Lock Picking: Raking vs Single Pin

Lock Picking: Raking vs Single Pin

Whether you’re working with a Kwikset pin or a different locking mechanism altogether, you’re probably wondering what method you should use to break this lock. Your two main options are raking and single pin picking. You’ve probably heard locksmiths swear by either, but what are the real merits of each?

Option #1: Raking

Rakes come in a myriad of shapes and size. The most popular rakes in pinning kits look something like snakes with zigzag end pieces, but straight rakes are also incredibly useful. The idea behind this method is to check multiple pins at once, which saves on time and training. Here’s how this option stacks up:

  • Lock Type: If you can use a rake to successfully open a lock, many professionals won’t call it a security lock. The rake method is used with low-security
  • Speed: Because multiple pins are check at once, you can expect to open a rake susceptible lock fairly quickly.
  • Skill Level: The rake method is what you teach a beginner to get them excited about lock picking. Results are easy to come by and the method is easiest to learn.
  • Control: You don’t get fine tuned manipulation with the rake method because it is designed to sweep the pins instead of looking individually.
  • Finding the Solution: Many pros will use the rake to do an initial test of a system. The method can alert you when there are security pins and test the biting. While it may not be the end solution, it can serve as an important diagnostic tool.

Option #2: Single Pin Picking

Single pin picking or SPP requires going over every pin individually. As you might’ve guessed, it is more time consuming overall, but it is also the most effective method in most situations. Here’s how it stacks up:

  • Lock Type: SPP is designed as a universal method for lock picking. High-security locks can be opened with this method given enough time and knowledge.
  • Speed: SPP is much slower than raking, especially for beginners. However, the method does get results regardless of the lock.
  • Skill Level: This method is significantly harder to learn. It requires a great deal of patience, but it is easier to identify safety pins.
  • Control: SPP gives the locksmith incredible control over the process. Each pin can receive individual attention, making this method ideal for high-security
  • Finding the Solution: Professionals say this method gives a much deeper understanding of locks and takes a higher degree of skill. Additionally, this method can crack any lock with enough time.

So, Which Is Better? 

The best option for you will depend on the lock and situation you are in. When you have little time or are opening a low-security lock, your best bet is to use the raking method. It’s faster and will get the job done. For more advanced locks, you can use raking as a diagnostic test. Using the method will give you a general overview of what to expect from the pins. However, it won’t give you accurate detail.

If you don’t have enough time for a diagnostic test on an advanced lock, you should consider SPP your first stop. SPP allows you to spend time with each individual pin, which means you can accurately detect different lengths, actual position and the location of security pins. You’ll certainly be able to open your lock with the proper application of this method, but you’ll have to be patient.

The best lock picking method will depend on your skill level, lock knowledge and the lock in front of you. Keep the pros and cons of each in your mind and be open to the best solution in a given situation.

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