My father was an expert at fixing anything that could break. His best friend was a retired cop who opened a key shop in Atascadero, California, after retirement. Pop was intrigued and added this hob-by to the mad scientist lab in our basement. I can safely say that he discovered “locksport” before it ever became a thing.
I inherited his gadgets and his interest. Later, as a deputy sheriff myself, I had built-in access to lock picking/covert entry classes reserved for police and military only — often covered under advanced police training funding (one of the perks of being a cop). I also apprenticed under a licensed locksmith on days off (another natural perk of the badge).
I do have to tell you that the hobby had practical applications on the job as well. How many times have you needed to enter locked structures, cars, gates, etc.? Nowadays, locksport is a growing phe-nomenon, with entire organizations composed of ci-vilian members who pick locks as a hobby: Locksport International, TOOOL (The Open Organization of Lock Pickers), Defcon Convention in Las Vegas, to name only a few. There is much to learn by trolling their resources, but it is best in my opinion to minimize involvement there due to the potential of releasing knowledge, which could be used with criminal intent within such unregulated venues.
So, what’s the allure? Think of it this way: A lock is a puzzle. It was designed by professional engineers for the purpose of keeping you out. Now that’s a challenge!
By the way, lock picking is only part of the skillset. Other covert methods of entry include bypassing, impressioning and casting, among many others. The pinnacle is in discovering design defects and figuring out how to defeat them with ease.
Lock picking/covert entry is a hobby that’s tailor-made for cops. If you are interested and would like to cuss and discuss, feel free to call me at (559)
Sergeant (ret.), Kings County Sheriff’s Office, CA