Door Size Up # 13

Sometimes in forcible entry what you see is what you get.  Many doors we’ve posted have shown signs of secondary security features from the exterior that turned out to be exactly what we predicted when doing our door size up.  Other times the backside of the door revealed that what we thought may be a difficult door is nothing more than a 20-30 second force with good conventional technique.  The only definitive way to know what we’re up against is to get out in our district and walk the buildings.  Now to the door in question.  This door is found in a one story strip mall on the backside of a medical marijuana shop.  We apologize in advance for the shadows in the picture.  Neither shadow hides anything pertaining to our door size-up.  Run down our size up points and see what you think.


Masonry construction

Metal Frame and jamb

Outward swinging metal door

Primary lock has been covered by a plate and latch guard.  The lack of a keyway on the exterior could indicate that the owners only want traffic through that door from the interior and don’t want anyone using it as an entrance or it could mean that the locking mechanism has been removed and replaced with something else.

The carriage bolt pattern suggests an additional security device has been added. This pattern is unique because we see two vertical rows of deadbolts with three bolts in each row.  The bottom deadbolts in each row appears to have been removed.



When we look at the backside of the door we see what we are up against.  The key-in-knob lock has been removed and replaced with panic hardware.  The latch guard on the exterior of the door leads some people to believe that there is a key-in-knob or deadbolt as the primary locking mechanism.  In this case it turns out to be a false indicator and most likely was left on the door after the panic hardware was installed.  As we predicted, the carriage bolt pattern seen from the exterior holds the brackets for the drop bar in place.  The bottom of each vertical row is not a factor in the drop bar assembly.  It was originally the bottom bolts for an old drop bar assembly and was removed when the panic hardware was installed.

There are several interesting points about this drop bar assembly that are worth mentioning.  First and foremost this drop bar is incredibly stout.  A 4×4 that extends 6”-8”  beyond the frame against the wall will add resistance to our forcible entry operation.  Secondly, the brackets used to hold the drop bar are 1/4” steel.  Very strong mounts like these will increase the resistance during conventional forcible entry operations.  It’s worth noting the padlock on the bracket closest to the lock side of the door.  This is in place to prevent someone from cutting a hole in the door, reaching in and lifting the drop bar out of the brackets.  This shouldn’t be a factor in our forcible entry operation on this door.  Lastly we look at the carriage bolts that attach the bracket to the door. These are 3/8” carriage bolts that are bolted to the brackets on the backside of the door.  We’ve stated many times that the most advantageous part of using the probar is that it will expose the weakest part of the locking mechanism.  Even though this is a solidly built drop bar assembly, the weak point is going to be the carriage bolts.  Try conventional first.  If you meet resistance from the drop bar, drive the carriage bolts through closest to the lock side.  Many times this will cause the drop bar and mount to fall out of place and we can force the rest of the door conventionally.  A second option would be to attack this door with a power saw also defeating the bolts which will cause the mount to be defeated. Either way, attack the lock side bolts first for the sake of efficiency, many times this will cause the bar to become ineffective allowing us to go back to conventional and finish the job, if not we will work the hinge side bolts.

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