When learning to pick locks, one can dive right in by practicing on working locks (though it is recommended to practice first on locks that are not in actual use). One can also utilize practice locks that are specifically designed to help the student better understand how locks work, how to learn lock picking, and how to improve their lock picking skills.
Clear practice locks are particularly helpful in understanding the construction and function of locks and can be helpful to visually-oriented people. In working locks, the internal parts cannot be seen, of course, so one must pick them by feel. But clear practice locks can give a visual understanding of how locks work and what is happening inside the lock as it is being pick. They are a great starting point for the beginner to make that visual-mental connection about how their picking techniques affect the pins inside the lock, and how the lock can then successfully be picked. The option of Spool Pins can further demonstrate how security pins make the lock more challenging to pick.
The ST-34 Clear Practice Lock with Standard Pins
The ST-35 Clear Practice Lock with Spool Pins; Key Inserted
Clear Tubular Practice Lock with Standard Pins
Clear Tubular Practice Lock with Spool Pins; Key Inserted
Another technique for learning to pick locks is to pick the lock progressively, by first picking the lock with one or two pin-stacks in it, then by moving on to three pin-stacks, then four and so on (with 5 pin columns being the most common here in the U.S.). One can purchase working locks to remove the pin stacks, then add them back progressively for practice, which often requires specialized tools to do so effectively. Or, one can use practice locks designed for this purpose.
The SouthOrd Locksmith School-in-a-Box is a great way to learn to pick locks progressively. This training kit includes five locks, pinned progressively with one through five pin sets, and a wooden stand that holds the locks for both practice and storage (four lock picks, a standard tension tool and an instructional booklet are also included). The locks are pinned progressively, to use as a learning tool, but they can be easily repinned with standard or security pins, to create different lock picking experiences and challenges. This takes the Locksmith School-in-a-Box beyond a training kit for beginners to a practice tool to hone one’s skills.
The Locksmith School-in-a-Box, a Repinnable Progressive Lock Pick Training Kit
The locks can be easily repinned, with standard or security pins, for continued practice
Though practice locks and lock picking training kits are not necessary to learn lock picking, they can be invaluable tools for understanding how locks work, and effective tools for learning how to pick locks and improve your lock picking skills.