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How To Pick A Tubular Lock

Tubular Lock

The tubular lock has many different names including: circle pin tumbler lock, radial lock, or ace lock. The tubular lock consists of multiple stacks of pins in a circular shape. “The key is a cylinder shape with notches cut around the outer or (rarely) inner edge. Each of these notches depresses a single pin inside the lock to a specific height allowing the lock cylinder to turn freely.” [is how it’s described here]

Common Tubular Locks

There is a very high likelihood that you have seen these types of locks within everyday uses. Some common items that make use of a tubular lock are bike locks, vending machines, coin operated machines, some safes, etc. Here is an example photos of a tubular lock on a vending machine:

White Oak Security shares a photo of a pop machine with a tubular lock, which is a common item with tubular locks.
White Oak Security shares a photo of an older pop machine with a tubular lock, which is a common item with tubular locks - in this how to pick tubular locks blog.

Tubular Lock Picking

Tubular locks are vulnerable to a lock picking form called self-impressioning. In this specific example, I will be using a tubular lock pick that impressions itself into the lock allowing for a recreation of a working key at a later date. 

Tubular Lock Picks

I will be making use of the 7-pin tubular lock pick from Southord (which can be found here – picture below). 

This image shows what a White Oak Security pentester uses to pick a tubular lock, a 7 pin tubular lock pick.

Picking A Tubular Lock

  1. Tighten the locking collar very slightly
  2. Insert the lock pick into the lock
  3. Rotate the lock pick along the tubular lock (impressing the picks bars into the locks pins)
  4. Gently turn the lock pick the rotation the lock requires to open or close
  5. Upon successful picking – tighten the locking collar to save the key depths to recreate a key at a later time

To help better understand the lock picking method – see the below video of the White Oak Security pentesting technician picking a tubular lock:

White Oak Security demonstrating how to pick a tubular lock

More From White Oak Security

White Oak Security is a highly skilled and knowledgeable cyber security and penetration testing company that works hard to get into the minds of opponents to help protect those we serve from malicious threats through expertise, integrity, and passion.

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