How to Pick a Lock: A Beginner’s Guide

Man Picking A LockSource:

Have you ever found yourself locked out of your house or car? Maybe you lost your key or forgot it inside. While calling a locksmith is always an option, it can be expensive and time-consuming. Learning how to pick a lock can save you time and money in these situations, and it can also be a useful skill to have in other circumstances.

What You Need to Pick a Lock

Lock Picking ToolsSource:

Before you begin, you will need some tools. You can purchase a lock picking set online or at a specialty shop. It should include a tension wrench and several picks of different shapes and sizes. You can also make your own tools using paper clips or bobby pins.

The Basic Technique

Lock Picking TechniqueSource:

The basic technique for picking a lock involves applying tension to the lock with the tension wrench while using the pick to manipulate the pins inside the lock. The goal is to set all the pins to the correct height so that the lock can be turned and opened.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Lock Picking StepsSource:

Here are the step-by-step instructions for picking a lock:

  1. Insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyhole and turn it slightly in the direction that the lock would normally turn.
  2. Insert the pick into the top of the keyhole and push it all the way to the back.
  3. Apply slight pressure to the tension wrench to create tension in the lock.
  4. Use the pick to gently lift each pin in the lock, one at a time, until you feel it click into place.
  5. Continue lifting each pin until they are all set at the correct height.
  6. Apply more pressure to the tension wrench and turn it in the direction that the lock would normally turn.
  7. The lock should turn and open.


Lock Picking TroubleshootingSource:

If you are having trouble picking a lock, try these troubleshooting tips:

  • Apply more or less pressure with the tension wrench.
  • Use a different pick or try a different pick angle.
  • Try picking the lock with the tension wrench in a different position.
  • Practice on different types of locks to gain experience.

Legal Considerations

Lock Picking LegalitiesSource:

It is important to note that lock picking is illegal in some circumstances. If you are attempting to pick a lock that you do not own or have permission to access, you could be charged with a crime. Always use lock picking for ethical and legal purposes.


Learning how to pick a lock can be a useful skill in a variety of situations, but it should be used ethically and legally. With the proper tools and technique, you can successfully pick a lock and save yourself time and money in the process.

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