The items you carry with you every day are a reflection of your expectations for life. You expect to receive text messages, to get on the bus or drive your car, to unlock doors and use your debit card.
But what about when things don’t go the way you expect?
This is why we carry other stuff too- stuff like a pocket knife, a mini flashlight, maybe a multi tool. Just in case. Now consider all the times you have the potential to get locked out during the day: your car, a gym locker, your backyard tool shed, your own front door. With the number of locking doors surrounding us every day and our own human capacity for failure, not to mention the potential for accidents outside of our control, it’s surprising that more of us aren’t carrying a small lockpick set.
At a bare minimum, a useful lockpick set will include a rake, a pick, and a tension wrench.
While you can pick a lock pin-by-pin with just a hook or other pick, a rake is especially useful for beginners in emergencies. As evidenced by the name, this tool is literally raked along the pins to bump them up into their appropriate place.
There are a wide variety of picks- your set should have something like a half-diamond or a hook pick, meant to individually bump the pins into place. With practice you’ll be able to interpret the feedback you feel in your hand through the pick to tell you whether the pin is in place or not.
A tension wrench is necessary because it maintains tension on the lock, which is what enables you to set the pins and turn the lock once you’ve picked it successfully. Without a tension wrench, picking a lock is impossible.
Lockpicks are not just for locksmiths and criminals. You’ll want to check the laws in your region before you make a purchase, but in most cases it’s perfectly legal for you to own the means to open any lock that you own in an emergency when you don’t have a key. This is a perfectly reasonable right that has much less to do with insidious intent than it does wishing to be prepared for emergency situations.
Carrying a set of lock picks gives you peace of mind that if you need it, you’ll have a backup plan in place. It also makes you available to help others in need at a moment’s notice. Being prepared is far preferable over helplessness.
Some lockpick sets are easy to carry on your person every day without a second thought. So bulk or inconvenience becomes a non-issue.
Lockpicking is a skill worth learning, especially if you’re interested in being prepared for any emergency in an urban environment. Honing the skill can take a lifetime, but there are tons of resources available online to get you started. Check out our list of the top 20 resources for lockpicking beginners.
We also created a brief tutorial to get you started picking locks. Read through it, understand the various parts at play, and then get your hands on a set and start building muscle memory.
Most lockpick sets are bulky, too big, or otherwise hard to carry on your person, with more picks than you’ll ever need for a simple pin tumbler lock. The key to success is to find a lockpick set that doesn’t take up much extra space and includes only what you’ll need in an emergency.
To that end, the best way to incorporate something seamlessly into your EDC is to include it as part of something you already carry- in your wallet or on your keyring or belt loop.
When we discovered that there weren’t any lockpick sets on the market that were small and light enough to carry every day, we made one.
The PicoPick is TIHK's answer to bulky lockpick sets that are hard to comfortably carry on your person. The matte black case is inconspicuous and easy to forget about on your keychain... until you need it.
The smallest lock pick set on the market, the PicoPick is just over 2 inches long, under half an inch wide and a quarter of an inch thick. Don't let the unassuming size fool you... it has everything you need to pick most tumbler locks in an emergency situation.
In addition to a w-rake and half-diamond, the PicoPick set includes a removable tensioner, all stainless steel.
For any seemingly impenetrable object out there, there's someone who has looked at it and thought to themselves... "I should shoot that." Handcuffs are no exception. Supposedly this video is a myth-busting endeavor meant to prove whether or not handcuffs can be shot open like they occasionally do in the movies, but we're pretty sure the underlying motivation is... well, it's fun to shoot stuff.
In this video we found thanks to Guns.com, Edwin Sarkissian uses a Glock to try and shoot open a pair of S&W cuffs. As to whether or not he is successful, well... you'll just have to watch the video.
The short answer is, of course, yes- if you shoot a gun at a pair of handcuffs there's a good chance that (at least on the third or fourth try) they'll come apart. As to whether that's a viable option in an emergency... you're probably better off investing in a universal handcuff key that you can keep on your person. Less risk of shooting your hand off.
