The art of lockpicking
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* The Arts of Lockpicking *
Retyped 2/20/87 by Amadeus
LOCKPICKING I: CARS AND ASSORTED LOCKS
Technology and the Art of Opening Things
While the basic themes of lockpicking and uninvited entry have not changed too
much in the last few years, some modern devices and techniques have appeared on
the scene . . .
Many older autos can still be opened with a slim Jim type opener (these and
other auto locksmithing techniques are covered fully in the book "In the Stea
of the Night" by John Russell III); however many modern cars have built covers
over the lock mechanism, or have moved the goodies so the slim Jim will not
work . . . So:
American Locksmith Service
P.O. Box 26
Culver City, CA 90230
carries a new improved slim jim that is 30" long and 3/4" wide so it will both
reach and slip through the new car lock covers (inside the door).
Price is $5.75 plus $2.00 postage and handling.
General Motor's cars have always been a bane to people who needed to open them,
because the sidebar locking unit they employ is very difficult to pick. To
further complicate matters, the new GM cars do employ metal shields to make the
use of a slim jim type instrument very difficult . . . So:
Lock Technology Corporation
685 Main St.
New Rochelle, NY 10801
offers a cute little tool which will easily remove the lock cylinder without
harm to the vehicle and let you enter and/or start the vehicle.
The GMC-40 sells for $56.00 plus $2.00 for postage and handling.
The best general automobile opening kit is probably a set of lockout tools
Steck MFG Corporation
1319 W. Stewart St.
Dayton, OH 45408
For $29.95 one can purchase a complete set of six carbon lock-out tools that
will open more than 95 percent of all the cars around.
Kwickset have become quite popular as one step security locks for many types of
buildings. They are a bit harder to pick and offer a higher degree of security
than a normal builder installed door lock. So:
1151 Wallace St.
Massilon, OH 44646
Price is $11.95. Kwickset locks can handily be disassembled and the door open-
ed without harm to either the lock or the door by using the above mentioned
kwick out tool.
If you are too lazy to pick auto locks:
Storm Lake, IO 50588
Still sells tryout keys for most cars (tryout keys are used since there is no
one master key for any one make of car but there are group type masters a.k.a.
tryout keys. Prices average about $20.00 a set.
For years, there have been a number of pick attack procedure for most pin and
tumbler lock systems. In reverse order of ease they are as follows.
Normal Picking: Using a pick set to align the pins, one by one, until the
shear line is set and the lock opens.
Racking: This method uses picks that are constructed with a series of bumps,
or diamond shape notches. These picks are "raked" (i.e. run over all the pins
at one time). With luck, the pins will raise in the open position and stay
there. Raking, if successful, can be much less a effort than standard picking.
Lock Aid Gun: This gun shaped device was invented a number of years ago and
has found application with many locksmiths and security personnel. Basically,
a needle shaped pick is inserted in the snout of the "gun" and the "trigger" is
pulled. This action snaps the pick up and down strongly. If the tip is
slipped under the pins, they will also be snapped up and down strongly. With a
bit of luck they will strike each other and separate at the shear line for a
split second. When this happens the lock will open. The lock aid gun is not
100% successful, but when it does work the results are very dramatic. You can
somtimes open the lock with one snap of the trigger and impress the hell out of
Vibrator: Some crafty people have mounted a needle pick into an electric
toothbrush power unit. This vibrating effect will sometimes open pin tumbler
locks -- like instantly . . .
Technology to the Rescue
There is now another method to open pin and wafer locks in a very short time.
Although it resembles a toothbrush pick in appearance, its actually an elec-
I'm speaking of the Cobra pick that is designed and sold by:
P.O. Box 569
Scottsdale, AR 85252
The Cobra uses two nine volt batteries, teflon bearings (for less noise), and a
cam roller. It comes with three picks (for different types of locks) and works
both in America and overseas, on pin or wafer locks. The Cobra will open group
one locks (common door locks) in three to seven seconds with no damage, in the
hands of an experienced locksmith. It can take a few seconds more or up to a
half a minute for someone with no experience at all. It will also open group
two locks (including govt., high security, and medecos) although this can take
a short time longer. It will not open GM sidear locks, although a device is
about to be introduced to fill that gap.
How much for this toy that will open most locks in seven seconds???
$235.00 plus $4.00 shipping and handling.
For you hard core safe crackers (serious shit), Fed Corp. also sells the MI-6
that will open most safes at a cost of $10,000 for the three wheel attack model
and $10,500 for the four wheel model. It comes in a sturdy aluminum carrying
case with monitor and disk drive and software.
If none of these safe and sane ideas appeal to you, you can always fall back on
the magic thermal lance . . .
The thermal lance is a rather crude instrument constructed from 3/8" hollow
magnesium rods. Each tube comes in a 10' length, but can be cut down if de-
sired. Each one is threaded on one end. To use the lance, you screw the tube
together with a matted regulator (like a welding outfit uses) and hook up an
oxygen tank. Then oxygen is turned on and the rod is lit with a standard weld-
ing ignitor. The device produces an incredible amount of heat. It is used for
cutting up concrete blocks or even rocks. An active lance will go through a
foot of steel in a few seconds.
The lance is also known as a burning bar and is available from:
7748 W. Addison
Chicago, IL 60634
This completes lockpicking I.
LOCKPICKING II: MISH ASSORTED LOCKS
So you want to be a criminal. Well, if you are wanting to be like James Bond
and open a lock in fifteen seconds, go to Hollywood because that's the only
place your gonna ever do it. Even experienced locksmiths can spend five to ten
minutes on a lock if they're unlucky. If you are looking for extremely quick
access, look elsewhere.
The following instructions will pertain mostly to the "lock-in-knob" type lock,
since it is the easiest to pick. If there is sufficient demand, I will later
write a file discussing the other forms of entrance, including dead-bolt.
First of all, you need a pick set. If you know a locksmith, get him to make
you a set. This will be the best possible set for you to use. If you find a
locksmith unwilling to supply a set, don't give up hope. It is possible to
make your own, if you have access to a grinder (you can use a file, but it
The thing you need is an allen wrench set (very small). These should be small
enough to fit into the keyhole slot. Now, bend the long end of the allen
wrench at a slight angle (not 90 deg.).
Now, take you pick to a grinder or a file and smooth the end until it's rounded
so it won't hang inside the lock. Test your tool out on doorknobs at your
house to see if it will slide in and out smoothly. Now, this is where the
screwdriver comes in. Is it small enough for it and your pick to be used in
the same lock at the same time, one above the other? Let's hope so, because
that's the only way your gonna open it. In the coming instructions, please re-
fer to this chart of the interior of a lock:
# # # # # # \ E
# # # # \ Y # Upper Tumler Pin
* * \ H * Lower Tumler Pin
* * * * * * \ O X Cylinder Wall
\ L (This is a greatly simplified drawing)
The object is to press the pin up so that the space between the upper pin and
the lower pin is level with the cylinder wall. Now, if you push a pin up, its
tendancy is to fall back down, right?
That is where the screwdriver comes in. Insert the screwdriver into the slot
and turn. This tension will keep the "solved" pins from falling back down.
Now, work from the back of the lock to the front, and when you're through . . .
There will be a click, the scredriver will turn freely, and the door will open.
Don't get discouraged on your first try! It will probably take you about
twenty to thirty minutes your first time. After that you will quickly improve
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