How to Pick a Masterlock Combination

by Kristin Jaroma; Updated September 26, 2017

If you've forgotten or misplaced the combination to your Master Lock, you don't need to hire a locksmith or buy a new lock. As long as your Master Lock has a keyhole in the back, you can attempt to unlock it yourself. With a little manipulation with two simple tools, you can pick the lock and open it over the course of several minutes.

Items you will need

  • Master Lock
  • Toothpick
  • Tension wrench
Step 1

Turn the Master Lock around and upside down so that the keyhole in the back of the lock is facing toward you and the metal loop of the lock is facing down.

Step 2

Look inside the keyhole and take note of where the pins are located, which is toward the top of the inverted keyhole. Take your tension wrench and slide it into the keyhole away from the pins.

Step 3

Turn the tension wrench upward inside the keyhole to create a slight amount of pressure within the lock. Continue to hold the tension wrench in place with one hand.

Step 4

Insert the toothpick into the top of the keyhole with your free hand.

Step 5

Press the toothpick up against the pins inside the keyhole.

Step 6

Slide the toothpick up and down inside the keyhole multiple times. While inserting the toothpick, apply various amounts of pressure on the pins. This process is called raking. As you rake the pins with the toothpick over the course of several minutes, you'll start to feel the tension wrench move a little. This will occur as the lock is slowly beginning to give. After a few minutes of raking, the lock will give completely and will pop open.


  • This maneuver is only for legal purposes. Never pick a lock that doesn't belong to you or you could face legal action from the lock's owner.

About the Author

Working from Florida, Kristin Jaroma began professionally writing in 2010 and has written political articles published in "Accuracy in Academia." She is a journalism intern with the American Journalism Center, a program run jointly with Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia. Jaroma is studying for her Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Ave Maria University.

Photo Credits

  • Combination Lock image by Mario Ragsac Jr. from