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How to Break Into a Front Door Lock in 5 Easy Steps

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

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How to Break Into a Front Door Lock in 5 Easy Steps: A Step by Step Guide

Preparation

Breaking into a front door lock can be a difficult and potentially dangerous task if you’re not prepared. Before attempting to break into the lock, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools, the right knowledge, and the right safety precautions. You’ll also want to make sure you are doing this in a legal way – breaking into a door or window without permission is a crime in most jurisdictions. Once you have the right preparation, you can begin the process.

Gather the necessary tools

To begin the lock-picking process, it is important that you have the correct tools to work with. The most essential tool to break into a front door lock is a lock pick set. These sets usually include several different flat pieces as well as tension wrenches – U-shaped picks used to apply pressure in the keyway and hold pins in place – and rake picks, which are used for raking techniques. Additionally, you will need a flashlight with a strong beam to see inside the lock. You may also choose to use small magnification glass or glasses if you wear them on a regular basis and need extra visibility. Lastly, it is helpful to wear rubber gloves in order to keep your hands clean and free from dirt and oils.

Make sure the door is unlocked

Before attempting to break into a front door lock, it is important to make sure that the door is actually closed and locked. If the door is unlocked or open, there’s no need to proceed with trying to break-in as you might damage either the structure of the door or the lock itself. So, begin by checking if the handle turns. If it does, your troubles are already over and you can exit at this point. However, if the handle does not move after being gently attempted (so as not to apply too much pressure in one go) then you can move on to the next step.

Step 1: Insert the tension wrench

In order to break into a front door lock, the first step is to insert the tension wrench. A tension wrench is a tool that applies torque to the pins in the lock, allowing you to manipulate them in order to unlock the door.You should insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyhole and apply gentle pressure. Once the tension wrench is in place, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Insert the tension wrench into the bottom part of the keyhole

Insert the tension wrench into the bottom part of the keyhole so that it rests in the bottom part of the cylinder lock. Use a small flathead screwdriver or similar tool to keep it in place from above and turn it so that you feel resistance. This means that you’re placing pressure on the pins inside. While keeping your pressure steady, rotate it a few degrees and then release slightly, repeating until all pins inside have been set in place. Make sure to apply steady, even pressure throughout this process. Once all pins are set, you should feel a click or sense of resistance when turning your tension wrench.

Apply pressure to the wrench

Once you have inserted the tension wrench into the bottom of the lock, apply gentle pressure to it in the same direction as you want to turn the plug. In this example, turn the tension wrench clockwise to open a right-handed deadbolt. If your lock is a left-handed lock, then you will need to turn your tension wrench counterclockwise. The force used here should be light and steady; too much pressure can cause damage to both the mechanism and the keyhole itself.

Step 2: Insert the pick

Inserting the pick is an important step when breaking into a front door lock. When breaking into a lock, it is important to use a pick that is the right size for the lock you are attempting to open. When you insert the pick into the keyhole you will want to be gentle and not apply too much pressure. Depending on the type of lock you are working with, the pick should fit snugly into the keyhole to ensure it does not slip or jump out of the keyhole.

Insert the pick into the top part of the keyhole

The next step in unlocking a front door lock is to insert the pick into the top part of the keyhole. To do this, you must find where the pins inside the hole start. The pins hang down from the top of the keyhole, so using a pick at this point will allow you to move the pins up and down. As you do this, you must listen for a “clicking” sound that indicates when one of the pins is correctly aligned at its shear line. When your pick reaches a certain level, all of the pins should be lined up in order for you to open your lock. However, if not all of them are lined up correctly, then try inserting your pick further into the keyhole and move it around until all of them snap into place!

Apply pressure to the pick

Using moderate pressure, carefully insert the pick into the cylinder and apply a slight twist. You should be able to feel the pins starting to move inside the lock as you press your pick down. Additionally, you may hear some clicking noise from within the lock indicating that pins are being moved. As you rotate pressure on the pick, make sure that it slides smoothly along each pin and does not snag on any of them. Once all of the pins have been applied enough tension to lift them slightly, you should be able to turn the cylinder.

