The Friction Force™
Forcible Entry Training Door is the
latest SWAT training and practice door and is one of the very best. What makes
it so good is the fully adjustable resistance to opening. It can be set to have
the feel of a common wood door. Or it can be set to the frustrating delay of a security
or fire door, i.e., a close-fitting, steel door in a steel frame installed in a
The Friction Force door started off as a training door for
Fire developed by a veteran firefighter. In fact, more Friction Force doors are
currently used by Fire Departments than Police Departments, even though the
higher settings are definitely intended for a heavy battering ram. (Consider
sharing the cost of the Friction Force door with the Fire Dept.)
The Friction Force door does not use wooden dowels or other
perishable parts to set the resistance to opening. Instead, it uses an
adjustable vise: an angled steel cam in the doorframe is wedged on top of a square
steel friction bar in the door. The force of this wedge—the amount of friction—is
adjusted by a rotating wheel with a dial indicator. The wheel is connected to a
drive screw jack—the tighter the wheel is turned, the more friction the wedge
applies, the more force to the door.
The dial indicator points to a scale of 1 to 10 on difficulty—a
rating of 1 to 2 represents a wood door, while an indicator of 3 to 10
represents increasingly difficult steel doors. Unlike some training doors, the
Friction Force door can be set to a level that will tax even the stoutest
breacher, or two-man breacher team.
The resistance can be precisely reset to the same level
between each breach. Spin the wheel until the adjustable wedge contacts the
door bar, reset the indicator needle to zero, then turn the wheel to the
desired amount of force needed to breach the door.
Easy to Move
The heavy steel door and heavy steel frame are mounted on
retractable casters for ease of movement to the training location. A large
lever arm on each mounting rail is used to raise the heavy-duty casters for
training use and lower the casters for movement to another location.
The 1100-pound door and frame are heavy enough not to move
when hit by a ram, even when set on one of the stiffer settings. However, a
steel grate extends on the entry side, the swing-away side, for extra
stability. With a breacher standing on the grate, even the heaviest ram strike
against a stubborn door does not move the training door.
The Friction Force Forcible Entry Training Door has zero
setup time. The folding base allows for easy storage. The only maintenance
required is the occasional spray of WD-40 on the drive screw (threaded rod) without
getting any on the wedge and door bar surfaces and a spray every once in a while
on the caster-lift arm cam.
More Than a Ram
While we breachers normally think “ram,” the Friction Force
door can be used for training with a wide variety of door opening tools, not
just the heavy ram. The door is specifically designed to allow the use of
prying tools, especially the Halligan Tool. Hydraulic devices can also be used
on the door. The impact and pry surface of the door is made of 1/2-inch
hardened steel plate.
The vertical door rod, which the door rotates open and
closed on, is designed to tilt. The heavily spring-loaded door friction bar is
also designed to allow this sort of pivot. This tilt feature allows entry tools
to be hammered in the gap to pry the door without binding the door and without
affecting the force needed to open the door.
The Friction Force training door can be changed to either a
left-hinge or a right-hinge door. Standing on grate side, the door can be used for
both outward prying and outward ramming. Standing on the opposite side, the
door can be used for inward prying.
Wood boards or heavy plywood strips can be secured on the
door frame to allow use of the pick end of the Halligan Tool. The channel can
be used as a trace to cut out replacement wood pieces. If the baseball-swing technique
with the Halligan pick is not used, nothing on the Friction Force door needs to
be replaced—ever. Some Friction Force training doors have logged 10,000 forced
entries during training.
Time with the Door
We spent quite a bit of time with the Friction Force
training door with many different settings using a Halligan Tool. (This sort of
breacher training is addicting.) We used the claw (fork) to ram the door enough
to make a gap for the blade (wedge). Then used the blade to make a gap for the claw.
Then axe-hammered the claw in the gap enough to pry the door inward. Moving to
the other side of the door, we used both the blade end and the claw end to pry
the door inward, hammering the tool to set it.
We have used many different training doors and breached doors
during callouts. The Friction Force door is the real thing. We highly recommend