Championship disciplines under the microscope: Freestyle



Another discipline we want to introduce to our readers, lockpickers, partners and sponsors is freestyle. This discipline has been a part of our championships right from the beginning. It this disciplines the locks can be opened by any tools as long as they are nondestructive. The most often used tools used by the contestants are elektropicks, pick-guns, standard picks or bump keys.


Lockpicking using picks

Opening cylinders and padlocks with picks and tension tools is the main approach used by hobby lockpickers. The most common techniques include single pin picking (SPP), raking, rocking a jiggling.

There are many different types of picks. They differ by shape, which is the most important factor that decides for which method they are suitable and also by material, length quality of manufacturing, etc. Some manufacturers produce the same picks in different thicknesses, sometimes using different colors of handles for different thicknesses. Of course, the overall quality of picks influences their price.

Dynamical methods

In these methods, the key pins and driver pins are not moved together as in standard picking, but rather we are using a kinetic energy transfer from the tool (applicator) via the key pin to the driver pin, which leads to separation of the pins. To do this, we can use some of the standard picks or specialized tools like pick/snap guns or electropicks.

One of the most well-known dynamic method is bumping, which uses a modified key, a bump key, to transfer the energy to the pins. This method can no longer be used in modern high-security cylinders.

These methods are described in more detail in our „Summer School of Lockpicking“, in lessons 4-9, where you can also take a quiz of your knowledge.
An updated version of the lessons are being prepared and will be available on youtube.


In 2017 the Czech record was broken, by a member of the team of the Association of Czech Lockpickers. Petr Wittner opened the lock in 0,47 second. This record has not been beaten yet. Maybe someone will manage to do that in this year’s competition.

The Association of Czech lockpickers is providing locks for the competition. The contestants have 5 minutes to open the locks. After all lockpickers had a chance to open all the locks, the first 2 – 4 contestants from each table advance to the A finals and next  2 – 4 contestants from each table advance to the B finals, other contestants are eliminated. Complete rules of the competition are written below.


Allowed tools

  • Any nondestructive opening tool
  • Vice, or other holding tools (optional)
  • Pen and paper (optional)


  • Arriving early (at least 15 minutes before the start of the competition)
  • Every contestant needs to have their own equipment!


  • New, unused, euro cylinders are provided by the organizers.
  • Based on the number of contestants, qualification groups will be formed. The groups and seating places will be assigned randomly.
  • In each round, the contestants have 5 minutes to open their lock.
  • For each cylinder opened, the contestant gains one point. The opening times will are added together.
  • For each unopened cylinder, 5 minutes are added to the total of opening times.
  • The results of both qualification and finals are based on the number of points obtained. In case of a tie, the total opening time is considered.
  • From each qualification group (based on the number of participants) 2-4 contestants advance to the “A finals”, and the following 2-4 contestants to the “B finals”. There will be usually 6-12 contestants in both the final groups.

Additional info

  • The maximum number of participants is 48 (in the order of registration).
  • Before each round starts, the contestant may try out the tension tool and insert it in the cylinder, no other tool can be inserted before the start.
  • The contestant may choose whether he/she wishes to hold the cylinder in hand or use the vise. The cylinder needs to be mounted to the vise before the start of each round.
  • During the round, the contestant may freely switch between the opening tools.
  • The cylinder is considered open when the core is turned at least 45 degrees and there is no tool inserted.
  • When the contestant opens the lock, they indicate this by pressing the button, saying “Open!” out loud and raising the hand. The referee then tells the contestant the opening time and the contestant writes it down into the provided sheet.
  • If the cylinder is damaged, the responsible contestant will be disqualified.
  • The contestants who opened their locks are not allowed to disturb the other contestants.
  • For each cylinder model, there are 3 individual locks with different bitting, so that each group may compete using the same model of the cylinder.
  • The cylinders that were not opened during the qualification or were too easy may be replaced for the finals.