Whether you’re in a combat zone or at home alone, knowing how to quickly and quietly open and enter a doorway with a gun at the ready is important to your survival. As with any tactical scenario, situation and terrain dictate which tactics to employ. Nonetheless with stealth entry there are a few things to consider.
Improvised Devices and Booby Traps
Whether it’s soldiers in Afghanistan conducting a raid or a SWAT team making an entry for a hostage situation, checking doorways and door frames for any usual tampering or deadly devices. Improvised Explosive Devices can make a bad day worse. A point man or breacher conducting a stealth entry will examine the doorway or under the door. Small mirrors, fiberoptic cameras, thermal devices and other tactical tools help operators search prior to gaining entry.
The Fatal Funnel
Most small caliber rounds will penetrate easily through interior hollow core doors. Rounds can go through many exterior doors too. In short, most doors are concealment (if they’re closed), not cover. Cover will stop rounds. Concealment won’t.
People expect other people to enter into rooms or building through the door. A doorway is a fatal funnel. Anywhere an opponent or enemy is inside a room, he/she will focus (or funnel) firepower towards the doorway. Since bullets can travel through doors, staying away from the door way is important. Even though rounds can go through most walls too, at least standing near the door frame offers some protection.
What’s the point? Stay out of the fatal funnel for as long as you can and do not dally when you find you have no choice but to be in it.
Since entry into and through a door will be done in stealth mode (meaning dynamic breaching is an option for another time) the door handle or knob should be used. If there’s a lock, a key or a lock pick set should be used. Other options beyond a ruse (i.e. knocking on the door with a pizza in one hand and a gun in the other) are dynamic.
When using the handle of a door, be sure not to muzzle your other hand or arm. Always keep your finger off the trigger until you’ve made the decision to shoot. Under stress or even when training, you should never laser anything you don’t intend to shoot. Your weapon can be pointed down, but since low ready isn’t ready, a better option is to have your gun up with the muzzle still horizontal. Either way, the weapon should be pointed above the door handle or below it and not at your hand.
Try not to reach across the fatal funnel, thereby exposing more of your body to potential enemy rounds.
Through the Door
If the door is ajar, someone inside the room may be able to see you. If you can see them, remember, they can see you. In this case, instead of standing by the door-frame, you may want to pie the corner (a.k.a. cut or slice the pie).
If someone is inside the room they will obviously be able to tell you’re entering whenever the door moves. Opening a door very slowly and staying in the fatal funnel is a bad idea unless you’re certain no evil person is lurking behind that door or in that room. Open the door quickly, but not so hard and fast that it makes a slamming noise. Remember, we’re in stealth mode.
There are a couple of options to getting an unlatched, unlocked door open (in other words, if the door is already ajar). First, push the door open with your body (e.g. elbow, shoulder or, perhaps a foot). Second, open the door with one hand and then quickly put two hands back on your weapon. Remember good muzzle discipline. You don’t want a hole in your support hand.
Lastly, get in and through the fatal funnel. Now let’s review.
- Approach the door with caution.
- Check for snares, booby-traps or IEDs, if applicable.
- Stand off to the one side of the doorway. Stay out of the fatal funnel.
- Aim above or below the hand used to manipulate the door knob. WARNING! Don’t muzzle your hand or arm.
- Open the door all the way.
- Move quickly through the fatal funnel.
Until next time, continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.