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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 10. 23rd May 1973

Gun Picks — III

Gun Picks — III

For an understanding of the way a gun pick works refer to the game of billiards. No doubt you have seen how when the cue ball hits the other ball they immediately separate as shown in the drawing. The same action occurs when the pick of the gun hits a bottom pin. The upper pin is driven upward as the two parts separate.

The function of the gun pick is to strike all the bottom pins in the cylinder at once and bounce the upper pins into their chambers, while the lower pins remain in the lower chambers. When this happens there are no pins blocking the shear line and the plug is free to turn.

In theory the lock should open on the first "bounce". But there are various other factors to consider. Pins vary in length, springs vary in pressure and strength, & often the designs of key ways make it difficult to hold the needle in a position where all of the pins can be struck equally as hard at the same time. Many locks are designed with high ridges, that is short and long pins following to prevent picking. They can be picked but not with a gun pick.

Electric vibrator picks are the most modern method used for picking locks. The vibrator acts like the gun pick but the needle is actuated electrically to bounce the cylinders apart. It is almost impossible to make your own tool, and equally as hard to get one however.

Diagram of a door lock

Engineering diagram