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What is Cylinder Snapping / Lock Snapping?

Lock Snapping banner
You may well have heard of “cylinder snapping” or lock snapping or even the term “lock bumping”.   Lock snapping is a very common method used by burglars to break into property that has a euro cylinder (e.g. almost all properties that have UPVC doors, although a significant number of composite & aluminium doors use them too, and they’re often used in commercial as well as domestic environments).

What is the Most Secure Lock
To PREVENT Lock Snapping?
read our advice here

On This page we will cover:

How a Anti Snap Lock can prevent a Burglary!

From the below image you can clearly see how fitting by a anti snap lock cylinder to these UPVC doors that a burglary attempt has been stopped.

What lock is used?

The lock on the above door is a Sold Secure approved diamond standard cylinder – To get one of these fitted we recommend contacting your local MLA approved locksmith who will be able to advise you on getting one fitted for your front and back doors.

Click here to Contact a MLA Locksmith
to discussing fitting Anti Snap Locks

The Method of Lock Snapping

The method of lock snapping involves breaking the cylinder to then manipulate the lock to open. Whilst you may think that all the multi locking points on your door make it secure, it’s important to realise they are all operated by the cylinder – this is the weakest point and if compromised all the locking points are rendered useless.

Brass Cylinder Keys

What your typical euro cylinder looks like

  • Lock snapping requires no specialist tools or knowledge – Various Police Forces are warning residents that lock snapping / cylinder snapping is a method of attack which requires no specialist tools or knowledge.
  • 25% of burglaries use lock snapping – Euro Cylinder Burglary Developments from the West Yorkshire Force (who have established that 25% of burglaries use this method of entry) provide some information and advice.

Lock Snapping spreading further afield – Whilst it has previously been restricted mainly to the Yorkshire area we are now seeing Police further afield giving warnings. For more information please see the Thames Valley Police providing advice on the issue.

How to prevent Cylinder Snapping / Lock Snapping

So it’s clear that lock snapping is a real threat, but the important thing to realise is that there’s a simple solution. It’s not something to be afraid of, simply something to be aware of and take action to prevent.

Sold Secure SS312 Diamond – Highest level of approval for lock cylinder

Sold Secure the security product test house owned by the Master Locksmiths Association started work over 2 years ago on a test standard to cover this particular MO.

  • Started towards the end of 2010 and is constantly being updated ^ tweaked to ensure it’s consistently up to date with latest techniques etc,
  • Is the highest level of approval for lock cylinders
  • Includes a test for resistance to snapping.

Sold Secure Diamond Lock Cylinder 2013 Logo

A diamond standard cylinder protects against lock snapping

Subsequent to the launch of SS312 Diamond other standards have been launched to address the issue but the Sold Secure standard is seen by most as the leader and therefore the approval to have.

  • You can find a list of lock cylinders that have achieved this highest level of approval by clicking here.

What Standard Cylinder Should I Fit?

To protect yourself against lock snapping there are essential three ways to go.


By fitting a Sold Secure Diamond approved cylinder ( SS312 ), your local professional, MLA licensed locksmith will help you minimise the likelihood of being burgled using this method of lock snapping.

Anti Snap Cylinder ABS Chrome MK3 Cylinder

SS312 Diamond Standard Anti Snap Lock Cylinder – Image Courtesy of ABS Home Security & Safety


If a SS312 Diamond cylinder isn’t used then it should at least reach the 3star Kitemark standard to provide true resistance to snapping.

kitemark 3 star logo

If its not Sold Secure diamond make sure a cylinder at least has a 3 star kite mark

Don’t simply rely on the manufacturer stating it’s snap resistance, you should always look for 3rd Party approval to confirm a product’s performance.


A 1 star kitemark cylinder with 2 star kite mark door furniture ( handle, cylinder guard )

lock cylinder and door furniture image

A 1 star lock cylinder and 2 star door furniture will prevent against Lock Snapping – image provided by ABS Home Security & Safety

How should the lock cylinder be correctly fitted?

The more of the cylinder that is accessible, the more prone it is to snapping, and a properly fitted cylinder (with no external overhang) will provide more protection against snapping, so size of the cylinder is vital too. Yet more reasons why changing locks isn’t a do it yourself job!

The cylinder should not protrude more than 3mm from the handle and ideally should be completely flush.

What Does a Incorrectly Fitted Euro Lock Cylinder Look Like?

The pictures below show incorrectly fitted cylinders. unbelievably they are actual pictures from jobs our members have witnessed (and of course immediately  suggested addressing!)

Overlong cylinder

Yet another unbelievable job by a so called “locksmith” where the cylinder is obviously far too long

Overlong cylinder 2

This is an actual cylinder fitted by a so called “locksmith”

What Does a Correctly Fitted Euro Lock Cylinder Look Like?

This is how a correctly size specified and fitted cylinder should look.

Correctly fitted cylinder

This cylinder however is the correct size and has been expertly specified and fitted

Don’t accept anything other than a correctly sized cylinder when having your locks changed and certainly don’t fall for the line that “the fact the cylinder is protruding is a special feature to help you feel where to put the key when it’s dark”!

Believe it or not this is what one homeowner was told, luckily one of our approved companies spotted it and highlighted the homeowner to the danger this other so called “locksmith” had put him in.

Conclusion on Lock Snapping – Consult your local MLA Licensed Locksmith

So the answer to the snapping issue is simple; get your local MLA locksmith to fit a Sold Secure Diamond approved cylinder and you can rest assured that your locks will put up the best fight.

A lot of people will ask can i fit my own lock but we recommend using a MLA Locksmith, especially with anti snap cylinder locks . If you want to go that extra mile then why not get your MLA locksmith to fit some high security door furniture too such as security handles.

Concerned about Lock Snapping?
Click here to Contact a MLA Locksmith
to discussing fitting Anti Snap Locks

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Steffan George

Hi there - I'm director of business development here at the Master Locksmiths Association. Feel free to add me to your circles on Google + by visiting my Steffan George profile. I'm also on Twitter @Steffan_MLA
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