Security is an important element of any emergency preparedness plan. You might have enough guns, ammo, water, MREs, medicine, and other gear to supply an army, but if these items are stored out in the open, someone will eventually take them from you. It's common sense to lock up your resources to deter anyone who might have sticky fingers.

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However, as we've said in the past, not all locks are created equal. You need to carefully consider the locks you use, because certain locks (especially cheaper varieties found at big box retail stores) can be cracked easily. Some locks can even be popped open by simply tapping the exterior with a mallet.

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Lock shims are simple pieces of sheet metal bent into varying radii.

Another way locks can be defeated is through the use of shims. Shimming a padlock involves inserting a thin piece of metal (or two) around the lock shackle, thereby pushing away the latch(es) and opening the lock. Some locks can even be shimmed using pieces of aluminum cut out of a soda can. Here's a demonstration:

For the record, please don't use this information for illegal purposes — we're not responsible if you do. If you're interested in learning how to use lock shims for scavenging during a true SHTF end-of-the-world scenario, only practice at home on locks you bought for that purpose.

If you're securing your resources, consider the risk of shimming, lockpicking, and other security workarounds. Cheap locks may be a deterrent, but they won't stop these attacks. If you're truly concerned about securing your gear, look into high-security locks — and no, despite the marketing, the new MasterLock anti-shim locks are not truly shim-proof.

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