The Belt System

Earn Lockpicking Karate Flair

As a way to have fun (perhaps at the expense of Six Sigma) this sub gives its members the opportunity to earn user flair in the form of karate belts. Belt flair is issued based on the accomplishments of the member, with each higher level requiring increased community participation and the picking of increasingly difficult locks.

Karate Belt Flair is entirely optional and members will go “unranked” until they specifically requests ranking by messaging the moderation team. The moderators do not actively monitor the sub and all requests must go through modmail, posts requesting a belt will be removed.

Remember this is all just for fun… In the end, no matter what karate belt you wear, you’re still just wearing fancy pajamas.


  • Question: Must I begin at “White Belt Picker” and progress through the ranks, or can I skip directly to the belt that is appropriate for me?
    • Answer: You can skip directly to the belt that is appropriate for you. Just compile a list of your accomplishments in accordance with the guidelines and request to be issued the belt you are going for.
  • Question: How to I include a photo of my lock in a Reddit modmail?
    • Answer: You include a link to your photo in your modmail. This link can be to a photo you’ve uploaded to a new Reddit post, or one using a service like
  • Question: How do I share a Challenge Lock? How do I make sure it qualifies?
    • Answer: It is recommended that, before you send out a challenge lock, you send photos of the modifications you made of the lock via modmail and receive confirmation that the lock qualifies. Once you’ve sent the lock, you’ll need the recipient to send a modmail that the lock has been received (or you can provide a link to a YouTube video where the recipient is picking it; anything that proves the lock has been received by someone else)
  • Question: My lock is SFIC or some other really difficult to gut core and I don’t want to risk ruining it. Can I still use this to qualify for a belt?
  • Question: I don’t make lockpicking videos. Can I use a photograph for the higher levels instead?
    • Answer: No. While we understand that people have privacy concerns, the gold standard for Locksport is to video your accomplishments as a way of sharing them with the community. The video does not have to be public and you can remove it as soon as we have reviewed it, but does need to be a video that meets the standards outlined in the “Rules” section. For those not wanting to share public videos, we are suggesting that you use Vimeo and select the option to password protect your video.
  • Question: I already have a Six Sigma black belt. Can I trade this for a lockpicking belt?
    • Answer: No, but you get points for making us LOL 🙂
  • Question: Can I use this belting system for my club or picking group?
  • Question: Will I be disqualified if I shoot the video vertically?
    • Answer: No, but for the betterment of the world, please say “no” to vertical video. Also, please avoid using the Shorts format on YouTube, it does not allow for rewinding to see anything that was missed without watching the whole video over.
  • Question: What’s the deal with the Abus numbering?
    • Answer: Most Abus padlocks have two numbers, for example 55/40. The first number printed on the lock is the model of lock, and the second number is the width of the lock in millimeters. Many of the smaller variants of a model lack some of the security features of the larger variants, so we list the minimum size that we will accept for that belt rank. For example, we list the Abus 55/40, we will also accept the 55/45 and 55/50. We will not accept smaller variants of the lock listed for that belt rank. Variants of the Abus locks that are smaller than the size listed can be assumed to be white belt in rank (we may make some exceptions, but a smaller variant will never be accepted as the listed belt rank of a larger variant.)
  • Question: Do I have to submit for my belt on Discord and Reddit if I use both?
    • Answer: Please only submit your request on one platform and ask for your belt to be sync’d to the other platform by providing your username there. Eg. if you have a belt on Reddit you’d like sync’d to Discord, provide your Discord username via modmail. If you have a belt on Discord you’d like sync’d to Reddit, provide your Reddit username via @LPUBeltBot in #belt-requests.
  • Question: I asked for special consideration on something and I don’t agree with your decision on the matter.
    • Answer: While we honestly make every effort to be accommodating, it is inevitable that there will be disagreements. Once you have made your case and the decision has been rendered, it’s time to respectfully step away. Endlessly trying to convince us of your position is counterproductive and disrespectful. Doing so will result in a warning. If continued, you will be ineligible for promotion for 30 days.
  • Question: Are there any more goals to work towards after achieving black belt?
    • Answer: Yep! We have an entirely separate rule system for earning stripes after you’ve achieved black. It takes into account everything you’ve done throughout your lockpicking career, so we advise you don’t delete any of your videos from the internet. These rules are still somewhat fresh, and will likely be changed quite a bit over time. Check it out here.

