Locksmith vs Tactical Lock Picking

I often get asked if I am a “Locksmith” and if my training that I provide qualifies my students as such. Let me explain the difference between a Locksmith and Tactical Lock Picking and why it’s a good thing that they are different. 😉

Tactical Locksmith

(As always, economics apply to more than just money. For all the time and money you spend training, and all the space you take up with gear, limits the time, money and space for other things in your life)


Takes time and money and a bit of inconvenience to sit through the structured training, and dig into the books and watch the videos and serve as an apprentice, including learning a ton of shit that you don’t need to know for how to break through locks, like:

  • hardware, installation
  • nomenclature for TONS of things that don’t apply to someone that just needs to “pick” a lock
  • how to use heavy expensive large machines
  • how to code/recode all sorts of electronics, with more heavy and expensive machines
  • how to repair hardware

And the way you operate is usually a combination of a “brick and mortar” storefront for walk-ins, as well as a big truck or van to use for responses. That allows for:

  • Storing reference material and resources to help give guidance for the obstacle you encounter.
  • Storing hundreds of key blanks for many types of locks.
  • Storing machines for decoding, calibrating and cutting keys to fit locks.
  • Operating in calm well lit conditions.

Tactical Lock Picking:

Remember our mission statement:

“Tactical Lock Picking: Spending the least amount of time and money, carrying the least amount of gear, to get you through the largest amount of common obstacles”

  • Very limited time, we do not have the time to attend a tech school or serve as apprentices, and there is no national registry or governing body for Tactical Lock Picking. (this is a good thing)
  • Very limited space. Sometimes all you have is what is in your pockets, maybe your keychain and wallet. For operations all you may have is pockets and your gun belt. If you have the luxury of a vehicle you may only have trunk space for one small go-bag for locked obstacles and larger kinetic tools. No store front and no cargo van to carry every single possible entry tool and key.
  • Field operations. Sometimes you must operate quietly and in low light. Sometimes you are reaching through a fence, upside down to access a padlock. Sometimes you have to stand to the side of a doorframe so that you don’t get shot through a door. Sometimes it’s raining…tough shit.
  • You may have very specific policies from your agency guiding your actions.
  • You may have to answer for your actions in court, which doesn’t happen too often to locksmiths performing routine services.
  • You may have the option, unlike Locksmiths, to kick a fucking door in or smash right through a window. Your spectrum of operations is sometimes smaller and sometimes much larger than locksmiths.

These are some basic differences between Locksmiths and those who practice Tactical Lock Picking. I find a few more items for the list from time to time but there is most definitely a difference.

For current operators in the Urban Survival Course, learning Tactical Lock Picking, that I teach there is a special block of content that I provide to Military and Law Enforcement that for the most part covers things like how to handle policy and your supervisors that may not be familiar with your skill sets. The content is available to all students that I teach but it’s often boring and useless to those not in an operational capacity. Most students that say “Oh! I wanna learn that too!” often lose interest after I get through the first 5 minutes on how to write your report for legal protection after performing an opening on a crime scene. Which is another example of why operators don’t have to be a certified Locksmith and that this skill set is unique. As an operator, what you will get out of our Urban Survival Course are things like:

  • Legal Preparedness by knowing which statements you may want to include in your written reports.
  • Target Assessment procedures. How to work out your own method for the quickest most effective entry to an obstacle by using resources specific to your career field.
  • Managing your management, knowing how and what to say to your coworkers and command that may not be familiar with what you skill set provides.
  • Technique Reinforcers for things like how and why to handcuff correctly by actually knowing how easy it is to escape if restraints are incorrectly applied.

For the survivalist, prepper, and concerned citizen while this course covers a l0t of “Tactical” lock picking it is not necessarily restricted to tactical bad ass usage only. The term “Tactical” also is closely interchangeable with “economic”. As a prepper there is no need to spend heaps of money to buy very specific machines like key cutters, or digital key fob writers for car keys. After attending our course and supplying yourself with a minimal set of varied lock picks you have accomplished at least some of the following:

  • Saving time by not having to wait for a locksmith to get you through a simple obstacle, or for someone to bring you keys.
  • Saving money by not having to pay a locksmith.
  • Self-sufficiency by not having to rely on others for simple access tasks.
  • Emergency Preparedness increase by being able to work your way through several obstacles in an emergency.
  • Security Awareness/Assessment for your home and vehicle by knowing how a criminal would easily access such.
  • Security Preparedness for things like kidnapping and home invasions by learning restraint escapes.


All security does is buy time. All of it. And there are ways around or through all of it. Tactical Lock Picking helps you break through the “illusion of security” and is the same as taking the Red Pill from the matrix or the same as taking the trip down the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland. After being exposed to Tactical Lock Picking (and our Urban Survival Course) I can promise you will never see “security” the same again. And you don’t need to start down the career path of a licensed Locksmith to learn how to bypass the most common illusions of security. You do not leave my course as a “Locksmith” and you should be glad that’s the case, if you did than you’d be wasting your time 😉

Explore your world, Question everything




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