Lock pick


Picking locks is an art, often linked to skilled burglars, who often use a pick as their primary tool to pick locks . Likewise, it is normal to see them being used by locksmiths, in order to be able to open the doors without damaging the lock.


What is a lock pick?

The pick is a manual tool used to open locks . This is usually a long piece of wire with a bent tip. This tip usually has the morphology of a hook. This tip is used to manipulate the latches of a lock. These types of tools are used in the absence of keys. In the popular imagination, they are usually associated with criminal or competitive acts.

  • Characteristics of the pick
  • History
  • What is a pick for?
  • Types
  • Parties
  • How a pick works
  • How to use
  • How to make a homemade pick
  • Importance

Characteristics of the pick

We have seen them in the movies. We have seen them seriously. We have seen them in every production of culture when it comes to representing a similar situation. You may have already lived it. Who has not encountered the predicament of losing their keys? Who has not had the misfortune of staying, for this reason, outside his house or room?


The loss of keys is an event as common as it is old. It has happened since the invention of them. Given this, what inventions does culture make to deal with it? Well, one of them is the lock picks . What can we understand about the lock pick?

  • It is a hand tool used to manipulate locks. It is normally used in the absence of keys .
  • It is a solid piece of wire with a curved tip . This curve is usually confused with a hook , with which it resembles it.
  • It is usually linked to the image of the criminal or thief .
  • There are different methods of use. It all depends, ultimately, on the type of lock we are dealing with.


It can be said that the origin of the term comes from the Basque ” gantzua “, which means “hook”. It can be said that this arises from the hook shape that one of its tips has.

There is little public data on the historical origin of lockpicks . However, we can assume that its composition may have been parallel to that of the creation of the lock. These have their origins in Egyptian and Roman culture. However, it was improving over time, especially by the Anglo-Saxon workforce in the 18th century .

What is a pick for?

Its usefulness is as a substitute for keys . It is normally used by locksmiths to unlock locks in the absence of keys . In pop culture, it is common for this tool to be associated with criminal purposes. That is, it is often believed that this is a tool of thieves. However, it is known that its use requires a certain skill that usually takes a long time to master. In fact, it is common to see that in the world there are competitions of people who unlock locks with this tool.


Some of the most common types of lock picks are:

  • Wrench tension pick . It is frequently used to allow cylinder rotation. What is recommended with this type of instrument is that it be inserted in the opposite section of the place where the piston springs are located.
  • Hook pick . This is one of the best known. Possibly named for the hook shape that the end of one of its ends presents. Its methodology is based on the elevation of the pistons to the so-called “ cut-off points” , that is, the point where the openings or cuts of the pistons and the lock coincide. Each piston is individually lifted.
  • Snake pick . This has a mechanism quite similar to that of the hook pick. However, their actions are different. Instead of lifting piston by piston, one by one, they are raised at the same time. All at the same time.


Depending on the type, its morphology and design may vary. However, we can say that the lock pick has, nevertheless, a very simple structure. It is primarily a hard wire with a curve at one end.

How a pick works

Being a simple manufacturing tool, its operation does not require major complications. It is only about the insertion of one of the tips in the hole of the keyhole . This point, the one with a hook shape , would be in charge of feeling each of the latches. He then lifts them up, opening the lock .

How to use

His methodology , however, requires some training. Not for nothing, many specialists consider this an art. In fact, it is common to see championships where it is about seeing who manages to open locks of various complexity with greater speed.

Many are limited to using a single pick . Others, on the contrary, use more. It all depends on the type that is used. The common thing is that it is inserted, as already said, in the lock , and then each latch is raised and rotated. The latter, in order to block it so that it does not go down again. The procedure may vary according to the technique. Here are some of them:

  • Piston to Piston . Each piston is raised individually.
  • Rake Technique . Multiple pistons are manipulated through multiple picks. It is the most recommended technique.

How to make a homemade pick

One way to build a pick , the following steps can be followed:

  • Have some sturdy metal wire handy .
  • Then, the total dimension of the pick (from 10 to 12 cm) will be marked with a pencil or marker .
  • Now, the dimensions of the manco would be marked with the same pencil or marker. This, to distinguish it from the curved tip of the instrument .
  • The point is passed through a deep sanding so that it acquires the corresponding shape.
  • It is polished properly, until it acquires the desired shine .
  • The manco is covered with rubber, leather or wood .
  • The pick is finished .


This is one of the main work tools of the locksmith . As said at the beginning of the article, it is not unusual for some keys to be lost. The locksmith’s job is to open locks in the absence of those keys, and the instrument to use is this.

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