Desert Locksmiths has more than 30 years of experience picking locks for our loyal customers. Whether you are locked out of your house, car, office, safe, or warehouse, our team of professionals can grant you access to your property 24/7. We’ve all seen spies, criminals, detectives, and secret agents pick locks in the movies with things like credit cards and bobby pins, but how do professional locksmiths gain authorized entry into a locked property?

How to Pick a Lock

First, let’s establish that a pin tumbler lock is made of various spring-loaded “stacks” called pin stacks. Each pin stack has two components, the key pin and the spring-loaded driver pin. When the correct key enters the lock, the pins are manipulated to the shear line, allowing the cylinder to be turned.

Most professional locksmiths will attempt to pick a lock before attempting other more involved entry methods, because most residential locks can easily be opened with this method. What does lock picking entail?

Lock picking doesn’t refer to just one technique.  The following techniques often fall under the general umbrella of lock picking: single pin picking, raking, and bumping. Here is a quick explanation of each.

Single-Pin Picking: Also known as SPP, this method is used for pin tumbler locks. The method relies on specialized tools called hooks and half diamonds. Hooks facilitate the setting of pins with the application of vertical pressure. Half diamonds are similar, but instead of vertical pressure, horizontal pressure gets used.

Raking: This method scrubs the pin in various ways until entry is achieved. The pick gets applied to the inner lock components in an up and down fashion to ‘fake’ the component positions the correct key would press.

Bumping: This method uses one of several specialized keys known as bump keys, rapping keys, or 999 keys. The key gets inserted into the lock just shy of full insertion, and the key’s teeth hit all of the key pins and the force moves to the driver pins while the key pins stay in place. If the door handle is gently turned during this this bumping of the pins, a small window gets created allowing the cylinder to turn.

How to Pick a Lock

Other Methods for Opening a Locked Door

Bypassing the Lock: This method, too, does not refer to one specific technique. One applicable technique is the mica latch shim. A mica latch shim allows the locksmith to push the latch into the lock housing allowing entry. This is the method often used in the movies with the credit card-like object. Note that credit cards are too brittle and inflexible to access most locks, while mica latch shims have impressive strength and flexibility.

Impression Method: This method provides entry and creates a working key. An uncut key gets placed into a lock, and the locksmith applies pressure to create markings on the key. The markings determine which spots on the key must be filed down to allow entry. Many consider this to be a difficult method, and other methods generally get attempted first.

Drilling the Lock: This method is avoided when possible, because it destroys the cylinder and sometimes the whole lock. If skilled entry methods fail, trust brute force.

Do I Need a Professional Locksmith?

Anyone with the right training and tools can gain entry into a locked property, and we at Desert Locksmiths have both. Attempting to gain entry into your locked property without the proper tools and training will not only further delay your entry, it can also cost you money if you damage the lock or key.

Not only do we service lockouts and lost keys, we can also re-key your locks, install higher security locks, repair or replace broken locks, and more. Whether you need access to your car, home, office, or otherwise, Desert Locksmiths can help 24/7.

At Desert Locksmiths, customer service means timelines, quality work, and a friendly demeanor. Contact us today!