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Lockpicking

Homeland Security & Counterterrorism

The act of lockpicking may seem glamorous and exciting in the movies or on television; but in many cases it is also illegal. Lockpicking is defined as the art of unlocking a lock by analyzing and manipulating components of a locking device without the original key. Ideally, the act of picking a lock should not damage the lock itself with no evidence that it has been picked. 

Although lock picking is often associated with criminal activity, it is an essential skill for a locksmith, and is even sometimes a hobby pursued by regular citizens with an interest in the topic. For those with a vested interest in lockpicking or in becoming a locksmith, there are many local community colleges and workshops that offer instructor-led lectures that allow you to participate. Courses and programs include topics such as:

Lockpicking - Locksmith Schools

• the history and development of different types of locks
• a full breakdown of how locks work
• introduction to lock picking tools and how to use them

• destructive entry methods
• electronic locks, and much more.

Tools Needed for Locksmithing

Locksmiths usually require quite an array of tools to carry out the act of picking a lock, the main tool being a pick. Lock picks come in many shapes and sizes.Any trained locksmith could tell you how difficult it is to pick a lock without a pick of the right size. Different locks require different tools, and a locksmith must stock up on different lock picks in order to be prepared for whatever situation they may find themselves in. Here are some of the basic types of lock picks you would find in a professional lock picking kit:

Diamond:These picks have a flat “bottom” and have a ramp shaped tip similar to one half of a triangle. They come in various sized tips from small to relatively large. They are useful for both wafer and pin-tumbler locks, and are especially favored for padlocks. A very common pick used by professional’s world-wide.

Single Ball: The tips of these picks are completely round and are most often used for single sided wafer locks or warded locks.

Double Ball: A double ball pick's head shape commonly referred to as a “snowman” pick since the ball nearest the tip is most often found smaller than the one situated close behind it. These picks are most commonly used for bi-direction wafer locks.

Hook: The tip is bent upwards and rounded basically leaving the tip itself with no particular shape. These picks are best used with pin-tumbler locks and are one of the most common used by professionals.

Rake: A rake pick generally has a wavy tip configuration, and the design possibilities are restricted only by imagination and what has most frequently been used successfully. Rakes are generally manipulation back and forth across the pins in a lock to create a gap at the sheerline of the lock. 

These are just some of the required tools to become a locksmith. With the right training and hands-on experience, becoming a locksmith is a great career choice for the right person.

 
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