A prepper in Ohio apparently surprised the press by divulging that he's purchased farmland with a small group of other preppers as a sort of "insurance policy" should it all hit the fan. This behavior doesn't really surprise anyone in the prepping community.
Being able to buy rural land to escape to in the event of a total societal breakdown is every prepper's dream, but obviously it's not a reality for the vast majority of Americans. The article acknowledged this as well, and the interviewee shared the top 6 items you will need no matter where you are in order to survive the unthinkable.
Can you guess what they are?
The first item, unsurprisingly, is water. This is followed by food, shelter, medicine, and communication. Number six is, of course, protection.
"You have to be able to protect yourself. People go a little nutty," Buescher said. "You know the worst sound in the world to somebody breaking into your house," he said as he made the loud cocking sound of his shotgun. "Is that."
But what does protection really look like?
Is a gun all you need to keep you from harm?
What if you can't escape to "the farm", so to speak?
If a disaster occurs when you're smack in the middle of a downtown urban area, will you have what you need on your person to see you to safety?
For preppers in a modern urban setting, these questions are tough but essential.
Now is the time to make sure that you're prepared for everything.
Now your EDC can blend in even better with the new HK2 Colors- now available in jean blue, dark gray, and light khaki.
Forbes recently reported on a press release from F-Secure sharing that researchers had discovered a hack that would allow them to create a master key card that could open any hotel door with a single card.
Yes, you read that right. Any hotel room. One key.
The only material the researchers needed in order to create the master key was a single discarded key from their target location- it didn't matter how old or expired the card.
They were able to use information still on the card to create a master key that gave them privileges to literally any door in the entire hotel.
F-Secure worked with the lock manufacturer in question, in this case the Vision electronic system by VingCard.
This is great, but it exposes the fact that other lock manufacturers likely have similar vulnerabilities.
Let's be honest: most of us aren't looking too closely into the lock manufacturer when we book a hotel for a weekend getaway or a business trip.
The bottom line here is that as electronics continue to become an ever-more pervasive part of the world around us, there will always be instances where they fail.
Unfortunately, we may not become aware of those vulnerabilities until it's too late.
This is why it's so important not to put your full faith in electronics.
Have a backup plan:
Check out our collection of urban survival gear and ensure that you're doing everything you should be to maintain your safety and security no matter where you are.
Motherboard just shared a video in which locksmith and YouTuber MM Developer shows how easy it is to break into a hotel room. It's so simple, in fact, that you can do it with the takeout menu you usually find by the phone in your hotel room. It doesn’t even have to be a plastic one; as you can clearly see in the video below, he simply uses a paper menu folded over.
This method of lock picking is not actually picking a lock at all, but rather bypass entry. You may have seen someone get into a locked room with a credit card in the movies and thought it was just a movie trope, but it *is* possible.
You can't bypass a deadbolt this way, but your average hotel room door is shockingly easy to break into. This is really important information to know if you are the type who travels frequently, whether for business or pleasure, and especially if you're traveling out of the country. (Read: Why Travelers Should Carry Handcuff Keys). Do you have a plan in place for what to do if someone breaks into your room?
Some commenters on the video argued that it’s irresponsible to put a video online that shows how to bypass a locked door; but we think this is extremely important information for the average citizen to know. The better knowledge you have about your vulnerabilities, the better action you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your property.
One way to give yourself a little more peace of mind when you’re in a vulnerable situation like staying in a hotel room is to keep small, useful escape & evasion items on your person and stashed around your gear. This is the purpose we had in mind when we created our line of Urban Survival Gear. You can’t control the quality of the locks on your hotel room door, but with a practice, knowledge, and the right gear you can be your own best defense.
Over on SOFREP there's a new article up on how to pick handcuffs with nothing but a hairpin. It's a really helpful tutorial with step-by-step photos showing how a simple bobby pin can be used in a pinch to unlock a pair of handcuffs. He also explains the easier method of shimming, which is a really useful skill to have as well. The caveat is that a shim cannot be used on double-locked handcuffs. Double-locked cuffs are very common now, so you want to be sure that you have practiced a few methods of escaping them as well.
