Home blog The POWER of the Tribe!

The POWER of the Tribe!


I’m amazed at how much influence the Tribe has on the quality of lock pick kits and equipment hitting the marketplace!  Over the past year manufacturers have introduced new gear at an incredible rate.  More importantly, following our reviews (and YOUR hundreds of comments) of the “junk” we found on Amazon, the sellers disappeared (or at least re-named themselves).  Likewise, companies producing high quality, reasonably priced gear are rewarded with more (Tribal) business than they can handle.  Several of them have left message along the lines of “SWAMPED by the TRIBE!!  Thank You!!”.  Yes, YOU have THAT kind of power.

The manufacturers are also responding to your comments and requests for new and unique items.  The most active seem to be PickPals (with their “Intro” and “Expansion” kits) and Sparrows (with an ever-expanding menu of new items).  Most importantly, many of them are now offering pick thicknesses in 0.015”, 0.018”, 0.020, as well as the usual 0.025”.  This is TREMENDOUS progress over what we had just one year ago – all because of the power of the Tribe and the influence you have as a group.

This was always the objective of the reviews but the Tribe made this transition faster than we could have hoped.  Like you, I was tired of buying stuff, only to discover that it was overpriced crap.  By sharing information and publically posting reviews, the tribe’s commitment and vocal nature is a powerful force on the marketplace.  Keep up your comments when you see something you like or dislike.  Believe me, the manufacturers are READING them!  YOU hold the power!

Ongoing Reviews
While I always appreciate your support at any level, the donations to the LockLab have dropped off significantly over the past few months.  The average is $1.13 per donation.  While they are plentiful and I am grateful for everyone of them, it simply doesn’t add up very fast.  The Patreons have really kept the reviews alive, each of them pledging a small donation for each video I produce.  This is my added incentive to keep producing videos at a regular rate.  The Patreon donations added up to $512 last month, covering all of the postage for sending out the free giveaways, plus some extra for review gear.  Thank you!

Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday I’ve been giving away gear in free drawings.  We started doing this several months ago with a small amount of stuff donated by manufacturers.  That initial pile of gear is long gone and hopefully in the hands of newbies.  I’ve asked for more giveaway items but none of the companies have been very forthcoming.  Fortunately, the LockLab website has a few paying advertisers and I’ve been using those proceeds to pay for the giveaway items.  I intend to continue doing this as long as I can afford it.  If you know of any potential advertisers….please point them in my direction!

Lock Picking Stories
Many of you are lock picking HEROES!  I didn’t realize that until my “stories” folder started filling up and I re-read them.  Too many people believe that lock picking is only for criminals, and your stories directly contradict that.  I’ve created a new website page where we can all benefit and enjoy your stories.  Check it out here: https://lock-lab.com/lock-picking-stories/




  1. Based on your review of the Sparrow Vorax, I purchased one. It’s my first set and I’m really pleased with it. Thanks Bill.

  2. I’m a new picker and I got a 7 pin training lock and I started with one pin and got it, two pins and I got it but when I put the third pin in I keep over setting them. The pins are set at 4 1 1 do you have any suggestions for me?

  3. Glad to read this such great stuff and power. I know ive pointed a good few ppl here that were wanting to learn the hobby and they loved it and the picking course is priceless. I hate to see that donations are slightly down and mfgs not being so fortcoming considering its been a huge boon fortl their business but it happens. I wish i could do more and i would if i could. Peatron is awesome and i hope they dont take too much of a cut. Hehe. Keep up the good work bill. Always learn something watching but just plain enjoy your work.

  4. So much info. I am new to the hobby and find your reviews very helpful. Will be dropping a little green in the basket here and there to help out. After all I find great value in all the info.

  5. I have a quick question for Mr. Bill. The shrink wrap as you refer to it that you put on your tension wrenches and on the handles of some of your picks. is that just regular old heat shrink that I can buy at Lowe’s or Home Depot? IF not what is it, and where can I get me some? Thanks for all the info and awesome videos you put out there.

  6. Bill, I love your videos and I am extremely excited to become a tribe member. I’ve only gotten into locksport in the last few months but it has been consuming! I would love to talk to you via email about some things if you’ve got any time for that.

  7. I am a patron for life and tribe member for life our words are amazing how they have changed some of the menu facture’s way of making things in the quality has improved amazingly. Thanks for everything you do keep up the good work bill

  8. Thank you for the update Sir.
    I too have noticed that a number of Chinese manufacturers, mainly HUK and Haoshi, have either improved the quality (slightly) of their standard picks and/or released “premium” pick lines. These are decent stainless steel picks with (for the most part) genuinely good shapes/profiles. One must still avoid their, or any company really, spring steel economy picks. For those looking to start or expand their kit, they are now an attractive option. For the rest with a diverse kit though, ordering individual picks from their preferred manufacturer (looks at Peterson, Sparrows and South Ord) is still the best way to go. On the note of domestic (U.S.A.) sales, I’ve also noticed that some retailers/manufacturers(smiles at Peterson) have modified their webpages to relax the “authorization to purchase requirements”, or the scare tactics anyway as none were actually needed, to sell more openly to the general public. I’ve just been assuming this is to facilitate sales to the locksport community. As you mentioned, these are all great changes for our community and I hope it will encourage lock manufacturers to step-up their game (we need better challenges 🙂 ).

    I’m sorry to hear of the funding situation Sir. I truly wish more people could see the value of your content and provide something in return. Your series of videos is very much a comprehensive course in locksporting/homesecurity/personalsecurity at an academic level of quality. And….you give it away for free…..seriously Sir, you’re a hellofa guy! <O Sadly, I'm at a loss for ideas on how to turn the revenue decline around. I don't know many other pickers for fundraising. I think we are a reclusive lot. Merchandising is an option but may be too time consuming and short lived. I would love a Lock-Lab "Bosnian Bill" Hoodie, but a guy only needs so many hoodies and T-sharts. Know what I mean?

    On a final note, I'm enjoying the "Lockpicking Hero's" stories and think it is a great idea and addition!
    Thank you Sir for: this update, your time, and effort.

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