Ripping is perhaps the most aggressive of the raking techniques. When it works, it can also be devastatingly fast. Ripping involves inserting a rake tool into a lock all the way to the back and applying tension to the lock; the rake is literally ripped forward, raking across the pins on the way out, with the hopeful eventuality of setting all the pins in one felled swoop. The shear force exerted on the pins by the aggressive withdrawal of the pick from the lock can leave a wake of brass filings from a lock whose days are surely numbered.

Well, it’s not quite that bad. When practiced carefully, it is possible to be a little less destructive, but there’s no getting around the fact that ripping is an aggressive, brutish technique.

There is an upside. In a speed competition, if ripping is effective on the first try, competitors will have a tough work of beating the time that can be achieved. It’s not always successful on the first try, mind you.

Ripping, like any other technique, is nothing more than another tool in your lock picking tool belt. It is worth taking some time to learn. Be sure you have replacement springs and pins around. To practice raking, apply light tension to the lock and insert a rake, ideally of the Saw Tooth variety, into the keyway all the way to the back. Lift the pick just until you can feel the pick contacting the key pins. With light tension maintained, rip the tool forward from the lock dragging it across the pins as you go. If the lock does not open maintain tension, re-insert the pick, and try again. Often times you will set some – but not all – of the pins on the first pass, and subsequent attempts will set the remaining pins. If, after several attempts, you are still unsuccessful, release tension, resetting the lock, and start over.

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