Locksport Cover


A Hackers Guide to Lock Picking, Impressioning, and Safe Cracking
by Jos Weyers, Matt Burrough, Walter Belgers, BandEAtoZ, and Nigel K. Tolley
August 2024, 352 pp.

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Locksport is the ultimate guide to lockpicking and the competitive sport of bypassing locking systems. Written by five champion locksporters, this fully illustrated, hands-on introduction to the art of lockpicking will take you from noob to competition-ready. You’ll learn how locks work and what makes them vulnerable, get a guided tour through the tools of the trade, and follow step-by-step instructions and intricate full-color diagrams to learn to rake, pick, and crack. The book covers not just the art of lockpicking, but impressioning and safe manipulation too. You’ll understand the engineering behind various types of locks and the craft of hacking the machinery without damaging it.

You’ll first learn to pick familiar locks, like padlocks and those on your own front door, using tools like tension wrenches, hooks, and rakes. You’ll then learn about impressioning: the art of creating a working key from a blank by reading and recreating the subtle marks the lock leaves in the metal. Finally you’ll crack into safe locks by systematically dialling numbers, recording your observations, and repeating your experiments.

You’ll learn:

  • About innovative security techniques for locks, like abnormal pin shapes, magnetic parts, and movable components.
  • The best ways to use your tools: how to hold your tension wrench, what to feel for in a lock, when to bother with a vice or flashlight, and when pen and paper are your strongest weapons.
  • How to source locks, safe mechanisms, and cracking tools.
  • How to find competitions for you and navigate the competition environment

When you’re ready, the authors will fully prepare you for competition with thorough guides, expert tips and tricks, and effective preparation methods.

Author Bio 

Jos Weyers is a world-record holder in the field of lock impressioning and a mainstay participant at LockSport events around the world. President of TOOOL in the Netherlands and a key figure at the Hack42 hackerspace in Arnhem. Jos is the mastermind behind the beehive42.org initiative. Some people know him as the Dutch Kilt guy. Featured in the New York Times. Voted #2 in the category "Hackers and Security" of the Nerd101-list of VrijNederland June 2015.

Matt Burrough is a devoted locksport hobbyist, placing twice in the ShmooCon Lockpick Village competition, second in the 2019 TOOOL US LockFest safe manipulation competition, and getting first-round opens at every TOOOL NL LockCon since 2016. During the day, Matt is a professional red team operator, and is the author of Pentesting Azure Applications (2018, No Starch Press.) He holds a bachelor’s degree in networking, security, and system administration, a master’s degree in computer science, and a variety of industry certifications from GIAC (SANS), Microsoft, and Offensive Security.

Walter Belgers is an honorary member of TOOOL, the Open Organisation of Lockpickers and NLUUG, the Dutch UNIX Users Group. He has worked in IT security for all his life variously as a penetration tester, general hacker, and now security officer at Philips, and holds an M.Sc. in computing science. Belgers also co-invented a microcomputer without a microprocessor, and in his spare time enjoys drifting and rally driving, sailing, reading, travelling, and photography.

BandEAtoZ is a GSA certified safe technician with years of experience opening safes around the world. He regularly publishes articles of interest in the locksmithing magazines Keynotes and Safe and Vault Technology. He is an active member in the Safe & Vault Technicians Association, the National Safeman’s Organization and numerous professional forums.

Nigel K. Tolley was picking locks and subverting security as a schoolboy, long before he had ever heard of locksmiths or locksport. As a locksmith for over 17 years, Tolley has taught thousands to pick locks, including many other locksmiths. He has presented at everything from corporate ice breaker events to lock meetups. He has also consulted with lock manufacturers and designers, and found many exploits for physical security devices. He is a dedicated maker of many things, especially tools.

Table of contents 

Part 1: The Basics
1. The World of Locksport
2. Lock Formats
3. Lock Mechanics
4. High Security Locks
5. Lock Maintenance

Part 2: Pin Tumbler Lock Picking
6. Introduction to Lock Picking
7. Picking Tools
8. How to Pick
9. Preparing for Picking Competitions
Part 3: Impressioning
10. Introduction to Impressioning
11. Impressioning Tools
12. How to Impression
13. Preparing for Impressioning Competitions
Part 4: Safe Manipulation
14. Introduction to Safe Manipulation
15. Safe Lock Tools
16. How to Manipulate Safe Locks
17. Preparing for Safe Competitions
Part 5: Lever Locks
18. Introduction to Picking Lever Locks
19. Lever Lock Tools
20. How to Pick Lever Locks
21. Preparing for Lever Lock Competitions
Part 6: Other Games
22. Other Locksport Games
Appendix A: Glossary

The chapters in red are included in this Early Access PDF.