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Clever Tool to Quickly Defeat Locks

Standard pin tumbler lock cylinders, such as those made by Kwikset, Schlage and many other manufacturers, continue to be used on the doors at most homes and businesses. Even when a card reader or electronic lock is used, a pin tumbler lock cylinder typically remains on the door to provide a secondary means of entry in case the electronic device fails.

Pin tumbler lock technology was developed more than a century ago, and since that time, people have come up with several methods to defeat these locks without showing any signs of forced


Common methods of defeating locks include "lock picking", "lock raking", and "lock bumping". Some methods, such as lock picking, require a certain amount of skill to master, while other methods, such as lock bumping, can be accomplished by almost anyone. There are numerous YouTube videos that provide instruction on how these methods can be used. A hobby known as "locksport" has evolved, and there are numerous online forums where locksport enthusiasts can share tips and tricks with one another on how to defeat locks.

A new device has come into common use lately that makes defeating locks even easier. This device is known as the Lishi 2-in 1 pick tool and can be purchased from a number of online suppliers for less than $100.

To use the tool, you insert it into the lock and apply gentle pressure to the tension handle. You then use a lever to try each of the lock pins one by one. The tool clearly shows the position of each pin, making it easy to go from pin to pin. With a little luck, you will hear a series of clicks, and then the cylinder will turn, allowing the lock to unlock. Even those with very mediocre lock picking skills can usually open most locks using the Lishi tool in just a few minutes.


What makes the Lishi tool unique is its ability to decode as well as pick locks. (this is where it gets its 2-in-1 name). Once the tool has been used to pick a lock, the cylinder's bitting code can be easily determined by reading the depth of each pin position. This code can then be used to order or cut a key that fits the lock.

While most people who purchase the Lishi tool are probably honest, there is nothing to stop a criminal from purchasing one. In the hands of a criminal, the tool could be used to easily gain entry into a building or secured area without leaving signs of forced entry. Even more dangerous would be a case where a criminal used the tool to decode a lock and make a copy of a key. This would allow the criminal to make repeated entry into a building or secured area at will.

A specific Lishi tool is required for each brand of lock and keyway. However, by purchasing just a handful of Lishi tools, a criminal would essentially have a "master-key" to a large percentage of commonly used locks.

Because of the many vulnerabilities of pin tumbler lock cylinders, we have been recommending the use of high-security lock cylinders for more than 20 years. The availability of the Lishi tool is just one more reason to replace the century-old pin tumbler lock technology with something more secure. (See related article High Security Locks)

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about this article or need help in choosing better locks for your home or business.

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