Drill: Getting More From Doors

By Samuel Hittle

Having access to a door prop is great for developing steps to take down a door. However, it is an even more valuable experience when we are able to attack real doors set in real frames. Since acquired structures with intact doors are difficult to come by, we need to maximize every opportunity to sharpen our forcible entry techniques. This drill looks at a methodical approach to exploit learning potential with a single door.

A lot of our alarms warrant entry but do not justify conventional tactics. For this reason, we should be well-versed in thru-the-lock. Taking advantage of the hardware and locks on the door first will assist us in improving these techniques. Augment the challenge by only using tools you regularly carry and those in your pockets.


When thru-the-lock fails, we have two options: Move to conventional tactics or attempt a modified thru-the-lock, driving the remaining hardware entirely from the door. Another situation where driving hardware from the door becomes beneficial is when commercial or makeshift tenement locks, i.e., 2×4s, chairs) are preventing entry. Driving the components on the inward side away from the slab will allow the wedged device to slide up the door. With the lock faces already removed, practice driving the remaining hardware away from the slab.


Nick Martin on Forcing the Hinge Side of an Inward Opening Door

Walt Lewis on Forcing Entry on a Garage Door

Dave McGrail on Door Orientation at Apartment Fires

After the hardware and locks are removed, we can work on conventional inward tactics by securing the door with hinges or steel plates. This can be repeated as long as the door system endures.

With the latch side exhausted, we can start working on the hinge side of the door. Start by practicing hinge removal techniques using hand tools. First, eradicate the top hinge, then the bottom one, leaving the middle hinge(s) intact.


Next, resecure the latch side using one or two of the removed hinges. Then, using the intact middle hinge(s) as a lock, work on conventional outward tactics. An additional hinge or steel plate can be added for more resistance.

Finally, collect some of the removed hinges, take them back to the firehouse, fasten them between some 2×4s, and practice cutting them with a circular saw.

Download this drill as a PDF HERE .


Samuel Hittle is a lieutenant with the Wichita (KS) Fire Department and an instructor with Traditions Training, LLC.

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