DIY Fatmax Breaching Tool for First Responders, SAR or Zombies - ITS Tactical

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DIY Fatmax Breaching Tool for First Responders, SAR or Zombies

By Eric S.

In this article we are going to show you how to make a low-cost low-profile entry tool that you can pick up at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot.

I came across this idea over at when I was looking at a thread called  Active Shooter Loadouts. Around that time I had taken a class by John Giduck on active shooters and the Beslan School siege,  Amish massacre,  and the  Virginia Tech shooting. It was quite eye opening and John brought up some good points on the need to be able to breach your way into one of these events.

Why a Breaching Tool?

DIY Breaching Tool 03One of the topics that hit home was how these  murders were bringing items to secure doors and create obstacles. Beslan was well planned and used multiple terrorists, but the Virginia Tech and Amish incidents  were executed with only one killer. During both of these events the shooters brought chains and locks to secure doors, which denied  entry for the first responders and also kept  victims from escaping.

These two examples show that law enforcement first responders can really be slowed down during the critical seconds/minutes of the event. If your agency is like mine, only supervisors have breaching tools in their vehicles. I know some agencies that have them back at the station (which is insane).

I don’t know about you, but I’m not waiting around for someone else to show up with the tools I need. If you’re like me and don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on breaching tools, then this DIY entry tool may be for you. Why not  convince your squad/sector/team mates to make one also?

While these  examples are military and police related, who can forget hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters? If you work and live overseas you just have to look at the news to see the civil unrest happening right now in the Middle East. You never know when you might get thrown into a SAR (search and rescue)  type event or have to get your family out of a bad situation. Having tools to breach doors and other obstacles  is just as critical in  the civilian world. I’m also certain you could use it to dispatch zombies with ease.

Stanley Fat Max FUBAR

DIY Breaching Tool 05What it is:

  • CHEAP!
  • 4-in-1 tool for prying, splitting, and striking jobs.
  • One piece forged steel bar for increased durability.
  • Two-tiered jaws for grabbing common dimensional lumber & decking (which we will be cutting off).
  • Textured grip for excellent comfort & control, even when wet.
  • Tempered steel that prevents chipping.

What it’s not:

  • It is  not shielded against electricity  like some Hallagan tools.
  • It is not considered “non-sparking”, although I’ve whacked a bunch of stuff and so far no big sparks.
  • A replacement for proper breaching tools if you have them.

What you’ll need:

  • A Stanley Fatmax FUBAR.   I bought this one at Lowe’s for under $35.00 but the link to the left has them for about $17 plus shipping.
  • A vice or something to hold the bar steady as you make your cuts and for grinding.
  • Face, eye, and hearing protection.
  • Gloves and proper clothing.
  • A electric angle grinder.   In theory you could use a hacksaw or other tool but the cutoff wheel is your best bet.
  • Cutoff wheels and grinding disks.   I also used a sanding  wheel attachment to  rough up  the paint if desired.
  • Paint of choice and masking tape.

Stanley also makes a  Fubar Forcible Entry Tool. The 18″ tool costs about $70.00 +  and you can’t pick it up at your local hardware store. While it does have some cool features, they are mostly geared toward Fire Fighters.

I wont go into how to modify it as we put together the following instructional video that shows all the steps. I will say make sure you use your protective gear and make sure you are aware of where the sparks are going.   This includes down into your collar and shoes, you don’t want to hurt yourself or catch anything on fire.

How To

I thought about cutting the rubber on the handle off and wrapping it in 550 cord, which always looks cool, but since we are going to be using this tool  I decided it wasn’t a good idea.    The reason being, when breaking glass you could end up getting small shards stuck in the 550 cord.   That would be bad news for you hands even though you should be using gloves. With the rubber it would take a big piece to get stuck and you would be able to see it and remove it without injury.

A KYDEX sheath system is currently in the works by Jason over at JMC Custom Holsters. Jason makes some bad ass custom KYDEX holsters and accessories. Check out the  full article Bryan did on Jason’s work.

I contacted Jason and he came over to take a look at the tool and ways it could be carried on a TAC style vest. This setup keeps the tool low for good weight distribution. With my particular vest being loaded up front  I had to  mount it  on the back. This is fine as I work on a six man team and one of my buddies can remove it when needed. In a pinch I can get it out by tweaking the vest, but it is primarily set up for a partner to remove.

With the economy being the way it is, I fully understand not having the money to spend on “entry tools.”  Whether you’re in law enforcement, the military, a MIL contractor, or on the civilian side, sometimes you have to think outside the box and get creative. If you’re overseas, you can have a family member or friend run over to Lowe’s or Home Depot and mail you a Fatmax FUBAR too.

