There are many different types of locks however the most common fall into one of the below categories
1st – Pin Tumbler locks typically have a vertical key-way and the tell tale ‘saw tooth’ key profile. They are very common in doors and pad locks
2nd – Dimple locks typically have a horizontal key-way with the rectangular key. The key will have small divots or ‘dimples’ on the widest face which explains the name. They are most common in European countries but can be found in doors and pad locks
3rd – Disc Detainer locks typically have a large horizontal key-way. The key is a thick rectangular shape with notches cut out on the edges. They are most common in automotive chain locks but also found in many padlocks
Commercial quality lock picks are made from 301 stainless steel due to the thin profile required at maximum strength . They are designed to handle many uses while not permanently being bent after use. Low quality lock picks use various metal combinations but commonly have a high percentage of iron due to the cheaper cost.
If the material used in a lock pick set isn’t clearly stated, then check with the supplier. If the material isn’t at least 301 stainless steel, then expect to have a poor lock picking experience
The most common thicknesses available are:
0.025″ (often referred as ’25 thou’) – suitable for large open key-ways like Lockwood C4
0.023″ (often referred as ’23 thou’) – mostly suitable for large open key-ways like Lockwood C4 and medium key-ways. Best all round thickness to prevent needing both 0.025 and 0.020 sizing for each profile
0.020″ (often referred as ’20 thou’) – less suitable for large open key-ways like Lockwood C4 and aimed at the medium key-ways
0.015″ (often referred as ’15 thou’) – unsuitable for large open key-ways like Lockwood C4 . Perfect to narrow and medium key-ways from Europe like Abus
Tension tools are used to ‘tension’ the lock while picking and are commonly divided into two groups:
1st TOK – Top Of the Key-way
2nd BOK – Bottom Of the Key-way
TOK (Top Of the Key-way) tension tools are commonly used with hooks, however it’s an individual preference . They provide a clear open path from the BOTTOM of the lock to the pins for the lock pick.
BOK (Bottom Of the Key-way) tension tools are commonly used with rakes, however it’s an individual preference . They provide a clear open path from the TOP of the lock to the pins for the lock pick.
Lock picks are commonly divided into two groups:
Rakes are used to emulate the profile (outline) of a key. By rocking and raking the pick in and out of the lock, you hope to replicate the correct keys profile. Raking is often referred to as an ‘un-skilled attack’ as it’s an easy technique to learn and is effective against low tolerance/low security locks. A skilled picker with rakes can open multiple locks in very quick succession and is the typical profile of choice for speed picking competitions.
Hooks are used to manipulate each pin or disc within the lock one at a time. It’s often referred to as an ‘skilled attack’ as it’s a more difficult technique to learn. Hooks can be one of the only ways to open high tolerance/high security locks that have design characteristics to prevent opening with rakes.