Four Tips to Improve Your Lockpicking Game

Picking locks, just like any other “tweaking”, can be fun! There’s nothing more relieving than removing any obstructions that clog up your path—the locks on your doors, for example. But sometimes, a complicated lock blocks you, and no matter how hard you reach inside to pick it, it just won’t come out.

But never fear, buccaneers, bandits, and brazen drunks locked outside. Your frustrations can be abated by simply getting better at your aspirations. Become better at your lockpicking game by following these tips. 

Learn How Locks Work by Using Transparent Locks

If you’re a beginner, you’re not going to learn much just by using a lock picking set. You also need to understand how locks work. Different locks have various locking mechanisms, so the best way to learn their structure is by looking at what’s inside them, by seeing the bigger picture of the puzzle.

Fortunately, some lockpick manufacturers sell transparent locks, which you can practice on and study. These clear, transparent locks will enable you to watch how each component moves and reacts when you use your tools on them. You’ll be able to work out when you’re making progress and when you’ve made a mistake. 

Focus on a Single Lockpicking Technique

Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” In the case of lockpicking, there are several techniques and methods. Some of these “kicks” are lock bumping, single-pin picking, and raking (a.k.a. rakewalking).

While being proficient in two or more of these can make you versatile, ultimately, it’s better and faster to be skilled at only one method. Consider practicing single-pin picking, as it is a reliable way to open a lock without damaging its mechanisms. However, it may also be the most difficult and time-consuming technique to master. 

Slow and Smooth Progress Is Better Than Rushing to Failure 

Lockpicking builds character. It builds patience. It requires finesse, not force, to successfully open a lock, especially when doing the single-pin picking technique. The complexity of the lock will dictate how long it takes to unlock it, as a single mistake can reset the mechanism to its initial state or, worse, damage it severely that it can no longer be opened.

So when picking locks, have patience. Go slow; go smooth. Don’t rush. Clear out every distraction, and take your time to attune yourself to tool and lock. Soon you’ll be able to feel every small movement inside the lock and work your way around every tiny resistance.

Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect. Clichéd as it is, that saying is true even with lockpicking. Practice picking perfectly a relatively easy lock, then move up the difficulty ladder. Your skills will improve as you learn how to navigate more complex locks, as you tumble and plow through the pins that hold you back.


Every day, get an excuse to use your lockpicking skills. Ask your neighbors and friends if they have something they need unlocked. Just remember to stay within the law and do nothing illegal (unless you want to practice on the locks of jail cells), and you’ll be a master at lockpicking in your own time.