Drop bars are by far the most common secondary security device we find on doors. Most setups take very little skill to build and they provide good protection from most criminals. This makes it appealing to most business owners, it can be done with their skill level and common materials. If the business owner wants to spend a little more money they can have a wide variety of styles fabricated. I have too many pictures of drop bars to count, the designs are endless and limited only to the citizens imagination. I have been fortunate enough to force drops bars that were very weak all the way up to some designs that were extremely strong. Over and over again we find that solid techniques with a good order of operations will defeat almost everything they can come up with. I know we have the extremes out there, that will cause a curveball no matter what type of tactic you use. However a large majority will always show there weak points with our standard tactics.
Here is how we approach a door that is showing signs of a drop bar.
A. Gap-Set-Force. So many doors are defeated before you move on to anything other than standard prying with the Irons. This is our Plan A and I like to try it every time. It either defeats it or gives you a real good feel of the door.
B. Add a 6′ Hook cheater bar (or a second firefighter on the Halligan) It is quick and it adds a ton of leverage. We have found it extremely effective and again saves you a ton of time when it works.
C. Defeat the bolts closest to the lock side of the door. Doesn’t matter if you use saws or you drive the bolts through. The key is to attack the bolts on the lock side. Then go back to prying.
D. Anytime you get enough spread in the door during this process you can insert this move. When the door spreads even a few inches. Stick the NY hook or the axe head into the gap and pound the bar up and out of the mounts.
E. Worst case scenario, you take out the last set of carriage bolts on the hinge side of the door. This is rare you have to go that far, but every once in a while if it is really holding on.
Look at the picture below and we will hit a couple of the weak points that reinforces the tactics we listed above and why we do them in that order.
Bar #1 – A very standard looking bolt pattern with standard drop bar mounts. All of that is secured with an old broom stick. Gap-Set-Force defeats this before you ever have to move past Plan A.
Bar #2 – Strong looking bolt pattern, strong mounts, 1/2 steel bar, all good materials used in this setup. The weak point is they made the bar go behind the 1/2 jamb instead of making it go behind the wall. With good prying you will defeat this bar because of the lack of bite it has on the metal frame. I’ll bet GSF defeats this, but worse case you add the 6′ hook and this is a goner.
Bar # 3 – Commercially made drop bar. Usually these tend to be weaker than most homemade versions. A couple weak points on this one. A single bolt is used for each mount, and again like the last bar it is only mounted behind the jamb instead of the frame. GSF should win again, but driving a single bolt if not will take this bar out without question.
Bar# 4- Standard bolt pattern followed up by a substantial 4×4 that goes all the way behind the wall. The mounts are also made of good steel and have a padlock to prevent us from sticking a tool in and knocking it out. It still has a weak point. Prying may not get you as far on this door, but you have two carriage bolts exposed on the outside that will easily disable the strength of this system.
Bar# 5- Three mounts showing from the outside instead of two, they are also reinforced with washers which can make driving them with a Halligan a little more difficult. However, this door reinforces why we always try GSF with our Irons first because I can’t tell you how many times we have seen them removed like you see here.
Bar#6 – Very impressive setup from the outside of the door. Large bolts that have been welded to a thick plate. This makes driving bolts through a poor choice and even makes saw work difficult. But if we stick to our plan we will expose the weak point during our prying operation. Don’t let the plate distract you. The mounts have a flaw, they are very short, so even though the bar is well made from steel the height and thickness of that mount has proven to us over and over again that we will usually defeat this with GSF and adding in our 6′ hook for leverage.
Long winded I know, but just a couple of thoughts of why we do what we do. We really go in depth on how to defeat drop bars in our hands on forcible entry classes. If you are not in our area we also have a large collection of YouTube videos defeating many of the drop bars that you see in this picture. Check it out.
IRONS and LADDERS LLC.