Dial Combination Locks “Locker Locks”

Dial Combination Locks aka “Locker Locks”

The old “School Locker” lock. Let’s cover a few different ways to get into this little guy.

Step One – Always!!!

Put your hands on it! (Story of my life)

ALWAYS put your hands on it!

Myself and several of my friends, as kids, used these combination locks on our lockers in school and many of us, in preparation for speedier access later, would turn the combination lock to the right for the first combo, then the left to the second combo, then to the right again for the final combo and would either leave it on the exact number so that all we had to do was pull, or we would leave it a few digits away – extrapolating from that – pull straight down to test and hold it down as you spin the dial to the right at least one rotation incase the lock has the first two combos dialed in (below).

Twist and pull. If they dialed in the first two combinations and the third one is let’s say “14” like above, turn to the right with a little bit of downward pull. (The right, because the last combo is always to the right)

Bolt Cutters

“I don’t need to learn how to pick open a padlock, I’ll just use my bolt cutters while I chew on beef jerky and shit in the woods, rawr!” Ok tough guy. #Fact, you won’t always have your bolt cutters in your pocket. I hope. ALSO depending on the bolt cutters they may not even FIT around the shackle of your padlock. This ALSO depends on the shielding of the padlock – the metal hook and the surrounding environment that may keep bolt cutters out.

With a moderately smaller bolt cutter set, or a moderately larger shackle on a lock you may be embarrassingly out of luck…

A lot of people don’t know that on some padlocks, depending on the design of the padlock and the environment around it, you actually need to make 2 cuts to remove it from it’s environment. I think that performing Tactical Lock Picking in the field looks really cool, and I am here to prevent you from looking like an idiot:

“One little snip is all I need to cut this little fucker off of this gate! Haha!…. oh wait…two snips…”


You are a first responder and must enter a property through a locked heavy iron gate “All I need is bolt cutters” right? You could have a 25$ set of lock picks in your wallet that would get you into this guarded disc lock in 60 seconds or less with less than moderate training. OR you could wait for someone like me to come explain to you just way “All you need is NOT always bolt cutters”.

And another one. Show me on the bear… jk…Show me exactly where you would place your bolt cutters on THIS padlock… I’ll wait. Please, show the class…


Link to algorithm page 1.

Link to algorithm page 2.

Link one is kind of picky using the calculator, especially on mobile devices. Link two has a YouTube video embedded which is nice.

I’ve tried this several times and it is just NOT something I see myself using in the field. It requires a lot of time fucking around, a lot of light, fine motor skills, a pad and paper, math, knowledge about what’s happening inside of the lock, and more. If I ever HAVE to find the combo out on a lock just for administrative purposes I may try this a few times but tbh this technique is way way back in my toolbox.

Build a fucking machine

(No, not a “Fucking-Machine”)

Practical to carry around in your pocket? Yes, no? You be the judge…


Each Dial Combo Lock that has 40 digits on it has 64,000 possible combinations.

Guess and check would be an absolute last option. Always. Could you imagine losing count? 64,000 combos… and this specific technique may not work on updated locks.

*Click Here for the link to the website the above infographic came from, by Mark Edward Campos.

[Currently designing an infographic for combo guesses, stay tuned]

If it takes you about 15 seconds to try one combination then:

4 attempts in 60 seconds.

240 attempts in an hour.

1,920 attempts in a full 8 hour non stop day. (With only 62,080 combinations left to check…)



Almost always my first Go-To.

The only thing holding that shackle shut is a spring loaded latch. If you could fit something thin down into the casing of the lock you could just PRESS that little guy down and ca-clink!

Oh. Like a commercially available, inexpensive shim? Yup.

Master Lock has taken steps to try to prevent this shim attack. They haven’t. They HAVE made it more difficult to shim locks but it can still be done. On the left is an updated shackle-latch; it has grooves in it and is narrow in nature to prevent a shim from pushing and sliding it open.


Shimming CAN still work sometimes but the rule of thumb is that the older the lock or the cheaper the brand name the easier it is to shim the combo dial lock.

*This is getting its own whole article from me soon. For now there is a ton of content on YouTube for you to check out.

And below, using a soda can as a shim. I remember doing this in an Urban Survival class with a coke can I found in the garbage in a parking garage, while “headhunters” were looking for me on the streets below. Even though the course I attended was fun I would NOT recommend it to anybody because of the lack of the quality/effort/energy/etc of the instructor. #OnPointTactical…

Code Book App


I heard about this on one of Deviant Ollam’s talks: Starting around Minute 27.

I have downloaded and registered the app and paid the 10-20$ fee and have had the app crash multiple times now while trying to look up masterlock combos. I’ll let you know how this app ends up working out for me… So far no good. Please feel free to give me some feedback if you get their program to work of if you have any success stories with it!

This is the home screen of InstaCode. It is NOT very user friendly. More to come on this in a future article.

The product did NOT work as advertised and I had to actually butcher the code I put in a little bit to come up with SOME sort of response. Then after I clicked on what MIGHT be the answer I was looking for “Master”…

Program crashes and closes out. So… thanks for nothing. I have contacted the company and am awaiting a response. I’ll keep you all updated.

Picking the key access

Tiny key ways are a bitch. This kid accesses the lock in less than 60 seconds and I struggled for the better part of an hour on and off but finally got it. It’s good to practice and get familiar with specific locks so that you can learn their traits, and it’s good to know how long it takes you for certain techniques on certain types of locks. BUT, and it’s a big but, you need to know how to apply it in the field! Know when to use bolt cutters, know when to pick the keyway in the back (because only some of these have keyways in the back), and know when to smash your car through the fucking gate. “Tactical” is using the right tactic.

Code On Back

This really happens in real life… very often. I mean, half of the combination locks I own fucking come that way out of the packaging!

Ok seriously, why does this happen? Because security and convenience are a balancing act; along with the fact that many security systems are designed to keep honest people honest. Many people think to themselves

“What kind of person would walk up to MY locker and lift it up to look for the code? Nobody thinks I’m stupid enough to leave the code on my lock; and also if I’m not around and somebody is looking at the back of padlocks for codes then I’m sure someone will say something”.

Seems reasonable right? It does to a lot of people…

If you’ve never done it you probably know somebody that has. Probably #onedegreeofseparation…


Practice, read, watch, be curious, have fun, stay legal and morally right!




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