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Locksmith Terms

Access Control System

Refers to exerting control over who can interact with a resource. Often but not always, this involves an authority, who does the controlling. The resource can be a given building, group of buildings, or computer-based information system

Architectural Hardware

1. fittings applied to protect a surface of, or to facilitate use of movable members in a building such as doors, windows, or cabinets, 2. various fixtures used in building construction

Biometric Lock

A lock with a hybrid mechanism, part of the mechanism identifies a physical attribute such as finger print, voice print, etc. while another part is a mechanical mechanism

Bump Key

A lock picking key with uniform steeples between cuts that is forced further into the lock via impact


There exists a ?bump key? that used to be available exclusively to locksmiths, but thanks to the internet has recently become available to the general public. A bump key opens low grade/low cost locks quickly and easily. These are the locks sold at hardware and home improvement stores. The availability of tools like the bump key is the reason we caution against buying the inexpensive consumer grade locks


A complete locking assembly in the form of a cylinder whose cam is the actual locking bolt

Card Access System

An access control system that utilizes a controlled security card as the credential

Commercial Duty Lever

A turn device in the general shape of an "L" used on certain locks & latches, as an alternate to a knob for commercial use. For standard-duty commercial, industrial and health care facilities (Arrow)

Cylinder Lock

A complete operating unit which usually consists of the plug shell, tumblers, springs, plug retainer, a cam/tailpiece or other actuating device & all other necessary operating parts


A bolt, which requires a deliberate action to extend, and which resists end pressure in the unlocking direction when fully extended


Is the process of determining the correct position of components in al oak through manipulation, disassembly, measurement & observation of keys or lock components

Decorative Doorknobs/ Handles/ Handlesets

Serving the same function but has an aesthetic appearance. Looking to create a good first impression when guests visit your home? Upgrading your doorknobs is an easy way to do so (Baldwin)

Door Closer

A device designed to regulate the closing of a door automatically by various means


To copy, see also "duplicate key"

Electric Strike

An electro-mechanical strike, which secures or releases the latch via applied current

Electronic Access Control

Access control that uses electricity

Electronic Deadbolt

A bolt which requires electricity to unlock

Entry Doorknob

The inside portion of a keyed entrance knob will vary according to manufacturer. Typically there is a keyed cylinder on the outside & a push button lock on the inside that releases when the knob is turned. Some brands of door hardware will have a turn button on the knob itself that has to be unlocked manually. Keyed entrance doorknobs are generally used on exterior doors of the home, the garage & the door between the garage & home

Exit Device

A door lock/latch mechanism which releases in the direction of exit travel via a bar or panel extending across the major width of the door

Face Plate

The finished, removable plate which covers the front of some locks

File Cabinet Lock

1. any lock used on a file cabinet 2. a plunger lock cylinder for a gang lock normally used in a file cabinet

Fire Exit Hardware

Exit devices, which may legally be installed, on fire doors. Distinguished from other exit devices because it: 1. is labeled for both fire and panic and; 2. has no means of locking the latch in a retracted position

Garage Door Lock

A rim lock mechanism designed for use on an overhead door, which mechanism has a spring loaded bolt which automatically locks the door's bolt mechanism

Gate Lock

A notch cut into the edge of a tumbler to accept a fence or sidebar

Grade 1

Locks rated for commercial applications. They meet commercial building requirements. These locks are tested to 800,000 cycles and are vandal resistant which makes them well suited for trouble areas

??Grade 2

Locks are designed for light duty commercial (interior) and heavy duty residential. Commercially they are good for light duty doors such as offices. They are the preferred grade for residential over grade 3 locks

??Grade 3

Light duty residential locks. They should never be used for commercial applications. The effective security of grade 3 locks in high debate among security professionals. Security is not the place to be cheap. Why would you spend $3000 on a flat screen TV and $15 on the cheapest front door lock you can find?

Glass Door Lock

An improved and simplified lock housing assembly for positioning and retaining lock or latch assemblies in cutouts in glass doors provided for that purpose which, outside of standard components such as screws, uses extrusion produced components so that the requirement for heavy machining and complex manual assembly is eliminated.


