Skip to content

How To Pick A Door Lock With A Knife

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.

✓ Verified & Tested Information

How to pick a door lock with a knife? It’s easy! Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to do it in no time.


When you find yourself in a situation where you need to open a locked door, one of the lowest budget options is to use a knife. This straightforward technique of using a knife to pick a lock won’t work on all locks, but it may be all you need if the lock isn’t high security. Before you attempt this method, keep in mind that it is illegal in some areas and can cause property damage.

To pick a lock with a knife, start by finding an ordinary kitchen or pocketknife with a flathead screwdriver at one end and a blade at the other. Take off any plastic covers or coatings from the keyhole to expose the pins inside it. Insert your thumb into the hole and press down lightly on one side of the pin stack. Then use your flathead screwdriver as leverage against your thumb pressure to move each pin up – one at a time – until all pins are released and you can open the door.

Gather the Tools

Picking a door lock with a knife requires a few simple tools. You will need a knife, a tension wrench and a flathead screwdriver. The knife will be used to push up on the pins inside the lock. The tension wrench will be used to keep the pins in place as you use the knife. The flathead screwdriver can help with positioning the tension wrench correctly. Now that you have gathered the tools, let’s look into the technique for picking the door lock.


If you plan to pick a door lock with a knife, you will need to select one with a thin and narrow blade. A common kitchen knife simply won’t do the job. Small pocket knives are ideal as they have thin blades, making them easier to get into the keyhole. A box cutter or utility knife may also be used, but make sure there is an easily accessible bade point before using it, and it is long enough so that it can reach the pins inside the keyhole. As well as the knife itself, you will also need materials such as superglue or tape in order to keep the blade in place while you attempt to open the door lock. People often manage to open door locks by pushing and pressing on the blade of the knife until it is either twisted and turned into place or touches one of the pins inside of it and forces them up into place. Take extra care when doing this, however, as too much force can cause permanent damage to the locking mechanism.

Paperclip or Hairpin

Paperclips and hairpins are two common items that are commonly used to pick a door lock with a knife. Both tools can be inserted into the keyhole and moved in different directions to open the door. To use a paperclip or hairpin, begin by bending one end at a 90 degree angle and gently insert the “L” end of the clip into the keyhole. Once you feel it catch on something inside the lock, start turning the clip slowly. Move cautiously in order to avoid breaking or jamming any internal parts of the lock. If you’re patient enough, eventually you should be able to turn your paperclip or hairpin enough to unlock the door without too much difficulty. However, be aware that some complex locks may require an even finer touch when using these tools – so practice beforehand!

Understand the Lock

Before attempting to pick a lock with a knife, it is important to gain an understanding of the lock. Knowing what kind of lock it is, what the locking mechanisms are, the pin configurations, and how the latch works will reduce the chances of damaging the lock or making costly mistakes. Understanding the lock is the key to successful lock picking.

Types of Locks

When picking a door lock, it’s important to understand what type of lock you are dealing with. There are several different kinds of locks and the method used to pick them may vary. The most commonly encountered locks are deadbolts, pin tumbler locks, warded locks, and lever tumbler locks.

Deadbolts are the standard security devices used in residential settings. They have a key entry on one side and a knurled handle or thumb turn on the other side. The lock is released by rotating the handle or inserting the key into the keyway and turning it. Deadbolts can be picked with all types of traditional lockpicking tools such as tension wrenches and pick tools, but they can also be picked with a knife by applying tension to the plug in order to raise all of the pins at once.

Pin Tumbler Locks
Pin tumbler locks use spring-loaded pins that must be raised from their chambers in sequence before the lock will open. These types of locks are commonly found on filing cabinets and desks but can also be installed on doors. They can be picked using traditional pick guns or using a knife if you apply gentle pressure while manipulating each pin individually with your knife blade.

Warded Locks
Warded locks rely on obstructions (known as wards) inside the keyway that only allow keys with matching notches to fit and unlock them. These types of locks can generally be opened quite easily as most contain only one or two wards deep inside their keyways, allowing them to be bypassed by pushing an object narrow enough past these obstructions while applying gentle force in order to unlock them. Some warded locks will also respond positively when certain innocuous objects such as safety pins or paper clips inserted into their keyways—and this includes knives!

Lever Tumbler Locks
Lever tumbler locks work similarly to pin tumblers but rely on levers inside each chamber instead of spring loaded pins in order for itto open up successfully. For this type of lock you’re likely going to need either specially designed tools or flat pieces of metal inserted simultaneously into several chambers at once—asking your standard kitchen knife won’t do here!

