Picking a barrel lock / tubular lock is practically different but theoretically somehow same as pin tumbler lock picking. Anyway, as with any type of lock, to understand how to pick a barrel lock with its lock pick, you have to understand how the key to a tubular or barrel lock works. They are basically the same technology as a pin tumbler lock, except that the pins are arranged radially instead of linearly. To use the same terminology as with pin tumbler locks, the plug is in front of the shaft (instead of within it as with a traditional pin tumbler lock). The shear point is still the interface between the two, and the pins still need to be pushed there.
An Overview on Tubular/ Barrel Lock Mechanism
These offer a very high amount of security for their price. They come in both 7 or 8 pin varieties, and rarely 6 pin. They are nearly impossible to pick without a special type of pick (although some say they have done it, whatever), and very difficult to pick with one. Anyone looking for advice on using vending machine lock pick, here it is. These types of locks can be found on vending machines, ATM machines, computers and some expensive bike locks.
I’m going to assume that anyone who claims they can pick these using a conventional tension wrench and pick is either lying, or really lucky (it’s really tedious). Also, unless I’m missing something, the 7-pin tubular lock pick is identical to the 8-pin pick minus one metal shim to push the eighth pin, and therefore redundant and useless if you have an 8-pin pick (since you can just not use the eighth pin if you’re picking a 7-pin lock).
Picking Barrel or Tubular Locks
The problem is that tubular locks seem to be more resistant to wear from overuse, and made with higher precision such that is unlikely that you can push the pins in one at a time while applying tension, and have them stay there while you remove the pick and move on to the next one. In addition, tubular locks are designed such that when rotated 1/7 (for a 7-pin) or 1/8 (for an 8-pin) of the way around, the pins fall back into place. Therefore you have to pick the same damn lock 8 times over to open it.
So you can’t pick it one at a time. Instead get yourself a tubular lock pick, 8 pin. These are relatively easy to use. Push all the shims out as far as they go. Then push them back in against a flush table or something, this is the maximum distance that any pin will need to be pushed in to get to its shear point. Insert the pick into the lock just like a key would fit. Then very slowly turn it both ways, wiggle it around so that the shims are being pushed against the pins at various pressures and distances. Slowly pull the pick out while wiggling, and the lock should open. It doesn’t take much tension to open it, so don’t overdo it. Once you have it open, as long as you don’t move the shims on the pick you have a working key for that particular lock.
How to make Tubular Lock Picking Easy?
You can buy a measuring device which makes it easy to pick the same lock twice. If you do manage to get a tubular lock open with the tubular lock pick, don’t move the shims from their position! Use the measuring device on each shim, and write down the distance that you moved them. Next time you want to pick it, pull out the measuring device and your previous measurements and set it to the same as before! Great tool for Tubular lock picking