A complete lock or latch assembly which incorporates a pitcher handle. Looking to create a good first impression when guests visit your home? Rather than having just a regular doorknob and deadbolt on your front door, give your front door the elegance of a quality handleset

High Security Deadbolt

Designed to withstand any form of physical attack including drilling, prying, driving, or pulling (ASSA)

High Security Cylinder

A cylinder which offers a greater degree of resistance to drilling or other forms of forcible entry & one or more of the following: picking, impressioning or key duplication (Medeco)

Hybrid Locking System

A locking system which derives its security from two or more different technologies operated by the same key in one device, e.g. mechanical/electronic, mechanical/magnetic, etc. Commonly used in medium and high security areas where two factor authentication is required, particularly biometrics


A properly combined device which is, or most closely resembles, the device specifically intended by the lock manufacturer to operate the corresponding lock

Key Control

Any method or procedure which limits unauthorized acquisition of a key and/or controls distribution of authorized keys?

Keyed Alike

Of or pertaining to two or more looks or cylinders which have or are to have the same combination. They may or may not be part of a keying system

Keyed Different

Of or pertaining to a group of locks or cylinders, each of which is or is to be combined differently from the others. They may or may not be part of a keying system

Keyless Electronic Lock

Access control that uses electricity

Keyless Entry System

Designed for advanced home security & convenience, they are usually audio & visual indicators confirming the lockset is activated


1. the opening in a lock or cylinder which is shaped to accept key bit or blade of a proper configuration 2. the exact cross sectional configuration of a keyway as viewed from the front. It is not necessarily the same as the key section

Kick Plate

A protective plate mounted on the bottom of a door to prevent damage to minimize damage to the door

Laser Cut

1. a way of cutting a key so that the roots of adjacent cuts are connected by a straight-line cut; 2. a way of cutting a key so that the root of a shallow cut is widened until it intersects the included angle of an adjacent deeper cut


1. a mechanical or magnetic door fastener which can automatically keep a door, gate, etc., closed, 2. engagement of a latch when a door, gate, etc. is pushed or pulled closed


A turn device in the general shape of an "L" used on certain locks and latches, as an alternate to a knob for ease of use


A mechanism for keeping a door, lid, etc., fastened, typically operated only by a key of a particular form

Lock Bumping

A picking technique that utilizes a configured key forcefully impacted into the keyway


A locking device, complete with trim, mounting hardware & strike


Is the art of opening a lock through the analysis and manipulation of its components without using key intended to open the lock


A person with the knowledge & ability to select, install, service and bypass all the components of an electrical or mechanical lock

Magnetic Lock

A lock which uses magnetic force to stay engaged with its strike

Mailbox Lock

The lock includes a key lock mechanism & a strike bar that can be mounted on exterior surfaces of a housing and a door that defines an interior volume into which mail is deposited

Master Key

1. a key which operates all the master keyed locks or cylinders in a group, each lock or cylinder usually operated by its own change key, 2. to combine a group of locks or cylinders such that each is operated by its own change key as well as by a master key for the entire group, 3. an automotive key which operates all or most locks on a vehicle where there is also a valet key employed


1. to prepare by removing stock material from the edge of a door, drawer, frame or opening to create a recess which allows the flush fit or insetting of relevant lock or other hardware, 2. the cavity prepared by mortising, 3. of or pertaining to a locking device designed to fit in a mortise preparation

Mortise Lock

Consisting of a flat, rectangular box that fit into a recess in the door from its edge. Includes two faceplates that include knobs & keyholes & has a pin locking mechanism in a cylinder. Latch operates from either side except when the outside knob is locked while deadbolt operates by a turn of the inside knob. A key from the outside operates both the deadbolt & the latchbolt. Used on many types of doors, from heavy entrance doors to apartment buildings & residential doors

