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Lock Bumping

One of the easiest lock picking techniques to learn and perform, lock bumping takes about 10 seconds to complete successfully, often without having any specialized skills.

As a non-destructive lockpicking method, it’s often a locksmith’s best friend when it comes to gaining access for customers; with around 90 percent of American households having entry doors equipped with locks that can be bumped, just about every locksmith needs to have the tools for bumping locks in their arsenal.

How Lock Bumping Works

Lock bumping needs the use of something called a bump key, also sometimes called a 999 key. Not quite a skeleton key, these bump keys can be used to align the pins of a common cylinder lock.

The process involves taking a mallet or other object to strike the key while the key is inserted, thus “bumping” it to align the pins in the lock, moving each pin above the shear line to the point for the lock to be disengaged. Then, you simply twist the key and the door opens. To be sure you can’t lock bump with just any key - you need to have a cut key designed specifically for the pin pattern on the style of lock you’re attempting to bump!

A Controversial Process 

If this seems like a security problem, it can be. Traditional locks were designed to be unlocked in this way as a safety mechanism, as originally it was difficult to find the tools needed for lock bumping unless you were a locksmith or a lock picking enthusiast, as was the understanding of how bump keys can help to align a pin in a cylinder lock with just a judicious tap.

Unfortunately, the process to make bump keys is relatively cheap and easy, and you can find the things you need to bump a lock online by anyone and everyone. This has led to both an uptick in lock bumping by bad actors looking to get inside homes without leaving signs of forced entry.

High Security To The Rescue

Thankfully, modern security in cylinder locks has resulted in the development of bump-resistant locks, ones that are much more resistant to being opened by the use of a bump key. Yet despite this, the number of door locks out there that are still susceptible to the technique is quite high. It’s important for locksmiths and lockpicking enthusiasts to understand the technique, especially if you’re looking to demonstrate the security risks of having a traditional lock that is not bump resistant.

This is why we’re proud to offer a number of bump keys and hammer sets designed for a number of different lock sets, guaranteed to showcase just how easy bumping can be!