Drilling Pin Tumbler Locks

Now I am going to cover a very basic and mundane skill but one that the secret squirrels will just have a fit about if you ask them for info on it. As most of you probably even Evan the maintenance man have guessed thats the drilling of pin tumbler locks.

Tools needed:

1/8 or similar size drill bit. Any bit for drilling metal will work just fine on most locks.

Drill 3/8 1/2" whatever the hell you have cordeless is fine.

I am covering the drilling of normal unprotected pin tumblers here before someone jumps in and starts screaming that I am full of shit because you cant drill the hardened inserts or drivers on a medeco or ASSA etc.

You are going to drill at the top of the keyway most of the time but before you start look into the keyway because some f****it may have mounted the damn thing upside down. If the pins are on top drill on top if they are below drill below. Do not drill where the plug (the part that turns with the key) and the cylinder (the part that the plug turns inside of) appear to meet. There is a lip on the plug and a corresponding shoulder on the cylinder. Come down just about 1/16" to

1/8" from where they appear to meet. Drill straight in. You will feel the drill break through each successive pin chamber. There are usually 5 although some locks will have 6 or maybe even 7. Do not drill further than the last pin chamber because you may screw up something needed to operate the locks bolt work. When you have drilled all the pin stacks run the drill in and out a few times at speed to clear debirs and turn the plug in the unlocking direction with a screwdriver. Why does this work? Well it works because what you have done is to drill a new shearline to replace the one thats created when the proper key is used its possible because most lock manufacturers are cheap bastards who could care less about the security provided by their product. Most locksmiths are unethical SOBs who dont tell their customers about this vulnerability that all the crooks know about. The best thing about drilling locks is that is works on 80+% of the residential ones out there and they drill FAST because they are brass or pot metal. Beware of names like ASSA Medeco etc as they are usually protected against drilling, although I am going to cover a method involving drilling to compromise the Medecos that you see on storefronts etc at a later time.

OK now you are probably saying one of three things. Thanks smartass now I can get back in my house or thanks you f*ck you just told somebody how to break in my house or cool dude you just told me how to break in someones house. In the first case your welcome. In the second relax. The crooks all know about this anyway and secondly there are usually better ways than drilling your lock to break in your house. In the third case. It wont help you because if you didnt know this already and think that drilling is the quickest quietest way to go you are to stupid to be a crook and will probably wind up somebodys girlfriend in the joint. Since the secret squirrels here who claim to be so concerned about everyones security have failed miserably to provide even the simplest countermeasure for any of the defeats I have posted thus far I will have to do it myself.


  1. Get locks that are drill resistant. Specifically ask the manufacurer or the locksmith if you use one if the lock is protected from drilling. The locksmith will probably look at you funny since you as a consumer have no business knowing that locks can be drilled open you afterall are just the SOB paying for the damn thing you have NO business knowing what its weaknesses are he will tell you though because he wants to protect his ass from liability. 9 out of 10 locks or in many cases 10 out of 10 locks in the hardware stores have NO drilling protection. If it doesnt say drill resistant on the package probably it isnt. Dont trust clerks at the hardware store. They probably have no clue what the hell you are talking about and just want to get rid of you anyway so they can go smoke a joint on the loading docks.

  1. Install at least one lock that is blind or inoperable on the outside. Blind simply means there is nothing but a metal plate which covers the hole in the door and to which the inside lock is usually secured to. Many locks are sold with this option although you may have to look to the internet or a better supplier than the local hardware store to find em. Many locks especially deadbolts can be rendered inoperable on the outside simply by removing the tailpiece from the plug thats mounted on the outside of the door. If someone drills or picks it then all it will do is spin without operating the boltwork which will suck for them. Both these options are good for protecting your property when you are inside since the lock only operates from the inside.

  2. Get an alarm system preferably one thats remote monitored as well as having a siren. Be wary of sytems which rely on the ability to make a phone call out to a monitoring station as they will NOT work if the line is cut. Better options are systems that use a dedicated line and are always "online" to the monitoring station or systems that use a cellular or other RF transmission to get an alarm out. "The secret squirrels are now muttering godddamnn son of a bitch now hes telling people how to compromise alarms". Never mind that the crooks have known that for years.
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OH WOW -- Now you think you need to explain how to drill a lock ??? Umm most people given a door and a drill will be able to figure it out eventually... It is all about skill to know how to do it quickly...

Umm so you are going to spend hundreds of dollars PER LOCK to get UL-Rated door hardware... Do you have windows in your house ??? More burglars use rocks against glass and hammers against doors than drills vs. keyholes...

Installing 'blind locks' which do not operate from the outside doesn't stop a determined attacker who KNOWS how to use his burglary tools... It also doesn't stop anyone using a rock to break one of your windows...

This is the FIRST and VERY FIRST realistic good advice you have posted about here... The kicker to this idea is that the alarm gets activated... I have seen many stores burglarized that HAD alarm systems -- they were just NOT turned on...

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There isn't much skill either way except maybe for knowing where to drill if that counts as skill. At any rate this whole topic has already been covered here years ago and probably since.

You're assuming it's a house. One very good high quality lock can be a great investment for an apartment or condo owner especially if it's mounted in a sturdy steel door and frame since that's often the only readily accesable entry way.

See above. Also that concept is in use in virtually every hotel room in America albeit for somewhat different reasons.

You know you could just ignore this guy. That alone would cut the number of his or possibly her posts in half. That said was it really necessary to suggest that the alarm should be turned on?

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May as well let her run her course. EVERYTHING she's covered has been public domain for years. Anyone that has the interest could gleen it for themselves. May as well be posted in a locksmith forum. Soon she well have exausted the entire pretense of "knowledge" and have to quit or continue to look like the ass she is.

Obviously hasn't got the courage of her own convictions or the fortitude to take a stand under her own identity. At least Matt Blaze had that integrity. Hope lot's of people take smartass' advice. Hope she takes her own. Eventually they'll be off the streets. Probably post from her dark dank cellar now.

Mike Thomas Lock & Key For an email list discussion of locksmith related marketing concepts join us:

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