Fine Tuning Your Halligan

                           By R. Royal

 The Halligan (Pro Bar)  is hands down the most important and versatile forcible entry tool we carry on the rigs. We have had a few different articles on this website regarding the Halligan, some about the differences between the Pro Bar and its imitations, also understanding the advantages of bevel to the jamb, versus bevel to the door during inward swinging forcible entry operations. This next article is to discuss a few little modifications that can be done that make this tool even more superior.  

The first two improvements just assist you in seeing what you should be feeling when setting the tool. What we have done as seen in the pictures below is scratch a small thin line and add some drops of red paint to show our proper depths when setting the tool. After enough practice with the tool, setting to the proper depth should come  just by feel, but adding these marks just makes it that much easier.

The first mark we have added is on the Adze end. This mark has been scratched in at about 1 3/4. This is the standard width of commonly found doors, by making this mark it will assist us in knowing when the adze is about to hit the jamb on outward swinging doors. This can assist us in navigating the Adze around the back of the door and not tearing into the jamb. It also can prevent us from stopping to shallow and then tearing the skin and seam of the door when we start to make our gap.

The second mark is made on the fork end and is used for inward swinging doors.  This mark has been made to show where the “crotch” of the fork is. As you can see in the picture the crotch is where the two forks come together and meet. We want to make our marks on both sides lining up with the crotch of the fork. This landmark comes from the term “crotch to stop”. Basically our tool is set to the proper depth when this “crotch” or red mark has lined up near the back of the door stop or jamb. This can be very helpful to prevent you from stopping to shallow, or going to deep when the Halligan is being driven in very quickly. If we drive it in to far we lose a large amount of leverage when we go to force. When it is stopped to shallow, it becomes very easy for the forks to slip out when you force the bar. Again this just makes it a little easier to see, and is a very big aid in teaching the concepts of crotch to stop.

The next two pictures below show what should be  necessary maintenance to the tool. The next step is a very slight change but goes a real long way. I think this is the number one improvement you can make to this tool. This may be difficult to explain through writing, but we will give it a shot. When the Halligan comes from the factory the ends of the fork will have a bevel to it. It is a dull bevel and is in the center, on the tip of these forks. What we have done is filed down the ends of these forks slightly, thinning them and giving the tips more of an edge. Instead of having the dull bevel in the middle of the tips, they come to a clean edge on the inside of the bevel.  This makes a huge difference on inward swinging doors that are set very tight to the jamb. It will make enough difference that the clean edge will probably bite and start to navigate around the door whereas the old bevel may tend to bounce off many times.

Lastly we have the squared shoulders of the fork. When the bar comes from the factory it has a small curve from the handle into the forks. What you can do is file down the curve into a nice right angle like you see here. This has created a new striking surface that we can use when alternate techniques are required. Such as tight hallways or cellar entrances, low visibility, or when there is only ne firefighter available to start forcible entry,  this small change allows that to happen. This will enables one guy to effectively get started doing both the striking and the Halligan work on a door (which we will hit on a later date).

You can find numerous different improvements out there that have been done to these tools, we feel these are the most advantageous for what we do and really can make a difference in how they perform. Like many other articles on here, again we say we didn’t invent this stuff, just feel it is worthy information that should be passed on to those who wish to use it.

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9 Comments on “Fine Tuning Your Halligan”

  1. Brian Says:

    Great information. I have been through your training course and it makes a difference — a big difference. Keep up the good work.

  2. Jason Says:

    Great write up here. After attending your FE class I got some time in on the grinder and made all of these improvements to our pro bars.


  3. […] Fine Tuning Your Halligan by […]

  4. GaryLane Says:

    The 11th Commandment: “Love Thy Halligan”!

    Another good post Bro! Nice to see others are putting some love into the job! Makes some of the long, lonely days feel a lot better…you know… the ones where you start questioning if your the only guy that thinks about this stuff… Your efforts are appreciated! Thanks again as always.

  5. Truck 4 Says:

    Excellent picts and guide. I definately great tips for anyone and everyone. These land marks will definately help slow things down a bit and will definately help you keep track of your progress on difficult doors. The squared shoulders definately make a difference, atleast during training. I am excited to give it a shot on an alarm. Thanks for putting together such great fourms for everyone!!!

  6. RHTA Says:

    All great tips on altering your halligan. We do the same exact “fixes”


  7. […] The Halligan (Pro Bar)  is hands down the most important and versatile forcible entry tool we carr… Share […]


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