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How to Pick a Door Lock Without a Lock Pick

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

It happens to everyone at some point. You’re locked out of your house and you don’t have a lock pick. Don’t worry, there are still ways to get in. With a little ingenuity and a few common household items, you can pick a door lock without a lock pick.


Modern locks-like the deadbolt and doorknob locks commonly found on residential doors-are all based on the same basic principles and, therefore, share many common features. Knowing how to pick a door lock properly takes skill, practice, and a little bit of luck. However, all hope is not lost if you don’t possess these qualities. There are ways to unlock modern door locks without using a lock pick or destructive force. In this guide we will explore various methods of unlocking a door lock without using lock picking tools or violence. We will also discuss certain precautions you should take when attempting to unlock a door with any method other than the one which it was designed for. Taking time to understand the different solutions available can help ensure that you protect yourself while taking care of your security needs in an efficient and responsible fashion.

Types of Locks

No lock is unbreakable and you might need to pick a locked door without a lock pick in certain circumstances. Depending on the type of lock you’re trying to pick, there are different methods and tools that you can use to get it open. Let’s look at the different types of locks and what tools are needed to pick them.

Pin Tumbler Locks

Pin tumbler locks are the most commonly used lock in the world. These locks are found on everything from doors to drawers and can be encountered in residential, commercial and automotive applications. Pin tumbler locks use spring-loaded pins as their locking mechanisms, making them relatively easy to pick with a few simple tools.

The inner workings of a pin tumbler lock consist of five parts: the plug, which is the part you turn with your key; the pins, which come in two different sizes – driver pins and key pins; the springs; and a retaining clip that holds everything in place. When the correct key is inserted into a pin tumbler lock, it causes all of the pins to align and press down onto their springs so that when you turn your key, it will turn the plug. However, some locks may require more than one rotation in order for them to open. If you don’t have a key but have access to basic tools like an electric drill or needle-nose pliers you might be able to unlock it without using a traditional lock pick tool set

To open a pin tumbler lock without using a traditional lock picking set requires creating enough tension between all of its internal components by manipulating picking tools such as an electric drill or needle-nose pliers. This increases pressure on the driver pins until they indicate inside of each chamber where they contact each separate pin. Once enough tension has been achieved throughout all components, then this will cause alignment between both and allows for unlocking by turning with pressure on either side of its plug at once counterclockwise or holding steady upward pressure as applying torque slowly clockwise both simultaneously depending on its design structure so that every driver pin eventually lines up accordingly for successful unlocking with ease in minimal time frame.

Wafer Tumbler Locks

Wafer tumbler locks are characterized by a series of one or two small grooved wafers that operate between two springs. They are typically found on lever and knob operated doors. These locks can be very reliable, but the ease with which they can be manipulated makes them susceptible to picking. Wafer tumbler locks range in complexity and price and often include additional features such as security pins or standard pins to increase their resistance to picking. Many manufacturers have their own distinct variations of this type of lock featuring different key shapes, sizes, and security features. Examples of common types of wafer locks include:

-Standard Pin Wafers: These locks feature either one or two cylindrical wafers with tension springs. They typically use a unique keyway with a flat edge that is used to slide the wafers into place.
-Security Pin Wafers: These versions of wafer tumbler locks are highly resistant to bumping and picking techniques because they employ advanced locking components, such as security pins or extra precision-angled cuts in order to complicate entry even further.
-Mortise Wafers: These types of locks are often used for mortise doors that require a rectangular hole cut into the door for installation purposes. They offer greater protection by blocking access from the outside due to their design which is designed a special flanged edge on the keyhole side which prevents entry from foreign objects being inserted in them .

Lever Tumbler Locks

Lever tumbler locks are among the most common type of locks used on residential and commercial doors. They usually consist of a metal frame with pins inserted into it and a lever mechanism that is activated when the correct key is inserted. In order for the lock to open, the correct pin combination needs to be lined up exactly with the correct key profile so that when it is turned, it will open the cylinder. Lever tumbler locks usually have multiple levers which make them difficult to pick without a pair of dedicated lock picks.

Lever tumbler locks come in several different varieties such as rim latch, surface mounted, mortise, swing bolt, double cylinder and deadbolt locks. Each type of lock is designed to provide different levels of security depending on your individual needs. The most common type is an easy-to-pick surface mounted lever lock but these are not recommended for high security areas such as doors leading into homes or businesses. On the other hand, deadbolts provide an extra layer of security and can be used both for residential doors as well as commercial ones. Double cylinder locks offer even greater security since they require two separate keys – one for locking and one for unlocking – making them virtually impossible to pick without special tools or knowledge.

Tools Needed

Lock picking is an art form, but it doesn’t always require a specialized set of tools. With the right techniques and a few household items, it is possible to pick a door lock without a lock pick. In this section, we will look at the tools you will need to get the job done. From paper clips to bobby pins, you can find a variety of tools to help you pick a door lock without a lock pick.

Paper Clip

Using a paper clip to pick a lock could be an effective way to enter a lock without a lock pick set. This method is commonly referred to as raking, and involves inserting the paper clip and manipulating it until the pins are aligned with the shear line.

Begin by straightening out your paper clip as much as possible, so that you have something very similar in shape to a regular lock pick. Then, insert it into the keyway, with the bend of the paperclip facing toward the back of the plug. Push the paper clip all of the way into the plug so that it rests on top of all of the pins.

