Friday, January 03, 2020

Security Theater

The first couple times I flew with guns, I borrowed a Pelican and some locks from Shootin' Buddy, but along about 2012 or so, I got off my butt and dug out my SKB pistol cases and bought a couple of Master Lock padlocks.

I made sure they were bright pink, so you could see them and so the ticket counter folks would know they weren't TSA locks. (You're not supposed to use TSA locks because any rando with a TSA key can get in.)

Then I took that lockpicking class from Uncensored Tactical... I sat up late on New Year's Eve, surfing the net and idly fiddling with my practice locks to keep my hands busy. When I got bored with my practice locks, I went and grabbed the locks I'd been using to secure thousands of dollars of pistols, carbines, and optics while traveling...

I mean, I knew that was going to happen, but I was still dismayed at the ease of it... Your basic Master Lock padlocks are pathetically easy to pick. I single-pin picked them on my first three attempts, totaling barely two minutes.

Now, realistically speaking, getting the locks picked on a case being transported by an airline is winning-the-lotto levels of unlikely. Even if someone was going to try and get into your stuff, they're not going to James Bond it; they're going to brute force their way in with bolt cutters or the like.

Still, I happened to have this set of Master Lock Magnums lying around unused. On the r/lockpicking chart, they're only one step up, difficulty-wise, from the little 136's I was using, but even that's a reassurance. I was able to get one to pop with a few minutes of diligent picking and a couple frustrating false starts; by comparison, I could pick the pink locks almost accidentally.