How to Cut a Shielded Padlock

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Things You'll Need

  • Drill

  • 1/8-inch drill bit

  • 1/2-inch drill bit

Shielded padlocks cannot be cut with conventional methods.

If a padlock's key is lost, calling a locksmith out to make a new key is usually cost prohibitive; replacing the key will almost always cost more than the lock is worth. Designed specifically to guard against having the shackle cut, shielded padlocks are constructed with a guard plate, or "shield," surrounding the top of lock. Where the shackles of most unshielded padlocks are easily defeated with a saw or bolt cutters, cutting a shielded padlock requires a different approach.


Step 1

Drill a pilot hole into the center of the keyhole slot on the bottom of padlock with a 1/8-inch drill bit.

Step 2

Cut through the lock's tumblers. Insert the tip of a 1/2-inch drill bit into the pilot hole. Drill into the lock cylinder at slow speed until the bit has cut 1/2 inch into the lock.

Step 3

Look inside the cylinder for a slot running across the top of the width of the keyhole. If the slot is not visible, continue drilling into the keyhole, with the 1/2-inch bit, in 1/8-inch increments until the slot becomes visible.

Step 4

Open the lock. Insert the tip of a flat-head screwdriver into the slot in the lock cylinder and turn the handle of the screwdriver.


references & resources

Nathan Fisher

Nathan "Guide" Fisher began writing in 1997. A pilot and avid outdoorsman, Fisher has written articles on aviation and outdoor recreation, and produced marketing materials for “The Great Outdoors NETWORK!” Fisher holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and health, as well as a master’s degree in family studies.