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How to Pick a Door Lock with a Needle

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

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How to Pick a Door Lock with a Needle- Step by Step Guide
Learn how to pick a door lock with a needle by following this step by step guide.


Picking a door lock with a needle is one of the oldest methods of lockpicking and can be used to open pin tumbler locks like those found on both residential and commercial properties. While not as effective as picking a lock with picks or wrenching, it can still provide “good enough” results in certain emergency cases. Understanding the basics of how locks work and learning the proper technique for picking them will make the process easier. This article will provide an overview of how you can pick a door lock with a needle.

Gather Your Materials

Picking a door lock with a needle can be a tricky process, but with the right materials, it can be done. You will need a few items to get you on your way. Firstly, you’ll need a thin, stiff needle, such as one from a sewing kit. You’ll also need some elastic bands and a flat head screwdriver or some other flat, thin object such as a butter knife. With these materials in hand, you are ready to get started.


Before attempting to pick a lock with a needle, you will need to gather the proper materials and supplies. The most important material you need is a thin, sharp needle. Many people recommend using an actual sewing needle as these tend to be very thin and can fit inside the keyhole easier. Additionally, the tip of the texture of the shaft should be sylvanized so that it does not get stuck in the slit of the tumbler while you are trying to move it out of its place. The needle should also be slim enough to fit through even narrower keyholes without jamming. In terms of size, look for needles measuring 15-30 cm long with a cylinder that has 0.2-0.3 cm in diameter that has been relatively sharpened on one end.

Paper Clip

When trying to pick a door lock with a needle, you’ll need to gather several materials. A paper clip can often be bent into a makeshift tension wrench and placed within the keyway. The tension wrench should fit in the bottom of the keyhole and be used to exert slight pressure while maneuvering the needle inside of the lock. Make sure that you don’t apply too much pressure as it could possibly cause damage or even break the lock completely! It also helps if your paperclip is thin enough to easily move between the internal pins of your lock. If you find that it is too thick for this purpose, try another paperclip or look for a thicker tension wrench tool specifically designed for locksmiths.


One of the most popular methods of lockpicking has been around since the early 1800s. A hairpin, when modified and twisted in just the right way, can be used to effectively pick a door lock. To use this method you will need a standard metal straightened hairpin (or several) and a pair of sturdy needle-nose pliers.

Begin by making sure that your hairpin is free from any kinks or curves. Straighten it completely using your needle-nose pliers or your hands if you don’t have a pair available.
Next, you’ll need to modify the end of your hairpin so that it is easier to manipulate inside of the lock. To do this, grab both ends of your modified pin firmly with your pliers and bend them into an L shape at about a 30 degree angle. This will create two pointed ends that can be manipulated easily inside of the lock assembly.
Finally, grasp both ends firmly with two fingers and insert them into the keyhole on the door knob or handle mechanism being sure to align them as close to center as possible. Be sure to go slow and work carefully – too much force may cause permanent damage! When you feel resistance inside of the assembly gently try manipulating one pointed end in one direction while manipulating the other in another direction all while holding light pressure on both directions at once until you hear an audible “click” indicating successful lockpicking!

Position the Needle

Picking a lock with a needle is not as difficult as it seems. With the right tools and a little bit of practice, you can learn the essentials to picking a lock with a needle. To start with, the first step is to position the needle correctly. Let’s go through the steps of positioning the needle correctly.

Insert the needle into the keyhole

When picking a door lock with a needle or paperclip, the first step is to insert the needle or paperclip into the top of the keyhole. The position of your needle may vary based on the type of lock you are dealing with. To make sure you are in the right position, rotate the paper clip while it is inside of the lock to feel where two or three pins are located-these are referred to as wards or drivers.

Then angle your paper clip upwards and press against them. You will feel tension as you press against them. This means that they have properly engaged and that they are being moved up into place. Now slowly rotate and release pressure from the tool until all wards have been moved up and felt by your tool’s tip. Once all pins have been set correctly, your tool should be in what is known as “full lift” position-your tool should be inside of all five recesses at once with no pressure being applied from either end.

Apply pressure

Once you have selected the needle and applied some lubricant, it comes time to insert it. Start by inserting the needle into the plug of the lock at a slight angle, positioning it so that you will be able to turn in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction once electricity has been applied. Once you have placed your needle in the right spot, use your other hand to apply pressure in a GENTLE yet FIRM manner to ensure it is seated firmly in place. If done correctly, you should feel resistance as you push down onto this area with your finger. If it slides through too easily, then adjust the orientation of your needle until you feel more resistance. Finally, slide a tension wrench into the side of the keyway and apply light pressure as needed to complete your lock picking technique.

Move the needle around

Once the tip of the needle is inserted into the keyhole, you will need to start moving it around in order to identify the layout of pins and springs. Move it around carefully so that you don’t snap or bend it. Be sure to be gentle and smooth with your movements. It may take a few tries to get the right angle and pressure. Keep in mind that there are some locks that have up to six pins, while other may have as many as 10 or more.

