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Understanding Locksmith Speak

In the past we’ve had feedback from our customers that some of our speak and jargon used, when talking about locks, can be bewildering. We at VPS247, the leading national Locksmith with over 350 engineer directly employed by us, have put together an easy-to-understand glossary of terms to help you navigate the minefield of locksmith jargon.

Alignment of a lock: All the pins of a locking mechanism need to align to open/unlock. Alignment of the lock can be altered when a person tries to open the lock from the outside when there is a key already in the lock on the inside, making the lock fail.

Anti-Snap Lock: A euro-cylinder style lock that prevents the would-be intruder from gaining entry by snapping the lock in your door and operating the barrel without a key to gain entry.

Barrel: This is the part of the lock that the key goes into. Bit: This is the section of a key which has the cuts formed so that when inserted into a lock, it opens the lock.

BS: This stands for British Standard Specification, the accepted UK authority for all locksmith standards of performance, tests and manufacture. You will usually find the kite mark on the site of the lock if it is BS approved.

BS 3621: This is the actual British Standard lock specification that some insurance companies require to meet the terms and conditions of some home insurance policies.

Combination Lock: A keyless lock, normally operated by a number sequence, in which notched wheels are turned so that it lines up and allows the lock to open.

Deadlock: A lock which incorporates a deadbolt, often termed as a Chubb lock (although Chubb no longer make locks).

Euro Cylinder Lock: Usually fitted to a uPVC Door or aluminium door only, you can recognise them as they normally need the door handle turned-up to lock the door.

Forced entry: Usually, forced entry is gained when a door or window is forcibly opened causing damage, sometimes to the frame as well as the window.

Gain Entry: Our technique for getting you in your house when you are locked out.

Gearbox: The middle part of a locking mechanism where the actual lock is housed.

Lock Mech: The type of locking mechanism found on exterior uPVC and Composite doors that shoots additional bolts and hooks into the door frame when the main lock is activated.

Master Key: A key which normally opens all the locks in one single building.

Mortice Leaver Dead-Lock: Usually fitted to a wooden door, this requires a handle and a key to unlock the door

Mortice Lock, 3-Lever: Similar to the above, but with only 3 parts and are usually only fitted to internal doors.

Night Latch: This lock is mainly fitted to wooden doors, generally locks itself and has a snib on the back of the lock to open it from the inside.

Snib: This is the latch on the back of a night latch type lock that enables you to open the lock from the inside without using a key.

Thumb Turn: These are normally fitted to euro-style locks and are a turning device fitted to the inside enabling the lock the be activated. These are sometimes fitted to fire doors, flats or in houses where the occupier has difficulty locking the door with a key.

This glossary is a guide only. If you have any concerns or questions about your lock or security of your home you should always talk to a trustworthy Locksmith for a professional advice.