This is incredibly useful information to know, and important to practice if you are in law enforcement, security, or you travel regularly, especially to unstable countries or places where you don't speak the language. We created a similar tutorial with illustrations- check it out here.
There is no telling when handcuffs could be unlawfully used against you. Whether they're your own cuffs being used against you by a criminal, or an unlawful incident with corrupt police in a foreign country, it pays to have the knowledge and skill that will enable you to escape from unlawful restraint.
Being truly prepared for anything means having a Plan A, a Plan B, and preferably a Plan C as well. Flexibility and quick thinking under stressful circumstances will help you escape hairy situations with your life, and maybe even dignity, intact. So what do you do if your trusty hair pin slips out of your pocket? It would pay to have a tiny, inconspicuous handcuff key on your person as well. Not only are they easier to master than a bobby pin or shim, but if you know what you are doing they will buy you precious seconds as well. Check them out here and get prepared!
These stories are so common it's scary.
A 24 year old woman was minding her own business in her apartment at 4:30 in the afternoon when a man forced his way in, attacked her, and tied her up.
Fortunately, he left and she was able to run to a neighbor's house for help. But there are so many ways that this scenario could have gone much worse. Keeping a multi-tool on your person that gives you the ability to saw through cord, cable, and rope can give you a fighting chance to avoid being victimized.
You don't have to be paranoid or up to no good to see the value in keeping an evasion tool on your person; home invasions happen all around the country literally every day, and not everyone is as lucky as this woman.
Along with a prepared mindset and practical knowledge, an escape & evasion tool can help give you an edge against the unthinkable.
By now you've probably seen the commotion online about those Boston Dynamics SpotMini robots that can open doors. The internet has gone a little ballistic over how advanced the robots are (and how much they resemble the killer robot dogs in a recent episode of high-tech twilight zone TV show Black Mirror).
And while obviously there's some hype going on, the fact remains that... wow, those are creepy. Whether those robots will ever be used for something unsavory or not, we just have no idea what the future holds. Decades ago everyone envisioned a Jetsons-style utopia of the future, and while we DO have a lot of awesome tech that makes our lives easier, there's a lot that could go wrong. A lot.
That's why we think it's important to be prepared for anything, every day, no matter where you are. No matter how paranoid you feel, you can't just hide in your bunker all day. But you can develop some peace of mind by knowing that you are as prepared as possible no matter where you are.
Delaware brewery Dogfish Head has recently debuted a new brew aptly titled “It’s The End of the Wort As We Know It”. The 9-percent ABV fruit ale includes blueberries, acai berries, goji berries, purple sweet potatoes, rose hips, chia seed, flax seed, spelt, oats and quinoa, and is being billed as a beer perfect for that "desert island" scenario because it includes more than 8 times more vitamin B complex than similar lagers.
Amino acids, micronutrients, and vitamins: they're important even after the end of the world, so if you're the prepping type perhaps you should pick up a few cases to keep in your garage... or your bunker. Or just assume that every day could be your last and crack open a cold one today.
"It's The End of the Wort as We Know It" is being packaged with some survivalist goodies, including a Swiss army knife, a solar blanket and a length of paracord... just in case.
CNBC recently reported on doomsday prepper Clyde Scott- he expanded his storm shelter business to build underground bunkers during the Obama administration, selling to people who feared their liberties would be taken away.
The surprise came with the new administration, which brought with it an unexpected- and massive- influx of folks all over the political spectrum fearing impending nuclear war. Clyde's business has skyrocketed.
After Trump's election in the fall of 2016, Scott's business increased by nearly 700 percent in one month. Scott said of his business, according to CNBC, "the more politicians talk, the busier I get."
What does this mean for the average Joe, who's concerned about impending nuclear war but may not be able to shell out the $125,000 for the most popular 500 square-foot option?
There is a lot you can do without breaking the bank. Research urban survival skills like blending in to a panicked or riotous crowd, for starters. Build a bug-out bag for your home and office, and then stock it with urban survival gear. Even if you can't afford to build a bunker beneath your home, you can still be ready for (just about) anything.
Last Updated: October 10, 2017
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