Bevel to the Door vs. Bevel to the Jamb

Bevel to the door or bevel to the jamb?…..that is the question. The main intention of this article is to compare the differences in the two ways the fork end of the Halligan can be used on inward swinging doors. Both ways can be used  with very effective results, but knowing why we choose to use one way or the other is important. They both have advantages and disadvantages, but as long as we recognize these advantages and use them in conjunction with each other it makes for a great combination. For clarification we refer to the bevel as the outside of the curve, it will be much clearer when looking at the pictures. This comparison applies to Pro Bar Halligans, although some of the info will pertain to other bars, it is written based of the use of the Pro Bars.

After we obtain a proper gap of the door(  based on wood or metal jambs) we must move to our fork and choose to either place the bevel to the jamb (as seen below) or bevel to the door. First we will cover bevel to the jamb. Bevel to the jamb allows us a few advantages when setting the tool to the proper depth. As you can see below the angle of the fork wants to naturally guide itself around the door. Because of this angle it leaves us with much less resistence on a metal frame, and it also helps prevent us from sinking the teeth into a wood jamb. While guiding our bar away from the door while it is being struck we keep the fork moving smoothly around the door. Our disadvantages come after we have the tool set and we are ready to force. This will be discussed below. The next two pictures show the fork being set with the bevel to the jamb.

Next we have Halligan being set with the bevel towards the door. This is probably the most common way setting a Halligan is taught, which is fine as long as we know the potential problems we have to overcome. You can see the curve of the tool is wanting to guide the forks into the frame. This can cause us to feel more resistence when it is hitting a metal frame, or creates much more of an oppurtunity to drive the forks into the jamb if it is wood. The Halligan firefighter has to pay complete attention to guiding the forks in to prevent us from hanging up on the frame. Solid pressure on the tool away from the door as it is being driven is a must to allow it to sink easily to the proper depth.  This is the disadvantage of setting the tool with the bevel to the door but the advantages come later. The next two pictures show the halligan being set with the bevel to the door.


If we haven’t lost you to boredom yet, we can now see the remaining advantages and disadvantages. As you see below we are back on the bevel to the jamb. As stated above the bevel to the jamb is easier to set and guide around the door to the proper depth. Where the disadvantage comes in is when we apply the force. The picture below is showing the Halligan applying full force. You can see that the gap it has created is relatively minimal. This is because we are not using the designed leverage point of the Halligan and we have also gone against the design of the forks. This still does not mean this way is wrong because many times this is all the leverage we are going to need, however we need to remember that the Halligan provides more leverage in other ways if it is needed.

The last picture(above) shows us bevel to the door being used. If you scroll back and forth between this picture and the one above it you can see the difference in the gap. We stated earlier that the bevel to the door can be more difficult to set if the door is tight, but as you can see when the bar is set it applies much more leverage. When the bevel is placed to the door it uses the characteristics of the tool to their full potential leverage. The forks grab hold of the backside of the frame and the high point of the bevel is being pushed against the door.

In summary neither way is right or wrong as long as you know why you are placing the bevel the way you choose. Different doors, jambs, and lock setups will call for different ways to put the bevel. A metal frame and metal door that is secured very tightly may call for the bevel to the jamb so that you can set it easier. However if we choose bevel to the jamb and don’t get the leverage we need, we can put a chock in the door or an axe and hold the gap we made. We can then pull the Halligan out and reverse the bevel and continue applying force with the bevel to the door.

This can go on and on, but it is only intended to illustrate the major differences in how you place the bevel. We know this is getting technical, but practicing the different ways regularly makes it become second nature on which way to place it. Again this is just another back to the basics post, nothing new, nothing that we invented. Just passing on great technique tips that has been passed on to us.  After this long-winded writeup there is really a simple way to sum it all up:

Bevel To the Jamb= Easier to set, Less leverage to force

Bevel To The Door= Harder to set, More leverage to force


Explore posts in the same categories: 1. Forcible Entry

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14 Comments on “Bevel to the Door vs. Bevel to the Jamb”

  1. hayden Says:

    Great points. Is that a simulator in the pictures, if so how about an article about it. We just built one and I would like to see some others out there.

  2. Great write up,too many people believe there is only one way to set the forks…bevel to the door and nothing could be further from the truth. That mentality only limits your forcible entry abilities. One of my first forcible entry instructors was Greg Einsfeld (ret R-3 FDNY). The phylosophy he passed on to me was that uses of the Halligan bar were only limited by your understanding of the tool, the door system and your imagination. He advocated using the bevel towards the jamb on tight doors.

