How to Pick a Deadbolt Lock Using a Bobby Pin

Alex Ortiz
By Alex Ortiz 18 Min Read
18 Min Read
learn how to pick deadbolt lock with bobby pin featured

You know what’s cool? Being able to unlock things with just a tiny bobby pin. It’s like having a little superpower in your pocket. Imagine being able to say, “No lock can stop me!” every time you face a stubborn door or padlock. It’s a feeling that makes you believe, “Hey, I can tackle any challenge!”

Ever wanted to feel this cool and powerful? Well, if you’ve ever thought about learning how to pick a lock using just a bobby pin, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in and discover this nifty trick together!

1. How a Basic Lock Works

Let’s imagine locks as little puzzles, just waiting to be solved. Now, even though they might seem mysterious or complicated, they’re actually pretty straightforward once you get to know them.

How Locks Keep Things Safe (or not!)

So, before we jump into the superhero world of picking locks, let’s take a quick peek at what’s going on inside. You know, like taking a sneak peek behind the curtain!

Even though there are tons of different locks out there, we’re going to focus on the most common one called the pin tumbler lock. Fun fact: about 9 out of 10 locks you see around are probably these kinds. So, if you can get the hang of this one, you’ll be set for most lock-picking adventures!

#1 The Pin Tumbler

Picture a lock like a little machine with six main parts:

  1. The plug (it’s like the heart of the lock)
  2. Driver pins (these guys are the guards)
  3. Key pins (the ones that match with your key)
  4. Little springs that push everything into place
  5. The shear line, which is like the magic line we’re trying to hit
  6. And a housing, which is like the shell that keeps everything snug and tidy.

Out of all these parts, our main superstar is the shear line. This line is the gap between the plug and the housing. The only reason a lock stays locked is because of the pins stopping the plug from turning. But when you put the right key in, it pushes the pins so they match up perfectly with the shear line. When that happens, voilà! – you can turn the key, and the lock opens.

Now, when we’re picking a lock, our goal is to trick it! We’re trying to push the pins so they line up with the shear line, just like the correct key would. But wait! Once we’ve pushed those pins up, how do we stop them from just dropping back down?

Stick around; this is where the real magic happens!

#2 The Plug: Manufacturing Flaws

Alright, let’s talk about something cool. Even though locks are supposed to be these perfect guardians of our stuff, guess what? They’re not made perfectly! And that’s our secret advantage.

When Locks Aren’t Flawless

Everything that’s made has little flaws. Just like how two cookies from the same batch aren’t exactly the same, locks have small differences too. This is what we call an error tolerance. It’s a fancy way of saying that when things are made, tiny imperfections are expected and okay.

The Flaw that’s Our Friend

Now, when a lock is being made, they have to drill holes in the plug part (remember that’s like the heart of the lock) for the pins. In a dream world, all these holes would be in a straight, perfect line down the center of the plug. But we don’t live in a dream world. So, some holes might be just a teeny tiny bit off, like by the thickness of a strand of hair!

Even though this sounds small, it’s a big deal for us. Because of this little imperfection, when we try to turn the plug (like turning a key), one pin will stick or “bind” before the others. It’s like a race where one runner gets stuck in the mud while the others keep going. This stuck runner, or in our case, the stuck pin, is called the binding pin. It’s the pin that’s furthest from where it’s supposed to be, or the plug’s center-line.

Two Key Takeaways

  1. To open a lock, our mission is to get all the pins lined up with that magical shear line. It’s like getting all the runners to the finish line.
  2. Because locks aren’t made perfectly, pins will stick in a certain order. This starts with our friend, the binding pin.

With these secrets in our pocket, we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and dive into the world of lock picking! Ready to make some tools and tackle those locks? Let’s do it!

2. Making Bobby Pin Lock Picks

Ever seen those cool secret agents in movies who pick a lock in seconds with just a hairpin? While it’s a bit more involved in real life, it’s totally doable! And guess what? You don’t need to be a spy to do it.

#1 A Good Starting Lock Pick Set

In the movies, the hero usually just shoves something into the lock, wiggles it around a bit, and voila! But in real life, you’ll need two buddies: a pick and a tension wrench.

