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5 Ways to Outsmart a Metal Detector

It’s not very easy to outsmart a metal detector but it can be possible by creating numerous false targets. A metal detector typically detects metal-induced current in an object by its changing magnetic field. Thus, making it difficult to conceal a metal, especially if you shield it with another metal.

A metal detector generates a magnetic field—when metal is placed in this magnetic field, there’s an electron movement within the metal, which generates a secondary field the detector can sense. The further the metal gets in the detector, the larger the secondary field.

The detection threshold can also be calibrated to prevent smaller materials such as metal buttons and zippers from setting off the detector.

How to outsmart a metal detector

How to outsmart a metal detector

Since it’s tougher to get past the machine undetected, what are the ways to outsmart a metal detector:

1. Use aluminum foil

Unless the sensitivity of a mental detector is reduced, it will be able to detect aluminum foil. Thus, it’s not completely true that metal detectors will not notice the aluminum foil.

Moreover, if X-rays are used, such as in airports, they can see a big blank spot caused by the foil. You’ll then be asked to open the suitcase for verification.

The masking effect of aluminum foil is to create a Faraday cage around a metal item to outsmart a metal detector. And as already mentioned, metal detectors will only completely ignore the foil due to its performance or settings. Operators can reduce the sensitivity to prevent false positives on food packaging with aluminum foil or tin foil.

2. Hiding metal amongst other metal objects

The idea is just to make the operator think that the sensor was triggered by the metal you use to conceal the primary metal.

Read also: Beginner guide: pickpocketing easy

Have small cans or even spoons in the same place where you have the metal content. When the operator checks, they’d find the metal detected and let you pass. In some cases, the initially detected item can be removed and then a detection run again to confirm if you still have a metal object.

3.  Leave metal in the cart

Just leave the metal object in a basket or cart with or without a roller. When you approach the metal detector, they’d think the cart is responsible for the triggering detector. In some cases, the detectors may not search the cart for other items you’re concealing.

Operators won’t also deconstruct your cart and test metal substances. Instead, they may have you leave it outside—they will think it’s just a cart.

4. Pretend it’s your keys

If you have metal content, you can leave it in your pocket alongside your keys. When you walk through the metal detector, it will go off—just retrieve the keys from your pocket immediately while you’re still walking and say, “oops, it’s my keys. Sorry, I forgot.”

Read also: How determined minds guess passwords

You may be waved through with a dirty look. However, this method will not work if you’re asked to go through the detector again. This method is just a gamble, and the long line behind you may discourage the operators from asking you to go through the detector again without your keys.

5. Forge really tiny metal

Metal detectors have an adjustable threshold setting, which you can leverage to get in tiny metals (suppose the operator reduced the sensitivity). Only metal objects that displace the field by any given amount will set off the alarm, otherwise, metals outside the given field will not be detected.

Operators typically keep the threshold high enough to keep it from going off for materials as small as zippers.

Now, if you have some small metal objects separated by a small distance, will the metal detector sense them the same way a single, larger object is detected? Well, the metals do not have to be so close to each other for the machine to detect. Some metal detector models just need them to be in the same horizontal plane to detect.

You could have a metal item in your right and left pocket that individually would not set off the metal detector. However, if together, they will.

A more confusing one is stuff like belt buckles and watches. However, the metal detector will set off as you pass through it if your arm carrying the wristwatch swings down such that the wristwatch is now at the same level as the belt buckle.

The idea here to outsmart the metal detector is to hold their arms out wide, keeping your wristwatch above the belt buckle level so that the metal detector is not set off as you pass through it.

Final thought

Keep in mind that metal detectors are set at different sensitivities, depending on the place they are used. At the airport, for example, metal detectors are set to be the most sensitive. However, office buildings set them less sensitive against items like metal buttons, zippers, wrist watches, etc.

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