24 Hr Lockouts Logo

Lockout Tips

All Locks Can Be Picked

door and key

Does an unpickable lock exist? Some locks are extremely hard to pick, but eventually a way to defeat the security of every lock will be discovered as every type of lock has some weakness. In this blog post, 24Hr Lockouts examines why an unpickable lock cannot be made and what makes locks prone to failure. We will lock at lock mechanics and how that impacts the overall vulnerability to picking.

Lock Mechanics

The marketplace offers a wide variety of lock types; however, they all have one characteristic in common with each other. Locks provide two functions: to lock and to unlock. A non-functioning lock will not provide any secure protection. Their primary task is to secure valuables, and a lock that doesn’t work is not a lock at all.

Conversely, a lock that will not unlock is non-functioning as well. It can lock you out from your valuables such as jewelry kept in a safe. It can keep you from entering and using your home or car. A permanently locked lock may as well be a piece of junk. All locks are meant to unlock as well as lock. This is obvious logic.

What unlocks the lock? A key will give a single individual or group of persons the ability to unlock a specific lock. The key manipulates the internal locking mechanisms that keep the device locked. A key can be a conventional metal key or something modern such as a code manually entered into an electronic keypad, remotely transmitted from a mobile device, or turned on a dial.

Picking and Manipulating a Lock

Picking and manipulation defeats the lock. This is done by fooling the lock into opening without the right key. Picking will work for any lock with a keyway, and the process of inserting the right key must be reproduced. The key pattern must be replicated, and frequently this is accomplished by tensioning the lock by inserting a piece of metal into the keyhole. The metal moves the internal mechanisms one at a time. By putting the lock under tension at the same time, the internal mechanisms will eventually respond as if the key is trying to unlock it. Generally, picking will always work on locks that depend upon physical keys.

The Myth of the Unpickable Key

All locks can be picked. Locks are machines that use kinetic energy to function. Locks with a standard pin tumbler will have some weakness that enables picking. This comes from the slim misalignment of the holes in the lock plug. The holes operate as slots for the pins. This slight misalignment will result in pins being set at separate moments. The first pin acts as the binding pin, and afterwards, the picker simply needs to determine the binding orders.

If a lock could be produced without this slight misalignment, the would hypothetically be perfect and unpickable. However, anything produced with the machining process has some imperfection, albeit some are so miniscule they must be measured with a micrometer.

Still, all machined locks have those tiny imperfections, and one way or another, a criminal intent on defeating a lock will likely success.

We accept: We accept all major credit cards