What is decoding?

Decoding is a technique used to decode the combination of a lock. As impressioning, it allows to get a usable key.

This process comes in many versions and applies to a very large number of models, brands, but also systems.

Thus, we can use decoding processes on groove locks, disc padlocks, pin cannons or even safe locks!

Depending on the systems and flaws found, we prefer an optical decoding, manual, by means of a decoder or by taking a fingerprint … There are many processes.

Many use this practice without even being able to name it, without measuring its potential. So that we miss the flaws without “seeing” them. Decoding techniques are often the most effective to open high security locks.

Some examples

Here are 2 examples of rudimentary visual decoding, one of them is voluntarily easy:

At first glance this photo does not reveal any information, yet we already get the placement heights even though we have not yet tried to lockpick them!

Indeed, the cylinder on the left has its key tied. Just look at the combination of this key to know the placement heights. The first and third are high sizes unlike the fifth which is very low:

We also notice that this cylinder has 6 pins. As a lockpicking technique it is advisable to use the key to progress. After all, it is the exploitation of a flaw like any other. As long as the combinatorial part of the key is visible, it is an exploitable resource.

As for the padlock on the right, it also reveals a placement height, it is the first pin whose shear line is seen.


We know, simply by looking at the padlock, without even touching it, that its first pin will place in a low position.

Of course this visual decoding technique also applies to cylinders:

To sum up

These modest decoding methods are deliberately simplistic examples, but we can already see the effectiveness of the technique…

The art of decoding makes it possible to open systems that are extremely protected against lockpicking, it is often fast and efficient. However, targets must be studied before achieving its ends.

It’s up to you to study the systems and find the flaws…

And of course to come to the ACF to share them with us!


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