Can You Drill Out A Door Lock?

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When it comes to a lock on a door, we are all familiar with the common ways of unlocking it. If you have a key, you can open it quite easily. If you have a credit card, you will find it impossible (the movies lied to us). You could charge at it and knock down the door (again, the movies make this look easy). But, what do you do if you cannot get the lock to unlock?

You may think about picking the lock (have you been watching a lot of movies) or you could drill it. Doing so will destroy a large part of the lock, so this should only be used as a last resort, but that may be all you have.  It is not too difficult to drill out a lock. Stay with us, and we will walk you through the process step by step.

Preparing The Lock

Preparing The Lock

Before you drill out the lock, you need to make sure that you are able to drill out the lock. There are some locks which are built with safety devices (there are criminals out there), and they will prevent you from drilling them out. In this event, you may have to resort to other methods.

If the lock is one in your home, then the chances are that you will be fine to drill through it. If you are unsure, then consult with a local hardware store, a locksmith, or the manufacturer.

Be sure to disable any alarms if the door is connected to an alarm system.

Be Prepared

You cannot drill out a lock if you do not have the proper equipment. You do not need to have a lot of equipment at hand, but you should have it all before you start.

You will need a powerful drill which will be able to get through the lock. Make sure that the drill has a variety of speeds and is fully charged. You will also need a variety of drill bits. You may not know what size you need until you are drilling.

You will want to start with a 1/8” drill bit and work up from there. You also need a hammer and a center punch to start the hole.

Center Punch

Use the hammer and center punch to hammer a starter hole in the lock, just above the keyhole. This will allow you to get started with drilling in the right place. Keep the starter punch close to the keyhole but just above it. This will allow you to drill through the pin tumblers.


Use the 1/8” drill bit that you connected to your drill and start to drill a hole at the starter point. Try to stay steady and drill in a straight line, keeping the drill bit horizontal with the floor.

Most locks have five or six pins to drill through. You should be able to feel this as you are drilling. There will be some resistance every time you drill through a pin.

Every time you drill through a pin, or if you have any resistance, then reverse the drill and pull it out to clear any metal filings from the hole which you are drilling.

Opening The Lock

Work slowly as you are drilling through the pins. You want to keep the drill as straight as possible for the best results.

Once you have made it through with the first drill bit, switch that one out for a larger drill bit and repeat the drilling process. Do this until you have gone through the lock with a 1/4-inch drill bit.

Opening The Lock

Once you have drilled through the pins, you should be able to open the door without a key. Grab a flat-head screwdriver with a head which will fit slightly into the keyhole. Push the screwdriver into the lock and turn the lock in the same direction as you would turn the key.

If you have drilled the hole correctly, then the pins should not be able to stop you from turning the lock, and the door will open. Well done, you.

If you still cannot turn the lock, then you may have to destroy the entire lock or hire a professional. Try using larger and larger drill bits to drill through more of the lock. You may also have to end up drilling through multiple parts of the lock until you destroy the entire lock and can remove it completely.

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