Door Breaching

breach ...(brch) . An opening, a tear, or a rupture. b. A gap or rift, especially in or as if in a solid structure such as a dike or fortification. To make a hole or gap in; break through. 2. To break or violate

Breaching and breaking tools (BBT) are commonly used by emergency responders to access buildings, vehicles, and other locked enclosures. A variety of breaching and breaking tools are available to the responder community including halligan bars.

door breachingTypes of breaching:

(1) Mechanical breaching (2)Ballistic breaching (3) Explosive breaching (4) Thermal


Door breaching is a process used by military, police, or emergency services to force open a closed and/or locked door. A wide range of methods are available, one or more of which may be used in any given situation. These methods may be divided up into mechanical breaching, ballistic breaching, explosive breaching and thermal breaching.






Mechanical Breaching: lock pick for breaching

haligen bar flat axeMechanical breaching can be minimally destructive, through the use of lock picks. This method is relatively slow and requires a trained operator, but does not damage the lock or door. Using specialized tools (ie: A-tool, K-tool) a lock cylinder can also be quickly dismantled still in the door and unlocked. This also allows the door to be closed and relocked. More dynamic methods use force to break the lock or door. The common methods are to use a lever, such as a Halligan bar or crowbar, or to use a tool to concentrate a large amount of force on the door, such as a sledgehammer, hydraulic jack, or battering ram.

Mechanical breaching encompasses a variety of tools, techniques and methods to break down a door or otherwise create a hole with sheer brute force. Commonly used tools include the battering ram, sledge hammer, various pry bars such as the famous Halligan tool, a firemanís axe, a heavy maul or powerful bolt cutters. Mechanical breaching tools also encompass pneumatic, hydraulic and electric power tools, such as chain saws, reciprocating saws or even the Jaws Of Life.


breaching shotgun hatton rounds

Ballistic breaching uses a projectile weapon to breach an opening. Weapons used can range from small arms to the 120mm cannon of a main battle tank with a HEAT round, which will breach most obstacles easily, though the force involved may violate the rules of engagement. A less damaging ballistic breach needs to destroy either the latch and lock, or the hinges of the door, and the ideal choice for this is the shotgun.

While in theory other firearms can be used, handguns are usually underpowered and rifles are less effective than the shotgun and pose a far higher risk of ricochet and collateral injury. Most shotgun ammunition can be used for breaching, though the risk of injury varies with type. Of the available shotgun ammunition, shotgun slugs pose the highest risk, as they will retain significant energy to cause lethal wounds well after they have penetrated the door. Buckshot is far safer, and birdshot even safer, as the multiple small projectiles disperse quickly after penetration, reducing the chances of causing a lethal wound. The safest option is a frangible round such as the Hatton round, which turns to dust upon penetrating the door, and disperses completely upon exit. Shown right is a M26 12-Gauge Modular Accessory Shotgun System.




The M26 MASS was developed by C-More Systems to meet the requirements of U.S. troops in Afghanistan for a lightweight door breaching and less-lethal delivery system which would eliminate the need to carry an additional weapon such as a pump-action shotgun. The M26 has been in development at the U.S. Army's Soldier Battle Lab since the late 1990s.

The idea was to provide soldiers with lightweight accessory weapons, which could be mounted under the standard issue M16 rifle or M4 carbine. These would provide soldiers with additional capabilities, such as: door breaching using special slugs; very short-range increased lethality, using 00 buckshot; and less-lethal capabilities using teargas shells, rubber slugs, rubber pellets, and other less-lethal rounds.m26 12 gauge shotgun

The original idea has been based on the KAC Masterkey system, dated back to the 1980s, which originally included the shortened Remington 870 shotgun mounted under the M16 rifle or the M4 carbine.


The M26 improved the original Masterkey concept with the detachable magazine option and more comfortable handling, thanks to bolt-operated system.

The detachable magazine offers quicker reloading and more rapid ammunition type change. The relatively large bolt handle is located closer to the rear than the slide on the pump-action shotgun in the Masterkey configuration, and thus is more comfortable to cycle in combat. The bolt handle can be mounted on either side of the weapon. At the present time, small numbers of M26 MASS shotguns are issued to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The shotgun is currently in low rate initial production.

Specs of the XM26, the M26 may have changed slightly:

* Caliber: 12 gauge
* Operation: Straight pull bolt-action.
* Capacity: 5 round detachable magazine.
* Ammunition: 2.75 and 3 in lethal, less-lethal and breaching rounds.
* Barrel length: 7.75 in (197 mm) with integral breaching stand-off adapter.
* Under-barrel version:
* Overall length: 16.5 in (419 mm)
* Weight: 2 lb 11 oz (1.22 kg)
* Stand-alone version:
* Overall length: 24 in (610 mm) (stock collapsed)
* Weight: 4 lb 3 oz (3.80 kg) The standalone configuration:



door breaching with hatton roundBreaching a door with the fewest number of shots possible is both faster and reduces the chance of collateral damage. Attacking the latch and lock is easiest, as it requires fewer shots and is easiest to target, whereas attacking the hinges requires more shots, and the hinges may be hidden from the outside. Careful aim is required; shots to the lock side are fired at a point halfway between the lock or handle and the door frame in order to hit the bolt holding the door shut.

