The Art Of Lock Picking: Learn How To Pick A Master Lock Padlock (Even Without Tools)

Key Takeaway

  • You can pick a master lock with a bobby pin or paperclip if you don’t have a lock picking toolkit.
  • To unlock a Master lock using a lock-picking tool, align the pins of the pick along the sheer line to allow the cylinder to turn.

Those who have been following me for a while know my passion for the art of lockpicking. I have tried my hands on Schlage and Kwikset locks but never got my hands on Master Lock padlocks. After spending countless hours practicing my lock-picking skills and watching tutorial videos online, I finally felt confident enough to take a stab at picking Master Locks. 

Picking a master lock padlock may seem daunting at first, but with the right tools, practice, and patience, you can easily learn how to do it. You can pick a Master lock using special tools like a lock-picking kit or with commonly found articles like bobby pins or paper clips. As a self-taught lock-picking enthusiast, I can personally attest to the immense satisfaction of unlocking even the most stubborn Master Lock.

When I was first learning to pick a Master Lock, I found it quite challenging and time-consuming to find detailed instructions on how to do it. Hence, I decided to write this article. 

In this blog post, I’m going to share the stepwise instructions as well as tips and tricks that have worked for me so you can learn how to pick Master Locks like a pro. So grab your favorite lock-picking tool set, and let’s get started!

The Basics Of Lock Picking

The Basics Of Lock Picking

The first step in learning how to pick a master lock is to familiarize yourself with the components of a lock. A Master Lock padlock typically consists of two parts: the body (or housing) and the shackle (or hasp). 

The body of the lock contains the locking mechanism, while the shackle is the part that goes through the hole or latches to secure it. 

The locking mechanism of a padlock is composed of two piles of pins. The lower pins (red) are known as key pins and fit inside the keyhole area of the lock. They have been cut to sizes corresponding to the distinct “cuts” on the key. The higher pins (blue) are referred to as “driver pins” and reside between the core and body of the lock, preventing the keyhole from turning without the key. 

The Basics Of Lock Picking

When the suitable key is inserted into the lock, the key pins will rise to the proper height, forcing the driver pins out of the core and permitting the core to rotate and the lock to open. This is what is aimed for in lock picking: elevating the pins to the correct height and dislodging the driver pins to unblock the core from rotation, thus allowing the lock to unlock.

How To Lock Pick A Master Lock Using A Lock Picking Kit

How To Lock Pick A Master Lock Using A Lock Picking Kit

serious about mastering the art of lock-picking, you should invest in a lock-picking kit. While it may not be required for casual lock picking, it is definitely the most reliable and efficient method to pick a Master Lock padlock.

Lock-picking kits typically come with several different tools and accessories. Depending on the specific kit, you will usually find some combination of picks, tension tools, and an adjustable wrench or vice grips. All of these components work together to give you the best chance of success when attempting to pick a master lock.

The picks are designed to manipulate the pins inside the lock. As you apply tension to the pins using the tension tools, the picks are used to nudge the pins into place so that they align with the shear line. This will allow the plug to turn and open the lock.

Here are the steps for the same.

  • Step 1: To start the process of lockpicking, insert the tension wrench in the bottom of the keyhole and rotate it to the left until a slight resistance is felt.
    tension wrench
  • Step 2: Subsequently, place the pick and rake in the keyhole and work them up and down, pushing out all the pins. 
    pick and rake in the keyhole
  • Step 3: Then, with the pins no longer blocking the way, utilize the hook to bring each of them into alignment with the shear line. 
    pick and rake in the keyhole
  • Step 4: Finally, turn the tension wrench to the right, and the lock should open.

However, it is important to remember that a lock-picking kit is not legal in all the states in the US. You should check the state laws about the legality of possessing a lock pick to be sure.

How To Pick A Master Lock Without Tools

In the absence of a lock-picking kit, you might still be able to pick a master lock without tools. The most popular method to do so is using a bobby pin or paperclip as a makeshift lock pick. 

To do this, you’ll need to insert the bobby pin or paperclip into the lock’s keyhole and use it to manipulate the pins inside the lock. 