  1. Lock Pick: This guy’s job is to lift the pins in the lock to the shear line, just like a key would. Now, bobby pins can be shaped in many ways to pick a lock. For this guide, though, we’ll be making a hook-style pick. It’s like giving your bobby pin a little bent foot.
  2. Tension Wrench: This tool might look a bit weird, but it’s super useful. It helps turn the lock, similar to what a key does. Don’t worry; I’ll explain how to use this little buddy in a bit when we dive into the actual picking.

Is a Hairpin Enough?

Picking locks with bobby pins can be a fun challenge. But here’s a heads up: sometimes, bobby pins are a bit too big. Some locks are super slim and won’t let our bobby pin in.

If you’re serious about getting into the lock-picking game, maybe think about a proper lock picking set. One of the top starter sets out there is the GSP Ghost Lock Pick Set. It’s like the Swiss Army knife for lock picking beginners. If you’re curious, I’ve done a deep dive review on this set to help you figure out if it’s the right fit for you.

#2 Bobby Pin Lock Pick

Alright, ready to turn that humble bobby pin into a DIY lock picking tool? Let’s get to it!

Turning a Bobby Pin into a Lock Pick

  1. Lose the Rubber Tip: First, take a look at your bobby pin. You’ll notice one end has a little rubbery tip. We gotta get rid of that. You can use your nails, grab some pliers, or if you’re feeling bold, give it a little nibble with your teeth. (But be careful if you’re using the teeth method!)
  2. Straightening Time: Once the tip’s gone, pull the bobby pin apart to straighten it out. You’re aiming to get a straight piece of metal.
  3. Forming the Hook: Now, push the straightened end into a keyhole, about a third of an inch (or around 1 cm) deep. While it’s in there, press down until the end bends into a hook shape. Ta-da! You’ve got your lock pick.

#3 Bobby Pin Tension Wrench

One Simple Bend: This tool is basically an “L” shape. Super simple, right? To make it, you want to push the closed end of another bobby pin about an inch into the keyhole. Then, press down hard to bend it 90 degrees. And just like that, you’ve got your tension wrench.

Now, with your freshly crafted tools in hand, you might be itching to get picking. But before we dive in, it’s super important to get a clear picture of how locks work. Remember, understanding the puzzle makes solving it way easier.

With our DIY tools ready and our knowledge from earlier, it’s game time! Let’s get into the fun stuff and see if we can crack some locks!

3. How to Pick a Lock with a Bobby Pin

Alright, so we’ve crafted our tools and learned a bit about how locks work. Now, it’s time to get hands-on and actually use that bobby pin to open a lock!

Why the Tension Wrench Matters

Before we dive in, let’s recap the role of our tension wrench. Remember, it does two super important jobs:

  1. It helps us turn the lock’s plug (just like a key would).
  2. It helps keep the pins up at the shear line once we’ve picked them.

Imagine it’s like playing a game where you need to press buttons in the right order. As you push one button (or pin) into place, the game (or the lock) moves slightly, letting you know you’re on the right track.

#1 Using the Tension Wrench

  1. Insert and Turn: Grab your tension wrench. Put the shorter, closed end into the bottom part of the keyhole. Now, gently start turning it in the direction you’d turn the key.
  2. Feeling the Tension: The pressure you put on the wrench is super important. Too much, and you might mess up the order of the pins. Too little, and the pins might just fall back down. So, think of Goldilocks: you want the pressure to be just right.
  3. Practice Makes Perfect: Using the tension wrench is a bit like learning to ride a bike. At first, it feels a bit awkward. But with time and practice, you’ll get a feel for it. It’s this skill that separates the lock-picking newbies from the pros.

Using Your Bobby Pin Pick

Now, with a bit of tension on the lock:

  1. Feel for the Binding Pin: With your bobby pin lock pick, start feeling around inside the lock. You’re looking for the first pin that feels a bit stuck. This is our binding pin.
  2. Lift and Set: Once you’ve found it, gently lift the binding pin with your pick until you feel a slight move in the tension wrench. This means you’ve set the pin at the shear line.
  3. Repeat: Move to the next pin and do the same. Remember, the lock will move slightly each time you set a pin. This tells you you’re on the right track.

#2 Picking the Lock

Lock picking, especially when you’re using something as rudimentary as a bobby pin, is more art than science. Let’s break down the process further to give you a clear guide on how to maneuver within the lock.

