Picking Locks as a Survival Skill
By James C. Jones EMT/CHCM
Certainly we all regard lock picking as a rather nefarious activity used by criminals and spies, but under true, live-or-die survival situations including this skill and the necessary devices in your survival kit may be worth consideration. In a large-scale disaster there will be plenty of abandoned commercial, industrial and residential structures. Even sheds and barns can provide emergency shelter that is far superior to tarps and tents.
While breaking into someone’s home or business is not something we want to do, it may be absolutely necessary to get out of the cold, wind, rain and other hazards. Entry should be achieved with the minimum of noise and damage. A broken window or door will attract unwanted attention. Carrying a lock pick gun and/or small pry bar in your survival pack may be worth the weight. If you enter someone’s home be respectful of their property. If you must “borrow” food or other items to survive leave them a note and an IOU for future reimbursement. Just because civilization has broken down does not justify your becoming a looter. Most importantly: be sure it is truly an unoccupied structure before approaching or attempting entry. Carefully observe, call out and even knock first. Going from a desperate survivor to an intruder could result in disaster for you and the occupants.
The lock pick gun below with its instruction should get you past most locks, but you should practice ahead of time. Lock picks alone are much smaller and lighter than this gun, but take longer to learn. There are also special master keys and jiggle keys made for padlocks and automobiles. You can get these devices online and through many survival supply catalogs. The one below is made by Scorpion Defense Products and is sold by BUDK.com for $49.99. Plain picks are just $9.95 while jiggle keys go for $19.00
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