How To Pick A Master Lock With A Bobby Pin

How To Pick A Master Lock With A Bobby Pin

Using a pair of bobby pins to pick a Master lock padlock is great for beginners who are just starting out in lock picking and can be used as an alternative to a lock-picking kit.

Here’s how

  • Step 1: To begin, take one of the two bobby pins and bend it right from the center using a pair of pliers. This bent end will act as your tension wrench, which is essential for master lock picking.
    90 degree bobby pins
  • Step 2: Now, take the second bobby pin and bend the pin back to make a pick. Use a pair of pliers to bend one leg on the pin backward until it resembles an L-shaped metal wire. 
    L shape Bobby pin
  • Step 3: Once you have your pick and tension wrench, insert the tension wrench into the keyhole of your padlock. 
    tension wrench
  • Step 4: Now, using light pressure, turn the tension wrench slightly clockwise or counterclockwise to apply pressure to the internal mechanism. At this point, you should be able to insert the pick into the keyhole and start manipulating the internal pins within the lock. 
  • Step 5: Using your pick, you’ll need to feel around the internal pins of your lock until they click and move up. You should be able to feel when each pin is raised to the shear line, which is the point where all of the pins are aligned.
    internal pins
  • Step 6: When all of the pins are at the shear line, you can then turn the tension wrench in the direction opposite to which it was initially turned, allowing you to open your padlock. 

With some practice, you’ll be able to master the art of lock picking using bobby pins. Just remember to use light pressure on the internal mechanism and never force your picks or tension wrenches!

How To Pick A Master Lock With A Paperclip

How To Pick A Master Lock With A Paperclip

Using a paperclip to pick a Master Lock padlock is another way to accomplish the task. This technique is the most popular among those who have limited resources. 

This method works great for smaller locks, so if you are looking for how to pick a small master lock, find the steps below.

  • Step 1: Start by straightening out the paperclip so that it resembles a small pick. 
  • Step 2: Then insert the paperclip into the keyway of the master lock and press down firmly until you feel the pins click into place. You may need to jiggle the paperclip a bit in order to set all of the pins correctly.
    insert the paperclip
  • Step 3: Once all of the pins are set correctly, turn the paperclip to the left and right until you can feel it catch on the plug. 
  • Step 4: Keep jiggling the paperclip around, and when you’ve found the correct angle, you’ll be able to open the lock.

This method may take several attempts before you get it right, so be sure to have patience and practice. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1.  Is it easy to pick a MasterLock without tools? 

Answer – Although it is possible to pick a master lock without tools, it is very difficult to do so. Bobby pins and paperclips can be used as makeshift picks, but they may not be as effective as dedicated tools. Also, master locks are designed to be difficult to pick without specialized knowledge or tools.

Q2. Is the locking mechanism of a Master Lock padlock affected by lock picking?

Answer – If the lock-picking process has not damaged the shackle or internal components of the lock, it should operate normally. While picking the padlock, there may be slight dents that may affect its functionality. Hence, ensure that you use minimal force when trying to pick a Master Lock.

Q3. Can a locksmith make a key for a Master Lock padlock without a key?

Answer – In most cases, a professional locksmith should be able to make a duplicate key for a Master lock without a key. To learn how a locksmith makes a key using the lock, read one of my past articles.


Lock picking is an interesting and practical skill that requires patience and precision. Learning to pick a Master lock is a great skill to have, whether you are trying to access something that you should not be or simply want to challenge yourself. 

With the right tools, like a lock-picking kit or bobby pins and paperclips, you can learn how to pick a master lock padlock without any trouble. The article discusses detailed stepwise instructions for the same. If you found the information helpful, share it with your friends and family who might need it. 

Thank you for reading.

1 thought on “The Art Of Lock Picking: Learn How To Pick A Master Lock Padlock (Even Without Tools)”

  1. If you prefer the American brand of locks, knowing how to pick one will come in handy. Just keep in mind that opening an American lock with a key is only a temporary solution; instead, you should either change your locks or contact the manufacturer to request a replacement key.


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Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.