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No exit, no problem: Breaking down a locked door in a few simple steps

Saturday, October 05, 2019 by

If you ever find yourself in an emergency situation involving the need to escape a locked room, calling a locksmith won’t do you any good. When SHTF, every second counts and standing around doing nothing could ruin your chance of survival. (h/t to ThePrepperJournal.com)

Only one way out

Sometimes, adrenaline and brute force might be enough to break down a door. However, using an incorrect technique could prove costly. A little knowledge and good technique can make or break any life-or-death scenario. Here are a few simple steps you can follow to help you get out of a jam.

Assess the door

The first thing you need to do is assess the door’s structure. The best way to break through a locked door depends on what kind it is. Here are some quick questions to ask yourself:

  • Which way does the door swing?

If the door swings toward you, breaking it down by kicking is next to impossible. Locate the door’s hinges and attempt to remove the pins. However, a lot of well-designed exterior doors have non-removable pins to prevent people from breaking in. If caught in this situation, taking off the hinges using any tools you have is mandatory.

Fortunately, most doors open outward. If that is the case, attack the lock by targeting the area close to the doorknob – which is usually the weakest portion of the door.

  • What material is the doorjamb made of?

The material of the door isn’t as important as knowing the material of the doorjamb – the side post or lining of the doorway. If the jamb is made of wood, you can easily break through it with nothing more than the soles of your shoes. However, if the jamb is metal, you need to use other means to help you break it down.

  • Where are the locks located? How many are there?

Additional locks usually won’t be too much of a hindrance. The lock you will most likely encounter is a circular lock or deadbolt lock, in addition to the doorknob lock. Some doors also come with a chain lock on the upper frame. Each additional lock could change the way you approach the situation, but these are easily broken through in all but the most reinforced of doors.

Breach the door with a kick

Hollywood movies might have shown you that breaking down a door is as easy as ramming it with your shoulder until it breaks. Unfortunately, the only thing that you would be breaking with that technique is your own shoulder.

Instead of using your shoulder, which isn’t a particularly durable joint, kick the door down. The proper technique for kicking a door down involves doing simple front kicks as close to the locking mechanism as possible.

Avoid kicking the lock directly because you might break your foot in the process. Kicking toward the middle of the door is also not recommended, as you would most likely get your foot stuck on the other side.

Aim for the area near the locks and drive your heel into it. It may take a few tries, but you’ll eventually see the results.

Use tools

There are doors that prove difficult to kick down, especially ones that are heavy-duty like metal doors. In such cases, there are tools you can use to make things easier for you.

Some of the more common tools for door breaching include the crowbar, ax, and sledgehammer.

The reliable sledgehammer is usually enough to get the job done. Much like kicking down a door, it relies on blunt force to pummel the lock through the jamb.

The blunt side of an ax can be used as an alternative to a sledgehammer, albeit significantly weaker. However, make sure to watch where you swing when using either one of these tools to avoid any accidents.

Another tool you can use is the crowbar, especially when brute force isn’t enough to make the door budge. You can pry stubborn doors open by wedging the crowbar’s fork between the door and the jamb. Then, focus your weight on the far side of the crowbar to widen the gap. You can make this job much easier by using a hammer or any similar tool to apply more pressure to the crowbar.

Should you find yourself in a situation like this, these methods can help you get through this ordeal. As long as you remain calm and use these techniques for the right reasons, they should prove to be worthy additions to your survival skill set.

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