Bevel to the… door? jamb?

The debate among firefighters over the correct way to set the halligan is as common as the age old smooth-bore vs. fog nozzle debate.  Both techniques, much like the nozzles, have their time and place.  Setting the halligan with the bevel of the fork towards the door is the correct and most efficient technique in most cases.  The pictures below speak for themselves and illustrate why having the bevel towards the door is advantageous.  It's simple, more spread and a better chance of forcing the door without having to employ additional steps and techniques. 

3 inches of spread can be achieved when the halligan is set with the bevel of the fork towards the door and the tool is pushed flush to the door.

2.25 inches of spread can be achieved when the halligan is set with the bevel of the fork towards the jamb.

So why do some firefighters choose to set the tool with the bevel towards the jamb?  The biggest reasons are lack of training and because it is easier.  There is no doubt that the tool will set easier with the bevel facing the jamb.  The easiest way to do something is usually not the best.  It takes more training and practice to be able to "steer" the forks between the door and the jamb with the bevel towards the door.  When the fork is set with the bevel towards the jamb less spread cab be achieved for two reasons.  First the natural curve of the fork provided additional spread when used with the bevel towards the jamb.  Second, the halligan can not be pushed flush with the door in this orientation due to the adz coming in contact with the door. 

As stated above, using the halligan with the bevel towards the jamb does have its place – actually two places.  The first instance that may necessitate this orientation of the tool is an extremely tight door.  If the door is too tight to set the tool with the bevel towards the door, flip the tool over and get back to work.  The second instance is an odd hallway configuration.  If the adz of the halligan is obstructed by a wall, railing, or some other hindrance the tool can be flipped over to bypass the obstruction. 

Only proper practice will improve technique and effectiveness.  Practicing incorrectly doesn't help and often instills false hope and a false sense of security in tactics that will not work in the real world.  When practicing forcible entry techniques, practice with the fork both ways while keeping in mind that the bevel should be towards the door most of the time.


  • IRONSandLADDERS says:

    Right on, I always love this debate. I think Brassard said a while back on our blog that this is the truckies version of smooth v.s. fog. What’s great about making this an argument is it brings a better understanding of the tool to everyone. It seems like we have found the majority of firefighters have not been taught the difference between the two sides of the bevel. As professionals understanding the design of the tool, leverage in general, and knowing when to use what side is appropriate, is our job as tradesman.

  • IRONSandLADDERS says:

    I guess the one thing I would add is another time where bevel to the jamb is a good choice would be one person operations. I know everywhere may not use that tactic but it is reality many places. Striking a Halligan that you are also guiding should almost always be done bevel to the jamb in my opinion. It is difficult to obtain enough force from a one person strike to set the tool in a time effective manner. Here is one I wrote a while back also with just a little different spin on it if anyone is interested. There are some great comments on the bottom by a few of the Brotherhood Instructors offering up some knowledgeable advice.
    Great article and reminder. Well done guys.
    Ryan Royal

  • J Martin says:

    Bevel to the door also allows for a more natural striking position (FDNY FE Ref Guide) for the team as the tool will be more perpendicular to the door.

    J Martin
    Delmar, NY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

background image Blogger Img

Brotherhood Instructors Blog

We specialize in the basic fundamentals of firefighting. While we believe that hazardous materials, terrorism, emergency medical and the various rescue disciplines are essential parts of the Fire Service, we also think that the basic fundamentals of firefighting have been overlooked in recent years. We are here to help turn that trend in the other direction.

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Power Saw Decompression Valves – By: Andrew Brassard
I have a question for you, is there any problem with leaving your chainsaw stored on the truck with the decompression valve pushed in? Wondering if moisture in the chamber might be an issue? We are attempting to be a little more efficient when it comes to our saws, but I can't seem to find…
2014-09-19 23:35:39
Firefighters and the Risk of Asbestos Exposure – Mark Hall, Guest Blogger
If you don't then it could end up costing you quite a lot to get new Husqvarna chain saw parts to exchange those that are damaged. An electric chainsaw is by far the cheaper model tto run. Well, I was pleasantly surprised with this little guy.
2014-08-18 14:37:18
Gregory Hurd
Contact Us
I am the chief of training for the chillicothe fire department and I am interested in the Man-in-Machines class. Do you have any instructors in Illinois that could help us with this.
2014-04-08 15:10:43
David Baker
Rex Tool Modification Part 2 By: Andrew Brassard
You prefer the Morris "Lil-Rex" to the Adz-Rex?
2014-03-04 06:21:59
David Baker
Rex Tool Modification by Andrew Brassard
Is the adz and Morris attachments equally effective? I carry the pig on my belt so it is always with me, so I was think of getting the lil-Rex (Morris/spike) tool.
2014-03-04 06:18:10

Photos from Past Classes

Visit Our Youtube Channel

Sign up for our Email Newsletters

* indicates required

FireEMS Blogs eNews

Sign-up to receive our free monthly eNewsletter