Of course, you, the wise reader who has come to TEOTWAWKI Blog in search of survival wisdom, probably do not have such a closed off mind. You realize that lockpicking--like very many skills--has its place in the repertoire of any capable survivor, especially those who operate in an urban environment. There are many scenarios that this skills could save your bacon, but here's a few:
- You're traveling to safety when you come to a barb wire-topped gate, secured by a length of sturdy chain and a master lock. You can't climb over it and forgot your massive wire cutters at home.
- You need to take temporary shelter inside a locked building and don't want to draw any attention with your entrance.
- You've lost your keys to your house, a security box, gun cabinet, etc. and need to get into it (this happens surprisingly often!)
Is Lock Picking hard?
Most people perceive lock picking as some deep, dark science known only by lock smiths, D&D rogues and Batman. While locks vary greatly in difficulty and complexity, picking simple locks is fairly easy.
The principle is fairly simple. In basic terms, you use a torsion wrench to apply pressure to the lock and then use a pick or rake to clear the lock's pins out of the way, allowing the lock to rotate freely, as if the key had been inserted. There is a huge amount of technique and "touch" involved though, as well as an understanding about what is happening inside the locking mechanism--which pins you've cleared, which you're still working on, etc.
I'm a novice lock pick at best and can open up most of the Masterlock padlocks that I've tried in a minute or two; much less if I "get lucky" with the picking or am familiar with the particular lock. Cheaper padlocks are even easier. For example, I can pick the cheap-o packlocks that come with most rifles in a few seconds.
As I said, I consider myself a novice--maybe a "yellow belt"--so that gives you an idea about difficulty involved with most common locks--not a whole lot. There are certainly many locks that are beyond my current abilities, but it's pretty cool to know that I can pop open most padlocks and similar without too much trouble.
There's quite a bit of information out there on lock picking; free books, YouTube channels, Lockpicking101.com and other message boards, and so on. This free guide looks to be a fairly good place to start.
Tools of the Trade
|Stainless Bogota picks from SerePick.com|
The Bogota Entry Toolset, offered by SerePick, are what I decided on, based on reviews and word of mouth. I've had them for about a week now and can say that I'm very please with the purchase.
The Bogotas are a pretty interesting design, with a pick on one end and a torsion wrench on the other. The designs of the picks--one hooked shaped, the other a rake--gives you options for picking as well. I've had success using either side of each pick (the rounded "top" or the pointier "bottom"), depending on the lock. Essentially, because the Bogotas are well designed, these two tools do the work of three to five separate tools--a very good thing.
The picks are also exceptionally crafted, allowing them to move easily inside the lock and giving you good angles to manipulate the lock's pins. I purchased the stainless steel set, and the picks feel quite strong and sturdy, especially considering the cheap-o picks I am used to. No concerns about them snapping under a typical amount of pressure. Overall, the Bogotas exude quality and craftsmanship.
|Size comparison with a two dollar bill.|
Will the Bogotas turn you into a Batman-esque lock picker instantly? Nope. Picking still requires skill, technique, finesse and a little luck. But the quality materials, craftsmanship and excellent design of the Bogotas make them, in my opinion, much easier to work with than the typical cheap-o picks. I know that I'm picking locks faster with the Bogotas than I was with my old set. Then when you consider the compact size and multi-functionality, it's basically a no contest.
If you're already a lock picker, you'll definitely appreciate the SerePick Bogota picks. If you're looking to get into picking, don't be afraid to dive right in--the only way to learn is by doing it! The Bogota Picks will give you a simple and effective set of tools to work with; start off with something simple and you should be able to pop it open in no time. Then work your way up from there.
Be aware of your local laws before you start toting lock picks around, of course.
The Bogota Entry Toolset is available from SerePick.com. SerePick sells the Bogotas in stainless, titanium and a "custom" finished versions. They also sell custom handmade picks by Raimundo, the designer of the Bogotas. Cool stuff.
Also available from T-Blog sponsor, Vigilant Gear >