According to US urban warfare doctrine, the breaching operation is performed with the muzzle in contact with the door, or as close as possible, and angled downwards at a 45 degree angle. This process provides the best chance of hitting the desired point, while minimizing risk to occupants of the room being breached. Muzzle attachments are available on some specialized breaching shotguns to facilitate this operation, by holding the barrel securely in place while providing a slight standoff to allow powder gases to escape.

Magazine capacity and operating mechanism are also important consideration in a breaching shotgun, because to quickly breach a door requires the ability to quickly fire multiple shots. For a breach on the latch side, US doctrine calls for two shots to be fired, and then an attempt made to open the door. If the door cannot be opened, the process would need to be quickly repeated. If the hinges must be breached, then doctrine calls for three shots per hinge followed by an attempt to open the door.


shotgun breaching roundBreaching rounds, often called Disintegrator or Hatton rounds, are designed to destroy door deadbolts, locks and hinges without risking lives by ricocheting or by flying on at lethal speed through the door, as traditional buckshot can. These frangible rounds are made of a dense sintered material, often metal powder in a binder such as wax, which can destroy a lock then immediately disperse. They are used by military and SWAT teams to quickly force entry into a locked room.

Amongst police, these rounds are nicknamed 'master keys', and their use is known as 'Avon calling'. Breaching rounds may be used in a standard combat shotgun or riot shotgun, or in a specialized shotgun, often attached to a rifle, such as the KAC Masterkey or M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System. Examples of breaching rounds are:

The US Military M1030 breaching round, a 12 gauge 2ĺ inch (70 mm) shell which uses a 1.4 ounce (40 g) projectile made of powdered steel, bound with wax.

The Clucas MoE Hatton Round, a 12 gauge 3 inch (76mm) magnum shell which uses a 50 gram (1.8 ounce) frangible projectile, consisting of a high density material in a plastic binder. Though designed not to endanger people behind or around a door, a breaching round is easily lethal if fired directly at a human target.


Explosive Breaching:



Explosive breaching can be the fastest method, though it is also the most dangerous, to both the breachers and the room occupants. Depending on the situation, explosive breaching is potentially slower than a ballistic breach due to the large standoff required when using explosives, if there is no cover available. Breaching can be performed with a specially formed breaching charge placed in contact with the door, or with various standoff breaching devices, such as specialized rifle grenades like the SIMON breach grenade.

Breaching using explosives is primarily an operation performed by highly trained explosives experts, such as combat engineers or sappers. Explosive breaching charges can range from highly focused methods, such as detcord, plastic explosives, or strip shaped charges that explosively cut through doors or latches, to large satchel charges, containing 20 pounds (9 kg) of C-4, that can breach even reinforced concrete bunkers.






Grenade Rifle Entry Munition

The Grenade Rifle Entry Munition is a 100mm high-explosive insensitive munition that

provides a safe and effective means of defeating all types of entry doors without endangering troops or sacrificing the element of surprise. launched from the end of a rifle with the use of standard rifle ammunition, GREM is simple to use and requires minimal training.





Type Ballistic Warhead GRENADE RIFLE

Type 120mm High-Explosive Insensitive Munition

Weight 1.5 Pounds (.68 kg)

Length 15.4 Inches (391mm)

Excluding Standoff Rod Performance Maximum Range Maximum Range 36 Yards (33m)


Types of Ammo: Sabots (courtesy of science.how stuff works.com)


fLECHETTE-SABOT SHELLA sabot is a specially shaped, two-stage cartridge. It has an outer jacket that helps it travel longer distances, and it has an inner slug or payload. The jacket is designed to fall away in flight after it reaches a certain distance. Several hunting sources suggest that sabot ammunition is only effective at longer distances when shot through a rifled barrel. For a shotgun hunter, this usually means adding on a rifled choke tube.

Sabot can also describe an arrow-like shape of material that fits in a standard shell. One particularly frightening sabot-style payload is the flechette. A flechette round contains hundreds of small, needle- or razor-like projectiles designed to penetrate armor and inflict painful wounds. They are banned by the Geneva Convention but do still see use in combat and counter-terrorism from time to time.

Door Breaching Shell -Round





Breaching rounds - Shotguns are commonly used in the military to "unlock" doors when troops don't know what lies on the other side. Because traditional ammo tends to ricochet and may end up hitting the shooter or someone inside the room, breakable "breaching rounds" are often used. These shells contain a metallic powder that disperses on contact.

Bean bags - Bean bags are used as shotgun ammo in crowd control situations, as in most cases they stun the victim but do not inflict lasting damage.

CS gas grenades -

Combat shotguns can be used to disperse tear gas and similar chemicals.

Rock salt - Rock salt is a popular home defense ammunition because it reportedly causes severe pain but usually no permanent damage. See DesMoinesRegister.com: Suspect shot with rock salt is caught to read about a case where rock-salt-filled shells were used to disable a burglar. People will put just about anything in a shotgun and call it ammo. To get an idea of some of the wacky ammunition produced commercially, check out Everything2.com: Exotic Shotgun Ammo.







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