How To Drill Out A Lock

How To Drill Out A Lock | 6 Easy Steps ||

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How to drill out a lock? When you fail to use other techniques to open your lock, drilling out a lock is the last resort for you. But the process is more cost-effective than damaging the door. In this type of situation, you have to make a rapid decision and act on that. If you are in this kind of situation or just want to know the method so that you can avoid any problem in the future, this is the right place for you. We will discuss how to drill out a lock without damaging your door. 

How To Drill Out A Lock
How To Drill Out A Lock |

How To Drill Out A Lock

Before you start drilling, you will need the following instruments in your hand. 


  • Check the type of lock you have.
  • A speed drill with variable speed.
  • An HSS 1/8-inch drill bit.
  • Next 1/4-inch HSS drill bit.
  • Finally, use 1/2 –inch HSS drill bit. 

Can I Drill Out A Lock?

There are a few things to consider before drilling out the lock. The first is the most important thing, the type of lock. You have to check the lock type you have. Tumbler locks are easier to drill through, but if it has any additional security devices, be prepared for some tough challenges. 

You Should NOT

If your lock comes with anti-drill pins, think again before drilling. These locks can tackle this type of thing, and if you drill through the rotating cam just beyond the last pin, you won’t be able to open the lock at any cost. 

Also, if your lock has a hardened steel pin or a ball bearing in the middle pin, these types of locks are too difficult to drill.

Precautions Before You  Drill Out A Lock


Precautions Before You Drill Out A Lock
Precautions Before You Drill Out A Lock |

Pick Up The Lock

You can use raking for picking a lock, especially if you are not sure of the type of lock you are dealing with. If you can’t feel the inner engineering of the lock and you don’t have sufficient knowledge of picking manually, try a pick gun. It will save you some time.

Bump The Lock

You can apply this method to certain types of locks. It is nothing new and was developed back in the ’70s to make it effortless for locksmiths to disassemble locks. 

Slip a bump key two-thirds into the lock. Tap with a hammer in the correct spot on the key, and then the lock chamber should pop out. If you can not work out after 20 or so tries, it probably won’t, no matter how many attempts you make.

Bring a Replacement Lock

Make sure you have a replacement lock to slot in when you drill the lock. 

Get The Owner’s Permission

When you drill through a lock, you will destroy it. So getting the owner’s consent is vital. Also, make them understand that you have tried every other necessary means to open that.

What Will You Need To Drill Out A Lock

You won’t need precision tools, but it does require a well-maintained drill and drill bit with multiple sizes.

  • A drill with various speed settings. 
  • HSS drill bits. Start with a 1/8 inch bit for the initial hole and a 1/4 inch to step it up.
  • A hole punch for helping the bit to get some guidance when you start drilling.
  • A hammer for striking the hole punch.
  • A Screwdriver (flat-headed) that fits the key slot of the lock.
  • A plastic sheet for collecting the filings.

How to Drill Out A Lock

1. Hammer a Point For Guidance

At the top of the lock, place the punch just below the middle of the outer and inner lock. Sometimes it is called the shear line. This is the exact height you would need to drill into the tumblers.

With a hammer, create 2 or 3 firm taps on the end of the punch until there is a visible indentation.

2. Start Drilling

Now start drilling a hole through the lock cylinder using the 1/8 inch drill bit. This will destroy the pins inside the lock, help you to force it open. Most locks come with five tumbler pins, but there are some with six or more.

Each pin you hit will increases the resistance of the drill. You would feel this ease off as each pin gets drilled through.

3. Apply Steady Pressure

As you drill, don’t rush and apply steady pressure, ensuring that the drill is kept level at all times. Damaging the lock further is the last thing you would want. Set a low setting to the drill for an accurate job.

4. Change The Bit

Once you have drilled the first hole, switch to a ¼-inch bit or any size you think will fit. This will further break up the pins, making sure the lock is easier to open.

5. Insert The Screwdriver

Turn the mechanism using a screwdriver the same way you typically do with the key. When you drill accurately, the lock should turn. If not, you would need to take some destructive action. 

6. Destroy The Lock Mechanism

Get  3/4 inch drill bit, and drill through the entire assembly. You could utilize a hole saw or a unique tubular lock bit if you want. That process should open the door.

