Someone in one the comments about my job box gun storage post said that Kryptonite bicycle locks could be picked with a Bic pen.  I had to look that up.  Apparently it’s a little harder than that, and it only works on the older style of barrel lock and not what I have.

I found a YouTube video that demonstrated it.

The YouTube algorithm did what it did and recommended me two more videos on lock testing.

First is that son-of-a-bitch the Lock Picking Lawyer.

I know about boron steels, it’s part of being a metallurgist.  Boron is a very powerful hardening element in steel at low concentrations, about 1%.  Boron steels can achieve a hardness of about 45 HRC, while still being ductile enough to be formable.  To get harder than that, you have to start adding very high carbon contents which make the steel more brittle.  Even in the annealed condition, hypereutectoid steel is hard to form.

Given the need to make a lock manufacturable and cost-effective, boron steel is a good choice.

So the Lock Picking Lawyer busts out with a $100 pair of hydraulic bolt cutters and breaks the lock.

Those are hydraulic bolt cutters.  The ones he has are listed on Amazon as having an 8-ton capacity.  That’s 16,000 lbs.

What the fuck does he expect the locks to do?  Even going up to tungsten and vanadium carbide tools steels, I doubt a lock will take 8-tons of load.

I know never say anything is impossible but given the design constraints of padlocks: the shackle size, the fact that people don’t want to spend $100 on a lock, etc.  I can’t think of a commercial material that would handle an 8-ton hydraulic bolt cutter.

Then there was this video from the UK.

Not just are they testing locks against 42 inch bolt cutters, but a DeWalt 18v angle grinder?

Again, not exactly sure what they expect to happen.  I’ve used wheels like that to cut through M3 tool steel broaches.  It takes a bit of time, but that is what Silicon Carbide blades are supposed to do.

I cannot stress this enough.

Nothing is impenetrable.  Every security system in the world can be defeated.  It is simply a matter of time and the tools used to do it.

Thieves can only be deterred.  The entire thought process of security is “make it difficult enough to steal that a potential thief doesn’t want to try because there are easier pickings elsewhere.”

Crime, like all other economic activities, is risk vs. reward.

But there is one other part of the deterrence equation that we’ve seem to have forgotten.


Maybe we need to ask ourselves why is it that criminals feel emboldened enough to carry around hydraulic bolt cutters and angle grinders?

Then I remember that Prop 47 passed in California and while you can go to prison for carrying a potato peeler in the UK, they won’t arrest you for moped theft.

Because the criminals know that they can carry around hydraulic bolt cutters and angle grinders and steal everything they want and not get in real trouble for it.

That is what we need to change.

You know what would make my neighborhood more secure than better locks?

The dissected body of the last criminal caught in the neighborhood hanging in a gibbet in front of the HOA clubhouse.

How about we go back to the 1800’s and start hanging horse thieves again?

The UK loves it’s Muslims.  How about they adopt a bit of Sharia law and start cutting off-bike thieves’ hands and feet.

Rather than put signs in the windows of their cars telling thieves that there is nothing inside to steal, the people of San Francisco hire some dudes to patrol parking lots, and if they see someone smash in a window, they go all Railroad Bull on him and beat him to within an inch of his life with an axe handle.

Let the store owner who just watched $950 worth of his merchandise walk out the door follow the thief into the parking lot and shoot him in the back with a shotgun.  Watch shoplifting stop dead overnight.

Maybe the penalty for stealing guns or being caught with a stolen gun is a mandatory death penalty.

Before I have to spend $20,000 on a security system, give me the right to defend not just my life but my property with lethal force.

I am getting sick and fucking tired of being told no matter how much I invest in security, it’s never enough because any thief who is willing to spend as much at a Northern Tool or Harbor Freight as they do on a pair of sneakers can defeat whatever you have.

I’m all for stop of frisk, and if you are caught with a bolt cutter or angle grinder down the leg of your pants, it’s 10 years mandatory, no parole.

Am I being cruel?  Probably, but clearly the criminals don’t fear the law anymore.

The ultimate deterrence isn’t a thief thinking “should I try to break into this safe or take the TV,” but “if I get caught, how much will it hurt before I die.”

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By J. Kb

15 thoughts on “A final post about security and what it really takes to keep your stuff safe”
  1. Ok J.Kb. My last comment on your last post on security. THANK YOU for showing use alternative methods of securing valuables.

    I could have spent big dollars on a box for the bed of my truck. Instead I bought a length of chain, 4 weather proof padlocks and a Husky brand plastic box. I wasn’t going to keep a thief from breaking the box open and taking what they wanted, but the value of the good inside ($100-$200 in chains, tie down straps, jumper cables) wasn’t worth more than the $30 investment in security.

