Attacking the popular Kwikset lock: open in 15 seconds with a screwdriver and a paper clip


One of those lock pick “gun” style tools will go through a Kwikset lock (including those for houses) so fast that the intruder hardly needs to break stride. A locksmith opened our door in literally 5 seconds, talking trash on Kwikset the whole time.

Locks like fences keep honest people honest. I live in the Boston area, and here locks don’t do a thing - the doors are easily kicked in thanks to brittle wooden doorway frames of the elderly houses around here.


Always remove the decorative little screws that hold the brass strike plate to the door frame and replace these with 3" drywall screws which you can screw in with a power drill.

Also put a 3" screw concealed under the strike plate where the bolt would tear through the frame if it were kicked in. Do that first.

Now your door will require an extra two kicks to break it in, but at least nobody is going to come in just by shoving with their shoulder.

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Decking screws. Drywall screws have little shear strength Deck screws are meant for securing wood to wood, and the heads won’t snap off like cheap ass drywall screws.

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I was once writing a novel in which a character picked a lock. I bought a book on the subject and told my wife to lock me out of the house and not let me in until I picked the lock. I was inside in less than three minutes. If you learn to actually rake a lock, all this isn unnecessary. Only downside, once you learn how, you will never feel safe again in your own home.


not much time to trash talk, 5 seconds. He barely could complete a sentence.

I’ve used many hundred of drywall screws to assemble shelving, benches, and other utility woodworking projects, but I’ve never managed to sheer off the screw head when screwing them in with an electric drill.

Actually he was talking trash from the minute I called him on the phone and he asked what brand lock it was. I guess Schlage locks might have taken him half a minute to open.

That’s an excellent tip. Get them to make as much noise as possible - that buys precious react.

Really? You must be a very patient person. It isn’t hard to do. Black drywall screws are brittle. Even if you don’t break it a sharp jar could snap the shaft. On the other hand I have used them for years like you are suggesting with only one or two incidents I can think of where they failed in use. Probably more bad planning or unfortunate circumstance. I switched to the stronger deck screws when they came along. I have never snapped a head off a deck screw. I have snapped many many black screws.

Preston, I’ve popped the heads off many drywalls on dense material that won’t allow the head to sink in. Deck screws all the way, especially the square drive ones.

I’ve seen a whole other way to compromise this lock, you can just put in a slim keylike tool and simply force it open. Lot’s of videos on this one.

As for fragile wood doorframes, I’ve routed away a seat for a 3 ft x 1/8" steel plate with holes for the locks and 6 heavy screws into the stud.

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Back in the day . . . at the hardware store there was a category of products called “Looks like a . . .” The kwikset is a “looks like a lockset.” product. Made to get in the bag and out the door, not much more.

I had a friend get me a set of lock picks a couple decades back. I thought it would be hard, but it was actually pretty easy. Over the years, I’ve used them for all sorts of stuff. Folks don’t actually ever call the cops when you pick a lock, either.

I once spent some time picking my parents front door lock. I had a mohawk (it was the 80s), and was wearing grubby painters clothes because I was supposed to go in and paint the bathroom. They were in a seriously upscale neighborhood, and not a single person called the cops.

It’s a good skill to have. When I nursed, and one of the nurses lost the key to get the sharps container out of the bracket, I got it out in seconds. Hell, when the med passer locked the keys into the med room, I got it out.

The scary thing is, I’m not good at it. I’m barely passable. Locks just aren’t as secure as you’d like them to be.

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I always get the “Blue Hawk” brand screws just because that’s what Lowes carries. But I will usually drill a pilot hole through the first piece of wood because if I don’t do that the screw ends up jacking the pieces of wood apart rather than drawing them together.

I bought the square ones by mistake and found the square driver in my tool set. I liked them pretty well.

Somehow my workstyle always has a frantic impatient component no matter what the deadline. I do pilot holes when necessary but then just over-drive the screw and bang, the head is spinning freely. Next!

I lock my door with a one-time pad. It’s the only secure way to do it.

The key is the size of a door, though…


To counter you anecdote with another anecdote, horizontal shear=/=torsional shear. I’ve seen plenty of drywall screws have their heads broken clean off with a strong side blow. These being in doorframes that were kicked in.

Locks are not all incredibly insecure. While Medecos can be bumped quickly, they require a specialized, and in some cases rather sizable, collection of specialized bump keys, and while they can be picked, it is a challenge. Abloy Protecs have no confirmed picking successes, to my knowledge, and are intrinsically bump/pick-gun-proof. And there are several other types of locks that are reasonably pick resistant.

I expect the reason one doesn’t see them more often is because most people really don’t care that much, or simply don’t know how much vulnerability varies.