Step 3: Move the pick and tension wrench

Once you have inserted the tension wrench into the keyhole and have found the correct direction to turn it, you can start working on the other side of the door lock. To do that, you need to insert the pick into the keyhole and move it around to find the pins in the lock. Each pin will present a different resistance when moved, and each one needs to be pushed back to a certain level before you can move on to the next one.

Move the pick and tension wrench in opposite directions

Once the pins are set, insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyhole and apply gentle pressure in the direction you’d turn a key to unlock it. With your other hand, grip the pick and insert it into the top of the lock cylinder. Begin to move both tools in opposite directions; as you move the pick away from you, apply more pressure on the tension wrench. As you continue to apply opposite pressure between your two tools, eventually they will meet resistance. This indicates that all pin sets have been pushed back up into place; if done correctly, these pins line up perfectly in their chambers and allow for a smooth Break Open of the cylinder, unlocking it.

Feel for the pins inside the lock

Once you have inserted the pick and tension wrench into the front door lock, it is time to move them around. Place your index finger vertically against the side of the lock and begin to feel for the individual pins inside. As you move the pick, take note of any resistance that is felt with each pin. This is caused as each pin aligns, firstly with the shear line created by the plug, and then by its own chamber. The pins are aligned when they cannot be felt through your fingertip anymore. Remove any fine grit that may be present in order to improve your sensing capabilities.

Step 4: Move the pick and tension wrench in opposite directions

This fourth step of breaking into a front door lock involves using a pick and tension wrench. The tension wrench is used to manipulate the pins within the lock, while the pick is used to manipulate the plug. To complete this step, you need to move the pick and tension wrench in opposite directions. This will allow the pins to move into the proper position and the lock should open. Let’s discuss the details of this step.

Move the pick and tension wrench in opposite directions

Now exhale and gently wiggle the pick inside the lock. You should feel slight movement if you’ve inserted it correctly. Using a constant pressure, in a clockwise direction with your tension wrench, start to turn the plug while simultaneously pushing up and down on the solitary pin with your pick. When you’ve found a timing sweet spot when turning the tension wrench, you will hear a clicking sound – this is what you are aiming for. Continue by gently turning the tension wrench counterclockwise, but now attempt to also move it downwards and upwards if possible. This movement is what helps effectively bypass the drop or slider pins of your front door lock. If successful, the door will be unlocked so you can open it.

Feel for the pins inside the lock

It’s time to get the pick and tension tool moving. This involves placing the tension wrench in the keyhole and applying a slight pressure in the direction you’d normally turn a key (if you’re working on a standard doorknob lock, this would be counterclockwise). Next, use your pick to lightly probe all pins inside of the door knob assembly, from back to front.

You will likely feel at least one pin fall into place as you move your pick toward the front of the pin chamber – this indicates that all pins have been set; go ahead and maintain your current pressure on both tools as it will hold them in place when you apply more force. If no pins drop, simply move your pick forward until you feel one of them engage with the bolt before applying further pressure.

Step 5: Open the lock

Step 5 is the last step in the process of breaking into a front door lock. After picking the lock, inserting the bobby pin, tensioning it, and turning the pick, all that’s left is to open the lock. With the correct techniques and some patience, you can learn to open any type of front door lock. Let’s take a look at how to open the lock.

Once all the pins are aligned, turn the tension wrench to open the lock

Once all the pins in the lock cylinder are balanced and aligned, the tension wrench (or pick) can be turned. As you turn it, push with some light pressure against the inside of the cylinder – this will help to apply pressure to all of the pins at once. When done correctly, if all pins have been aligned properly, you should feel a slight click as the door opens. If it does not open, don’t give up – one or more pins may have been set too high or too low on their first try and need to be reset before opening. Keep trying until you get it right!

Remove the pick and tension wrench

Carefully remove the tension wrench and pick by twisting them in alternating directions. Be sure to remember the placement of these tools as you will need to replace them in the same order when picking the other pins.

Next, grasp each pin carefully between your thumb and forefinger and lift it away from the plug before placing it back into its original position. Now, carefully remove any tension on the pins that may still be present with a slight counter-clockwise turn. This will help to re-align all of the pins within the lock.
Repeat this process for each pin until all have been removed and placed in their original positions in order for you to open the door. Once complete, you can now withdraw your pick set from inside of the lock and gently move away from your target door lock opening!

How to Break Into a Front Door Lock in 5 Easy StepsCheckout this video:

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