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Lock Bumping With Bump Key

Lock Bumping With Bump Key

What is lock bumping and a bump key?

Lock bumping is the art of lock picking a pin tumbler lock with a modified key... a bump key. A seasoned lock picker can open a lock in a matter of seconds with few problems. We'll cover some of the basics to bumping in this tutorial.

  1. What is Lock Bumping
  2. What is a Bump Key
  3. Tips for lock bumping


What is Lock Bumping ?                                 Back to top

Lock bumping is a non-destructive method used by professionals to unlock a pin tumbler lock very quickly. With practice, this technique can usually be mastered in a day or two by the novice picker. Lock bumping was developed in the late 1970's by Danish locksmiths as a means to open locks quickly. The hatch was blown off this 'trick' in 2005 when a bump key advisory news report by NOVA aired in Europe. Soon after the news report aired it was posted to video sharing sites where it has been viewed by millions of people world wide. In the United States alone more than 90% of home and commercial locks are believed to be pin tumbler locks - this means 90% of the locks in the United States are susceptible to lock bumping.


What is a bump key ?                               Back to top

A bump key is the actual key that's used for manipulating pin tumbler locks.
bump keys
The above key is part of our bump key package. As you can tell the valleys have been cut to the deepest setting enabling the pins inside the lock to hang freely. For this type of key, the deepest manufacture's setting would be a '7'. A depth of a '7' simply means that the manufacture, Kwikset in this case, has a maximum valley depth of '7'. Just for reference, the max valley depth of a Change key would be a depth of '9'.
There are two ways to operate a bump key. The first is the 'Minimal Movement' method. This method is for the more advanced bumper that's trying to increase the success rate of lock bumping. The second way is the 'Pullout Method'. If you're a novice bumper, we strongly advice sticking with the Pullout Method. Both methods are discussed heavily on our official forum.


Tips for lock bumping                             Back to top

So now you've got brand new bump keys but don't know how to use them. Bellow are a few tips that will immediately increase the success rate of your bumping:

  • USE LESS TENSION! By far the #1 problem when a novice begins to bump locks is the amount of tension put on the key. The amount of tension is generally equal to the amount of tension that's actually required to open the lock. If you're getting close to bending or breaking a key; WAY, WAY too much tension is being used!
  • It's been said on our forum that if it doesn't work the first time, us Americans will try to MAKE it work by using more force. This is wrong. You'll want to use a light amount of tension applied by your thumb to the base of the bump key.
  • If the lock being bumped is old and dirty, using lock bumping lubricant may cause the pins inside the lock to move easier thus improving the success rate of bumping.
  • Once you've mastered the 'Pull out method' try the 'Minimal movement method' for even easier bumping.
  • If the original key has deep valleys, the lock might bump easier if you make the valleys a bit deeper.
  • Practice on a Master Lock M1 padlock before trying a residential lock.
  • NEVER practice on a lock that's in use. There is a potential the key could become stuck.