    NO security will stop a determined thief with enough time. The only rating they ever give a security device is “how long will it keep a thief out with a certain quality of tools”.

    There is a wonderful scene in _Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid_ where they are blowing the safe the second time. They use to much and end up scattering box car pieces and money all over the country side.

    The same is true of any security device.

    So we decide what we are trying to accomplish. I use a VLine pistol safe for my quick access. It holds three pistols (crowded but), I can open it in the dark, it requires no keys, it requires no power. Reset is quick and easy if you flub the combination.

    Down side is that there is a limited number of combinations.

    The goal is not to keep somebody with 20 hours of access over 6 weeks from opening it, it is to keep my grandchild from opening it or my children’s friends from opening it.

    For your job box, I saw two issues given the setting. 1) Could the eye bolts be attacked with a pry bar or sledge hammer (They are protected by being inside a 200 lbs workbench “cage”) 2) Could the lock be attacked. There are a number of issues with circular locks.

    Are we protecting our locks from people shooting them? NO. Are we protecting our locks from a hydraulic bolt cutter? NO. Are we protecting our locks from some guy with a custom built circular lock pick? NO.

    I want a lock box for the truck. So far I’ve not gotten one because what I want is a bit more expensive than I want to spend. So I don’t leave my firearm in the truck. I don’t go to places where I have to leave my carry weapons in the truck. If I had to go to such places, I would invest in that lock box.

    So I back you J. Kb. and Miguel, LOCK YOUR GUNS UP if you are leaving them in a vehicle. If you have children that are coming into your home, lock your guns up. Be safe.

    On the same side of that coin, make sure that locking your guns up doesn’t interfere with your ability to access your guns if you need them in a hurry.

    Or as I tell my son. Do the right thing.

  2. I used to work for a tool retailer. One day, the marketing team of a well-known brand of reciprocating saw did a demo for one of our sale events. He cut a FWD car in half.

    Granted, he didn’t have a drive train to deal with, just run through the car’s floor and roof. But who cares about doors and locks when a $100 battery-powered tool can put a man-sized hole in anything?

  3. When I was a firefighter, one of my jobs was to get into things that people had locked up: cars, houses, storage units, it didn’t matter- if it was locked, I could get into it, given enough time.
    I lock my stuff up to keep out casual thieves, and to delay the more serious ones long enough that they can be caught. Layers is the name of the game.
    1 Don’t live in a shitty neighborhood.
    2 Outdoor lighting and landscaping that won’t give thieves a place to hide.
    3 Obvious cameras.
    4 Signs warning that property is alarmed
    5 alarm system
    6 good locks
    7 a quality safe
    8 an armed homeowner

    I do agree that the law needs to be changed to allow the use of force to protect property.

  4. I wish we could follow the old saying that the Texas Rangers once said, back in the 50s – shoot, shovel and shut up. I clearly recall a story out of the the UK from a few years back – an elderly woman, IIRC in her 70s, living alone, had been broken into anr robbed three times. the perps always used the back door since it was not seen from the street. So this poor lady had a friend loop multiple layers of razor wire around the upper area of that back porch. A burglar tried to break in there and the wire cut his arms badly. HE went to the cops – he was NOT charged with anything, got free treatment thanks to their superior health care system, AND the old lady was CHARGED by the shyte eating cops, for causing physical harm to another, and was fined and threatened with prison if she did not remove the razor wire.

    1. Many moons ago I was told a story about a town where a bad guy moved in and started a crime spree…. one night he walked out of a bar into a crowded street, bang bang bang bang. Bad guy falls over. Cops come and everyone who was there was mickey the dunce. End of problem in that town

  5. Damm guy, you soundin more n more like me every day. I was wondering how long it would be in calidumpville that store owners start shootin criminals(guess a long time) what happened to respect?? MHO- democrats… all this “fuk the cops and hard workers “ crap.
    When (and how) is America gonna stop it?? Like you n I said -hangin em

    1. Remember the Roof Koreans during the riots? They damn well kept their shops safe from the looters!

      1. And their efficacy was their undoing. You can’t get or have those rifles in CA anymore.

        It’s too much of a threat to criminals and politicians (but I repeat myself).

  6. One of my contacts tells of going to a military “trade show”. At one end of the aisle was a display/demonstration of some new camouflage nets and such. Really good stuff.

    About halfway down the aisle was another group showing of their new optics with IR and light intensification and some other magic. They had their optics pointed at the camouflage display.

    You could easily see the stuff that was hidden by the camouflage within the optics because “magic.”

    This is a common theme at shows. The people selling locks telling us how great they are, with bullet holes right through the body of the lock. A few booths down is a vendor selling bolt cutters and they demo they do is cutting the locks used by the lock vendor down the row.

