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Lock Picking Question

  1. Jul 13, 2005 #1
    i just want to ask a question
    in the movie "Gone in 60 seconds" the so called caracter "donny" uses a pick gun and it has some kind of a device attached. with it can anybody tell med what that is and som pictures of it;P thanks

    it is quit hard to explain

    its when he is stealing the car with "tumbler"

    if that was of any help
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2005 #2
    hehe;P if you dont understand the question please say so;P
  4. Jul 13, 2005 #3
    Hello?!?!?! anyone please answer me!
  5. Jul 13, 2005 #4
    I didn't see the movie.
  6. Jul 13, 2005 #5


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    Gold Member

    I just ran across this now. I've never seen the movie, and I'm legally restricted about what I can tell you. A pick-gun basically is a mechanical variation on the method of hand-picking. It can sometimes be quicker, but not always. The primary advantage is for use in locks where one or more of the pins is unreachable with a standard pick. They should never be used in wafer locks such as in newer Fords and most European/Asian vehicles because they're more likely to wreck the lock than open it. Keep in mind that when you see someone 'picking' a lock on TV or screen, the thing is already unlocked and they're just fiddling with it.
  7. Jul 13, 2005 #6
    hehe...tv...i was watching Dark Angel and Jessica Alba uses a knife to jimmy open a deadbolt...more than once. she also used it to actually pick the lock. i don't think either of those could be done in real life, though.
  8. Jul 13, 2005 #7


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    Absolutely not. The stupidest (although deliberately so) thing that I ever saw was a Moonlighting episode where Bruce Willis stuck a tiepin into the lock, did a little song-and-dance bit, wiggled it once, and it opened. My beer almost came out my nose when I saw that.
  9. Jul 13, 2005 #8
    The principle behind standard lock picking is rediculously simple, but it takes some practice, and the mechanized versions helps things along.
    True lockpicking(for the standard pin and tumbler arrangement) requires 2 tools, not just one often seen in movies.
    The first tool simply torques(twists) the tumbler so that the pins have a "resistance" of movement. This tool engages the lock on the front and is such that it does not obstruct the second tool.
    The second tool is a "pin lifter" It is simply a thin piece of metal with an upward hook at the end.
    Once the first tool torques the tumbler(say, using the left hand), the right hand insest the pin lifter all the way to the BACK. Using a rocking motion, the pin lifter lifts the pin until the break in the pin encounters the cylinder wall seperation. At this point, a tension variation is felt in the first tool, and you know you have that pin correctly alligned.
    You then move the pin lifter tool towards you until it engages the next pin, and you do the same thing as above, being careful to maintain enough torque with the first tool so that your "set" pins don't fall down(there spring-loaded)
    Done correctly, when you set the last pin(which is the one closest to the front) all the pin breaks are alligned and the lock opens.

    The mechanical devices you describe do much of this automatically, and they are illegal unless you are a licensed locksmith.
  10. Jul 13, 2005 #9


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    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not a big fan of spreading the word on how to pick locks. I figured it out myself when I was about 13, and the temptation to misuse the skill is always a problem. But, in addition to pallidin's explanation above (which has a couple small errors in it, I assume on purpose to keep too many of you from running out and breaking into places where you shouldn't be), here's a respectable website which has posted a detailed discussion on the subject:


    A quick word about the law and lock picking..... The laws vary from state to state, but in California, if you are caught with anything resembling a pick or a tension bar, you can be charged with possesion of burglar tools. Very bad news. And if you're playing with a lock that you don't have permission to unlock, you can be charged with attempted burglary plus the tools possesion. If you want to experiment with this stuff, please do so in your garage, and destroy the tools when you're done. My 2 cents. -Mike-
  11. Jul 14, 2005 #10


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    I share your aversion to speading the knowledge, and also hope that people who try Paladin's approach never figure out what the errors are. Why I said that I'm legally restricted about giving information is that I've been a licensed locksmith since 1979. I had to swear an oath before training that I would never tell anyone how to open anything, nor allow them to watch me do it. Even though the information is available on the net, and in the courses offered on matchbook covers in the States, if I were to reveal techniques I would be put in jail for 14 years with no chance of parole. And in Canada, possession of picks (as opposed to other 'burglar tools') is an Indictable Offense violation ('Federal Offense' in Yank terms) punishable by 2 years in jail.
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