Breaching is an art. What was once done with a size 12 jump boot progressed into using sledgehammers, and then battering rams fabricated in the city’s weld shop or someone’s garage. During the late 1980s and early 1990s in the middle of the crack cocaine wars, dopers started fortifying their locations, and breaching equipment companies began to emerge. Everything from better designed rams to hydraulic jam spreaders were innovated during this time to improve tactical and narcotics teams’ access to a target location during a narcotics search warrant and forced entry.
Across the pond in British police tactical units, the MOE (Method of Entry) man concept was developed. Teams like the London Metropolitan Police SO19 tactical team saw the breacher function a little differently and began kitting out the role of an operator with a backpack and the ability to breach multiple types of doors—inward opening, outward opening, metal, security screen door, etc. The result was a further refinement and development of breaching equipment.
Back in the states, former lawman Marty Wozniak and his company Dynamic Entry were bringing modern metallurgical and ergonomic design to the art of breaching. With an eye for operator safety during the breach, Wozniak strove for efficient and effective designs for his rams and Hallagan tools, developing the Thor’s Hammer™ breaching ram and more. Now a part of the Blackhawk Products Group
, Dynamic Entry equipment is in service with law enforcement across the country, as well as our nation’s military personnel. Dynamic Entry Gets Small
So why would a company that prides itself on equipment that is capable of breaching tough doors go the opposite way and develop a smaller kit? The answer is simple: because it’s needed. The aforementioned “art of breaching” and MOE concept means that the breacher or breaching team needs to have the equipment and skills necessary to force entry at the exterior breach point, as well as throughout the structure.
Some of the rams and Hallagan tools that are designed for exterior doors are not efficient in tighter quarters, such as a locked, outward-opening door in a hallway. Operators in the field asked for smaller equipment that was more portable and yet highly efficient; Dynamic Entry listened and responded.
Collapsible Tool Series™
The Collapsible Tool Series is a line of three tools which expand from closed dimensions of less than 16.75 inches out to 22 to 24.5 inches. Two stainless steel shafts with a dual locking mechanism allow these tools to be carried closed and then opened to reveal a more effective tool size.
The Collapsible Breacher™ is a wedge-shaped tool designed to open outward-opening doors, for instance. Dynamic Entry’s attention to detail has resulted in new friction ridges on the tool’s surface so that it better bites into its target material.
The Collapsible Mini ThunderSledge™ is exactly what it sounds like—an expandable sledgehammer with an overall weight of 10.2 pounds. The sledge can be safely used in the closed mode for hallways and the like, or when more striking power is required, the tool can be locked open.
The last tool in this line is the Collapsible Stainless Hallagan Tool™. The standard wedge and pointed horn of the Hallagan tool are present with the new friction ridges designed into all wedge surfaces for less chance of the tool slipping free as you apply leverage.
Mini Tool Kit™
Comprising the Mini Breacher™, Micro ThunderSledge™ and Mini BoltMaster™, this three-piece kit came to me with a high-quality Blackhawk ballistic nylon bag with a shoulder and thigh strap. These high-quality tools are non-expandable, with the ThunderSledge measuring 14 inches in length and weighing 4.6 pounds, the Mini Breacher measuring 14.5 inches and weighing 4.7 pounds, and the Mini BoltMaster measuring 18 inches and weighing 5.15 pounds. With this less-than-15-pound kit, an operator could easily breach interior hollow-core doors, breach outward-opening doors to attics, or cut open those dope house padlock- and hasp-secured doors.
The Small Pry™
During my SWAT career, there were several times when I wished I had access to a pry device or something more stout than my folding pocket knife. I needed a tool that I could hammer into a cabinet or door jamb to develop sufficient leverage—enter the Small Pry.
Over the last few years, Blackhawk has developed some quality working knives and edged weapons. It was no shock that Marty Wozniak would collaborate with the knife designers to fill a void in the breaching area. The Small Pry is a 14.6-inch pry bar with a chisel ground edge. The D-2 steel tool can be used for small prying duties (hence its name) as well as chopping into and through material. The handle is a checkered thermoplastic rubber, and the sheath can be affixed to an operator’s entry vest to provide more prying and breaching capability than can safely be accomplished with a sheath knife.
Active Shooter Hallagan Tool™
It seems like not a week goes by without some sort of active shooter situation, be it a college or place of business. Although a sad state of affairs, it has instilled in most agencies the need to plan, train and equip for such situations. Active shooter tactics dictate smooth and efficient movement, whether with contact teams or rescue teams.
Considering that most school districts in the U.S. have some type of lockdown plan wherein the teachers lock their classrooms and await a police response, it is entirely possible that responding officers, whether looking for the bad guy or clearing out classrooms of kids, will have to breach doors. In the private sector, businesses also frequently have locked doors, and getting someone with keys is a slow process.
With that in mind, Dynamic Entry has developed the Active Shooter Hallagan Tool. At only 24 inches and 7.5 pounds, this Hallagan tool provides the standard wedge and hook-bill design (once again incorporating the new friction ridges of DE’s other designs). Opposite from the wedge and bill is a massive fork that can create a gap through which the tool can be used, or that can lever open even the most stout wood or possibly even metal doors.
This is a well-thought-out, man-portable breaching tool that is more versatile than just a ram or standard Hallagan. Grant money is available for active shooter training and equipment for schools. When thinking of breaching duties, consider this tool.
Do not let the diminutive size of some of these DE designs fool you. As someone once said about another breaching method, “Dynamite comes in small packages.”
Kevin Davis is a 28-year law enforcement veteran currently assigned to the training bureau. Previous assignments include patrol, narcotics and SWAT where he was a team leader and lead instructor. Davis welcomes feedback at kd1@ advancedtacticalconcepts.com, or visit his Web site at www.advancedtacticalconcepts.com.