Best Lock Pick Sets for Survival

by Vern Evans

Whether you find yourself in a survival situation or you’re simply intrigued by the art of lock picking, having the right tools can make all the difference. In this review, we delve into the world of lock pick sets specifically designed for survival scenarios. From versatile kits to fast and easy bump keys, we’ve researched and tested the best lock pick sets available to help you navigate locks and secure entry when traditional methods are not an option.

There are many brands and types to pick from. This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best lock pick sets, put them to the test with a focus on survival, and now the results are in: the overall best, a beginner option, and the best bump key. If you want to be able to get through any lock in an emergency, one of our picks will unlock your potential.


Contents (Jump to a Section)


The Best Lock Pick Set

Multipick ELITE

Quality, Reliable, and Effective

Paired with some lockpicking skills, this top-quality set can get through a wide range of locks quickly and quietly.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Designed in 2020 by Christina Palmer, this high-quality spring steel set is the pinnacle of lock pick sets. It focuses on quality, bringing 0.6mm picks with award-winning profiles, and includes zero fluff. Palmer outfitted this set with tools that will help you tackle the statistically most likely locks you’ll encounter. Leveraging science, statistics, and physics is always a win in our books.

Here is how the kit measures up and what it includes:

  • Curved pick
  • Diamond pick
  • 3 hooks
  • 2 wave rakes
  • 6 tension wrenches

With a great price and top-notch quality- it’s easy to see why the Multipick ELITE Lock Pick Set is the best.


Beginner Lock Pick Set

Beginner Lock Pick Set

Inexpensive, Hands-On, and Effective

All the tools you need to learn the craft, plus an effective picking set once you’ve put in the work.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

The clear lock is one of the easiest ways to learn how locks work. This beginner set includes one, plus several picks and tension rods to get you going. You can’t beat the price of learning such a valuable skill, and it also makes for a great gift.

Here is how this beginner kit measures up:

  • 17-piece pick set
  • Clear practice padlock
  • Credit card pick set
  • 3-piece tension set

If you are looking for a cheap solution to learn the trade, this Beginner Lock Pick Set is what you need.


Best Bump Keys

Basic Bump Key Set

Fast, Easy, and Effective

Bump through plenty of common household locks and padlocks with a fast and easy-to-use bump key.

*Each price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Precision-cut bump keys work fast to get through the most common doors. The most common residential keys are included:

  • Kwikset KW1 House Key
  • Schlage SC1 House Key
  • Master Padlock M1

They are cut to precision and tested so you can be sure they’ll work out of the box without having to try them on the specific model yourself. Insert the bump key, put some torque on the cylinder, and give it a solid tap with a solid object (like a bump hammer).

If you are looking for a quick and easy-to-use solution, get a Bump Key Set for your survival kit.


Everything We Recommend

Multipick ELITE

Paired with some lockpicking skills, this top-quality set can get through a wide range of locks quickly and quietly.

Where to Buy

$75* at Zero Day Gear

*at time of reviewing


The Lock Pick Sets We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several types of lock picks and bump keys that we compared: Peterson, Sparrows, Southord, Multipick, HPC, Pro-Lok, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of hand tools to get through doors quietly and skillfully. There are plenty of cheap options of out China that are subpar quality and too unreliable for survival and emergencies.

We’re always looking for new and better gear, so if you have a lock pick set that you swear by, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested gear annually so we can try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it will beat out our top picks.


What to Look For

The best lock pick set for survival has several important features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Tools Included
  3. Grip & Feel
  4. Size & Weight
  5. Quality

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a set that you can rely on for a wide range of situations- ranging from accessing your bug out location to just getting into your car if you left the keys inside- and everything in between. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the survival-oriented lock pick sets that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a lock pick set shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. If you are getting one for a survival kit rather than regular use, it may not make sense to spend much on an expensive kit just to use it infrequently.

You never want to spend too much money on one thing when it comes to tools. It’s better to diversify your survival gear to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.

Tools Included

One of the main considerations for a lock pick set is the tools that the set includes. The basics of a hook, rake, and tension wrench (or a bump key) can get you started, but having a variety of tools for specific locks can make picking much easier.

Grip & Feel

Quality picks won’t be difficult to hold and manipulate. The integrated handles have good grip crosshatching so you don’t drop picks constantly. They also are rigid and transfer movement through the pick, so you can know when pins catch.

Size & Weight

For survival, locksmith guns and larger kits don’t make much sense unless they are at home. These are usually too bulky and heavy to include in survival kits since there are higher priorities for versatile tools.

Quality

You can infer a lot about the quality of a pick by the steel type and attention to detail a manufacturer shows. Picks are usually very rigid and use high-hardness steel, but that can make inferior picks brittle.


Are Lock Picks Illegal in the US?

Lock picks can make law enforcement weary, so it’s best to know your local laws and regulations. The good news is that lock picks and bump keys are legal in the US- no federal law prohibits you from buying or owning them.

States, however, have specific and sometimes confusing laws:

  • Ohio: Illegal to own lock picks or bump keys unless you can prove noncriminal intent (locksmith license).
  • Nevada: Illegal to own lock picks or bump keys unless you can prove noncriminal intent (locksmith license).
  • Virginia: Illegal to own lock picks or bump keys unless you can prove noncriminal intent (locksmith license).
  • Illinois: Bump keys are illegal to own.
  • Kansas: Lock-picking devices are legal, but you will be fingerprinted if you are arrested with them on you.
  • Mississippi: Concealed picks and bump keys are considered intent to commit a crime.
  • Tennessee: You cannot use lock picks without a locksmith license.

With lock picks and bump keys considered ‘burglary tools’ in most states, you’ll need to be careful about where you take them outside of your home even beyond the states listed above.


Who Needs a Lock Pick Set?

Lock pick sets aren’t necessary for survival kits, but they can help you learn an extremely versatile skill for everyday use or SHTF scenarios. In survival situations, you can break down doors as well, which can be quicker if you are skilled with an axe or prybar.

This is why we suggest you just consider lock pick sets for:

Lock picking has been a recreational hobby for centuries, so the finesse required to master the skill has been recognized for a long time.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best lock pick kit are useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical survival experience:

Churchill, D. (2015). The Spectacle of Security: Lock-Picking Competitions and the Security Industry in Mid-Victorian Britain. History Workshop Journal. Volume 80. Issue 1. Pages 52-74. (Source)

Clark, P. (2014). Do Statutes Criminalizing Possession of Burglary Tools Reduce Crime? Cap. UL Rev. Volume 42. Page 803. (Source)

Mercan, B. (2022). New patterns in residential burglary: The method of deadbolt lock picking. European Journal of Criminology. (Source)


The Final Word

A good lock pick set can help you get through barriers and can help keep you safe in emergencies and disasters. It’s also a good skill to learn so you can test your own security to understand vulnerabilities.

Here are a few other guides and reviews our subscribers have found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found the Multipick ELITE Lockpicking Set to be the best option given its value, included tools, grip/feel, size/weight, and quality.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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