Forcible Entry – A Debatable Technique or Another Option?

By: Paul Hasenmeier

If you have been following the blog; you probably have seen the videos of forcible entry on our homemade prop.  I’ve been told that one of the recent videos where a single firefighter using the blade of an axe to gap the door won’t work.  The jury is still out and we need to try it some more, but I can tell you that it works on the prop and worked on the acquired structure door in the pictures and video below.


As firefighters on volunteer, combination, career, small town, rural, or big city departments we must remember that through training we perfect our trade and find other options to get the job done.  We often use props to simulate a technique that can be performed on a real structure, but remember that props are like batting cages.  The prop gives you routine, muscle memory, and repetition in the same manner that a pitching machine does.  However, when you get in the batters box at the ball field or on the door step of a working fire; be ready to adapt to the real life situation.

Thoughts On Why It Won’t Work

  • The firefighter won’t be able to steer the blade of the axe. (watch my knee in the video)
  • Due to the lack of steering, the axe blade will be buried into the jam and won’t create the needed gap.

Door Specifics

Common lockset and deadbolt.

The door in the pictures and video below is a standard 32″ x 80″ steel exterior residential door.  It had a typical lockset and deadbolt.  No additional chain, slide-bolt, or drop bar security measures were on this door.

The door jam itself was in good condition and the door shut tightly when the deadbolt was locked.

The step below the door was already removed, which caused me to place the axe handle on the door threshold.  Ideally, the blade would have been better placed just below the lockset.

Check out the video and try the technique…maybe you’ll find it to be a useful option for your tackle box.  In addition to the conventional forcible entry techniques, we will be trying this one more in the future.  I welcome the discussion, however, if you decide to comment be sure to use your name and add constructive dialogue.

Pass it on!