Video: Forcible Entry: Through the Lock Failure

Through the lock forcible entry tactics are a quick and professional method of forcing entry when employed by properly trained and equipped firefighters. However, circumstances beyond our control can sometimes cause through the lock techniques to fail. How we react to and overcome these failures is what separates the amateurs from the professionals. Please feel free to post your comments and questions.

“If you are prepared, you will be confident, and will do the job.” - Unknown

Like what you see? Come visit us at our “Beyond the Academy: Forcible Entry Operations” course in Lockport, Illinois on March 11, 2011. Click here for registration information:,%20IL%20-%20Forcible%20Entry%20and%20Building%20Construction%20Courses.pdf


  • NDeMarse says:

    Having a systematic plan-of-attack for forcible entry operations will cause you to immediately revert to another option when "Plan A" doesn't work or isn't working in a timely manner.

    Chris attempts to manipulate the lock with no success. After a few attempts, Chris and I revert to conventional forcible entry operations on an outward swinging door to complete the forcible entry operation.

    Once again, the entire video is only 1min 14sec in duration (including title and exit pages). The conventional forcible entry operation is started at approximately the :40 second mark in the video, and only takes approximately 30 seconds to force the outward opening door with a mortise lock.

    We stay away, and do not teach the "whiz-bang, new techniques" that are out there, and more coming every day. This forcible entry evolution has been in our business for almost 60 years, and works EVERY TIME. There is NO NEED to reinvent or change techniques that work EVERY TIME to techniques that are VERY LIMITED in scope (power saw/framing square technique for panic hardware for example). The techniques shown here will force panic hardware VERY EFFICIENTLY, and much quicker than plunge cutting and trying to locate a framing square. Also keep in mind that one $3.00 slide-bolt (found at any hardware store) will completely shut down a plunge-cut/framing square operation.

    The outward opening door technique is also just as quick as sawing the throw to open the door, and much quicker than cutting the hinges. In most situations, after cutting the hinges, you will have to force the door similar to this to remove it from the frame anyway.

    Keep the operation simple, and stick to what works EVERY TIME!. Too many firefighters and instructors in our world over-complicate non-complicated tasks.

    Stay safe,

    Nate DeMarse

  • NDeMarse says:

    Another point that can be taken from this video is to not waste time removing the cylinder guard before conducting through-the-lock operations. All modern tools (that we know of) will bite on or through the sheet metal cylinder guards, and they will actually assist us in pulling the cylinder.

    Removing the cylinder guard is simply a waste of time, and once again over-complicates a non-complicated operation. Knowing your tools, their limitations and capabilities greatly enhance the efficiency of our operation.

    Stay safe!
    Nate DeMarse

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