Locksport, the skillful art of lock picking, is not just a pastime for the curious and the adventurous, but also a serious sport with competitions and rankings worldwide. As with any technical skill, the tools of the trade play a role in determining your proficiency. When it comes to locksport, your choice of lockpicks is not crucial but it can make things easier to progress faster.
However, the choices in lockpick shapes, sizes, and thicknesses can be overwhelming for those new to the sport, or even for seasoned pickers looking to advance their skills. The key to choosing the right lockpick lies in understanding the function of each type and how it interacts with the lock you're attempting to pick. In this article, we're going to focus on hooks for Single Pin Picking (SPP) the common Pin and Tumbler lock . While other types of lockpicks are also efficient and effective, I believe that starting with Single Pin Picking can make the learning process easier.
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Flat vs Round Lockpicks
Flat and round lockpicks, also known as flat and round hooks, are two of the most common types used in locksport. Each offers different advantages and requires a different technique.
Flat lockpicks are favored for their ease of handling. They're designed to make it easier to stay on the pin while lifting and setting, offering a good level of stability, particularly useful for beginners when they're not entirely certain what they're feeling.
On the other hand, round lockpicks are a bit more petite and allow you to feel more detail in the lock. This enhanced feedback can be beneficial when dealing with complex locks with high-security features. However, using round lockpicks does require a bit more finesse and practice, making them more suitable for experienced pickers.
0.019" vs 0.023" Lockpicks
The thickness of your lockpick also plays a role in the picking process. A rule of thumb is: the narrower or asymmetric the keyway, the thinner the pick. 0.004" or 0.1mm doesn't sound like much, but it makes a significant difference in lockpicks.
0.019" lockpicks are thinner and fit better within the warding of asymmetric locks. Their slim profile ensures less contact with the warding, increasing maneuverability and enhancing feedback, both of which help out quite a bit while picking a lock.
On the flip side, 0.023" lockpicks are a bit thicker than the 0.019". They can take more abuse, making them better suited for those still developing their lock picking technique. If the keyway is pretty open, these are your go-to picks. Many locks in North America, such as Kwikset and Masterlock, fit this description.
Warding is the name for the internal protections built into the lock to prevent picking. Contact between the lockpick and the warding can hinder your ability to pick the lock, decreasing maneuverability and feedback. A thinner pick, like the 0.019", can navigate the warding better, while a thicker pick, like the 0.023", is more durable but may require a more open keyway.
The Bottom Line
There's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing the right lockpick. Your skill level, the specific lock you're working on, and your personal preference all play a role. It's wise to keep a range of picks in your toolkit, which allows you to adapt to different locks and situations. As with any sport, practice is key, so don't be afraid to experiment with different picks until you find what works best for you. Happy picking
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