Lock Bypassing: Bump Keys

In this instalment of lock bypassing we will be talking about bump keys.  A bump key is basically a key that has been filed down to the lowest depth.  They are used to jolt the pins of the lock above the shear point by applying tension on the bump key, and then bumping it.  Bump keys will work on multiple locks, but they are not universal, for every make or model you might need a different bump key.

Obtaining a Bump Key

Bump keys can be purchased legally from a variety of vendors online.  When considering which set to purchase, take into account what locks you are planning on bypassing and what locks are in your area in the first place (again, we are not advocating breaking the law in any way, only legal scavenging for the sake of survival).  For example, when out shopping at a store that you might want to gain entry to after disaster strikes, take note of what brand of lock is on the door.  If you live in an area with a high amount of seasonally empty vacation rental homes, you might want to get a set of locks that is intended to open residential doors as well, giving you access to potential shelter and supplies that are not going to have large crowds looting them which could be a threat to you.

Making a Bump Key

It is also possible to make bump keys yourself.  But to do this with much success you will need to have an actual key for the same make and preferably the same model as the lock you want to bypass.  You do not need to copy the key, since that won’t work for you anyway unless it is for the same lock, but you do need to get the spacing on the teeth correctly to lift the pins, and you need to get the depth of all of the teeth down to the lowest depth on the key you are using as a guide.  You should also file down the “shoulder” of the key so that it can enter deeper into the lock than an ordinary key would.  Adding a rubber washer in place of the shoulder will give you an added bounce and help jolt the pins in the lock above the shear line.


As with anything you will gain proficiency and skill the more you practice with a bump key.  Consider not only purchasing or making a set of keys but also getting some locks to practice on, including a lock designed for practice that allows you to view the internal components of the lock as you are working.  Hopefully, bump keys will be a survival item that you never need to use, but it is better to be prepared than to be in need.

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