The next step is to pull out on your paper clip and move it back and forth gently in an attempt to line all of the pins up so that they are sitting on top of each other at 0 degrees; this point is known as ‘the shearline’. As you pull out on your pick while widening its angle slightly every time, you will notice some clicking noises from inside your lock-this indicates that one or more pin has reached 0 degrees and aligned itself with ‘the shearline’. Continue raking until you can turn your plug; this indicates that all pins have reached their corresponding 0-degree angles and have aligned themselves at ‘the shearline.’

Bobby Pin

Bobby pins are one of the most popular tools used in lock picking because of their versatility. Most any bobby pin can be used to handle a variety of locks, from standard door locks to pin tumbler and tubular locks. When picking a lock with a bobby pin, it helps to have one with thick wire, as these are generally easier to manipulate. To use the bobby pin for lock picking:

1. Begin by creating the pick by manipuating the end of the bobby pin into an angle and pushing it into the opening in the keyhole. Make sure that it is at an angle that will help you access all of the pins in the lock.

2. Work your way around all of the pins inside until you feel them click into place each time as you start pushing upward with your picks. Once they’re all unlocked, turn your pick gently and open up your desired door or safe!

3. To create more stability while locking picking, you can use two bobby pins-one as a regular pick, and another as a tension wrench that holds tension on top while slowly turning to release it inside. Bobby pins are also great for manipulating levers or tiny wheels within certain tubular locksets which require separate tools outside of standard door locks. With care and patience, you’ll be able to master even trickier jobs like this one!


Hairpin lock picking is an easy, affordable, and efficient method of picking a door lock without using a lock pick. It can be used to unlock almost all pin tumbler locks using two hairpins, one with a small hook at the end and another straightened. To begin, lightly insert the hooked hairpin into the keyhole and apply slight pressure to move the pins up. While exerting this pressure, insert the other straightened hairpin with light downward pressure and turn it slightly in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction until you hear a click indicating that the lock is open. Repeat this action as necessary until you can open the door. Depending on your skillset, this process may take several tries before successfully unlocking a door but is relatively simple once you get used to it.


Picking a door lock without a lock pick is possible, but requires a certain level of skill. There are a few methods you can use to unlock a door lock without a lock pick, such as using a credit card, a paperclip, or a bump key. In this article, we’ll take a look at each of these methods, discussing the steps needed for each one.


Raking is a technique where you rapidly insert and retract the tension wrench and hook pick at high speed. Start by inserting the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyway, as you would for single pin picking. Then, with your hook pick parallel to the pins, repeatedly insert it into the lock with a light pressure to engage all of them at once. While still pressing on the hook pick, quickly retract and repeat this motion in rapid succession. This will jostle or ‘rake’ most of them into their respective chambers quickly. Raking is an effective technique used in one form or another by many locksmiths when tackling more difficult locks that won’t easily give up their secrets via single pin picking.


Bumping is a basic lock picking method that involves inserting a specially-made key-commonly called a ‘bump key’-into the lock and gently tapping on it. When done properly, this causes the pin tumblers in the lock to be pushed out of alignment and then back into alignment as they are bumped by the key, which gives you access to the door.

To execute this technique successfully, you will need to have a highly specialized bump key that is made specifically for your particular door type. This type of key will look like any other regular household key, but yours may need to be custom-made so that it fits exactly with your particular lock’s dimensions and tumbler length. Once you have your bump-key in hand, you can insert it into the key hole and then use an appropriate tapping tool or hammer handle to gently tap on it until the pins are forced back into alignment again.

Although this technique can sometimes be successful in opening simple locks without damage, even slight misalignment can cause problems for some locks, so use caution when trying to open them with found or homemade bumper keys.

Pick Gun

Pick guns are special lock picks that make use of a rapid up and down motion to open pin tumbler locks. The pick gun is composed of an automatic mechanism that uses air or springs as the driving force to operate it. It has two needles, which point at the shear line of the lock from both sides simultaneously. On pressing the trigger, the needles provide a rapid up-and-down motion to displace the pins inside of the lock, allowing for it to be opened. Generally, opening a medium security door with this type of pick gun can take anywhere from ten seconds up to a minute or two depending on how easy it is to pick, and how much skill you have with using one.


Impressioning is an effective way to restore access to a door lock without needing a lock pick. Though it requires more skill and patience than other picks and techniques, it can be extremely useful when the right tools aren’t available. With impressioning, it’s possible to craft a key that perfectly replicates the one used in the original door lock.

Impressioning uses the cuts of a key’s serrations to create an impression of each cut on clay or plasticine. With proper precision, there is no need for specialized tools beyond those typically found in most craft stores – clay, dental picks or sculpting tools, sandpaper, and a powerful magnifying glass are all that are needed. Using techniques such as rocking back and forth with the pick until an impression of a cut is evident in the clay while tracing along it with a pointed tool should create visible outlines over each serration on the key blank being used. Once all cuts are perfectly formed by repeating this process multiple times, filing them down and checking for accuracy can determine if it’s ready for use in fitting into the door lock cylinder or not.


In conclusion, picking a door lock without a lock pick can be done with readily available tools such as bobby pins, paper clips, and even shoestrings. It requires minimal skill and is less expensive than purchasing a lockpick set. Properly executed, using one of these methods will open the majority of locks that are commonly encountered. Remember to use caution whenever attempting to enter any locked door, as this may be considered an illegal act depending on local laws and regulations. It is always best to check with the authorities before attempting to bypass any type of security system or lock mechanism.

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