Post-Disaster Survival: Dynamic Entry Tools 101

Using a hallagan dynamic entry tool on a door

The hallagan is a good choice for most preppers’ dynamic entry tool roster. It’s portable and easier for one person to use.


Having a practice door on an old building is really a good place to work out the bugs. The entry order should be practiced for the optimum efficiency. Before these tools were around the first guy though the door was usually the kicker. It was faster for him to be the first in and usually his weapon was a handgun.

With the ram or a hammer, it is usually faster for the breacher to hit the door and “roll out” to let the team flow in. He can then take up rear guard after he puts down the breaching tool. Even with good INTEL the breacher will need to make some quick assessments of the door. Are there signs the door is reinforced, like carriage bolts or other extra hardware? Should you look to the hinge side if that gives you more room to maneuver?

Breaching tool with gas valve feature

In addition to being a stellar breaching tool, this pry tool at the Living Ready Store comes with a notch for shutting off gas valves.

None of the doors I struck gave the ram any trouble. Some of the doors were pretty flimsy but the front door was a steel covered door and a good frame. The key is the frame. The strongest door is only as strong as the jam it ties into. Most door jams are wood and break out easily. This was the case with the steel door and wood jam on the test house. The door can be made much stronger with some steel reinforcement in the jam and the addition of longer screws. But this really only slows down entry with these tools.

Depending on how a door opens or where it is located, you might be required to pry it open. The hallagan tool is a great pry bar with the head designed to work on doors, door jams, windows and more. I like the shorter model for entry work because it is easier to pack to the door and through the house if necessary.

The hallagan tools also have a point sticking out of the side that can be used to break locks or chain or as a spike driven into a surface to help with prying. The tail of the tool has a forked end that can be used in a variety of pry situations. Both the head and tail are angled to get maximum pry force against the target.

The longer pry bar with the Dynamic Duo doesn’t have the point or forked tail but can also be used to breech a door that needs prying. The longer handle gives more torque and it is made from a polymer that is lighter and relays less shock to the operator. The Duo also comes with a sledge that an be used to get the point into the crack between the door and jam deep enough to pop it or the hammer can be used by itself.

Using the hammer and the Breacher together takes two officers and some practice to get it smooth and coordinated. Place the tool, set it with the hammer and pry. Sounds easy but takes training and practice.