How To Drill Out a Lock When a Key In It

When you’ve put the lock and can not get it out,  drilling is the last thing you can do. It will damage the lock beyond repair if you get it wrong.

1. Choose The Right Drill Bit

Use a 1/4 inch bit and drill into the cylinder to the depth that the key is rest, as you can guess. The cylinder works as the bit of the lock that rotates when you twist the key. 

2. Turn The Lock Mechanism

After removing enough debris from the lock cylinder, remove as much metal and any pins you can to so that you can turn the lock mechanism to unlock.

3. Buy a Replacement Cylinder and New Key

After removing the cylinder, please take it to a lock specialist to buy a replacement.

Is it Possible to Drill Out a Master Lock?

Drill Out a Master Lock
Drill Out a Master Lock |

Yes, it is possible to drill out a master lock. However, it won’t work on all of them. Use a drill and a 1/4 inch drill bit and drill through the center of the mechanism. That way, it destroys the locking mechanism.

This is different for a tumbler lock because you are aiming for the upper part near where the key slot is.

Here the danger is the drilling won’t open the lock and will disable the lock forever. 

Can a Lock Drilling Template Make The Drilling Easier?

A drilling template provides you a guide on where to insert the drill instead of guessing or finding the correct spot by trial and error. They certainly speed up the process and make the task straightforward. They are widely available and vary with various lock styles, so it’s essential to know the type of lock you have.

Tips on Drilling Locks

  • Use lubricants like water or synthetic oil to ease the passage of the drill bit. It will also help to not getting stuck in the lock.
  • Always go steady and ensure the drill is in the lowest setting. 
  • Make sure the drill is straight. If you go at an angle, you could damage other parts of the lock.
  • Don’t blow inside the lock to clear the debris.
  • Use HSS drill bits. They have the strength to chew through the metal inside the lock.
  • Use sticky tape across the punch hole to provide the drill purchase when starting.

More Helpful Tips On Tools

Remember, you can not drill out a lock unless you have the perfect tool from an excellent brand. 

Makita Power tools

Makita Corporation was founded in 1915. Since then, the company has been manufacturing powerful and efficient products at 10 operating plants operating in 8 countries. Makita tools’ top-class quality and durability are powered by the company’s strong R&D capabilities and have earned the faith of DIYers and professionals worldwide. 

Makita Power tools
Makita Power tools |

Makita manufactures its power tools in plants across the globe, and its main office is in Japan.

The motto of Makita’s manufacturing process is ‘powerful motor.’ Without a good motor, no power tool can perform efficiently. Therefore, Makita leaves no stone unturned to make sure their motors are of the best quality. The company gathers the absolute best raw materials and components for building the most efficient and powerful motors you can imagine.

Makita knows a power tool is like an investment, and the relation between company and buyer is a long-lasting one. Makita respects this relationship and does everything to maintain it at any cost. 

You can use Makita drill and HSS bits to drill out a lock with ease. 

Makita products

  • Cordless Tools 
  • Power tools 
  • Petrol Equipment 
  • Cordless tool’s battery 
  • Accessories 

Dewalt Drill Driver

Dewalt is one of the leaders in the power tools industry. The company manufactures high-standard cordless and corded drill drivers and many other accessories. 

Dewalt Drill Driver
Dewalt Drill Driver |

DEWALT offers a full range of cordless and corded drills to meet your every drilling need. Including; stud and joist, 1/2 inch – 3/8 inch variable speed corded drills, and cordless drills in various voltages. Each drill is intelligently designed with features to meet your drilling needs of specific environments and applications.

They have angle drills, standard drills, hammer drills, and other special drills and drivers. For drilling out a lock, Dewalt drill drivers are the best you can get. 

Cordless Impact Driver

Cordless Impact Driver
Cordless Impact Driver |

Like a power drill, an impact driver is also a  handheld tool you can use to drive screws. An impact driver has considerably more rotational force than a power drill. An impact driver can create a strong torque capable of driving even large screws and other fasteners into hard materials quickly and easily.


Drill out a lock is not a straightforward task but proper technique and understanding the lock can make the job easier. We hope our tutorial will help you to drill out a lock without any problem. Please use other methods before you drill out a lock, as it will destroy the lock forever. Also, use proper tools from a reputed company to not worsen the situation in the process. 

Best of luck with your lock- see you in another tutorial. 

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