General Rules

  • When making your belt request, please add the model of your lock into the request (if you know what it is.) There are hundreds of different models of lock commonly used around the world, and the mods are not immediately familiar with every single lock.
  • We will add your flair, but it’s up to you to show it. You must select the option “show my flair on this subreddit” in order for your belt ranking to be visible.
  • Your accomplishments must be demonstrated on locks that are NOT IN USE. Your photographs and videos must clearly show a lock that is not protecting anything.
  • Your photographic proof must be clear and in focus. The plug must be shown in the turned position with no key in it. Basically in a position it could not otherwise be unless it had been picked.
  • Your video proof must show the lock picked and gutted in one continuous shot with no cuts. The video should be clear, well lit, and the lock should stay in frame at all times. If you have privacy concerns, Vimeo provides an option to password protect your videos. /u/Kitteh_of_Dovrefjel has created a great video guide to explain how to pick and gut your locks on video. Also please say “no” to vertical video.. Please avoid using the Shorts format on YouTube, it does not allow for rewinding to see anything that was missed without watching the whole video over.
  • Some of the higher belts require for you to help or mentor others. Be friendly, courteous, and patient with them as you provide advice.
  • Some of the higher belts require you to have made a tool. This requirement cannot be met by having used a paper clip, bobby pin or the like. You must actually make a specialized tool.
  • The list of locks is a living document. If you believe you have picked a lock that is equivalent to one of those listed in the requirements, message the moderators. We will research the lock and add it to the list.
  • If you would like to be initially ranked or believe you have met the requirements for the next rank, compile links that demonstrate your accomplishments and submit them to the moderation team. We will evaluate them and issue you your new belt. You do not need to begin at “White Belt Picker”; send us links to your accomplishments and we will initially rank you at the appropriate level.
  • The requirements are cumulative, so you need not repeat the previous requirements to earn a new belt. For example, if you are a “Green Belt Picker” you have already demonstrated that you can gut and reassemble locks. You do not need to demonstrate this again when moving up to “Blue Belt Picker”.
  • Acrylic, cutaways, and other designs of locks that allow you to have a clear view of the inside of the lock will not count any higher than a white belt, even if it’s a black-belt level lock.
  • The lock picked for belt ranking must be “factory pinned”. Some exceptions can be made as many locks do come from the factory unpinned or zero-bitted, or the lock may come only partially assembled, in which case the pinning of the lock must be typical for that type of lock. Custom pinned locks and challenge locks will only count as a white belt lock. Adding security pins to otherwise low ranking locks will not increase the ranking of a lock.
  • Kung Fu Panda Clause: In some extremely rare cases, a member’s accomplishment will be noteworthy to the point that it changes the state of the art with respect to lock picking. Generally this involves highly complex tool, method and technique that results in a “first time in history” opening of a lock that had long stood as pick proof. Since there is usually no precedent for the work having been accomplished, these cases will be evaluated individually as they arise by the moderation team, and the member ranked at the belt deemed appropriate.
  • Padlocks must have the shackle closed for it to count as a belt. Padlock cores must be in the originating bodies to count for a belt, removing the core does not count.
  • Locks should have plug retention in place to count for a belt. This is often done using a clip or cam on the back. Since there might be cases where it is not preferable or feasible to pick on video with the clip in place, you may request an exception in the event that the lock being picked is not affected by a lack of retention. In the cases where retention is important, but a factory clip is not an option, a homemade solution is acceptable.
  • Pin tumbler locks with excessive masterkeying will need some master wafers to be removed from the lock in order to count for a belt. “Excessive” in this case refers to any lock with more master wafers than pin chambers (e.g. a 6-pin lock with more than 6 master wafers). If sufficient master wafers cannot be removed from the lock in a way which does not compromise the lock, contact the moderation team to discuss a possible exception. When removing master wafers, there are 2 things to keep in mind:
    • Never remove a wafer from a chamber if it will make the combination of keypin and driver sit underneath the shearline when a key is not in the lock. This removes the effectiveness of that chamber and puts you at risk of destroying springs.
    • It is recommended that you start by removing any master wafers which are not required for the key to function. If you cannot remove sufficient wafers this way, then you may be required to pick and gut the lock without a working key.

Belt Request Formatting

Each modmail should include:

  • A link to the photo / video of the lock(s) picked.
  • The model of the lock that was picked.
  • Specify what belt you are looking to rank up to.
  • If the video is long, include timestamps for major events in the video (Lock opened @ X time) if timestamps are in the description that is fine.
  • FOR PHOTOS – Ensure keyway is visible and clear in a picked state. We are not concerned with seeing the shackle open.
  • FOR VIDEOS – Ensure clarity and proper light showing all parts of the lock during gutting process (The lock can be fully gutted and a zoom in after to show parts is acceptable). Please avoid using the Shorts format on YouTube, it does not allow for rewinding to see anything that was missed without watching the whole video over.

Under upper tier ranks that have multiple requirements please collect all the requirements in to one modmail and make one request, this makes it easier to go through that modmail and ensure all requirements are filled out rather than going back through old archived modmail to find the remainder of your requirements.

