We’ve discussed the forcible entry bag and my “from scratch” recommendations of what to put in it. Here are some alternative tools and combinations to consider, based on your needs.
Other Tool Combinations
As stated previously, the S&D Rex is not the only option on the table. Other combinations exist that are also great pairings.
If your department is going to purchase new tools, I don’t recommend purchasing a K-Tool or Truckman’s Tool for this bag, because there are newer and more versatile tools that are available. But if your department already owns one or more of these tools and doesn’t plan on buying anything additional, these can also work well in combination with other complementary tools.
#1 – K-Tool & Truckman’s Tool/Ripping Chisel
K-Tool (with halligan) for rim/mortise locks. The Truckman’s Tool/Ripping Chisel for tubular deadbolts and key-in-knob locks.
While not the best tool for the job, the Ripping Chisel is a small, inexpensive tool available at any hardware store that can be used to pull a tubular deadbolt or key-in-knob lock.
#2 – Standard Rex & Truckman’s Tool/Ripping Chisel
The original and still one of the best, the standard Rex Tool is great for most locks, but is a little “thick” when trying to get behind tubular deadbolts. The Truckman’s Tool or Ripping Chisel may be a better way to create an initial gap on those types of locks.
Bear in mind that the standard Rex Tool is 26” long and may not fit completely into your tool bag. Though it’s no replacement for the halligan, the standard Rex is long enough to do a little light conventional prying and light overhaul, making it a good choice as an officer’s tool.
#3 – Buster Rex & Halligan
Halligan used as a striking tool to set the Buster Rex. A small hand-sledge with a Rex-head welded onto it, the Buster Rex was designed to act as a light striking tool as a part of a one-person irons set. It can be used to strike the halligan during one-person conventional prying, and offer lock-pulling ability as well.
#4 – Adz-Rex & Truckman’s Tool/Ripping Chisel
Adz-Rex (with halligan) used for rim/mortise/key-in-knob locks. Truckman’s Tool or Ripping Chisel for tubular deadbolts.
The Adz-Rex really shines as a “pocket tool” as it’s smaller and more versatile than the K-Tool, but it’s not a bad addition to any forcible entry bag.
Putting It Together
The forcible entry bag concept is rock-solid. Having these tools in one bag that can be quickly grabbed and easily carried makes our job easier at the scene of calls like odor investigations, automatic fire alarms, locked-door medicals, and other lower-priority emergencies.
Having the appropriate tools within arm’s reach makes us more likely to use through-the-lock forcible entry when the situation warrants it, rather than being tempted into more destructive techniques merely because running back to the apparatus would be inconvenient.
With a little explanation about the benefits to the citizenry, this should be an easy sell to your department brass. And with a little training on the finer points of when and how to use these tools, it should be an easy sell to your crew, too. Especially when they find out they can often re-secure the door and clear the scene quickly without having to wait for a key-holder or board-up company!
I hope that this article has sparked some ideas for you. It is not intended to be “the last word” on building a forcible entry bag, but merely a jumping-off point for you to do your own thinking about how best to begin putting together something similar for your department.
Photos courtesy of Sean Wilson.