If you’re in the process of planning your Thanksgiving right now, I’d like to invite you to take a short break. It’s time for a different kind of roast.

I don’t like padlocks. Just the fact that they’re external locks, and thus removable, opens up a load of security issues you don’t see in things like deadbolts. A weak lock can be pulled off a door. A weak chain can be broken. To expose some of these basic flaws, I’ve pulled up some videos featuring one of the most common brands on the market today: Master Lock.

In communities of hobbyist lockpickers, Master Lock has become something of a joke. They sell a lot of locks for $20 or less, with the trade off being that there are a lot of strange yet simple ways to open them.

We’ll start with one of my favorites, which is the soda can shim. This involves cutting any old soda can into an M shape and rolling it up. The shim is then inserted into the open space around the shackle and, with some force, tricks the lock into opening. Some of these locks will claim to be shim proof because there’s a locking mechanism on both sides of the shackle, seemingly only opened with a key. More often than not, you can overcome this by just making a second shim and mimicking the method on the other side. Moreover, this method won’t damage the lock, so someone could be in and out without you ever noticing.



Moving past shims to a more traditional idea of lockpicking, here’s a method that involves making a key out of a plastic ziptie. It requires a little more skill and the purchase of zipties, but it’s one more way to get through a Master Lock in minutes.

Okay, this one is really good. It takes some work, but you can use the tab from a can of cat food to pick a lock. It’s the same basic method you’d use with a typical pick kit, but without having to actually purchase one or deal with the legality of pick ownership (thus perfect for your common cat burglar). It’s probably the most niche item I’ve seen successfully used as a lockpick, and definitely the funniest.



“But 90% of burglars don’t pick locks!” you say. And that’s a fair point. Certainly, Master Lock’s shackles are strong against bolt cutters, and their bodies are solid when it comes to power drills. If you were the hero in a Western and tried to shoot these locks off, you’d probably get a ricochet bullet and a still-locked door.

But hear me out: have you tried a hammer?



Master Lock is popular because it’s cheap, but you can’t cut corners like this when it comes to your security. Invest in a security system, spend the money on a proper safe. Many people say that locks only serve to keep honest people honest, and, at the end of the day, they’re not wrong. If your locks fail, you should always have another line of defense.