Any request that is missing any component will be rejected, Any request that is repeated will be put to the back of the line as we move oldest requests out first.

Requests may take up to 5 days to process


Click the “Message the moderators” Link on the sidebar just above the list of moderators for this subreddit, Or use THIS LINK.

Challenge Lock Requirements

Blue Belt Picker and higher require that you have custom pinned a “Challenge Lock” and shared it with another picker (Cutaways are not counted towards challenge locks). Preferably this lock will make it into circulation and introduce you to the fun of exchanging locks designed not for security but specifically to defeat picking.
If for some reason you are unable to fully engage with the larger community of exchange we still encourage you to gain the more in-depth knowledge of how locks function that comes from building your own. Speak to a moderator for assistance if you’re having trouble finding pickers you can send your lock to. Having no interest in building a challenge lock is not grounds for an exception.

A “Challenge Lock” is defined as:

A commercially made lock and working key that includes a minimum of SIX modifications by the lock builder. Number of modifications must total or exceed SIX and may include any or all of the following:

  • Turned, sculpted or shaped key pins
  • Turned, sculpted or shaped driver pins
  • Modification to the chambers by threading or counter-milling
  • Improvised secondary locking mechanism
  • Distinguishing mark engraved into the lock
  • Hand cut key


  • Each “turned, sculpted or shaped” key pin counts as one modification. Pins must be shaped BY the builder, removing no less than 15% of the original material
  • Each “turned, sculpted or shaped” driver pin counts as one modification. Pins must be shaped BY the builder, removing no less than 15% of the original material
  • Pin-in-pin counts as one “turned, sculpted or shaped” pin per pin modified. Shaping a pin and also making it pin-in-pin does not count as two modifications
  • Chamber threading counts as one “modification” regardless of the number of chambers augmented
  • Chamber counter-milling counts as one “modification” regardless of the number of chambers augmented
  • Each improvised secondary locking mechanism counts as one modification (latches, check pins, etc)
  • “Distinguishing mark” engraved into the lock counts as one modification (Simple scratches do not count. Engraving must be a symbol or mark of the maker)
  • Hand cut key counts as one “modification”. The key must be cut using hand tools from a blank, and must be a reasonable bitting. Locks made with 0-bitted, or minimally bitted keys do not count.

SFIC Filming Requirements

SFIC (Small Format Interchangeable Core) locks can be gutted, but require expensive tools to do so. Normally, we require any lock that can be gutted, to be gutted in order to be eligible for belt rank, but due to the difficult and expensive, but not impossible to gut nature of the SFIC locks, we’ve come up with a procedure to show the lock hasn’t been modified without gutting the lock.

A video demonstration of the filming requirements for SFIC locks can be seen here. Here is a Photo example as well. Thanks to u/stab_in_the_eye for the video demonstration, and thanks to u/Tko5479 for the photo example.

  1. Show the keyway of the lock clearly on the video so we can identify the lock.
  2. Use the Operating key to show that the lock opens up with the use of the Operating key
    NOTE: The lock must remain in frame for the remainder of your video past this point
  3. If the SFIC lock is currently in a lock body, such as a padlock, use the Control key to remove the core
  4. Use the Operating key to turn the plug 180º and show to the camera that the pins are present through the holes in the bottom of the lock.
  5. You may now put the lock core back into a lock body or vice, but the lock must remain in frame for the remainder of the video.
  6. Pick the lock to both operating and control (picking to one of the two shearlines is good for Blue)

You may pick the lock before showing the lock verification steps above, but the lock must remain in frame for the entirety of the video

For SFIC locks that do not have keys

The lock must be picked to both control AND operating in one take, in addition to rule 1 above. Show the control lug is operating as intended (locked not moving, unlocked in control mode moving)

Confirmed SFIC’s with security pins

Since it is not always an option to gut SFIC’s for video, the following are SFIC’s which are confirmed to meet the security pin requirements as listed in the Brown belt list:

  • Mako M2 system

Additionally, the following are sources for other SFIC’s who are confirmed to provide locks with the proper pinning for Brown belt:

  • u/Norlin76
  • Bdtry/Riyame
  • Amvgaert
  • LockSportsman
  • LockPickNic
  • RubberBanned
  • L0ckJocKey

Homemade tools

A number of disc detainer locks (marked with † on the list) have historically been rated at very high belt ranks on account of the difficulty of creating tools in order to attack them. Creating such tools requires a great amount of skill and knowledge of the locks itself.

For this reason, such locks are given a higher belt rank when picked with a homemade tool as opposed to a tool that has been specifically designed to pick them. Homemade tools do not need to be made entirely from scratch, and can consist of parts taken from other similar tools. The only requirement is that there be some sort of modification beyond making minor adjustments to the shape of an existing complete tool.