Bump keys are especially designed to fit into and open any lock that uses a cylinder-and-tumbler design without causing any damage to the lock or leaving any clues that it had been tampered. Though typically a tool used by criminals, legitimate citizens may sometimes find themselves literally locked into situations that they might be able to unlock themselves out of if they knew how to use bump keys.
Learning how to use bump keys is actually very easy, as long as one follows particular steps that have to be done in order to work the key effectively. First of all, the key should be fully inserted into the lock. Second, the key should be pulled one click back. A slight bit of pressure is then applied on the key either by pressing against it or by slightly turning it. This is done so that the tumblers do not fall back to their previous position after the have been aligned. And lastly, the key must be struck by a small object (like a screwdriver handle) while pressure is being kept on it. There should be no problem opening the lock if the bump key has been cut properly. Otherwise, if one doesn’t follow the steps or is using a key that had not been properly cut, it would take quite a few tries before one is able to open the lock.
In knowing how to use bump keys, it is important to know the dangers inherent in using them. For the most part, these keys are usually considered illegal, and they can be identified from the pattern that they are cut in. So that a bump key can be properly inserted into a lock, it is cut in such a way that the slope on its front side isn’t very steep. The slope on its back side should also not be overly steep, or else one would be unable to withdraw it from the lock. Bump keys are pretty much considered as lock picks, so they are likely to be prohibited in areas where lock picks are likewise banned. So unless one has a particular and legitimate reason for using a bump key, one takes a great risk in carrying it on their person.
In certain instances, like if one were accidentally locked out of their house or their car, it can be handy to have a bump key around when needed. But the use and the mere possession of one must be exercised with great caution. Hopefully, one should only try to learn how to use bump keys with good intentions in mind. If not, even knowing that skill may not be enough to unlock themselves out of a jail cell.