The first thing I ever looked up on the internet, and I still have the print outs from that day, was lock picking. As a child, and a teenager, seeing movies where someone would pick a lock could not have sparked my interest more. This fascination of course requires not only seeking out education of the tools of lock picking, but also of locks, as you simply must understand how they work and are constructed in order to bypass their main function.
Most padlocks you can buy in your local chain home improvement can be easily bypassed with the most basic tools and knowledge. The difference in prices often reflects the materials, construction, and brand name. High end padlocks you’d get from a professional locksmith, or the companies that provide such products come with a high cost that reflects the increased difficulty it takes to defeat their padlocks with brute force, or through bypassing.
With this in mind, I needed some padlocks. With a pending divorce at that time, I knew I’d be gathering information like crazy, and while it would be rare for the ex to have time alone to attempt to get access to or destroy that gathered intelligence package, the critical nature of it meant some security measures were needed. I could not bet on the normal hardware store locks, so I set out to find something in my price range that could give me a bit more security.
I hit up antique shops, mainly to get some furniture, but the area behind the glass counter displays usually have something of interest to most people. I did find older padlocks there, but some were missing keys, or were older warded locks, but before I could despair, an idea came to me…
The military has use for padlocks, and they have very specific padlocks that are made for them. These locks, composed heavily of brass, made by companies on U.S. soil, and have added security features were perfect for my budget, and needs. When it comes to padlocks, the main divide is between combination locks, and those requiring a key. Cheap combination locks are easily picked, and the keyed locks sold next to them can be opened with some basic tools and a few minutes of how-to videos found all over the web. The other weak point on keyed locks rest in the user, the simple act of not having possession of the key. A common trip to the department store where you forget to grab the lock’s keys leaves your entire security disabled. Military padlocks have this weak point covered, as the key can not be removed unless the lock is closed. The inability to pop the lock and put the key back in your pocket means the lock is less likely left unlocked. Because of this, the user is forced to think more about the lock and its purpose more.
The above picture is what a set of high security pins for a pin tumbler lock look like, and while most would consider this a bit overdoing it, I can not see how adding this type of work to an object specifically made to give some level of security is anything but due dilligence.