Beginner Lockpicking: How-to, what tools to use, legality and more

Q: Is it legal to pick a lock? 

If you own your lock and you're not committing a crime, it's legal to pick a lock in most states. 

Q: Is it illegal to own lock picking tools?

Owning lock picking tools is legal in most states. The exceptions are Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia, and Mississippi (if the set is concealed). 

Q: Can all locks be picked?

Every single lock has a weakness that can be exploited. But some are more difficult to exploit than others and continue to challenge even the most killed lock pickers. 

Q: How much does a lock pick set cost?

Lock pick tools range from very cheap sets for a few dollars a pick, to high-end sets that cost hundreds of dollars. For beginners, we recommend a mid-range beginner lock pick set that comes with high quality tools so you can get plenty of practice in without worrying about damaging the picks. 

When you're ready to continue building your skills, consider investing in a higher-end set, like our spring steel lock pick wallet set

Q: Does picking a lock damage it?

Picking a lock can definitely damage it, which is why we recommend practicing on locks that you're not using for security. Buy a variety of locks from Home Depot or Lowe's, and use them exclusively for lock pick practice. 

Q: Do lock pick sets work?

Lock pick sets really do work! Check out Chad Christopher (formerly Greenlight Shooting) as he uses our beginner lock pick set to open real locks. 

And here is a video of us opening a Master Lock in less than 10 seconds using our travel lock pick set. 

Q: What are the best lock picking tools?

The "best" lock picking tools are those that allow you to get the job done. You might have heard that you only really use a few picks in a full lock pick set. We still recommend a full set. Your lockpicking style might lend itself to one pick more than another, and so it's helpful to test your skills using each pick. Using a variety of picks at first can help you get a feel for what's inside a lock and how the mechanisms work. 

Q: Do you have a free guide to lock picking?

We do have a free instructional guide to picking locks. You can read it here: 

https://subtledigs.com/blogs/news/lockpicking-101-how-to-pick-locks 

The guide covers a lot of basics, including: 

Q: What are the best locks for beginner lock picking? 

Start with a clear lock so that you can see what you're doing and gain an understanding of how lock picking works. We include a few in our beginner set. 

Once you've mastered opening the clear locks, buy some various locks from home improvement stores. Or, look around your home for some rusty padlocks that you think might pose a challenge.

We started with Master Lock 3. If you read the Amazon reviews for the product, you'll see plenty of people pointing out that this lock is good for picking practice but not much else. 

 

SubtleDigs crew opening the worst lock ever. via GIPHY

 

We also consider it to be the worst lock to practice picking on: We were able to open it just by sticking a pick inside and turning. While it was enlightening in terms of our sense of security, it didn't provide the same feeling of accomplishment that the other locks did. 

 

Q: Where are all the Amazon lock pick sets? 

While lock picking tools aren't illegal in most states, Amazon continually removes lock pick sets, including practice padlocks, from its website. Unfortunately, this means if you find a set on Amazon, you can't be sure whether the set is any good. The listings tend to disappear overnight, before they can accumulate significant reviews.  

Q: Where can I buy a beginner lock pick set online?

We sell beginner lock pick sets, which come with clear locks, lock picks, and instructions. 

We also sell a wallet lock pick set, perfect for leveling your skills on the go. 

Both ship within the U.S. 

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