I hope this article has shown that you can be prepared without breaking the bank.

We highly recommend getting training on breaching by a legitimate school or organization.  We did not talk about or demonstrate breaching techniques on propose.

Stay tuned for a giveaway for one of these DIY Fatmax Breaching Tools that will include a custom KYDEX sheath system by JMC Custom Holsters!!

Please leave any questions or comments you have below

<Click here to view the photo set on Flickr>

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  • Mike

    Nice project and nice paint job. Thanks! I might have missed it, but what is the reason for cutting off the shorter jaw?
    A couple of comments on the grinding itself. It’s hard to tell on video, but it looks like both your grinding and cutting wheels are still plenty usable, unless they weren’t working too well anymore. I regularly use either type of wheel until they are much smaller than what you had. I would also recommend leaving the shield on the grinder when using a cutting wheel. They can be prone to shattering and the shield can help keep some of the pieces from coming back at you. Having pieces of a cutting wheel thrown at you while spinning at about 10,000 RPM will not be a pleasant experience!

    • Cutting the lower jaw is needed to “set” the tool in a door frame. If you left it on it would bottom out and you wouldn’t be able to set it properly. The “mini jaw” teeth are good for raking glass from a window frame so I leave those alone.

      Good point on the grinding shield, bad habits are hard to break.


    I want to try this but I want to see you guys test it out. Break open some doors, dispatch some zombies, etc…Haha good write up tho guys and excellent video.


  • Great idea, much cheaper than the two halligan bars I have in our ambulances. I like the o-bar tool for a more discreet entry and less damage. The tool takes out the lock cylinder and you can then open the door. Also the k-tool.

  • Sheep.Dog

    Nice. I have one of the tools but never thought of modifing it. I also have a fence post driver. Laugh as you may, but it works well as an improvised ram. Had a chance to use it on a call one night and suprised everybody (including me lol) when it knocked a door open just like an actual ram. Now there was no deadbolt. Only a chain, hinge lock, and the handle.

  • I have been carrying a FUBAR for over a year now. I did some similar modifications, and added a lot of functionality, but it’s really not a replacement for a single piece halligan bar.

  • Gregg

    I have a 20 Pound sledgehammer that makes light work of any doors that aren’t reinforced. But this is lighter and far easier to carry, I’m definitely going to pick one up and do this mod.

  • Aaron McDoomsday

    Very nice… I’d been looking at one of those for similar multi-purposing, but never considered the mod.

    This is what currently rides in my tool kit:

    It seems mostly capable of the tasks I’ve put it to, or tested hypotheses of.

    • Reddog

      Aaron: I’m curious how the Dead On Anihilator does as a makeshift breaching bar. It doesn’t look like the tooth/point/claw(?) would be able to get as much penetration and grip as needed for a proper set, certainly not what the Fubar will do without the lower jaw. Eric, thanks for the article and inspiration. This is why I picked up my Fubar in the first place, but never thought to cut off the lower jaw. Thanks for the weekend project!

  • Martin

    I love the selection of music. I found it very entertaining.

  • code24

    I’ll admit that this is nit-picky, but since I’ve been studying the subject a lot lately, I just want to point out that Beslan was a hostage situation, not an active shooter situation. All hostage situations can start with active shooters, but once the attackers are no longer actively firing at the people inside the building, and have taken hostages as a means of coercion, it becomes a hostage situation, which calls for completely different tactics.

    Columbine caused a need for new tactics regarding active shooter situations, since the attackers had no interest in taking hostages, or a long term action. But mistaking a hostage situation for an active shooter situation can be dangerous to the civilians inside.

    • That is pretty nit-picky; call it what you want, word it any way you like. One way or another, first responders need a way to breach and thats what this article addresses.

    • Actually, the Beslan situation became active…pretty much a slugfest in, around and through hostages. Personal breaching tools may save the day when the ram is left at the entry point. Good grinding, E.

    • darren houston

      not to be rude but he has probably never breached a door !


    Just picked mine up…
    found it over at the local ACE
    Now just gotta head over to the in-laws for the right tools for the mod work.
    Also gonna work on making a carry for it, for my LF RAID. Something easily retrivable
    something w/ pvc

    • Michael

      I have been thinking about how to carry it. One thing I thought of was a nice thick nylon sling with a good sturdy buckle in the middle. That way when you need to deploy it you can unclip the buckle and the entry tool is free.

