Hello Lock Pickers.
Locks are our game, they're our bread and butter, they are to put it simply, the object of our passion. And yet, of all the items in a lock pickers repertoire, locks seem to be well down the list.
What I mean is, it's not unusual for a lock picker to have two or three pick sets, a set or two of rakes, a selection of wrenches in double figures, a pick gun, some bump keys and....5 or 6 locks.
And while this amazes me, I also understand it because locks don't tend to bring the 'wow-factor' of say a brand new set of picks, or a shiny new electric pick gun. So while they are the meat of our dinner, the sails of our ship, they are still well down the wish-list of many pickers.
I have stood by clear and cut-away locks once I became proficient enough as a picker to teach others this incredible art. There's nothing quite like a clear or cut-away lock to teach lock picking. These wonderful things show not only how the pins respond to your picks and the key, but they imprint these images on your memory, allowing you the ability to visualize what's happening in any lock, when you are picking it.
Experience has shown me time and time again that the more familiar people are with the internal workings of a lock, the better they become able to pick, bump, bypass, impression - basically open without a key - locks. Clear and cut-aways are an essential part of any lock pickers kit and I can't recommend them enough.
Here's a set of three clear locks of varying difficulty, each one helping you be able to better understand feedback when picking real locks as you'll know what's happening inside the lock as you pick it.
There's another reason why having a large selection of practice locks is important, and that's basic numbers. With all the available locks out there, you could have 8 locks and be able to rake NONE of them. Let's assume even the most proficient Raker can successfully open about 75% of all pin-cylinders, it's not too much of a leap to understand why your selection of 8 locks can't be raked.
What I am saying is - a small collection of locks might cause you problems that are not really representative of the lock picking game in general. The same goes for Bumping, impressioning, and everything. Even Single Pin Picking can be a victim of this game.
I had a friend learning to bump locks. He had 6 locks. Now I am a pretty good lock bumper, I pretty much invented the modern bump key and the dampener technique, and with his 6 locks I could only bump ONE - and then very infrequently. He small collection of locks made him think bumping didn't work. Another 6 locks might have ll opened.
Imagine you're relatively new to lock picking, and are trying your best to learn how to SPP. You're trying to identify the binding pin, and how to feel when a pin is correctly set. Now let's assume you have 5 locks. You're not to know - they might all have security pins. Three of them might have security pins, one might have a damaged spring, and the other have such a gnarly biting that even the most proficient SPPer would struggle. Again it's a numbers thing. With all the millions of locks in use it's not too far-out to suggest your collection of five locks are going to hinder your progress, frustrate you, cause you to lose morale, and occasionally I am sure, cause you to give up altogether.
Clear and cut-away locks remedy this problem in that you can see or are told in advance about security pins, and you have visual access to what's going on.
But don't limit yourself to clear and cut-away locks. We sell other 'real' locks too - and there's many ways of accumulating a decent selection. I once got a bulk of 50 locks from an online auction site. Ask any locksmiths, estate agents or handymen you might know if they have any locks. Always be prepared to ask. It was only once I started telling people in my close social group and family that I was into lock picking that they started digging out locks they had laying around. Bike locks, old door locks, padlocks, you name it. Don't be afraid to ask.
This premium grade clear practice lock contains spool pins, a type of security pin commonly found in cylinder locks which make you feel like you've set the pin when you haven't. By seeing what's happening, you will learn how to identify such pins and not get caught out!
So there you go. Don't be afraid to ask any and everyone if they have any old locks you might be able to have. Look around online, many lock picking groups offer deals and swaps on locks they've picked a thousand times and can often give you information about each lock, which will certainly help.
Frustration is the enemy of lock picking and the more frustrated you get the worse your skills will be. So to avoid the number one cause of frustration, using a technique on a lock that doesn't lend itself to that technique, work the numbers in your favor - GET LOADS OF LOCKS!
Above is a section of our practice locks, but we have many, many more in our shop if you're looking to improve your skills!