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DoorStorm Breaching Tools

The DoorStorm series of forcible entry tools uses a gear reduction, actuated by a ratchet tool for serious mechanical force. Each of the tools can be used to “push” like a ram or sledge, or to pull/pry like a Halligan tool or crowbar.

The product line is made up of three different products: the DoorStorm Ultra, the DoorStorm MAX and the PowerStorm. The Ultra has a jaw opening (maximum stroke) of 4.5 inches, while the MAX has a stroke of 7.5 inches. The PowerStorm is essentially a DoorStorm Ultra powered by an electric impact wrench. The PowerStorm uses a Makita 18-volt, cordless impact wrench to crank the Ultra. The complete kit includes a rapid charger.

Simply enough, with the DoorStorm, the operator inserts the split shoe (jaws) between the door and the jam and cranks the 9-inch, 3/8 drive ratchet handle to either pry or push. Rotating the ratchet, and the internal gear reduction, produces 13,000 pounds of force—basically, the output force is 17 times the input force.

Force from the Ultra and MAX can be applied in near silence simply by continuous rotation of the ratchet handle instead of a back-and-forth ratchet motion. A flip-up handle on the ratchet arm allows this circular motion. The PowerStorm, however, is quite noisy, but it sure is fast, and the PowerStorm jaws retract in a split second.

The amount of force used to rotate the gear set varies by the strength of the door and jam materials being forced open. With either wood or aluminum in the door or jam, the force to operate the DoorStorm is modest. When using the DoorStorm to push (like a ram) a steel door away from a steel jam, the tactical officer needs to exert quite a bit more force. When using the DoorStorm to pull (like a Halligan) a steel door away from a steel jam, the tactical officer must use a lot more force.

The DoorStorm Ultra and MAX are essentially a ram and Halligan tool in one. At 11 pounds and 13 pounds, respectively, these two DoorStorm devices weigh more than a Halligan but less than any ram. At 8 inches and 12 inches, respectively, these two are more compact than either a Halligan or ram.

One of the accessories that makes a big difference with the DoorStorm is called a Halligan Pry Bar Attachment. This is basically an extension handle that screws into the top of the DoorStorm Ultra or MAX. This handle allows the DoorStorm to be used as a simple pry bar for scenarios that don’t need the mechanical “pull” force from operating the device. In the same way, the handle also allows the DoorStorm to be used as a ram for similar, lighter-duty needs.

At the other end of the spectrum, the DoorStorm devices cannot open every conceivable door. In fact, almost no portable, hand-held, mechanical device can open steel doors set in concrete jams. But the DoorStorm can open 98 percent of doors, swing-in or swing-out, encountered in typical police tactical operations.

The DoorStorm Ultra has an MSRP of $1,499, the DoorStorm MAX is $1,649 and the PowerStorm is $2,100.

Published in Tactical Response, Mar/Apr 2011

Rating : 8.0

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