Tactical & Military Lock Pick Sets
Tactical Lock Pick Sets: Military, Police, Emergency Response
A tactical lock pick set designed for military, police, and emergency response scenarios is a specialized tool kit used for covert entry or bypassing locks in urgent or high-stakes situations.
However, not all lock pick sets are created equal. An ideal tactical lock pick set is much more than a simple collection of picks and tension tools. These sets need to be compact and come with a durable protective case for portability and protection. They need to be of professional quality and rugged, capable of withstanding the rigors of real-world operations. A broken tool is unacceptable.
A wide variety of tools should be included in the kit to handle different kinds of locks and situations. The handles of these tools should be easy to hold and operable with gloves, an essential feature for professionals operating in harsh conditions or wearing tactical gear. Above all, tactical lock pick kits are optimized for speed and efficiency, as every second counts in urgent scenarios.
In the section below, we will delve deeper into the nuances of tactical lock pick sets, discussing the differences between them and their hobbyist counterparts and highlighting the attributes to look for when choosing a set for professional use. The world of lock picking tools isn't limited to military lock pick sets; tools such as bump keys and snap guns also have their place, and we'll explore these as well. Let's dive in.
Military vs. Hobby Lock Pick Sets
Tactical and military lock pick sets have one major advantage and distinguishing trait compared to hobbyist pick sets. Tactical kitsare built to be reliable—broken tools on the job are unacceptable.
Reliable lockpicking tools have three main attributes:
- Quality Materials: The first notable attribute of reliable lock picking tools is the material they are made from. Military lock pick sets are typically constructed using high-quality steel, chosen for its durability and resistance to wear and tear. This ensures that the tools can withstand rigorous use and maintain their effectiveness over time, even in challenging environments.
- Quality Manufacturing: The manufacturing process of tactical lock pick sets follows strict guidelines and quality control measures to guarantee consistent performance. Every tool is carefully crafted to meet exacting specifications, ensuring that each pick profile is consistent and precise.
- Tool Selection: Reliable lock pick sets have a well-thought-out variety of tools that cater to a wide range of locks. Tactical sets offer versatility and adaptability by including a diverse range of tools, allowing users to tackle different lock mechanisms with the fewest number of tools possible. This not only reduces the burden of carrying numerous tools but also enhances operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Military and tactical lockpick sets prioritize reliability as their distinguishing feature. With this in mind, let’s dive into the other prominent characteristics of a good tactical set and what you should look for when buying.
8 Primary Attributes of a Tactical Lock Pick Set
The construction and effectiveness of a tactical lock pick set are determined by eight crucial characteristics:
1. Strength of Steel
Tactical and military lock-picking tools are manufactured using the highest quality and strongest steel possible. Here at Art of Lock Picking, we take pride in offering Peterson GSP lock picks, widely recognized as some of the most resilient tools on the market. Produced in the United States, these picks utilize Peterson’s exclusive Government Steel (GS), a type of steel specifically engineered for lock picking tools. This proprietary steel is a variation of 420 stainless steel which is commonly used in medical applications, such as scalpels.
Lock picks need to withstand repeated use and manipulation while maintaining their shape and effectiveness. The high hardness of 420 stainless steel makes it less prone to bending or deforming during lock picking, providing better durability and reliability. Other competitors typically use 301 Cold Max or high-yield stainless steel, which is relatively softer compared to 420 stainless.
2. Manufacturer & Fabrication
The manufacturing quality of tactical and military lock picks is crucial. A low-quality lock pick is prone to breaking or provides poor feedback while picking.
A high-quality set is constructed well, incorporating processes like tumbling and finishing to eliminate any rough patches or remnants on the pick that could create friction or interfere with feedback.
Manufactured in the USA by one of the most esteemed and innovative locksmith tool companies, Peterson Manufacturing, they represent the pinnacle of lock pick craftsmanship.
Each pick is finished with a tumbling process, ensuring a smooth surface devoid of imperfections. Additionally, the lockpicks are outfitted with ergonomically designed plastic handles. These handles are sturdy enough to effectively transmit vibrations, providing the user with the necessary tactile feedback.
