How to Pick a Circle Lock: A Comprehensive Guide

how to pick a circle lock

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Picking a circle lock, also known as a disc detainer lock, involves a specialized skill set and tools. These locks are known for their high security and are commonly used in padlocks, bike locks, and other security devices. NonStop Locksmith in Kansas City is here to guide you through the intricacies of unlocking these challenging mechanisms. Here a detailed guide about how to pick a circle lock?

Understanding Circle Locks

Circle locks differ from traditional pin tumbler locks in their mechanism. They use several rotating discs as opposed to pins. Each disc needs to be rotated to a specific position for the lock to open. This design provides an added layer of security, making them more resistant to picking and other forms of lock bypass.

Tools You’ll Need

To pick a circle lock, you’ll need a disc detainer lock pick. This tool is specifically designed to manipulate the discs within the lock. It consists of a tension tool and a pick. The tension tool is used to apply rotational pressure to the lock, while the pick is used to rotate individual discs to the correct alignment.

The Picking Process

  1. Insert the Tension Tool: First, insert the tension tool into the lock. It’s crucial to apply tension in the correct direction, which is usually clockwise.
  2. Locate the First Disc: Use the pick to locate the first binding disc. You’ll feel resistance when you’ve found the right one.
  3. Rotate the Disc: Carefully rotate the disc with the pick until you feel it drop into the correct position. This is often indicated by a slight click or a change in resistance.
  4. Repeat for Remaining Discs: Continue this process for each disc in the lock, always starting with the binding disc.

Circle Lock Picking

Step Action Tips
1 Insert tension tool Apply steady, clockwise tension
2 Locate first binding disc Feel for resistance to identify
3 Rotate disc Listen for a click or change in resistance
4 Repeat for all discs Start with the binding disc each time
5 Test the lock If it doesn’t open, recheck disc positions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I’ve set a disc correctly?

When a disc is correctly set, you might feel a subtle click or a drop in resistance. It’s a delicate sensation, so pay close attention to the feedback from your tools.

What do I do if the lock won’t open after setting all the discs?

Sometimes, discs can slightly move out of position. If the lock doesn’t open, carefully go through each disc again. Pay extra attention to the feedback from each disc to identify any that may have shifted.

Can all circle locks be picked this way?

Most standard circle locks can be picked using this method. However, some high-security models have additional features, like false gates, that make them more challenging. Experience and practice are key in these cases.

Is it legal to pick a circle lock?

Lock picking is legal in many places as long as you have permission to pick the lock in question. Always ensure you’re practicing on locks you own or have explicit permission to manipulate.


Picking a circle lock is a skill that requires patience, practice, and the right tools. By understanding the mechanism, using the correct techniques, and paying attention to the feedback from the lock, you can increase your chances of successfully picking a circle lock. If you’re in Kansas City and in need of professional locksmith services, whether it’s for your car, home, or business, NonStop Locksmith is here to help. From emergency lockout situations to replacing car keys by VIN number online, our team is equipped to handle all your security needs. For those who’ve faced the frustration of a broken key, or need guidance on child-proofing door locks, we have the expertise to assist. Remember, when it comes to your security, professional advice and service are paramount. Contact us today for all your locksmith needs in Kansas City.

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