Lock Picking Tools

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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The amount and variety of lock picking tools that are available to the public is staggering. Manual lock picks--the kind that are most often featured in old spy stories and television shows, are of course available, as are specialized manual lock picks that are designed for certain types of locks. Newer types of lock picks, such as electronic pick guns, are also available.

Lock picking tools work by manipulating the pins inside most locks in order to free them from their housing. The housing, which is often a metal cylinder, is usually attached to a cam that controls the door bolt. By freeing the pins from the cylinder, the cam turns easily, and the door opens.

In practice, the simple process is far from easy. One common technique involves using something called a tension wrench to rotate the cylinder just slightly, which puts pressure on the individual pins. Then, small, springy metal picks must be placed in the keyhole and manipulated until each pin is free from the cylinder. The process is sometimes complicated by the presence of pins in multiple locations in the cylinder, or by pins of various shapes.

Electronic Lock Picking Tools

Electronic pick guns are most effectively used for picking pin tumbler locks. Electric pick guns insert multiple metal picks that are similar to manual picks inside a lock, and then vibrate them until the lock is picked. While the types of locks that this process is effective on are very limited, they can often pick simple locks in a very short amount of time, making them invaluable for many property managers, law enforcement agents, and locksmiths.

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