    • db

      I had a tool pouch fabricated, for my deadon annihilator, at the tactical tailor custom shop . Now mounted on my plate carrier and in the trunk of my take home.

  • fuspar

    I keep one of these handy:

  • Jeremy Jackson

    I like this, this was one thing I had been thinking about for my bug-out/tac bag…never know when you might need something like this…I would have to borrow me a grinder though…don’t think a Dremel would have the power and speed to get this done in the next 10 years…

    I’ll be sharing this with my fellow survivalist buddies…

  • montgomerygentryFan

    Great paint job and step by step tutorial. While I’m not trying to knock it (after all it is a nice one), won’t most of the paint come off when you’re prying a door open?

    After seeing that video I need to go out and buy an angle grinder and order a FatMax for sure. Thanks again.

    • Yeah the paint will get jacked, but thats no big deal. Painting it is a must as that yellow is super bright.

  • Michael

    Great write up. Wouldn’t expect any less. I, however, would like to see it in action. A door, a car door, a trunk, maybe safely breaking a window. I am coming form the EMS/FF side.
    Michael- EMT

  • Mustang

    So..a couple things just collided. The need to remove the bright yellow banded rubber grip on the Fat Max FUBAR and replace it with a better substance that is less..glaring. And…the appearance over on Soldier Systems of a product called is a wonder product from the description on the website and Wikipedia. Seems you could pick up some of this sugru stuff, and fashion a nice resilient silicone-rubber based, non-glare grip for this DIY rig.

  • Rembrandt

    Haven’t used the Dead On Annihilator for anything but Demo, but you should really check that tool out. The handle doesn’t curve at that odd angle, and I prefer the slimmer profile. I bolstered the grip with paracord, and that does much better.

  • Eric, love the write up, great job. (and finally a reason to buy a FatMax!)

    While watching the video and running senerios through my mind of it’s use I thought about the chain issue again. Having attended formal training, and not a bunch of guys from a shift trying to break things in the desert, do you think that if you formed the end into more of a spike shape instead of a wedge that it would be able to placed into a link of a chain and then forced down (with another hammer/tool in order to seperate a welded link? I know the dangers of hitting two hammers together but had to wonder if faced with a higher quality lock (like a puck type lock) that isn’t going to give in with a strike) the next weakest link would be the chain links.

  • jon

    I have got to get me one of those fubars!
    I have no use modifying it like this (I’m not in a job that needs to bust down doors)
    but it would do a lot better than my current POS crowbar for taking things apart…..

  • Chris

    When these first came on to the market I knew that I wanted one but didn’t have a reason to purchase one. Now i have a good reason to use one and I can’t find one locally. That is not really correct, I did find one but it was $74! Unfortunately Amazon and other online retailers won’t ship to Australia. Only option is to skip a few coffees and that is not really an option at all… come on EBay.
    By the way great article,Good Drills!!

  • Mike Gelso

    Just got finished making my Fatmax breacher. It looks sick. I am going to paint it up Friday. Now that its nice out i will try it out when my Fire Dept starts up some good training again.

  • Paul Narowski

    Looking forward to seeing the Kydex carrier. I put the finishing touches on mine today (removed the Stanley rubber handle and cord-wrapped it with Type III nylon). Thanks for the instruction!

    • I recently spoke to Jason over at JMC Custom Holsters and he is close to having the Kydex holster done. We will definitely be posting those photos when it arrives.

    • Paul Narowski

      Ever get the kydex sheath? I just got a Kifaru ice axe holster, and am predicting less than successful results attaching it to my ruck.

    • JMC Holsters made one but it didn’t work out. The quality and craftsmanship of the kydex was excellent, it was the placement I picked that wasn’t working. I had it parallel on the back of my TAC vest but it ended up being too wide. Vertical would be the best option but I haven’t looked into it again.

  • Reddog245

    Finally got my schedule cleared to make one and it is great! It took longer to decide the paint scheme than to cut off the lower jaw and grind with new wheels. (I would highly recommend new wheels if time is valuable to you. This is some thick, tough metal.) The paint technique shown is my new favorite home-brew camo. It is even more amazing in person. I am glad I left the handle untouched, as the little yellow accents have become very helpful in finding it. I used a shiny silver, (trying for gunmetal gray, came out almost chrome) as a base coat, and black in different densities for the overcoat. The black does a great job breaking up the shape, and the silver reflects the colors around it, helping it hide. I was not real happy with the initial bright, but am very happy with the final results. Thanks for the great project!

    • Come on over to the forums and post up some pics. It would be great to see what everyone has done.

