Applying the Technique to Find the First Number

Overview of the Method

The goal is to find a number where the test result is "harder to turn" than it is at numbers a few marks away. You will be using that number (or a number near it, as explained later) as your first number.

The test for "harder to turn" is performed at a good "test" sticking place. As you did with the practice lock, you will turn the dial right two turns, stop at a possible first number, then turn the dial left almost a full turn and continue turning left. You will stop just inside the sticking place, pull hard on the shackle, turn the knob left and note how hard the dial is to turn. You will dial other possible first numbers on the same lock, perform the same test, and compare how hard the dial was to turn, looking for a first number where the dial was "harder to turn."

You will be trying first numbers in order. To speed things up, you may skip every other number, just checking the even numbers. The lock allows for sloppy dialing, so, if the first number is odd, you should find the dial harder to turn at an even number next to an odd correct first number. If you don't have luck with the even numbers, you can make a second pass checking only the odd numbers.

It would be best if you could use the same sticking place for testing all first numbers. However, the test will not work if the sticking place is 3 to 6 marks before the first number you are trying, so you have to switch to a different sticking place or skip some first numbers. If you have to skip some first numbers, you can check those numbers using the basic method.

Locating Good "Test" Sticking Places

Try to locate at least two good test sticking places that are about half way apart on the lock dial. Carefully note the edges of the sticking places that you find. Choose one test sticking place to start with.

Turn the dial two turns right and stop at your chosen test sticking place. Pull on the shackle and rotate the dial back and forth. Verify that the dial turns freely. Carefully note the two ends of the sticking place. Rotate the dial left almost a full turn and stop carefully just inside your sticking place. Pull on the shackle and turn the dial left. Notice how hard the dial is to turn. Now turn the dial left again almost a full turn, and stop again at the same spot just inside your sticking place. Pull on the shackle just as hard as you did the first time and turn the dial left. Check if the dial is noticeably, even if very slightly, harder to turn. If it is, you have a good sticking place to work with. If not, perform this test at another sticking place.

Repeat the test in the previous paragraph several times to get a good feel for what you will be trying to notice. Also, perform this test at other sticking places. Try to find sticking places where the difference is noticeable. Some sticking places may be far better than others. If you are lucky and find a sticking place at the second number of the combination, the difference should be very noticeable. (On some locks, the second number will be at a sticking place. On other locks, the second number will be between sticking places.) For the following tests, use the best one or two sticking places that you find.

Now to Find the First Number

If you have chosen a "test" sticking place is between 10 and 30, start out with using 0 as your first number, otherwise start with 20 as your first number.

Turn the dial two turns to the right and then stop carefully at your first number (either 0 or 20.) Turn the dial left one full turn and continue left to stop just inside the your "test" sticking place. Pull on the shackle and note how hard the dial is to turn left.

Repeat the test, but use the next highest even number (either 2 or 22) as your first number. Notice if there is any slight difference in how hard the dial is to turn left.

If there is no difference in the force required to turn the dial, continue trying even numbers as first numbers, advancing two marks at a time. When your test sticking place is 0 to 3 marks before the first number you are trying, just turn the dial far enough left to be inside it. (This is slightly less than a full turn.) When your "test" sticking place is 3 to 6 marks before the first number you about to try, you will need to switch to a different "test" sticking place. If you can't do that because you have only one test sticking place, you will have to skip over some numbers.

When you notice a difference, try other first numbers, including odd numbers,  near the number where the dial was slightly harder to turn, and select the number closest to the middle of the numbers you find. Go back to the basic procedure and try the first number that you found.

If you do not find a first number, but you had to skip some first numbers (because you had only one good "test" sticking place, and had to skip first numbers where that sticking place was 3 to 6 marks before those numbers) you may have had to skip over the first number. Use the basic technique to try the first numbers that you had to skip.

Click here to return to the basic technique.

If the lock did not cooperate with giving away its first number, it may cooperate and give away its second number.
Click here for an advanced technique for locating the second number.

Click here for an explanation of why this works, based on the inner workings of the lock.

Click here to return to "success" page.