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A pin-tumbler actuator connected to the lock.
See Cam lock for information on actuators used as locking bolts.

The actuator (or cam, tail, tailpiece) is an extension, usually connected to the plug of the lock, that activates or deactivates the mechanical locking component, such as the cam or bolt.

When the actuator is used as the primary bolt mechanism the lock is called a cam lock. Attacks against the lock actuator are a method of bypass.

Types of actuators

In pin-tumbler, wafer, and disc-detainer locks:

  • The actuator is connected to the plug and interfaces with components that control the bolt.

In rotary combination locks:

  • The actuator is the drive cam that controls the wheel pack and catches the lever nose to retract the bolt.

In lever locks:

  • The actuator is the bolt talon or drive lever that connects directly to the bolt.


See also