How To Drill Out A Door Lock

How To Drill Out A Door Lock
  • Author: Amanda Arnold
  • Posted On: January 12, 2022
  • Updated On: August 21, 2023

Drilling a hole in a lock should always be the final resort. It must be replaced after being drilled, which is an additional cost. However, it is a lot less expensive than breaking down the door to get in.

It’s time to drill through the lock after you’ve exhausted all other options and double-checked the bottom of your luggage for the keys. Need some tips on what to do if you’re locked out? We’ll show you how to drill a lock open.

Drilling through some locks is easier than picking them, especially if you need to get through them quickly! To utilize this procedure, you need one large power drill and a variety of drill bits.

If you drill a lock, the locking plug will be destroyed, but the mechanism should remain functional. You can learn to inspect the lock and approach the work properly, using the appropriate tools if you have to do it.

Things To Consider Before Drilling Out

Measure The Area

Before you drill out the lock, think about a few things. The first is a fundamental one that has to do with the sort of lock. You should determine the sort of lock you have. Tumbler locks are the simplest to drill through, but drilling may not be the best option if the lock has any additional security features.

Know About The Working Process Of Lock

The cylinder contains the locking mechanism. The key’s ridges placed into a lock make contact with the spring-loaded pins. Cylinder locks have a spring-loaded mechanism and a set of pins that prevent rotation until the proper key is inserted in the proper order and pattern.

Working Process Of Lock

The cylinder will rotate the bolt when all the pins are appropriately positioned, allowing the door to open. But the pins within a lock won’t line up if the lock is broken or the key is lost. To unlock the lock, these pins need to be broken with your drill bit.

Choose A Suitable Drill For Drilling Out A Lock

Choose A Suitable Drill For Drilling Out A Lock

Despite having a soft metal exterior, locks usually feature parts made of harder steel inside. The use of a strong and sturdy drill bit is therefore essential. Cobalt drill bits or tungsten carbide-tipped drill bits work well for drilling locks. Bronze alloy and hardened steel lock components can be drilled using tungsten drill bits.

But cutting through extremely abrasive and difficult materials is a common application for cobalt drill bits. For drilling into steel, cobalt bits were created specifically. The hardest metals, including titanium, stainless steel, and cast iron, may also be easily cut.

Raking And Bumping Are The Best Options

 Raking And Bumping Are The Best Options

Raking is the ideal approach to begin picking a lock, especially if you’re unsure what kind of lock you’re working with. Try a pick gun if you can’t feel the lock’s inner workings and you’ve exhausted your hand-picking skills. It could help you save some time.

Bumping the lock only works on specific kinds of locks. It’s not a new technology; it was created in the 1970s to make it easier for locksmiths to remove locks. Two-thirds into the lock, insert a bump key.

The lock chamber should pop out by hammering it at the right place on the key. If it hasn’t worked after several attempts, it isn’t likely to work any time soon.

Replace The Door Lock

Replace The Door Lock

Make sure you have a replacement lock ready to go when you drill the hole in the lock. Drilling through a lock will ruin it, therefore, securing the owner’s permission is essential. You also don’t want them to feel compelled to agree. Ascertain that they understand you have exhausted all other options.

Steps To Drill Out A Door Lock

Drilling a lock does not necessitate using precision instruments but requires a well-maintained drill and various drill bit sizes.

Collect Needed Tools

  • A Punch
  • Hammer
  •  Marker
  • Drill bit
  • A lock-drilling template
  • A flat-headed screwdriver

1) Inspect The Door Lock

Inspect The Door Lock

A hardened steel center pin is used in tubular locks, whereas a ball bearing is used in the middle pin to prevent drilling. Drilling will be ineffectual in both cases, necessitating alternative lock-picking methods.

Consult a local hardware store or locksmith if you’re unsure if the lock has a hardened center pin. Give them as much information as you can about the lock.

2) Hammer At A Centre Point

Hammer At A Centre Point

Hammer will serve as a drilling reference point. The drill bit should be kept on the center plug if the point is below the shear line, which is the dividing line between the inner and outer cylinders of the lock. This should be high enough to drill through the pin tumblers successfully.

You can buy a lock-drilling template if you have trouble finding the appropriate spot for your guiding hole. Locksmith businesses and hardware stores have templates for a range of locks.

3) Drill The Hole At A Guidance Point

Drill The Hole At A Guidance Point

The pins inside the lock cylinder are destroyed, allowing you to force the lock open. Most locks have five tumbler pins to drill through, but others have as many as six or more. As the drill bit comes into contact with each pin, you should notice an increase in resistance, followed by a decrease in resistance as the bit cuts through the pin.

If the drill binds while drilling, you may need to reverse it and remove it from the lock to clear away the excess metal filings that result from drilling through metal. Locksmith services and hardware stores sell lock-drilling templates for a wide range of locks.

4) Turn The Locking Mechanism With A Flat-Headed Screwdriver

Turn The Locking Mechanism With A Flat-Headed Screwdriver

Turn the locking mechanism in the other direction as you would with a key. The locking mechanism will turn if you drill correctly, and you will get access to the previously locked door. If the lock still won’t turn, use the instructions below to destroy the lock cylinder.

Some locks are more difficult to open and require drilling through the lock assembly. Use a larger drill bit or a specially designed cylindrical tubular lock bit. Hole saws, typically used to drill holes in doors to install locks, are similar to tubular lock bits.

Alternative Ways To Unlock A Stuck Lock



Even for seasoned locksmiths, picking a lock is challenging, although it is sometimes successful, especially with relatively basic locks. If you know the lock’s manufacturer and model, try searching for lockpick videos for that specific model on Google.

Use the rake lock picking approach since it is simpler to master and works more frequently than other methods. In some states, lockpicks are forbidden.

Use A Lock Pick Gun

 Use A Lock Pick Gun

All pins are released simultaneously using a lock pick pistol, briefly releasing the cylinder and enabling the lock to be opened with a tension wrench. These tools are more affordable than a locksmith and would be worth a shot, but they only work on pin-tumbler locks, and most locks do not respond to them.


Drilling a lock to obtain entry is a less expensive option, especially if you do it yourself, but you risk causing more damage. Using a professional will improve the job’s efficiency and speed and cost you more money.

Whatever method you prefer, the most important thing is understanding your locks. Using ball bearings or anti-drill pins to drill a lock may result in a costly replacement, and you may end up paying a professional for a task that doesn’t need to be done.

Avatar photo
Author: Amanda Arnold

Amanda has been working with ConstructionHow since 2021. Her experience spans over 5 years in the creative niche such as home decor and trends, landscaping, renovations, and custom architectural values. As a home designer expert, she has a keen eye for the latest home improvement trends with accurate facts that readers find impossible to ignore. Being invested in home-building trends is how she has gained her lucrative expertise exploring more to bring a positive ambiance for all homeowners (and even tenants!). Currently, she lives in a beautiful beach home, a source of fascination for her.