    A few years ago somebody was unhappy because a storage shed had been attached to a concrete pad. The former owners had used one way security bolts. So it wasn’t coming off no matter what.

    I asked the home owners if they wanted the concrete pad. They said “no”. So I used my backhoe and some chains to pick the whole damn thing up and put it in the dumpster. Concrete pad, shed and everything. But most thieves don’t show up with a heavy construction equipment.

    J.Kb is right, you have to find a good return on investment. His answer is low cost, it works, and it stops 99% attacks. But there is always away in.

    I remember a safe that held communications equipment. To initialize it you had to open the safe, do some magic inside and it would then just work. On the top of the safe was a big red button, normally closed. If you wanted to reset the communications equipment, press the big red button and the link went down until somebody could open the safe and do the magic. There was a tilt switch inside which would also open the circuit and reset the equipment if the safe were to be tipped over.

    Why? Because the safe was rated for 1 hour. This was if you could tip it over and attack the bottom with a sledge hammer. It was rated for 4 hours if you couldn’t do that. Since the safe couldn’t be attached to a solid concrete pad, the tilt switch did what was needed.

    Since the security was such that it would never be unattended for more than about 30 minutes at a time, the 4 hour rating was more than good enough.

    So I don’t have a 1000lbs safe. I have a gun cabinet which is attached to floor joists and wall studs. It will stop most attacks. It has the same circular lock that I poke fun of, but it doesn’t self impress into a bic pen. (Only because I replaced the lock). It is good enough for where I live.

    If I was living in a place with more crime, I’d invest in a bigger safe and still bolt it to the floor.

    Listen to these two, secure your weapons, secure them based on a good return on investment. If nothing else, make sure your children and your friends don’t end up “playing” with your firearms.

  7. On 16 July 2012, seven paintings were stolen from the Kunsthal Rotterdam museum in the Netherlands. Two by Monet, and one each by Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse, de Haan, and Freud. It isn’t like there was a “price tag” on any of the specific paintings, but other pieces by these artists have sold for over €50,000,000… The museum had state of the art alarm systems, layers upon layers of physical security, abundant cameras, and guards on duty 24/7.

    There is no such thing as “impenetrable.” If the score is valuable enough, a determined thief can take it.

    The goal is to make stealing your shit “not worth it”

  8. One definitive fact about locking up crooks for extended periods of time: they are NOT committing further crimes while guests of the state…………….seems to me that is good enough of a reason to keep them locked up.

    1. Well, they might be committing crimes … selling & doing drugs, for instance. But I take your meaning – society at large is buffered from them.

  9. So what does the “great” Lock Picking Lawyer do for one of those Master locks when it’s attached to a locker and you can’t get those bolt cutters on the shackle?

    Sure, they would work on a padlocked chain (say, holding an outdoor gate closed), but given the orientation of the padlock affixed to a locker – especially one with a recessed lock location like this one – how you gonna get those bulky jaws on the lock in the first place? (That’s right, I just rendered your fancy destroy-anything hydraulic cutters worthless, with a thin sheet metal box.)

    Pulling those cutters out as an example of why no padlock can be trusted is like saying your in-car safe is worthless since the EMT’s “Jaws of Life” will cut right through both the car and the safe. How many thieves does he think walk around with a “Jaws of Life” on a daily basis?

    For the petty thief, it’s a calculation of reward vs. risk, and time spent exponentially increases risk. The average car burglary is over in about half-a-minute (I remember one of those “hidden camera” shows where the “bait” was left on the dash – the thief smashed the window with a brick, snatched the goods, and was gone in about 2 seconds, moving so fast the camera couldn’t get a clear picture), and the average house burglary is 15-20 minutes (IIRC). Every minute you can add to the “risk” side of the equation is another reason for him to go somewhere else.

    I’m not out to stymie an “Ocean’s 11” crew; my s#!t wouldn’t cover their salaries anyway, so I’m literally not worth the time or effort. I’m out to: A. keep my kids from my guns unless I’m there to supervise; and B. make my house less appealing to Sumdood and his cousin, Dindu Nuffin. It doesn’t take a multi-million-dollar, bank-and-casino-grade security system to accomplish either of those.

    Also, J.Kb, major kudos on your not-a-gun-safe gun safe. You may keep some firearms in there, but it doesn’t scream “Guns ‘R’ Here!!” and is difficult to get into, so a thief looking for weapons will probably pass it by. Did you notice you got a mention from Massad Ayoob on that?

  10. Divemedic’s list is a great one. I’d add the following:

    9. Don’t post on social media about your vacation until you’re BACK from vacation.

    10. Remember that the post applies to your gun safe as well. It will just take a thief longer than on your bike lock.

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