    Andrew Brassard and Nate DeMarse from the Brotherhood Instructors, LLC. are some of the best forcible entry instructors teaching today. We at the Brotherhood teach the Gap-Set-Force technique of forcible entry. We teach the firefighter to utilize the adz to gap the door. On some doors this may be all that is required for the door to yield. Once the gap or purchase point is created then it is time to set the forks. I prefer to start with the bevel towards the door if the adz has created sufficent gap, which many times does not even require the forks to be driven in by a striking tool. On other doors, very tight doors where there is little or no gap created I will start with the bevel to the jamb, drive the forks to a depth where they will not slip and then apply force. Sometimes the door will yield but many times will not. At that point, if enough gap was created to insert the adz I will go with that, otherwise I will turn the bar over so that the bevel is to the door and apply force. From this point if the door does not yield I will continue by moving back to the adz or chock up behind the bar’s fulcrum to add additional leverage. Being fluid and moving from one technique to the other makes for quick and professional technique. Do not limit your toolbox of techniques, get the tool out and study it and study door systems with the intent of creating a mental preplan of the methods to overcome them. Additionally, the only way to be proficent with the Halligan bar and the techniques for forcing doors only comes with practice and one of the best methods to practice is with a quality and realistic forcible entry simulator, not on the fireground when time is of the essence.

    • Well put Jamie, I agree with the points that you have made. You and the guys at BI do great work and your input is always welcome here.

      • L Chapel Says:

        I and L,

        Would it be possible to post a picture or two of the adz method in achieving a gap as discussed by Morelock?

  3. Kyle Smith Says:

    Great info both of you guys have. keep up the good work I continue to check your websites on a regular basis for ways to improve my skills.

  4. L Chapel,

    I do have pictures of gapping with the adze, I will get them up soon.


    Here is a link to our facebook page. In this short video Nate and Curt DeMarse demonstrate the proper technique of Shock-Gap-Set-Force technique on a heavy and tight door. The Shock portion is not required on every door, but should be considered for heavily secured doors. This door simulator is one of the most realistic out there at this time. Pay close attention on how fast they overcome this door.

  6. What way the halligan is driven in between the door and the frame is a on going debate in the fire service and it seems to be the “Truckies” version of the smoothbore vs. fog debate. I feel that both ways are correct and that both have their place in your “forcible entry tool box”, anyone who says that one way is wrong or that one of the ways in not applicable does not understand the concepts of forcing a door through conventional methods.

    For the majority of forcible entry operations I prefer to “SET” the forks with the bevel to the door, this method will require a little more finesse and steering to set the forks. Also when setting the forks with the bevel to the door you may need a firefighter that can swing the tool fairly hard to set the tool on a tough door. For doors that are fairly tight to the frame or doors that may have a very difficult time crushing (steel buck doors have this problem) may require you to flip the tool over and drive the forks in bevel to the jamb. If you have a new firefighter hitting you may want to drive the forks in with the bevel to the jamb due to a easier “SET” coupled with the striking firefighters lack of hitting power this may allow for a smoother operation.

    Another time where forcing doors with the bevel to the frame is more applicable of a technique is when you are utilizing the squared off shoulder on the halligan in a zero or limited visibility situation, you simply will not generate the required force to drive the forks in with the bevel to the door on most metal doors.

    One last situation where bevel to the frame is a excellent option is where you require a different striking angle due to obstructions or walls that impede the progress of the halligan being pushed to 90 degrees from the door. When setting the forks with the bevel to the door the halligan starts at 45 degrees from the door and as it is driven in between the door it should end up at 90 degrees from the door. If you drive the forks in with the bevel to the frame the halligan should start almost flush with the door and end up at around a 45 to 60 degree angle from the door, this will help is situations where the door being forced is at a dead end hallway and the wall is at a weird angle or you have other obstructions in the way such as railings.

    The obvious big advantage to driving the forks in with the bevel to the door is that you will apply the maximum amount of force on the door, but there are times on the fireground where you will have to use the halligan with the bevel to the frame, failure to recognize these situations and the benefits and down falls of setting the tool both ways could lead to a long drawn out forcible entry operation.

    Stay Safe


    • Thanks for the input bro, you have a lot of knowledge to share and I appreciate you jumping into the conversation. I am with you on prefering bevel to the door for the leverage and the bite. I definetly like starting with it to the jamb though on the tightly locked ones. Thats a great point about needing a good striker when the bevel is to the door on a secure one. It is an amazing difference how much more force you need, and how much closer attention you have to pay to navigating the Halligan away from the jamb. Thanks

  7. Robby O Says:

    Great stuff….I dont really have a preference….I like to adjust to whatever I am presented with, which I think is the key….dont be married to one way cause every door is different and you have to have alot of techniques to get the job done.

    Alot of good Forcible Entry stuff on Fire Engineering featuring John Buckheit. Also Robert Morris from FDNY Rescue 1 does an excellent class.

  8. Another view of forcing a door by me and Nate.

  9. […] BLOG POST: ( Bevel to the Door vs. Bevel to the Jamb […]

  10. TRUCK 4 Says:

    I would really like to thank everyone from Brotherhood for giving their input and their links to their sites. I agree with Irons and Ladders that starting with the bevel to the jamb definately makes for a smoother start on a tight fitting door. Also as mentioned above, starting with the adz to start the gap may also give you just the space to start bevel to the door. Either way, I have done training with Irons and Ladders and I have found out that there is a healthy balance of brute strength as well and finese with FE tactics. Great pics for everyone, they definately get the GAP portion across and show that you must get a good bite with the forks to make a proper force. Thanks for everyones comments, GREAT STUFF!!


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