3. Handle Design
Handles play a pivotal role in the functionality of military lock pick sets for three main reasons:
- Handles aid in maintaining a firm grip, preventing the tool from slipping or rotating while in use.
- They amplify feedback by increasing the surface area in contact with your hand.
- They make tools easier to use with gloves
The GSP picks we provide take these three aspects of a good handle, optimizing them to the fullest. Each Peterson lock pick has a large plastic-modeled handle, ergonomically designed with a non-slip texture. These handles are molded directly onto the pick, eliminating loose movements and ensuring that vibrations and feedback from the lock are seamlessly transmitted to your hands.
There is nothing else out there like a Peterson handle.
Competing manufacturers often provide bare metal picks, which are challenging to grip and cause discomfort to the fingers, or they utilize thin metal handles attached to the pick with rivets.—which can introduce unnecessary movement to the pick and distort the feedback received.
4. Assortment of Tools
A military lock pick set has a selection of tools that are effective against the widest variety of locks possible and is particularly focused on speed over skill
An optimal tactical lock pick set should, at the very least, have an assortment of tension wrenches varying in length, width, and thickness. It should also contain a top-of-keyway turning tool (ideally 0.40" in thickness) along with a variety of lock-picks, each with varying strengths. A proficient tactical lock pick set should include these five lock picks:
- A Short Hook (Hook 1)
- A Deep Hook (Peterson Hook 5)
- An Offset Hook (i.e. Peterson Reach)
- A Bogota or Rake (i.e. Bogie 1)
- A slender pick of 0.18“ or thinner
These five tools alone have the capacity to unlock a significant portion of locks prevalent in North America. If you reside in Europe, where locks generally possess smaller keyways, you will need more picks in 0.18“ or 0.15” thickness.
Every Military lock pick set that we offer includes, at minimum, these tools. Our best-selling GSP Ghost set is a fantastic example.
5. Tactical Lock Pick Case
Experiencing the frustration of damaged tools when they're needed the most can turn a day sour.
Protecting your picks from damage is the single most important attribute of a lock pick case.
Our tactical lock pick sets each includes a thick protective case that will keep your investment safe. We provide both traditional flip cases and roll cases, available in either nylon or leather.
Nylon cases, in particular, are perfectly suited for inclusion in a survival go-bag, ensuring your lock picks are available when needed (see Cases).
6. Pick Profiles
An often underrated characteristic of a tactical-grade lock pick is its profile. The pick profile refers to the overall shape of the functional end of the tool, directly influencing its performance and consistency during the picking process.
To illustrate this, an example of our Peterson picks vs a hobbyist competitor can be seen above.
The lock picks included in our tactical sets are meticulously manufactured for precision—giving you consistent results every time.
The pricing of tactical and military lock pick sets can vary significantly, often skewing towards the higher end of the spectrum. This is largely due to several factors that contribute to their superior quality and functionality.
Firstly, the materials used are generally of a higher grade, including the superior strength steel used in the picks and durable, ergonomic materials for the handles. These materials are not only costlier, but they ensure the longevity and performance of the tools, making them more reliable in the long run.
Secondly, the manufacturing process is more complex and involves a higher level of precision. This includes processes such as tumbling, finishing, and stringent quality control measures to ensure each tool is flawless and performs optimally. Such meticulous attention to detail requires advanced machinery and skilled labor, which also adds to the cost.
Thirdly, the research and development that goes into creating innovative and effective lock pick designs can be substantial.
While tactical and military lock pick sets may carry a higher price tag, they are a worthwhile investment for professionals who need reliable, high-performing tools in their line of work.
8. Tactile Feedback From Tools
The feedback we get from our lockpicking tools is critical. Hence, an effective military-grade lock pick toolset must prioritize the provision of maximum feedback.
The Peterson tools we supply excel in offering optimal feedback through the following four means:
- Each GSP pick is fitted with a sturdy, molded plastic handle that not only transmits vibrations effectively but is also sufficiently large to deliver considerable feedback to a broader area of your hand.
- They employ robust stainless steel that is rigid enough to amplify vibrations without being so brittle as to risk shattering.