  • barchack

    To carry this, try the Kifaru Ice Ax Carrier. I used it to lash a tomahawk to my pack in Afghanistan and it worked great. Can’t find it on their website, but I believe it’s still in their catalog if you look. It’s not a fast draw, like a kydex holder would be, but it’s secure and easy to use.

  • Ken

    Looks like a nice project. How is this tool different now than a heavy framing hammer? (Besides the pry bar at the other end and half the weight.)

  • Crashonhead

    I just got mine today – the Fatmax was a nice gunmetal gray in color, not yellow. Five minutes on the bandsaw, ten more with the hand grinder and – voila! This will definitely find a place strapped on the bottom of my zombie bag, so many uses and an awesome idea.

    I did notice something, after grinding off the teeth on the upper jaw, how critical is the angle of the flat / ground down portion? There is a very slight taper and the shape is more like an acute triangle than a right triangle. I’m concerned that the jaw could cam out of a slot under heavy pressure. I could go back and grind a bit of a curve so the jaw has a more hook-like profile, maybe I’m worrying over nothing?

  • Jay S

    excuse me while i kill some zombies

  • pm40-45

    if you have a Black and Decker Stanley outlet near you they have all Stanley tools 50% off right now

    • Phil

      Nice video and an interesting concept, thanks for bringing it to my attention. For me I would not repaint it but leave it yellow because the last thing I want to do in a stressful SAR situation is look around on the ground for a camo tool that blended into its surroundings when I set it down to get something else.
      A modification thought would be on the section where you made your first cut. leave a smidge more material hanging off the shaft and then grind the entire length of it to mimic the edge of a course axe. Then that side could be used to chop small limbs, cut ropes, hack at cables, etc.

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  • Daniel Lin

    As much as I hate to necropost, it should be pointed out that at Virginia Tech (where I currently attend school), the doors were chained on the inside. How do you breech that with such a tool? I believe the entry team shotgunned the door off its hinges after discovered the doors were chained on the inside.

  • I’ve found the Dead On tool Annihilator to be an utter POS. I broke mine trying to take down a wall made out of drywall and rotting wood. It broke exactly like this in this video; Furthermore when I called Dead On to warranty it They Wouldn’t!! Since it was a gift and I didn’t have the receipt they wouldn’t do anything for me at all. To top it off they were rude and borderline condescending. I ended up taking it back to Home Depot who were really nice and let me exchange it. I’ll never buy anything from Dead On, they could care less about taking care of their customers.

  • Ryan

    i dont fully understand the purpose of the mod when there is a prybar on the other side of the tool that would work.

    • Its meant to be used like a Halligan in conjunction with a sledge.


  • Peter

    I have a carrying suggestion. How about a simple hammer hanger like goes on a tool belt. If the hammer hanger is not secure enough a simple strip of velcro or piece of paracord should secure it.

    • I use a leather tape measure holster. with the leather retention strap over the top. It has a hole in the bottom for the handle, but it needs to be widened just a little bit for the handle to pass easily.

  • Fyi the space with the teeth between the upper and lower jaws fit perfectly on the five side nuts on many fire hydrants. The will also fit onto most residential and commercial gas valves to shut off the gas to a structure if needed. I have been in the Fire/Rescue biz for 18 years and have had a Fubar as part of my kit for many years. It also will anchor into the corner of a window as an improvised rappel anchor in an emergency (bale out). I have never had a problem breaching a door with it as is, but I do see the advantage of removing the bottom jaw, it just removes the other abilities along with it. Thanks for all of the get info ITSTactical. Keep up the great work.


  • I love Stanley tools, although this is a somewhat morbid take on their tools use!

  • Joe

    Why do you need to turn the wrench into a prying point when you have the crow bar already on the end? Am I missing something?

    • Glasynys

      It’s making it into a standard Halligan. If you look closely you’ll notice that one end the pry is perpendicular to the hammer, where the other is parallel. The perpendicular side is the one behind the hammer head, where we are cutting out. When breaching a door you use this end first, pushing up and down to make enough room for the parallel crowbar end to enter the frame.
      To know why it’s important you need to know how to breach a door

  • kirk0311

    Mine started out like yours and I ended up skeletonizing it to save a few ounces. It makes a great addition to my Active shooter / Mass casualty SAR bag. The only thing I want to do it make a plastic cap that can go over the sharp pry end to keep it from messing stuff up when not in use. It could also double as a wedge to help hold the gap on tough doors. Any ideas on how to make it?

  • <a href=””>Police Job Latest News</a>
    Thank you for sharing this post with us. And it is very clear and useful too. And I impressed about your thoughts.

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