How to Open a Lock Without a Key

Opening a lock, specifically a freestanding padlock, without a key is something that many people would like to learn how to do. Whether it's the satisfaction in knowing how to pick a lock or a more practical matter, like never being out of options when you forget your key, doesn't matter. The point is that knowing how to pick a lock is a skill that should be used responsibly and legally on only your own property.

Unbend one arm of the paperclip. Once the single piece of metal (roughly an inch long) is straight out, bend a small, 45-degree angle near the tip so it looks like a hook.

Press the paperclip arm into the lock. The hook should be facing up in the direction of the teeth of the key, and the bottom of the arm should act as the base of the key would.

Gently work the paperclip all the way into the lock. Once the paperclip gets to the back of the lock, push up so the hook is pushing against the top of the lock. Then grip the part of the paperclip that's not bent and turn the paperclip as you would a key. This may take a few tries, but do so gently so you don't twist or break your paperclip lock pick.

Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.