How to Choose a Lock that is Bump and Pick Resistant

Updated on March 29, 2018

Key Bumping Video


Key Bumping is a means of simple entry that requires little skill. A general rule of thumb, the cheaper the lock, the easier it is probably going to be to bump. Therefore, you tend to get what you pay for when shopping for a bump-resistant lock. Following are strategies you can use to inhibit or defeat key bumping.

Most Effective: Get a Totally Keyless Lock

Some mechanical or electronic locks do not use a key at all and therefore are completely immune to key bumping. The most secure example would be the Kaba Mas CDX-09 which uses a dial outside like a safe lock. Sargent and Greenleaf offers the "Brute" mechanical rim lock to compete with the CDX-09. The CDX-09 is an electronic lock that generates its own power, used widely in federal government applications.

Much cheaper are the Kaba Ilco 900, 6200, and 7100 series locks.

Security professionals know that anything that is put on with tools can be taken off with tools, but as far as key bumping goes, these locks offer no opportunity.

Effective: Get a Pick Resistant Lock

Pick resistant locks have an extra set of tumblers or locking apparatus so that in effect the key has to do two things at once. Because of their resistance to manipulation, these locks are also resistant to key bumping.

One of the most popular pick resistant locks is the Medeco. The pin tumblers in this lock must not only be raised to a certain level, they must be turned right or left or not turned at all in order to allow the key to turn. An effective set of bump keys would need to have several thousand variations of angles in order to turn the pins properly so that they could be bumped.

Mul-T-Lock cylinders use a pin-within-a-pin principal. Since the keys are drilled to precise depths to operate the pin tumblers, bump keys would be exceedingly difficult to make.

Another popular pick resistant lock is the Schlage Primus. This lock uses a second set of pins so that the key must do the job of 2 keys. This system is not quite as secure as the Medeco since the keys are similar within a geographical area. If a key bumper were to get the blank, they could conceivably make a bump key that would work.

This principal is similar to the one below. Both rely to an extent on luck.

Somewhat Effective: Get a Lock in an Uncommon Keyway

Shown in the illustration at right is the part of a lock cylinder called the 'keyway.' The keyway is the shape of the hole that will accept the key.

One way to inhibit bumping is to get a lock with a keyway the key bumper is not likely to have. Bump keys must be the same keyway as the lock or they won't fit in. If they won't fit in the lock, they can't be used to bump the lock.

If you get an odd enough keyway, the key bumper would perhaps have to take a photo of your lock, identify the keyway, get a blank, and then return to bump your lock. All of this adds risk to the act of key bumping, providing more chances to be caught or identified.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Salas 5 months ago

        I have been a constant target of some deranged, disturbed pervert! Just like Jeannette Martin stated the police use the poor excuse of no forced entry! All meanwhile we spend ridiculously amounts of money on "pick,bump,drill resistant high SECURITY grade 1 commercial locks! To secure our home and belongings! What is left behind is destroyed vandalized ! If anyone knows of a high security deadbolt or method of keeping my home 100% secure please do inform and educate me!..there has to be a solution.

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        jeannette martin 10 months ago

        I had the protect 2 deadbolt and they got through.....I thought I was secure. once in the house they found the key card and stole the extra keys......another waste of money. in south Florida we have locksmiths that bump locks, and like the protect2, picked. there is no security in this country.

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        Why don't you get yourself a lock without a keyway , meaning a round keyway . 10 months ago

        Yes you won't be able to pick it or even bump it there were no tumblers in the lock!

      • profile image

        J. Martin 13 months ago

        try calling Medeco locks and ask them if their high security lock is bump and pick proof.....I was told that their locks are made so that if someone looses their keys that they can get in to their property. I have spent over $20,000 in deadbolts by well known locks, all were bypassed. Why don't lock manufacturers make secure locks......if you are not smart enough to have extra keys, why should I have my locks compromised. The locks that securely lock your house are made for government use......I need help. I invite any lock manufacturer to give me ( I will pay for it) a deadbolt lock that is secure from bumping or picking. The person that keeps getting in my house has stolen almost everything I own and the Ft. Lauderdale police department don't care because they don't see signs of forced entry. The FBI considers lock bumping as forced entry. We have a problem in this country and no one cares until someone bumps their locks. I had the alloy protect 2 installed, they picked the lock and then stole a copy of the key. (by far the best lock that I have used, but can be compromised.

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        jeannette martin 14 months ago

        The CDX-09 and 10 is sold to the government or high security places. It is very much conntrolled. If I could have that lock, I would have installed it.

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        jeannette martin 14 months ago

        had all 3 locks, all bumped. I need a secure lock. I don't have a secure house and the thief keeps coming in when I leave the house.

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        Klinger 3 years ago

        Einstein was a thief... But if you get a lock with a carved key then bumping is out of question ;-)

      • Tom Rubenoff profile image

        Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States

        Okay, Einstein. Relay to us, pray tell, how to bump a CDX-09. Or tell me, buckaroo, how key bumping any lock that has no key is possible to do? 'Tis true that anything installed with tools can also be taken apart with tools. But to key-bump a lock that has no key would be impossible to do, even for you. :D

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        GottaBeABetterWay 4 years ago

        unfortunately, all those locks you mentioned have been bumped. :-/