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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1
Yes, that's a thing.

I've been interested in recreational lock picking my entire adult life and actually started last week... like I need another hobby.

I just posted my noob video to YouTube. I wanted to see how difficult it would be for a No Skilz newbie like me to open Master Lock's most secure padlock. It's worse than you would probably imagine.


Moral of the story: Don't use any Master padlock to secure valuables. Even the ones that look beefy and secure are easily picked.

I consider this to be a public service announcement.

Any other sport lock pickers on KTOG?
 

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Grand Poobah
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I have a neighbor that was a locksmith for years and he has taught me how to pick locks.I pick up Master locks that fall off trailer hitches to practice on...He gave me a set of his favorite picks last year. It is an interesting hobby...
 

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What brand do you recommend? Locks just keep honest people honest anyway. JMHO
:eek::eek::eek: :D:D:D

Steve
 

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Yea, not much sport in a pair of bolt cutters.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What brand do you recommend?
I don't have any, but Commando Locks look well made, well designed, and are reasonably priced.

Apparently there are Master padlocks in their Commercial series that are good quality locks because Master and American are sister companies and the Master Commercial uses an American core with some security features.

In completely unrelated news - My local post office hasn't had the outside mail boxes for two days. I asked tonight and was told that someone broke into one of them and buggered up the lock on the other.
 

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Pretty interesting !
I had no clue that this existed ... and remembering some of the best locks I've ever used .... is there a way to "pick" the round locks with the hollow barrel shaped keys ? I seem to remember this type of key was also used on soda-pop vending machines.
Any vids of the process ?

.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Pretty interesting !
I had no clue that this existed ... and remembering some of the best locks I've ever used .... is there a way to "pick" the round locks with the hollow barrel shaped keys ? I seem to remember this type of key was also used on soda-pop vending machines.
Any vids of the process ?
There are tons of videos. Search for tubular lock picking. There are 2-3 different diameters and the newer ones moved the pin that's used to turn the locks open so it's a bit harder to access when tensioning the core while picking. The older locks were fairly easy to pick with special tools that are now available in sets of three - one per diameter or pin count that are readily available online (AliExpress, BangGood, etc.). These tools exploited a design flaw. If all of the pins were pressed at the same time, as when using a key, using the same spring on each pin resulted in similar spring force being applied to each pin so a tool that picked all of the pins at the same time could open the lock like a key. The deluxe tool had a locking ring so once the lock was picked, the tool was locked into place to make a key, and that key could be read to decode the lock and make more keys. Apparently, the newer tubular locks use different springs for different pins so some pins are overset and some are underset when trying to pick them all at once, so they must be picked one at a time. There are new tubular lock tensioning tools that allow the newer locks to be tensioned for picking. It's a constant contest that advances the state of the art.

BTW - Most tubular locks turn enough to advance to the next pin and the pins reset before the lock opens, so they need to be picked at least twice and sometimes up to six times to open a lock. That greatly increases the time needed to pick one of these locks, making them more secure.

I have some fairly low security tubular locks that I bought for my electric bike project. I'll try picking them some day. Once I pick them, I'll probably not want to use them. I figure if I can pick a lock, it must be no good. :)
 

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Yes, that's a thing.

I've been interested in recreational lock picking my entire adult life and actually started last week... like I need another hobby.

I just posted my noob video to YouTube. I wanted to see how difficult it would be for a No Skilz newbie like me to open Master Lock's most secure padlock. It's worse than you would probably imagine.


Moral of the story: Don't use any Master padlock to secure valuables. Even the ones that look beefy and secure are easily picked.

I consider this to be a public service announcement.

Any other sport lock pickers on KTOG?
Sure not the voice I would have associated with your posts or profile.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sure not the voice I would have associated with your posts or profile.
I'm going to choose to interpret that as a compliment. I translated it in my mind to, "You sure don't type like you're from Kentucky." :)

It's not just you. I don't think my voice sounds like me, either.
 

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Premium Member
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I've picked a number of locks and it is easier that most realize if you know what you're doing. There are a number of people that can pick locks about as fast as someone with the key for standard locks. There are quite a few methods of slowing down lock picking, but few will really stop a determined person. Any new lock design brings up all the challenges from the lock pickers.

There are also lock-picking conventions that have contests. I'm aware of people picking locks in the approximately 1 second category. Most lock pickers are completely honest and just view it as a challenge initially and then an art.

Locks are basically there to keep honest people honest and slow down the dishonest hopefully to the point where there are easier places to attack elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I got my practice lock, re-pinning kit and a large assortment of flat tension bars today. I spent a few hours learning to single pin pick a lock, which is the more skilled form of picking than the raking method demonstrated in the previous video of the sad Master padlock. Single pin picking works where raking doesn't.

I was amazed at the learning process. I knew the theory but there's a lot of difference between theory and practice. Starting with a head full of theory and having watched a lot of videos so I knew how it should look, I found single pin picking to be very awkward and almost impossible at first. I relaxed, kept playing at it, and was amazed at how the process was learned. The brain needs to integrate information from different senses - seeing, hearing, feeling the pick probe the lock to locate the pins, feeling the pick lift the pin into place, and feeling the torque on the tension wrench which is varied throughout the process. It's a very unique skill, comparable to nothing else I know how to do. It could be a handy skill to have, and it's geeky fun.

At this point, I'm always surprised when my old brain learns a new trick.

Plenty of learning to go. I can re-pin the practice lock to make it gradually more difficult so I have a linear learning curve.
 

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Dad gave me a lock that had no key when I was a teen, maybe 13-14, and I figured out how to open it with a bent paperclip. Its amazing how many low quality locks will open with just a 70 degree bent paperclip (you don't want full 90 bend, that does not usually work). I got a girls locker open when she locked her keys in it later, at about age 17, but didn't even get a date or phone # lol (what I got was 'why do we bother to lock stuff up with people like him around'). Haven't tried it in many years... sounds like a fun way to kill some hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm as fascinated by the learning process itself as I am with the lock picking. I learned how to single pin pick my practice lock last night and was fairly proficient. I could SPP it in usually 5-10 seconds. This morning, I had retained most of the general knowledge I had learned but had lost most of the subtle knowledge that was specific to that one lock. I needed several minutes to open it. I had lost the feel for what was happening inside and it felt awkward and confusing again. I found it helpful to look through the cutout window to see what I had done wrong.

I had heard that lock picking is a perishable skill, but apparently, as the song says, the chewing gum loses its flavor on the bedpost overnight.

There's going to be a lot of "two steps forward, one step back" in this learning process.

I'm going to need some more practice locks to further generalize my expanding knowledge so I don't teach myself to pick one and only one lock. There are YouTube videos with recommendations of which locks to buy in what order for a progressive learning experience... complete with Amazon links.
 

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Lock picking lawyer has good videos.

his cohort that is also good is Bosnian Bill. He has YouTube videos and his website is https://locklab.com/category/lock-picking-for-beginners/


Chris at lockpickworld.com has hood stuff too.

here is a video he posted
https://www.lockpickworld.com/blogs/news/happy-christmas-ill-let-myself-in?utm_campaign=Happy Christmas, I'll let myself in (HqjBEQ)&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Everyone - but opened email in last 30 days&_ke=eyJrbF9lbWFpbCI6ICI0MDM0c2NyYXBjYW5AZ21haWwuY29tIiwgImtsX2NvbXBhbnlfaWQiOiAiTFE1ZFV4In0=

This can be very entertaining.

beware of the addictive nature and the box o’ locks you will end up with!

We could start a lock trading group here at the KTOG.
 
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