They are used to lock mailboxes, safes, and even doors.

A set of levers comprise a lever handle lock. They are placed so that each lever will remain stationary and locked. To unfasten the bolt, all levers should be moved upwards. With the right tools, you can learn how to pick a lock in just a few steps.



  • Tension wrench
  • Hook pick


  • You can start by gently inserting your hook pick into the upper keyhole of the lever handle. Then, move your pick around to determine the number of levers there are.
  • You can then remove your hook pick from the upper keyhole. Then, insert the tension wrench into the lower keyhole. Try to find the bolt’s notch as you do.
  • Once you can find the notch, place your tension wrench on it and start rotating it either in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Do note that the lock’s orientation will determine the direction. Turn the wrench until it completely stops. Then, you can apply tension using your wrench to hold your tool’s position.
  • Insert your hook pick again. Use it to push all levers upwards. You will then find that there is one lever that is relatively harder to lift than the others.
  • To lift this lever, carefully apply force to lift it until you feel the bolt gradually moving. Continue applying force until the lever completely stops.
  • After lifting all levers at the right height and setting them in place, gradually turn the bolt using your tension wrench to unlock it.


How to Pick a Master Lock

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Master locks are made to secure valuables and properties. They are often used for lockers, safes, and gates. In case of an emergency, learning how to pick a lock can help you gain access to your items and properties again.

First, you have to know about a master lock’s parts to have a better idea of what you will be tackling. A master lock consists of a cylinder with five pins and a pin tumbler lock. Master locks are usually unlocked through the raking method of an in-and-out motion. This method refers to the process of moving multiple pins at once. So, you will need to be efficient and fast if you want to learn how to pick a padlock.



  • Tension wrench
  • Raking pick


  • You can start by sliding your tension wrench into the lower keyhole. Do make sure that you are inserting the short end of your wrench.
  • Hold the lock using the palm of your hand. As you do this, steadily twist the wrench using your fingers. The force should be light and should be applied in a clockwise direction.
  • Then, use your other hand to insert the raking pick into the upper keyhole. Start raking by gently sliding in and out of the keyhole. While you do this, make sure that you are pushing the pins upward. As you are applying an upward force, you will eventually hear a series of clicking sounds. When you hear them, you will know that the pins are set in place.
  • After ensuring that all pins are set, start turning the master lock’s cylinder in a clockwise direction. Do this through the use of your tension wrench. Then, your master lock will unfasten and you can finally gain access to your valuables or into your home again.


How to Open a Combination Lock

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Combination locks are one of the most common types of locks that people use for lockers and various other items. These locks acquired their name from having a combination of three digits that are meant to unlock them. You only need to stop on a particular set of numbers that are unique to your lock in order to prop it open.

While you might not need a key to open a combination lock, there is a possibility that you might forget the exact combination. If this happens, you can learn how to open a combination lock on your own instead. Unlocking a combination lock is one of the few examples of how to pick a lock without tools.



  • In a clockwise direction, turn each of the combination lock’s dials past the zero point. Do this step for a minimum of three repetitions to make sure that you have cleared or reset the lock. After doing this for at least three times, stop on each dial’s zero marks.
  • Then, apply an upward force on the lock’s shackle. As you do this, turn the dial in a clockwise direction. You can then gradually relieve the applied tension until the dial sets or stops at a point.
  • From that fixed point, round it up to the nearest whole number then add five more counts. The number you came up with is the first number in your master lock’s unique combination.
  • Next, apply pressure to the shackle again as you rotate the dial in a counterclockwise direction. You will then feel the dial stop.
  • From there, repeat the second step. If you don’t feel any resistance as you redo the previous steps, return to your initial point. As you do this, make sure to apply pressure and just repeat the steps.
  • After determining your next stopping point, round it up to the nearest whole number again. The number you came up with is the second number.
  • Then, clear the lock again by starting at zero. You should apply more pressure as you gradually turn the dial in a clockwise direction again. Keep doing this until you feel the dial stop in between two numbers.
  • After it sticks, determine the middle point of the range. Write it down so you won’t forget. Then, release the applied pressure and repeat the step until you can fully move around the dial.
  • Finally, take out fractions from the numbers you acquired. All of the numbers should end with the same digit. There will be one number ending with a different digit and this is the third number in your unique combination.
  • Take note of the combination and use it to finally unlock your master lock. Using no tools and just this knowledge, you have learned how to pick a lock and won’t have to worry about forgetting your combination lock’s password again. 


How to Pick a Lock with a Credit Card

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Your credit card is a handy piece of plastic that lets you avail of various products and services. Aside from this practical use, a credit card can also help you unlock a door in case of an emergency. While this is not the most advisable method, it is still effective all the same and can get you out of a pinch. Do keep in mind that this does not work on all doors and locks. If it does not unlock your door properly, you still have other lock picking tools and methods on how to pick a lock effectively.



  • Credit card


  • Position your credit card at an angle. Then, gradually slide it between your door’s edge and its strike plate. Make sure that the card’s entire edge is in this position. Then, straighten your credit card and place it at a perpendicular angle from your door.
  • You can then start bending your credit card’s edge toward the doorknob. Carefully apply force so that it slides into the locked door.
  • Then, you have to carefully wiggle the card. As you do this, apply force to the door until the credit card glides into the latch. This will then compress the door latch and unlock your door successfully.
  • Finally, release your card carefully to avoid damage or getting it stuck in your door latch.



How to Pick a Lock with a Paperclip

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While various lock picking tools can help you pick a lock effectively, there might be instances where you do not readily have them with you. Instead, there are various household items that you use as a tension wrench or raking pick. Among these commonly-used and available items are paper clips. They are bendable and can be fashioned as tools that can help you learn how to pick a lock in case of an emergency.



  • Two paper clips (Note: Do not use plastic paper clips because they might break and damage your lock as well.)
  • Pliers


  • First, you have to fashion one metal paperclip into a tension wrench. Do this by straightening out one of the paper clip’s ends but leave the other one bent. After preparing both ends, you can press them together. This part will be the one that will go into your lock later.
  • You can then form a handle by pinching the paper clip’s straight end at a 90-degree angle. You can use your pliers to do this more easily.
  • Grab your second paper clip and straighten it. Using your pliers, bend one end by pinching it into a 90-degree angle. This will act as the first ridge of your customized raking pick. Then, move your pliers down the paper clip and bend it again. Repeat the same steps until you form three ridges.
  • Then, you can follow the same instructions on how to pick a master lock while using the lock picking tools you created from your metal paper clips.


The Bottom Line

Aside from the methods listed in this guide, there are still many other tools and techniques on how to pick a lock. There are various alternatives to using a key or inserting a combination to access your valuables or enter your house that you should only use in case of an emergency. Indeed, the lock picking skill can help you get out of an inconvenient situation and might even save your life someday.