- All picks feature consistent profiles with tumbled edges, minimizing friction or potential snagging.
- The set includes TOK prybars, and straight (non-twisty) tension wrenches for a comprehensive picking experience.
In contrast, many other brands offer lock picks with small, thin metal handles, which can dig into your fingers, causing discomfort. It becomes challenging to pick a lock reliably when your fingers are in pain.
Other Tactical Lock Picking Tools
Tactical and military lock picking kits are a cornerstone in the field of covert and emergency lock picking, yet the full spectrum of tools goes beyond these sets. This section concentrates on two primary tools that complement traditional lock picks in a tactical context: lock pick guns and bump keys.
Both offer unique advantages in rapid lock bypassing, providing alternative solutions in time-sensitive or complex security scenarios. We'll also touch upon the role of lock pick cases, an essential asset for tool management and protection in field operations.
Tactical Lock Pick Guns (Snap Guns)
Tactical lock pick guns are an essential addition to the repertoire of military and security professionals. These specialized tools enable rapid lock bypassing, which can be crucial in high-pressure or time-sensitive situations commonly encountered in the field.
Lock pick guns operate by delivering a sharp impact to the pins inside a lock. This action momentarily separates the top and bottom pins, creating what locksmiths refer to as a "shear line." With the right timing, the lock cylinder can be turned while the pins are separated, effectively opening the lock.
There are two primary types of lock pick guns: manual and electric. Manual lock pick guns require the user to physically trigger the mechanism, while electric models automate this process, often leading to quicker and more consistent results.
The key advantage of using a lock pick gun, particularly in a tactical context, is speed. While traditional lock picking requires a nuanced touch and can be time-consuming, a lock pick gun can open a lock in seconds. This speed can be invaluable in tactical scenarios where quick access is critical.
That being said, snap guns have a significant weakness against anti-bump pins (security pins) as well as paracentric keyways.
The best tactical lock pick gun is the Brockhage BPG-10 which is spring-powered (vs. electric) and can utilize Petersons GS steel pick blades which are more durable.
To learn more, visit our collection of Lock Pick Guns.
Bump keys are a specialized tool in lock picking, designed as key blanks cut to their maximum depth, resulting in small jagged teeth along the key's blade. These teeth are precisely crafted to interact with the pins within a lock.
The method of using bump keys involves inserting them into the keyway, pulling them slightly out, and then a sharp inward jolt delivered by a bump hammer or even your palm. This will cause the teeth of the key to ram into the key pins, knocking the upper driver pins above the shear line.
Bump keys are a powerful and effective tool that will make quick work of most common pin tumbler locks. However, they do have some weaknesses.
Primarily, bump keys are lock-specific. Different locks feature varying keyways with diverse shapes and sizes, necessitating a range of bump keys to cater to different locks. Fortunately, the majority of locks utilize one of three keyways: KW1, SC1, and M1.
Moreover, bump keys face challenges when confronted with anti-bump pins, security pins, or other anti-bump measures. In these scenarios, traditional lock picks or more aggressive methods may be necessary.
The best tactical set of bump keys will depend on your goals.
For a basic emergency everyday carry (EDC) set, consider starting with KW1, SC1, and M1 bump keys.
For a more comprehensive toolkit, you may want to acquire as many different key profiles as possible, along with a bump hammer and some O-rings. Consider also learning how to identify different locks and keyways.
To learn more and to begin building your arsenal of keys, check out our bump key collection.
Lock Pick Cases
A high-quality case is a crucial investment for any military lock pick set. Since professional-grade tools come at a premium, it's essential to ensure that your emergency or tactical tools remain in optimal working condition during storage and transportation.
The ideal tactical lock pick case depends on your specific requirements.
If you need to carry a compact set of picks for emergency situations, consider a small nylon flip case, such as the Eagle Nest Nylon Case. This type of case offers portability and easy access to your tools.
On the other hand, if you aim to assemble a larger toolset, the Peterson Nylon Book is an excellent choice. It features six compartments designed to accommodate a diverse range of tools.
For more options to protect your tools, check out our Lock Pick Cases.