Anatomy of a Lock

Learning how to pick a door lock with a knife requires an understanding of the anatomy of a lock. Most locks consist of three main components: the plug, the springs, and the pins. The plug is the round cylinder in the middle that rotates when the key is inserted. This cylinder houses two or more springs and several pins, each of which has an associated spring that keeps it pushed firmly against its neighboring pin. When the correct key is inserted into the cylinder, these pins move up in such a way that allows the plug to turn and unlock. Knives can be used to pick this lock by manipulating these pins until they all move up just enough so that you can turn it open.

Understanding how locks work can help you determine how best to use your knife to open it up quickly. Take some time to familiarize yourself with each component’s function:
-The Plug: This is the round cylinder in which all of your other components fit within a lock
-The Springs: These are typically located inside of cylindrical chamber within your plug and their job is to push your pins back into their resting place when you insert or remove your key
-The Pins: These are small metal rods that fit inside either side of your plug and must be precisely aligned when properly picked

Insert the Knife

Picking a door lock with a knife can be a convenient way to break into a locked door, with minimal effort and time. However, this method also carries a certain risk. Inserting the knife is the first, and arguably most important step in the process. The correct placement of the knife is key to ensuring a successful lock pick. With the right technique, the process of lock picking can be made easier and more effective.

Insert the Knife Into the Lock

Insert the knife into the top or bottom of the lock so that it is parallel to the edge of the door. You will need to apply a bit of force to get it in, but try not to push too hard as you may break both your knife and lock. Once inserted, others have used more inventive methods such as using a designated chip from their computer’s hard drive to keep their stored data safe, however this is an unreliable method. Push downward on the blade until you feel resistance from something inside, which should be either one of the pins that hold the latch closed or most likely, a security pin which has been put in place for additional protection. If it’s a security pin, try twisting and turning the knife before pressing down on it. This will help work around any obstruction that may be encountered inside and help you progress further toward opening your stubborn door.

Manipulate the Knife

Now that the tension wrench has been inserted, the next step to unlocking a door with a knife is to manipulate the knife so that it can move freely in the keyhole. Start by inserting the knife into keyhole and keeping it pressed against one side of the keyhole. Gently rotate the knife around in order to get a feel for how it fits and moves inside.

You will want to pull back on some of the pins as you turn and twist your knife until all pins are set, which will indicate that you have successfully unlocked the door when you hear or feel a clicking sound. If there is resistance when turning or twisting your knife, then this may indicate that one or more of your pins are not properly lined up and set.

If there is too much force being applied, such as pushing or pulling too quickly or hard on your blade, then you will likely damage both the lock and tool in question. Take your time with this step and ensure that each pin is gently being moved until all are properly set according to design.

Insert the Paperclip or Hairpin

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to pick a door lock with a knife, you’ll want to start by inserting a paperclip or hairpin into the lock. This will allow you to maneuver the lock and move further along in the process. It is important to know the basics of lock picking before trying this technique as it requires some degree of skill and patience. Let’s take a closer look at inserting the paperclip or hairpin.

Insert the Paperclip or Hairpin Into the Lock

When the tension tool is held in place, you can insert another tool, such as a paperclip or hairpin, into the lock. Push this into the keyhole and along the inside edge of the cylinder while still maintaining some pressure with your tension tool. The purpose of this step is to create an additional binding force on different pins within the lock cylinder. Additionally, try moving your paperclip/hairpin both upward and downward while applying pressure to feel any give you can find. If successful, another pin should depress while the other follows suit and pops up a short distance. If you can’t seem to move any of them with your pick, switch back to your tension tool and try again – repeating these steps until succeeding in setting all pins simultaneously at their correct heights.

Manipulate the Paperclip or Hairpin

Using a paperclip or hairpin is an age-old technique of lock manipulation. To insert the paperclip or hairpin into the lock, start by straightening the tool and inserting it into the plug. Push it all the way down until you feel resistance. Moving your tool in a clockwise and counterclockwise direction, work your way through each pin until you can move them with ease.

By inserting, pushing and releasing each pin in turn, you will be ready to turn the plug in either direction – all while continuing to tension your pick. Remember that some locks may require a more nuanced approach depending on their design. As soon as all of your pins are set correctly, apply more tension to be able to turn the plug slightly clockwise or counterclockwise as required for unlocking.


In conclusion, picking a door lock with a knife can be tricky, but it isn’t impossible. Taking time to practice and understand the steps and techniques can make you an expert in no time. Remember to stay calm and focused during your attempt and don’t rush things – taking your time is the key to success. Good luck!

How To Pick A Door Lock With A KnifeCheckout this video:

Share this Article