Breaking into places will be a valuable skill when SHTF. Almost everything valuable in an urban environment is either locked up or behind a locked door. When considering ways to gain access into secure areas, many people think of picking a lock as the method of choice, but the only occasion when this is truly the case is when your overriding concern is not to leave evidence at the scene. There is a whole array of techniques available; some practical methods are discussed below.
Picking a Lock
The other advantage of lock picking — besides the fact that it leaves no evidence — is the ability to maintain quiet while you pick at the lock. The great disadvantage of this method is the considerable amount of time it takes, so practice is essential if you want to gain the expertise to pick a lock swiftly. Using an object, such as metal paper clip, to pick a lock takes even more skill, so it requires even more practice.
Ramming a Door
Some security experts put ramming at the top of the list when considering access methods of choice to enter through a door. The general public tends to consider a door secured when they have placed the latest high-tech lock on it; most people don’t realize that a secure lock doesn’t represent a real obstacle if, as in the case nine times out of ten, the door happens to be attached to an ordinary door frame which was not built to handle much stress.
If you’re going to enter by ramming, use your shoulder, aiming for the center of the door. This is preferable to any attempt to enter by kicking the door down, because your shoulder gives a stronger blow than your foot can, and also using your shoulder allows you to hold onto the doorknob during the action, thus keeping control and allowing you to make a much quieter entry.
If your first attempt at ramming with your shoulder doesn’t work, then, as we’ve seen in the movies, get a running start. Take care, though, you can end up dislocating your shoulder. It should also be advised that if you weight under 140 lbs… this method probably isn’t for you.
Prying a Door Open
An ordinary door attached to a weak frame is, as in the case of ramming, not very resistant to prying. The most recommended tool for this job would be a pry bar or a crowbar, but big screwdrivers or tire irons are a good alternative; actually, any object that is built strong and has a flat side on one end will work just fine.
Unlocking a Door from the Outside
To understand this method, picture yourself standing outside a door that has a built-in window. Your aim is to break the window and reach in to unlock the door from the inside. First scout the area briefly to see if there is a heavy object that you can use to do the trick; it not, you will have to break the glass out with your fist. You should be wearing protective gloves, because you’ll need to hit hard, and you don’t want to end up getting cut by flying glass.
Breaking a Window
Glass is generally an easier material to enter through than other common substances used to make barriers, such as wood or metal. Throwing a rock comes to mind as the easiest way to break a window. You can also of course hit the glass with a crowbar or club. An additional method that has been reported as successful into break a window in a relatively silent manner is by use of a pellet gun.
Cutting a Window
This involves using a glass cutter. A person who handles a glass cutter well can achieve a quiet break, and with this method there is also the possibility of using suction cups to remove the glass out carefully and avoid the noise that is inevitable when the glass pieces fall unhindered to the floor or the ground.
Unscrewing a Door or Window
Some doors and windows are made poorly with screws on the outside holding them in (it’s rare… but it can be found). This method presents the advantage that you can leave no evidence at the scene, because if time allows, you can just put the screws back in.
Pulling Out the Window
This method of entry works well with sliding windows, which generally come with a screen on the outside which is easily removed with your bare hands or with a prying tool, if needed. Next you will want to pry out the window. If there are several sliding windows in the structure you want to enter, there’s a good chance one of them won’t be locked in place, but even if you don’t find any, there may be a locked one that you can force open.
Drilling a Lock or Padlock
This method can be done with as much speed as picking a lock, and it doesn’t make more noise; the main disadvantage is the evidence that is left. A hand drill will work, but it takes a very long time, so it is advisable to have a battery-powered drill available for this job. The method consists of drilling the pins out and turning the inside, using whatever tool serves the purpose.