Gear Review: Two Breaching Tools

Paratach Buster Tactical Gear
Two versions of the Paratech Buster Tool.

The goal in any active shooter situation is to get in and stop the shooter as quickly as possible to end the killing. Once the shooter is stopped your team can safely clear the building and bring in medical. But the top priority is to get inside and get in the fight. If you cannot breach a door to get to an active shooter then your team’s firepower and training are neutralized and the active shooter has time to kill more people.

Often it takes SWAT teams time to assemble and respond. Very few SWAT teams in the country and even fewer patrol officers use explosive breaching. So while you are waiting for a way to get in, the shooter is killing more people. Shotgun breaching without training and the correct shotgun ammunition can lead to wounds from ricocheting bullets or the deaths of civilians on the other side of the door if they are hit by penetrating buckshot. A round from an AR-15 can also ricochet off the lock, seriously injuring the breacher or members on their team.

What this all boils down to is that patrol officers will be the first on scene and should have a means to breach a do if the need arises. The decision to enter and engage an active shooter is personal and based on department policy. But if you know you want to be inside attempting to stop the shooter, you need a means of entry. You need a breaching tool you can carry on your emergency vest or in your patrol car.

1) Paratech Buster Tool

The Paratech Buster Tool in action.
The Paratech Buster Tool in action.

Carrying an effective personal breaching tool provides the ability to breach outer steel doors to get into a building and continue to breach doors inside the building while clearing rooms. The Paratech Buster tool is small at 15.5 inches long and light enough at 5.7 pounds to carry in a tactical holster on the back of a water carrier while operational for 24 hours. The axe handle chops through drywall. The pike creates a hole in sheet metal and claw end cuts sheet metal.

Unlock the buster and you can “slam and ram” the claw into a door jam without a sledgehammer. This saves the weight of carrying a 5-pound sledgehammer. The tool extends to 21.5 inches which increases its leverage. The claw tool can be removed and inserted into a keyway in the axe head for twisting leverage in confined spaces. This will help break locks, hasps and even some chains.

This tool alone is not a guarantee you will breach an outer steel door. You have to train in order to know where to insert the claw in the door jam to defeat the locking mechanisms on different types of doors. Having a longer prying tool and a heavy sledge hammer to force the claw deeper into the door jam would be better, but the weight is just too much to carry with an 80-pound tactical load in a situation that can take hours to clear a building or a 24-hour tactical operation, as experienced during the Mumbai terrorist attacks in India.

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