Lock Picking 101: How to Pick a Lock

OK, so you’re locked up in a room. Being locked up in a room is bad enough but let’s say things are even worse than you imagined. Someone has maliciously covered you in chains and padlocks. To make sure you don’t escape this antagonist also has you handcuffed. How do you pick the locks and free yourself? That is the question for the day.

Unfortunately for you, none of the Master Escape Artists are in the room to share their expertise; however, if they were there with you, escaping might not be anywhere near as fun. You do have a group of loyal fellow captives who have a vested interest in freeing you. You see, they’re not free until you are. Time is running out, tick-tock.

The Girl with the Bobby Pins

Bobby pins are useful for picking locks, and all you need is two. They’re quickly becoming an ancient artifact, but maybe, just maybe, there’s a girl in the room who has a couple to lend you. There won’t be much left of the bobby pins when all is said and done, so she’s going to have to be gracious and hand them over—no strings attached. Now, it’s time to give everyone in the room a lesson in lock picking. But wait! Your friend with the bobby pins is already on it.

Skillfully, she pries open one of the bobby pins and removes the tiny knobs at the ends. That first bobby pin will be the pick. Then, she takes the second bobby pin, and with the strength of Hercules, she bends it in half so that it becomes a handy lever. Now, it’s time to get pickin’. She inserts the lever into the bottom of the keyhole of the first padlock. Next, she uses the first bobby pin to start picking each of the locks—click, click one after another. She working at a furious pace, she’s almost there. Uh, oh!

Paper Clip to the Rescue!

Everything is going great so far but you have handcuffs on, and they’re not coming off. Your “friend,” who is quickly becoming girlfriend material, has another trick up her sleeve.  It so happens she’s escaped from handcuff “many times.” You decide you’re not going to into the interesting details about why she had to unlock handcuffs, or padlocks, that many times. That’s a story for another day.

You find she is just as handy with a paper clip as she is with bobby pins. While she is working on your handcuffs, she is giving you, and the other captives, the scientific explanation as to why a paper clip can be an efficient tool for uncuffing handcuffs.The trick is to bend that paper clip so that it looks like a key. Ratchets with teeth are what lock the handcuffs. The paper clip pushes the ratchets out of the way, and voilá! It’s pretty simple, so you may want to look it up when you’re finally free. Lock picking is a great subject for a first date.

And a Word of Advice

You’re allowed to pick any locks that belong to you. You can practice lock picking to your little heart’s content. You cannot, however, make this your life’s calling, as in “Lock picking is fun! Let me pick the neighbor’s lock and take that Lamborghini for a spin!”  Every lock on your escape menu must be legally yours.