Mul-T Lock

A worldwide leader in developing, manufacturing & marketing High Security products for institutional, commercial, industrial & residential applications. Our product range includes mechanical cylinders, locks & padlocks, electromechanical locking systems, offline access control & automatic assembly & key-cutting machines

Night Latch

A rim mounted auxiliary latch bolt. It is for light security & usually used in combination with another lock (Yale)

Paddle Handle

A type of actuator which is relatively flat and operates the mechanism when pivoted on an axis near one end


An industrial type of detachable and portable lock with a shackle which locks into its case

Panic Bar

A bar that spans an emergency exit door on its interior and opens the latch when pressure is applied (Von Duprin)

Panic Button

Any switching device in an alarm system designed to be activated by a person in a panic situation. It creates an immediate alarm condition

Passage Doorknob

These doorknobs are non-locking. They do not have a keyed cylinders or locking buttons. Passage doorknobs are used for hallways, closets, laundry rooms or other rooms that do not need to have a privacy lock on them

Power Locks

Electrically or electro-pneumatically operated locks

Privacy Doorknob

These door knobs will vary according to manufacturer. There is a pin hole on the outside, and a push button lock on the inside that releases when the knob is turned. Privacy doorknobs are typically used for bathrooms & bedrooms

Pushbutton Lock

A self contained lock with controls that must be pressed in a specific pattern or sequence to open the lock .The best choice for limiting access to high-traffic, security-sensitive areas in commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings

Push Plate

A generally flat & commonly rectangular trim mounted for hand contact to push open a door


A device used in an access control system to interrogate an electronic, magnetic or optical type of credential


To change the existing combination of a cylinder or lock

Residential Hardware

Equipment such as keys, locks, hinges, latches, handles etc.

Resort Locks

Ex: vacation homes- u set code to allow access for a predetermined amount of time

Rim Lock

A lock or latch typically mounted on the surface of a door or drawer


A substantial, secure container with varying degrees of security and/or fire resistance, used to store valuables against fire or theft

Sash Lock

A type of window lock

Screen Door Lock

A lock designed for the thin stiles typically found on screen & storm doors

Security Card

Is an object that is required to duplicate or create a given key. The purpose of security cards is to help prevent unauthorized duplication of keys for a given keying system

Security Collar

A protective cylinder collar

Self Closing

Pertaining to doors or covers which have a continuous force applied in the closing direction

Showcase Lock

Normally a ratchet lock or plunger lock used on bypassing doors

Single Cylinder

Pertaining to a lock with key operation from only one side

Single Cylinder Deadbolt

A bolt which requires a deliberate action to extend & which resists end pressure in the unlocking direction when fully extended

Skeleton Key

Any non-cylinder key whose bit, blade & or post is cut away enough to allow it to enter & turn in locks with different ward arrangements


A card conforming to ISO specification 7810 and 7816 which one or more integrated circuits with contacts allowing interface to external equipment

Specialty Lock

1. Decorative locks 2. Has an aesthetic appearance (Baldwin)

Store Door Function

A lockset function in which: a) a deadbolt is operated by key from either side & a latch is operated by working trim from either side; or b) a deadlocking latch can be withdrawn by working trim from either side except when both sides are locked by key from either side


A bolt receptacle typically mounted in the door jam of the floor

Touch Bar

A type of exit device actuator which typically does not pivot and retracts the bolt with a minimum of pressure

Touch Pad

1. an exit device actuator with a paddle shape, 2. a remote door opener activator, typically electric or electronic, which facilitates handicap access

Transponder Key

A key with an electronic component which can convert a radio signal into an electrical current enabling the key to transmit a unique code back in return

Trunk Lock

1. a hinged strap with a staple or a lock at the end that mates with a receptacle in the trunk, 2. a lock designed to secure the trunk of an automobile

Tubular Lockset

A bored lockset whose latch or bolt locking mechanism is contained in the component installed into the edge bore

VATS Vehicle/ Anti-Theft System

An electronic system in some General Motors vehicles which uses a resistor pellet of varying value imbedded in a mechanical ignition key