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The Top 5 Lock Picking ideas for Beginners.

Posted by Chris Dangerfield on


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Lock Picking is an incredibly exciting and powerful skill, but it can be fairly daunting for a beginner when faced with such a huge range of tools and techniques.

In this article I have put my decades of experience using and supplying lock picks to help you know where to start, and what tools and techniques the beginner can learn quickly, and start opening locks like a pro. Let's go!



In this list I have not included guides, books etc. We have a variety of guides for various lock picking techniques, including our exceptionally good and well respected eBook about Single Pin Picking. Using a combination of such a book, and information that can be found on YouTube etc, there's enough information out there for you to know the theory or lock picking, so here I am focusing on the practice, the tools a beginner should consider when venturing into this incredible skill. 

Also, we have some great Lock Picking Sets which include a guide, practice locks and lock picks, all packaged nicely in a box, which is ideal for people right at the start of this fantastic journey.

 So let's dive right in and look at the top five lock picking tools for the beginner:

1 - Lock Picks

Lock Picking proper, the idea most people have and what we see in the movies, is known as Single Pin Picking (SPP) and does exactly what it says on the tin, you pick the pins individually until the lock opens. It takes practice and knowledge, but if you're prepared to put the time in and get quality tools, there's no reason why you shouldn't be picking locks SPP within days, if not hours. And this technique will open the most locks.

So you need a set of picks and there are many available. As a beginner I would suggest you look for the following: A good range of picks and tension tools. Many beginners also have trouble holding picks so perhaps look at a set with handles, or consider getting a set of handles which you can slip onto your picks. Read the reviews and see what other customers have said. We are blessed with very honest customers who leave helpful feedback, so equip yourself with a good set of picks and you're ready to go. I will add that cheap is not always cheerful, and you'll get a better quality small set than a larger set for a cheaper price.


Our Dangerfield "PRAXIS" Lock Pick Set contains a good range of picks, rakes and tension tools. With each appearing in two gauges for even the thinnest of keyways. A set that will see you from beginner to professional.


Our Dangerfield "Serenity" set is ideal for beginners. No nonsense, just the picks, the rakes, the wrenches.


 Some beginners find holding Lock Picks can be painful or even fiddly. A set of our Red Devil slip-on pick grips work a treat for most pick sets.


Multipick make some of the most comprehensive and high quality picks you can get. If you're sure Lock Picking is for you and you want the best money can buy, look no further than one of the many Multipick pick sets.



2 - Practice Locks

Having taught literally 100s of people to pick locks I am still yet to find a better method than practice locks. Coming as both clear and cut-away, these are locks that allow you to see and understand the way a lock works, how the mechanism moves and how it responds to both the correct key and your lock picks. Practice locks can be studied as you pick and you can later choose to cover them with a piece of tape, hiding the springs and pins and putting your newfound knowledge to the test.



This high quality and crystal clear 5 pin practice lock will teach you all you need to know about how the pins respond to the key and your picks. A perfect training aid.


The Multipick Adlatus is a vice and cut-away practice lock, providing you with everything you need alongside your picks to get going. This time a real and high quality German lock was used to make the cut-away so you're learning with a real lock, but can see what's happening.



3 - Lock Rakes

Raking is a technique everyone should learn. It's quick, relatively simple, and will have you opening locks in hours, if not minutes. Most people will learn to rake before they learn to SPP as it's good for morale to see some locks opening quickly. There are a variety of raking techniques, and there are a selection of different raking tools. While most raking techniques can be tackled with some standard picks, there are some amazing sets of just rakes which I would definitely recommend to a beginner. If an entire set is beyond your budget there are many individual rakes that are superb and definitely worth a look. If you're on a tight budget, when you're selecting your lock pick set and want to get involved with raking too - look for a set with a decent selection of rakes.


Our Dangerfield "Polaris" set of rakes is second to none. Every rake you'll ever need and made to the highest specifications. The reviews alone will sell you this set.


The classic "High Tech Rake Set" with double-ended and double-sided rakes gives you 32 patterns to attack your lock. One of my all time favorite sets of rakes that give a very different approach.


Our Dangerfield "Soho Rakes are just one of many single or double sets of rakes if you're on a budget. Deceptively simple, such rakes will open a huge range of locks with very little practice.



4 - Pick Guns

A pick gun is an early essential as it gives you a very different approach to opening locks than SPP and raking. Pick Guns work by flicking a thin needle at the pins while you apply tension. after several flicks of the needle you very frequently have 'set' all the pins and the lock opens. Because Pick Guns rely on the flicks of the needle, Electronic Pick Guns (EPGs) work better and faster than manual pick guns, although a decent manual pick gun is worth having in your collection. Being a successful lock picker is all about having a variety of tools and techniques you can approach a lock with. Since no picking tool or technique is 100% and since some locks won't respond to one technique but will to another, its worth having a variety of approaches, and a pick gun is a must.


The Multipick "KRONOS" is simply the best EPG that ever existed. Fast, smooth, quiet and devastatingly effective. In his review on YouTube Lock Picking expert extraordinaire described the Kronos as simply a "Master Key".


The KLOM EPG blew the lock picking world's communal mind when it was release a few years back. Never before had an EPG in this price range been so damn good. Lightweight, amazing value, and a great lock opening machine.


The Brockhage Manual Pick Gin based on the classic design that was originally invented for USA police needing a quick and effective way of gaining entry without damaging the lock. Simple to use and durable as they come.


5 - Bypass Tools

A bypass tool is opens locks in another way that doesn't tend to include manipulating the pins such as a pick gun, raking, or SPP does. For instance, rather than picking a car door lock there's the Goldfinger and Air Wedges kit, which allows you to create a gap between the door and roof of the car to insert a rod, and then pull, push, or grab a handle. There's bypass tools that you slip right past the pins to engage the cam of the lock directly and others that work with the wheels of combination padlocks. I would suggest a beginner start with a bypass tool like MICA. This is the real version of the old 'credit card trick' from movies. MICA is a material that is very flexible and very strong, meaning it can slip round the right angles of a door frame and be brought down on the curved latch of a front door lock. This simple trick is so effective I have opened literally 100s of locked doors using this technique.


Sheets of MICA - available in different size sets and can be used again and again. Has the strength to go round the door-frame and push the curved latch into the lock. Quick and simple to use.


Come Picks exploit the fact some padlocks allow you to push BOTH sets of pins out of the plug, allowing it to turn and the lock to open. If you can match the pattern up with the pins, you're in!


The Gold Finger is 5ft of flexible metal rod that has specially designed ends which allow you to manipulate the car door handles/buttons etc from inside the car through a gap made with an inflatable air-wedge. Picking car locks is a very tricky and advanced skill, yet the Gold Finger is so simple you can be using it within minutes.


So there you go - a few thoughts for someone new to lock picking. Remember, if you're totally new to this amazing skill that just keeps giving, if you like the challenge, maybe you enjoy puzzles (each lock is a new puzzle!) you can even get our amazing sets with lock picks, some rakes, a guide and some practice locks. 

So it doesn't have to be daunting, and you're no longer in the dark. It's time to take the leap and make your future even brighter. if you want any further advice, please write to us at and we'll be happy to help you work out the best kit for your requirements.

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