How to Drill Out a Padlock?

by | Learn

Last Updated on June 29, 2021

If you want to learn how to open a padlock, here we will teach you how to drill the easiest and quickiest way.

For those who have never attempted to open a lock, determining the right ways to do it can be a difficult task. One of the challenges could be finding a precise drilling angle.

Lock-drilling is the last alternative even for expert locksmiths when it comes to cracking a padlock. But there are simple ways to achieve this with the help of the right tools and correct procedure.

First, you may see article here to know the best padlock nowadays.

How to Drill Out a Padlock

You have those days when you just suddenly forgot where you left your keys or completely lost them. That is why drilling is another way to crack a broken padlock if you use padlocks to secure your valuables or open a padlock-chained door.

Assume you are working with master key locks and don’t want to drill out the core because it will completely break the shear line pins. Or If your padlock has reinforced anti-drill plates, you might have to find drilling points anywhere else. Or maybe you have a pretty pricey padlock, and you don’t want to destroy the body because you want it to remain in good shape.

Above all, you wish to keep the padlock in working order. So, where will your drilling reference be then?

The first thing to remember in this case is to choose the correct drill point.

I will show you different methods to drill out a padlock with ease and as quickly as possible in other drilling points.

But before we jumpstart the procedure, be sure to have the right tools to complete the job.

  • Hand drill
  • Drill bits (⅛ inch, ¼ inch or more extensive)
  • Padlock drill jig
  • Safety gloves
  • Flat screw
  • Plies
  • Portable Bench clamp

How to Drill Out a Padlock Involving the Keyhole

A. Drilling reference: middle portion of the keyhole

  1. Position a portable bench clamp near the padlock. You should find a good position to secure the padlock and to work with ease.
  2. Fix the padlock at the clamp’s jaw tight enough to hold it still while working on the hand drill.
  3. Remember, our drilling reference is the middle portion of the keyhole. So drill straight through the keyhole to knock out the bottom pins.
  4. Once done, using a flat screw as a key, open the lock. If it doesn’t open, maybe some pins are still lodged, so continue drilling until it unlocks.

B. Drilling reference: right above the keyhole

You can follow the same procedure as above. However, the drilling angle is above the keyhole to knock out the locking mechanism inside or the top part of the shear line.

C. Drilling reference: top of the keyhole

The same procedure applies. The main objective of this method is to disable the shear line pins. To do this, you need a more significant drill bit about half of the thickness of the keyhole.


  1. Drill straight to the middle until the keyhole breaks.
  2. Remove all the broken parts, and you can see nothing inside except the springs.
  3. Push your flat screwdriver and try to release the pin from the inside until the lock opens.

You may check the Youtube video below;

How to open a padlock with an anti-drill keyhole plate

  1. This time we need a drill jig.
  2. Position the key at the correct angle.
  3. Drill straight through until the security nut pops up.
  4. With a flat screw, release the shackled bar, and it unlocks.

A padlock drill jig is an essential tool when drilling out a padlock in different places, like when the padlock remains at your door or left in the metal chain in the storage door. It’s a self-centering device; you just put the padlock in position to spot a perfect drilling angle.

How to drill out a padlock through the locking poles

This procedure requires expertise or experienced DIYers.

The approach is a bit tricky and dangerous for beginners, in my opinion. Since it requires drilling a locking pole, and the locking pole is located on the key’s front side, you must grip it in your bare hands. However, if you can find a safer location, you can use a portable clamp.

  1. Use safety gloves for protection. A double layer is perfect for extra safety.
  2. Hold the key in the middle of your palm.
  3. Carefully drill two holes, one on the left and the other on the right side right below the shackle.
  4. Take your time, don’t rush. One false move and the drill bit will end up in your hand.
  5. Make a hole until you see the end-point of the shackle.
  6. Once the key is entirely disabled, the shackle will pop open.

Warning: If you try to drill out a padlock while keeping the lock steady with your bare hands, a slight slip may be tragic. Work with special precautions.

Essential tips to keep in mind when drilling a lock

  • Take notice of the guidance/drilling stage.
  • Drill with extreme caution.
  • Use lubricant like water or oil for your drill bit. (1)
  • Keep a straight drill.
  • Maintain consistent pressure. Keep drilling at a moderate pace.
  • If necessary, increase the drill bit size.
  • Open the shackle with a flat screwdriver.
  • Destroy the locking mechanism to unlock.


Drilling out a padlock, unlike other unlocking methods, is the most destructive method. It is damaging because it would break the whole locking mechanism, which means you need a replacement unless handled expertly enough not to damage the lock body. (2)

When all strategies fail or are depleted, this is the last option for locksmiths and DIYers.

In the worst-case scenario, when the padlock is broken, it results in a static function in the locking mechanism that prevents the key lock from opening. This time, you will need to drill out the core completely.

There you go, the different methods to drill open a padlock. Did you learn something today? Please share them in the comment below.


(1) lubricant –
(2) locking mechanism –

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About Gadgets Spy

Hi, I’m Michael, a security and surveillance expert. I co-founded and write for GadetsSpy and help teach people about new tech and Gadgets.