It’s cool and fun skill! There’s simply a “cool” factor of knowing how to pick a lock. Of all the Jason Bourne-esque skills every man wishes he had, it’s one of the most attainable. The idea that I can surreptitiously enter most doors without a key makes me feel all-powerful, like some sort of super ninja-spy.
The Legality of Lock Picking
There’s a common misconception that the only people who can legally own lock picking tools are first responders or licensed locksmiths. The reality is that in most states, as long as you’re not trying to illegally enter someone’s home with your lock pick set, you can legally own, carry, and use lock picking tools.
The first step toward learning to defeat locks is a thorough understanding of how they work, where their security comes from, and how their design and manufacture introduces potentially exploitable vulnerabilities. A detailed introduction to locks is well beyond the scope of this document; we assume here that you already understand, or have access to, the basic principles. This is intended only as a supplemental, practical guide.
Success in lock picking is mostly a matter of skill. Good tools are important, to be sure, but once a few basic tools are available the student of lock picking is usually better off investing in new locks on which to practice rather than in new picking tools.
Picking tools are designed to perform one of two basic functions: manipulating pins and turning the plug. Two tools -- one for each function -- are used simultaneously when picking a lock. Picks probe and lift the individual pin tumblers through the keyway, while torque tools control the degree and force of plug rotation. Both the pick and the torque tool also amplify and transmit feedback about the state of the lock back to their user. (Other names for the torque tool are turning tool, torque wrench, torsion wrench, and tension wrench. The term "tension" is mechanically inaccurate here, since the tool's function involves torque, not tension).
A wide variety of lock picking tools are commercially available from locksmithing supply vendors, often packaged in elaborate (and expensive) kits containing a baffling array of oddly shaped instruments of dubious utility. A few basic tools are sufficient to pick the majority of commonly used locks. Unfortunately, many of the commercially available lock pick kits consist mostly of useless gimmicks. Worse, they often omit the designs that are of the most practical value.
The proper pick and torque tool selection depend on the shape of the keyway, the features of the lock, the picking technique, and the individual preferences of the user. Examples of some of the better quality commercially available picking tools can be found at https://www.lockpickmall.com/