Believe it or not, but lock picking isn’t all that difficult. Seriously. And the best way to find out is by trying. Which is exactly what the Southord ST-23 lock pick set does. And best of all it negates that sticky part; jail (or a variation there of depending on your record).

So keep reading my Southord ST-23 review to learn more.


Summary: The ST-23 makes it easy to learn how to pick a lock sans sentencing time.

Price: $99
Available: Now
Model: ST-23

What We Liked:

  • Easy to setup and start using without much education
  • Tools are included
  • 5 difficulty levels to ensure progression

What We Didn’t:

  • Base wouldn’t stay secure
  • Zero storage for the included tools

Design and Build

The ST-23 arrives in two wooden pieces. Assembly is simple. Just use the included screw, washer and bolt (plus a philips screwdriver) to attach the base to the stand. Unfortunately, the washer does little to keep the tension in place, and due to the type of wood (particle board) and the laminate finish, no amount of tightening will prevent the top piece from spinning. But nevertheless the tighter the better as I found during my testing.

Also included in the box are 4 picks, 1 tension tool, 1 key and 5 lock cylinders each numbered based on their difficulty. 1 is the easiest (1 pin) where as 5 (5 pins) is the hardest. The cylinders quickly and easily slip into place and remain secure during lock picking thanks to a screw, which can be tightened or loosened by hand thanks to a plastic grip. You won’t have too apply to much tension here, unlike the base, thanks to plastic housing that holds the cylinder.

Frustratingly, there are no slots to store the key, tension tool or the 4 picks. Moreover, the holes that are designed to hold each cylinder aren’t milled deep enough to prevent them from tipping over, largely negating their usefulness. Why they didn’t just drill clean through the base is beyond me.

Learning to Pick a Lock

Now, you’d think that lock picking was some sort of esoteric skill. And if you thought so, you wouldn’t be too far from the truth. But the reality is, it’s something you can pick up and learn in a matter of minutes, provided of course you understand the core functions of a lock. Some of this information is detailed inside what looks like a photocopied hand book, but plenty (and better) info can be found on the web. A quick search of YouTube will cue you into the process, as well.

In short, inside of a lock are pins. Without a key in place, the pins sit unevenly inside the lock and thus prevent you from turning the lock. Insert a key, and its grooves move the pins just enough to make them all evenly match and slide uninterrupted inside the lock. So when you’re picking a lock, you’re attempting to both turn (tension tool) the lock and slightly move the pin until is slips into place. You continuously perform the same function to each subsequent pin starting from the back and moving to the front.

The Southord ST-23 is makes it easy to learn the above process, as the first cylinder includes just one pin. #2 isn’t too difficult, but helps build confidence and helps you understand that you need to start with the back pin and move forward (ideally). #3 is when things become more difficult and separate those that just started and those that understand how a lock works. #4 and #5 aren’t for the timid, and any one who is able to solve them in a matter of minutes should be awarded with the status of proficient.

Southord ST-23 Review Final Thoughts

At $100, the Southord ST-23 is arguably a bit on the expensive side given the issues I found with the base. But at least one of those can be probably be solved with the right type of washer. Perhaps a future version could include a few slots for the tools, or at the very least a storage bag. Nevertheless, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better gift for men for those that link to tinker, or understand how our modern world works.  To that end, it will be interesting to see what happens to the traditional lock as the more and more smart locks begins to trickle into people’s smart homes.

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