In lots of countries across the world, there is no issue with owning lockpicking tools privately, if they don’t leave your home, and you don’t try picking any locks that you don’t have permission to pick or are in use.
Please note: You are responsible for checking the law in your own jurisdiction!
However, there are also countries and jurisdictions where that doesn’t apply. Notable examples include Japan, Poland and Hungary. In those jurisdictions, just owning lockpicking tools is against the law.
So, if you live in one of those jurisdictions, do you need to give up on your dreams of picking locks?
The good news is, there’s a loophole. Basically all of these laws ban possession of lockpicking-specific tools. That means that if you can explore locksport without needing specific lockpicking tools, then you can still enjoy the rush of opening a lock without the key!
Specifically, I’m talking about combination locks.
Most combination locks can be manipulated without any special tools. You still need to develop a feel, and of course not all combination locks are the same, either. I recommend starting out with simple, cheap combination padlocks, which use multiple wheels. You should be able to grab one of these from a hardware shop, locksmith’s or online.
Youtube, as ever, remains a great source of knowledge for tutorials on combination padlock manipulation. I’m a particular fan of Potti314‘s videos, which cover a wide variety of combination padlocks in good detail.
For those concerned that they might hit a ceiling rapidly when approaching combination padlocks, there’s always combination safe locks. Again, no special tools are required to manipulate them, although spreadsheets, or graph paper are pretty much a necessity.
As with most things in locksport, you can start out on the relatively easy end of things, with an S&G 6700 series combination dial safe lock, or other Group 2 lock, and go from there.
Hopefully this helps some of those who can’t access lockpicks, but still want to explore the wonderful world of locksport. Please remember to double-check laws around lockpicking in your jurisdiction. And for those who don’t have any issues accessing lockpicks, but who may have neglected combination locks as an area of locksport to explore, I hope this article inspires you to give it a shot!