No-SPP Hook Picking.
The chances are that if you ever have to pick a lock “for real” you will be away from your lock pick kit. What tools you have you will have to improvise. It is possible to create a rake or half-diamond by bending in a key-way but it is more likely you will have to use some form of hook.
This does not necessarily mean you have to use single pin picking (SPP). There are a couple of things you can try before you resort to this.
The first is “go deep!” I have discovered many of my locks will open if I move a hook about at the very back of the key-way. Apply light torque as usual, then reach deep and hook upwards. This may act on the final pin, another part of the lock mechanism or some combination thereof. It may be a statistical abnormality that my particular collection of locks can be opened this way. It is something worth trying. This also suggests that some of the bypass techniques that a razor pick or mini-knife are suggested for may also work with a stout hook.
The second technique is rocking. I have mentioned this in previous posts but it is worth repeating. Rocking is my favourite techniques for using a rake but you can also try it with “non-rakes”. To rock with a hook invert it so it curves away from the pins. Apply light torque and see-saw the inverted hook up and down in the key way.
The third “no SPP” hook technique is called “zipping”. You will also see it called “ripping” or “dragging”, although these terms imply a level of force or violence that is not needed. Like so much lock picking, a lighter touch often yields better results. Zipping is a raking technique. Apply torque and insert your hook. Withdraw the hook, running the tip across the ends of the pins like a stick on a railing. It is worth trying this several times, varying the pressure, torque and the speed you withdraw the hook.
Sometimes these techniques will set some pins but not others. If you suspect this happening keep the torque applied so the pins do not reset and experiment with different combinations of the three.
Jiggling Small Locks.
Readers may recall how I acquired a very small lock to test my finger rakes on. The main problem was finding a turning tool small enough to fit in the lock in addition to the rake. Luckily I had a piece of hair pin I could modify. Yesterday an alternate approach occurred to me. I inserted just a rake in the key-way and used it to apply turning force as well as moving the pins. Effectively I was using the rake as a jiggler key. This is an option to bear in mind when dealing with very small locks. You need a fairly rigid rake to do this, such as a Dangerfield Bogota. Most picks will be too flexible and you risk breaking them.
Carry Hair Pins.
Add some hair pins to your lock picking, tool and emergency kits. They have numerous uses.
I have said this before but it is worth repeating. Lock picking tends to be the antitheses of brute force. If something is not working the solution is usually less force, not more.