Step-by-Step Guide to Picking a Lock with a Bobby Pin:

  1. Set Your Tension Wrench: Before anything else, make sure your bobby pin tension wrench is inserted into the lower part of the lock. Remember, the pressure you apply with the tension wrench is pivotal. It needs to be consistent throughout the process.
  2. Insert Your Bobby Pin Lock Pick: Slide in your bobby pin pick with the small hook facing the pins.
  3. Probing and Feeling the Pins: Start from the back and move towards the front. Gently push each pin up slightly. The majority of the pins should lift relatively easily, except for the binding pin, which will be noticeably tougher to move.
  4. Locating the Binding Pin: As you feel each pin, the binding pin will stand out because it’ll be harder to move. This stiffness is your indicator.
  5. Setting the Binding Pin: Once you’ve identified the binding pin, carefully push it upwards until it reaches the shear line. When it does, you’ll feel a tiny rotation in the plug. This is a sign that you’ve set the pin correctly.
  6. Rinse and Repeat: Continue this process of feeling for the binding pin and setting it. As you go, you’ll find that the next binding pin becomes the new stiffest pin to move.
  7. Maintaining Tension is Crucial: As you’re working through the pins, always ensure that you maintain consistent tension with your tension wrench. If pins aren’t setting or are dropping, it’s usually a tension issue. Adjust the force on your tension wrench as necessary.
  8. Unlocking the Lock: After you’ve set all the pins, the plug will turn freely, as if you used a key. When this happens, you’ve successfully picked the lock!

Remember: Lock picking requires patience and finesse. If you don’t succeed the first time, take a deep breath and try again. Each lock is a puzzle waiting to be solved, and with practice, you’ll become more adept at understanding and feeling what’s happening inside.

Final Thoughts on Lock Picking with a Bobby Pin

Lock picking is a fascinating skill that straddles the boundary between science and art. Using a simple bobby pin, we have explored the very basics of this craft. But it’s important to remember that with great skill comes great responsibility.

Safety and Ethics:

  • Ethical Use: Always use your lock-picking skills ethically. This means only working on locks that you own or have explicit permission to pick.
  • Avoid Essential Locks: It’s crucial to avoid practicing on locks that are in everyday use, like your home’s front door or your car. There’s a risk of damaging these locks, leaving you with a potentially expensive repair bill.

Taking it Further:

  • Invest in Proper Tools: If you’ve caught the lock-picking bug, consider investing in a proper set of tools. The precision and efficiency they offer compared to makeshift bobby pins can’t be overstated.
  • Educate Yourself: Beyond tools, knowledge is power. Courses, like the ones offered in our lock picking academy, can provide you with in-depth knowledge, tips, and tricks to elevate your skills.

Thank you for journeying through this guide with us. Remember to always respect privacy, property, and laws. The world of lock picking is vast and intricate, and there’s always something new to learn. Dive deep, practice safely, and most importantly, enjoy the journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

1: Is it legal to pick a deadbolt lock with a bobby pin?

No, picking a deadbolt lock with a bobby pin or any other tool without proper authorization is illegal and considered as a form of trespassing and breaking and entering. It's important to respect the law and the privacy of others.

2: Can I use a bobby pin to pick a deadbolt lock?

While it is technically possible to pick a deadbolt lock with a bobby pin, it requires a good amount of skill, knowledge, and practice. It's important to note that attempting to pick a lock without proper authorization is illegal and could result in criminal charges.

3: How long does it take to learn how to pick a deadbolt lock with a bobby pin?

Learning how to pick a deadbolt lock with a bobby pin or any other lock picking tools can vary greatly depending on an individual's dedication, aptitude, and prior experience. It can take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks or months of consistent practice to become proficient.

4: Can I pick my own deadbolt lock if I'm locked out?

If you are locked out of your own property, it's recommended to contact a professional locksmith to help you regain access. They have the necessary skills and tools to safely and legally open a deadbolt lock without causing any damage. Trying to pick a lock yourself can lead to potential damage and further complications.

5: Are there any risks involved in picking a deadbolt lock with a bobby pin?

Yes, attempting to pick a deadbolt lock with a bobby pin or any other tool without proper knowledge and experience can result in various risks. These include damaging the lock, causing it to jam or malfunction, and potentially injuring yourself. It's always best to leave lock picking to professionals.

6: How can I improve my home's security against lock picking?

To enhance your home's security against lock picking, consider upgrading to high-quality deadbolt locks that are specifically designed to resist picking and bumping techniques. Additionally, installing security measures such as security cameras, alarm systems, and reinforced doors can further deter burglars.

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