A company that manufactures knives and similar tools for hunters, campers and military personnel recently introduced a very specialized knife called the Door Entry Tool. From a distance this looks like a pistol, but there is no trigger and the “barrel” is a sturdy knife that fits into a door jamb and when the “pistol grip” is turned most doors will open. This device is not unique but one of many that began to appear after American troops began dealing with Islamic terrorists in Iraq after 2004.
In Iraq American infantry used a wide variety of tools for breaking and entering during urban combat. The most popular items were the battle axe (similar to the one firefighters use), bolt cutters (the same one available commercially), plastic explosives (C4) and explosive tape (adhesive tape with a thick layer of C4 attached along the tape.) There were several commercially available tool kits for breaking and entering, costing from $80 to $500. The axes were good for quickly smashing through doors and gates, and the bolt cutters dealt with locks and fences. Getting slowed down by doors or fences can be fatal for the attackers, as it gives the enemy time to get a shot, or grenade, in while the attackers are out in the open.
Other available tools, like assault ladders, quickie saws (hand held gasoline powered round saw for cutting through concrete or metal) and battering rams, were too bulky to be quickly brought into action when needed, and thus were not often employed. Using equipment already available for, and successfully used by firefighters or police, does not always work. An armed enemy does not allow as much opportunity to bring bulky equipment forward, especially stuff that needs some set up. However, even the bulky stuff comes in handy for peacekeeping, where you often deal with small groups of hostile fighters who are acting not much different than some drug gangs do when cornered by the police.
The Iraq campaign saw lots of reservists called up and some of them were firemen or police who noted that troops carried out a lot of raids and there were often problems with getting through sturdy locked doors. Some reservists knew of special equipment police and fire departments used to break into buildings. The proper equipment was soon in the troops' hands, and many lives, both American and Iraqi, were saved. There had always been companies that designed and manufactured this equipment for firemen and police. Now they had a military market. Out of that came companies developing even more specialized and, usually more portable, gear for forced entry. Thus the Door Entry Tool.