Door Size Up #12

Door #12, Take a look and give it a shot.

Here we are looking at the backside of a commercial retail building. We have a 1 story masonry block building with a metal frame/jamb and a set of outward swinging metal double doors.  With it being outward swinging on the backside of a commercial it is fairly safe to assume that our primary lock is a panic bar or at least was at some point and may have been removed. We won’t know until we start to force it. You can ignore what appears to be two sets of black bolts both high and low on the middle of the two doors. These are holes from previous bolts that you would have been able to see.

We have an obvious bolt pattern showing that we have a secondary security feature to this door. This is a fairly run of the mill drop bar bolt pattern when we are looking from the outside. It may be a little more significant due to the three mounts per door instead of two, but it is still fairly common.

Once we see the inside it is apparent that this door is a little more secure than it appears from the outside. We can see that the stock panic bar is still in place and would be considered our primary lock. We have multiple secondary locks. If you look above the panic bar you can see we have a slide bolt that was blind from the outside. We also see our drop bar mount setup, which in this picture does not have the bar in place.


When we look closer at the drop bar mounts you can see they are designed much better than our typical setups. The mounts are one piece of steel instead of each set of bolts having its own mount. It is also welded to the skin of the door on both ends of the mount.

This presents a couple of problems that you wouldn’t normally find with individual mounts. The solid mount all the way across will make it very difficult if not impossible to drive these bolts through with a set of irons. As you attack one set of bolts, the other bolts will hold that steel mount in place preventing the heads from being driven through. The welds also add to these problems. If you attacked the bolts with a saw allowing the heads to fall off, you still have the welds holding the bar to the door. This is why it is important for us to move back and forth from conventional irons work and saw techniques. If we cut these bolts attempting to drop the mounts off, we may not realize that the welds are present until we go back to conventional techniques and try to pry the door open. Welds can be intimidating and when done right can add significant strength to a homemade security system, however when not done properly (especially when welded to the thin door skin) it can actually weaken the holding metal for the mounts. Either way after these bolts have been defeated we should attack this door conventionally again.

Lastly you can see the 3/8 inch steel drop bar that is put in place and goes all the way across both doors. This again stresses the importance of getting out into our buildings and recognizing the variables in these drop bar systems. It may just take away some of the surprise when we go to bat against them on the real thing. It is a decent set of doors, but with a solid Plan A, B and C  I am confident we can defeat them.

Explore posts in the same categories: 1. Forcible Entry

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6 Comments on “Door Size Up #12”

  1. Zeke Slavik DCFD Says:

    I can’t tell by the picture clearly…..would shocking the hinges loose from the outside work in this situation?

    • I am not completely clear on what you mean by shocking the hinges? Im assuming your talking about defeating them in some way, but clear that up if I am wrong. Attacking hinges as your Plan A can present you with a few different problems, one is hinges can take time to defeat, many times hinges take much longer to defeat then just forcing the door with the Irons on the lock side. The problem with taking the hinges on this particular door is that even after they are out of the picture, the drop bar is still in place holding the door shut. So a lot of time was wasted on hinges that were not the problem in the first place.
      Does that answer your question somewhat? Please let me know if you meant something different by shocking the hinges. Thanks for the comment, and for checking out IRONS and LADDERS.

  2. Zeke Slavik DCFD Says:

    I just couldn’t tell if the drop bar extended beyond the jambs..if so, you’re right, removing the hinges wouldn’t help. “Shocking” the hinges is a tactic I’ve used several times very successfully: placing the fork end of the Halligan on the hinge in the same manner as one would do by pulling a nail with a claw hammer. Drive it down (or up ) with a substantial striking tool until the forks consume most of the vertical axis of the hinge. Pull the hinge out and get rid of it. The shocking is occurring to the screws holding the hinges to the jambe and the door; it shears the head of the screw away from the body splitting it in two. It is a hard drill to practice unless you acquire a commercial building about to be torn down. I also agree that it is hardly ever the choice as a first tactic.

    • Zeke,
      Thanks for the follow up, it is somewhat hard to see the details in these pictures, it was a little dark in there. I know what your talking about with the hinges now, I have been able to give this a shot numerous times and I have to tell you the only time it worked ok for me was on wood frames that had metal doors mounted in them or one time it wasn’t to bad on a metal frame and metal doors but they were very low grade hinges and screws. The majority of commercial doors that I have tried to pull hinges on were extremely strong and very time consuming. Everyone’s had different experiences on doors but the more I learn the less I like the hinge side for forcing.
      Thanks for following up! This is how we learn.

  3. George Says:

    The picture of this door from both the exterior and interior also indicates the presence of what is known as a hidden vertical bar that is activated by the push bar. This bar goes into the metal jab above the door and into the floor below.

    • George, your right this door would typically have that vertical bolt both high and low operated by the panic bar. This door has had that removed, what you are seeing there is just the remaining holes from the old hardware. Definitely a common setup though.

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