The amount of time it takes for players ships to lock a target depends upon the Scan Resolution of their ship and also the Signature Radius of the target. Players are able to see their ships Scan Resolution value in the Fitting Window.
The higher the Scan Resolution the quicker a ship can lock a target.
The higher the Signature Radius the quicker a ship can be locked by someone else.
Large ships typically have a small Scan Resolution, meaning that they lock slowly, and a large signature radius, meaning that they can be locked quickly. For small ships the reverse is typically true.
Many players utilize smaller ships to transport valuable items through New Eden because they have a low signature radius value. However just because a ship has a very low signature radius does not mean that it is impossible to lock quickly.
Players are able to increase their ships scan resolution to the point that the amount of time it takes to lock another target, regardless of the targets signature radius, is almost instantaneous. When a locking time is reduced to a minimal duration it is known by players as an ‘Insta Lock’ or ‘Instalock’.
A ships scan resolution and signature radius is affected by various modules, rigs and other factors. Players should check the information about any item they utilize to ensure they are aware of the benefits and penalties and how they affect these attributes.