When you feel something begin to give, use your other hand to gently try turning the lock using light pressure. You may hear a clicking sound if you start making contact with a pin, letting you know that you are on track. Pay close attention and change angles if needed until all pins have been cleared and the lock is open completely. If a pin sticks or refuses to move, try adding slight pressure after each attempted pass of a pin and then lightly turn the lock before trying again with another pin further down in order from top-level pin sections outward towards lower ones rather than just trying each section individually sequentially from highest level outwards in order.

Try the Paper Clip

Picking a door lock with a needle is one of the easiest methods to gain access to a locked door. All you need is a needle and a paper clip. With these two items and a bit of practice, anyone can pick a door lock. This article will provide you with easy and step-by-step instructions on how to pick a door lock with a needle.

Insert the paper clip into the keyhole

Once the paper clip has been straightened, take one end of it and insert it into the keyhole. Usually, you can get a good feel for how far down it needs to go by manually moving all of the pins up and down so you can feel where each pin is located. In some cases, you may need to insert a longer paper clip in order to reach all of the pins. If this is necessary, be sure to pay close attention to your work so that you don’t accidentally damage anything inside the lock.

Once your paper clip has been inserted and pressed against all of the pins inside the lock, begin gently twisting back and forth with even pressure. As you do this, you should feel each pin click into place as it reaches its designated height. The trick here is to find just enough pressure so that none of them stick too high or too low. With some practice, this technique can be perfected over time and should allow you to unlock most standard door locks with ease.

Move the paper clip around

Once you have inserted the paper clip into the lock, you will need to move it around in order to trip the internal pins that make up the locking mechanism. Move the paper clip around in a gentle but firm twisting motion. You may need to pause and re-position it at different angles, depending on how far into the lock it goes. Don’t forget to keep pressure on it, as that will help move things along more quickly. Once you feel all of the pins line up, then you should be able to turn and unlock your door.

Remember, practice makes perfect-the more times you try this technique, the better you’ll become at opening locked doors without a key!

Apply pressure

Before you begin to pick the lock, start by inserting the paperclip into the keyhole and pushing it in with gentle yet firm pressure until it is in all the way. This applies tension to the pins which helps to reduce the amount of force necessary when operating the lock pick. Once you have applied some pressure, use your pick to engage the top pin. Insert it into the bottom of the keyway at an angle that positions it so that you can feel when it connects with one of the pins.

Try the Hairpin

Picking a door lock with a needle is a form of lockpicking. Lockpicking is the art of opening a locked door without a key. To open a door lock with a needle, you can use a tool called a hairpin. A hairpin is a small piece of metal shaped like a capital letter U. It is thin and can fit into a needle-sized lock opening. This makes it an ideal tool for opening door locks with a needle.

Insert the hairpin into the keyhole

Once you have your hairpin, insert the end without the loop into the lock. Depending on how thick your hairpin is and how deep your lock is, you may need to press down harder in order to get it in. When it’s in, position it so that the bent end is closer to the skinnier part of the lock (that looks like a cylinder). You’ll then be able to use this as leverage on the pins inside. Apply a bit of pressure so that it pushes on all of them at once and gently rotate the lock left and right.

As you do this, gently let up on pressure when needed so that you are maintaining consistent movements within the keyhole. The pins should move around more freely as you keep going and eventually, you’ll get a gentle click sound when all of them are aligned with their respective chambers. This means that all locks have been aligned and now it’s time for other steps for unlocking door locks with a hairpin!

Apply pressure

Applying pressure to the lock is the first step to picking it with a needle. It’s important to push firmly but gently so as not to damage the pins or cylinder too much. Start by inserting the needle into the keyway of the lock and work it until you feel resistance. Turn the needle clockwise to apply downward pressure onto each of the pins. Your goal here is to locate where in each pin is stuck, as this indicates that your tension tool is preventing that pin from slipping down. When you find one, apply more pressure until you hear a click, which should signify that that pin has been set. Repeat this process until all of your pins are set and then turn your tension tool counterclockwise in order to release any remaining pressure from each pin. Once all of them have been released, you should be able to turn your lock and open it!

Move the hairpin around

Once you have inserted the hairpin into the lock and are attempting to pick it, use a pulling and turning motion on the hairpin by moving it around. This is one of the most important steps in how to pick a door lock with a needle as you need to gently rotate the hairpin opposite of how you would normally turn a key in order to unlock your door. Try starting with slow and gentle pulls and turns, as too much pressure could cause your hairpin to break in the lock. As you apply more pressure or jerking motions, you will shift past all of the lock pins that would normally be opened by a traditional key turning motion. As this happens, use some controlled jiggling motions until the pins are adequately engaged. At this point, if done correctly, your door should unlock.


In conclusion, learning how to pick a door lock with a needle can be a great way to open up residential or commercial locks without the key. This process will require significant practice and precision, but with determination, should become second nature over time. When undergoing this process, make sure to protect yourself by not inserting the needle too far. Finally, be sure that you are legally entitled to pick a door lock before attempting this method.

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