Jeff Herr, CEO of J&N Tactical: My goal at that time was very clear – to design a tool which allowed an operator the ability to port or clear out a window and/or opening in the safest and most efficient manner.

About the author

Jeff Herr is the CEO of J&N Tactical and is a former 30 year, LE/SWAT officer/operator.

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J&N Tactical: Double Head Break And Rake Tool

The Article

I am one of those guys who have always taken the time to look at a concept or idea being used to try and make it better or improve upon it.  

It is amazing how many of us just do certain things because someone told us “this is the best way” or “this piece of equipment is the best” but never really battle test the concept, technique, product or idea.    

In 2006, I designed and manufactured a commercial grade bangstick for the safe delivery of NFDD’s into an opening.  

At any rate, this particular product led to the inception of my company J&N Tactical.  

Our company continues to be a lead designer and manufacturer of innovative breaching tools, specializing in solutions for NFDD delivery systems for special operation groups and law enforcement teams around the world.

When I think back on what started the quest for this new break and rake tool, now called the Vandal BR, I recall being an operator at a NTOA Hostage Rescue course with instructors Dan Murphy and Steve Mescan.  

The instructors were running us through hostage rescue scenarios where we had ladder teams on the exterior of the residence, working the concept of “consuming the structure from the outside”.  

The premise of this concept was to get operators/guns into the windows of the location on the target quicker than working a team through the floorplan to the target.  

The most important part of working through the concept was first, breaking and clearing out the window in order to get an operator into the opening to resolve the situation quickly.  

The class had operators from various agencies from around the country that brought their own tools to the training.  

We had various single headed break and rake tools where operators punched and chopped through windows.  

The problem I saw was the time it was taking to actually remove the glass and window frame in order to get our ladder guys up and into the window to either shoot or cover down.  

I knew there had to be a better and more efficient way of performing this task, thus setting the wheels in motion to build the ultimate break and rake tool.

We started designing and crafting the new proto-type

As I started with the design and concept of the new tool, I looked at certain criteria that I felt was necessary in the design of the tool.

My goal at that time was very clear – to design a tool which allowed an operator the ability to port or clear out a window and/or opening in the safest and most efficient manner.

We started designing and crafting the new proto-type.

While designing the new break tool, my engineer placed a “Y” at the business end of the tool.

He continued by implementing a break head w/removable breaker tips on each leg of the “Y”.

The purpose of the “Y” design was to direct the structural vertical/horizontal window frame into a flat hammer plate at the base of the “Y”.

This allows the operator to remove the frame and window components quickly and efficiently, figure 3.

I will admit, at first glance the design looked awkward and cumbersome, but later we would learn that this tool would prove to be not only very destructive in its purpose, but extremely effective in meeting all the needs of a port team.

As with any new product, we worked with various types of materials, handles, hoods, claws and spikes.

As we worked with the new design, rake fins were added just below the two break heads to assist in clearing out the stubborn shards of glass that are captured along the window frame.

The first proto-type break and rake tool was engineered and put through the rigorous testing and evaluation with several teams around the country.

Several teams were skeptical since the Vandal was entirely different from every other single headed break tool out there.

After battle testing the now patented, US Patent 8,387,487B2, double break head design, the Vandal met all of my expectations and then some.

The Vandal BR-3 was built upon the performance of the field proven counter parts the BR-5 & BR-6 which are being used by hundreds of special operation groups around the world.

The BR-3 was designed for vehicle assaults, active shooter events, breaching patio door sliders and operations where a long reach is not needed.

The BR-3 has shorter rake fins and a hand guard to protect the operators hand while porting windows in tight confined spaces.

The tool also is equipped with a quick release sling which allows a team member to sling the tool and be able to operate his/her weapon system with both hands.

In the event a secondary breach is needed, the operator can transition from his weapon to the Vandal BR-3.

As operators we continually strive to perform operational tasks in the safest manner based on the priorities of life – hostages, citizens, officers and suspects.

With that in mind, I have come to the conclusion that breaching windows for certain event requires the proper technique.

One can stand to the side of the window and chop or with higher risk, roll out and completely clear all the glass, frame and components for an operator to perform a port and cover, etc.

Benefits of the double break head design

First and foremost, the forty-five degree angle on each break head, allows operators the ability to port a window while standing off and away from either side of the window, thus providing a greater tactical advantage.  

An example would be opening up a window for observation, delivery of electronics (robot/throw phone), creating a communication portal, breaking glass as a distraction or possibly delivering chemical agents.  

By holding the tool with a baseball-bat-style grip, the operator chops from the side breaking out the glass.  

The laser cut teeth on the break heads, coupled with one twist of the D-handle, allows the operator to pull fabric and blinds instantly from an opening.

If the mission calls for a port and cover operation where ladders are being set and tactics are deliberate, time is of the essence.  

The quicker the port team clears the window the higher the probability of having a positive resolution to crisis situation.

This high risk technique does however put the operator in a more vulnerable position, but remember we are working off the hierarchy of the priorities of life.  

The technique used to clear out an opening in the most efficient way is as follows. 

The operator targets the window and must orientate the tool in order to strike both top and bottom (double hung) or left and right (slider/casement) windows.  

The first strike compromises both pieces of glass with one punch.  

Often times the energy being produced through the hammer plate located at the base of the “Y” on the first strike weakens the frame and its components.  

So on the second strike, the focus is to completely take out the frame and components.  

A third strike, if needed, is the cleanup phase where edges of the four rake fins clean the edges of jagged broken glass left from the porting process.

Remember, the glass of a window provides it strength and when the glass is compromised, the window is frame and its components are removed quite easily – depending on the material.

It is important to note, the material of some commercially fixed frame windows will obviously not allow the operator to break out the complete window since some are welded or have some sort of engineered fixed frame for strength.  

With the proper technique, it has been my experience that most, if not all, residential window frames and components are easily removed during porting.

Split Second Syndrome

Make sure when porting glass your operators are wearing the proper safety equipment.  

The glass being shattered becomes airborne and if not properly equipped bad things can happen.  

I added the metatarsal guards to my kit early on after a piece of quarter inch plate glass severed my leather boot and laces on a training mission.

As the owner of J&N Tactical, as well as former SWAT operator, the last thing I want to experience on a tactical operation is a failing tool.  

At J&N Tactical, our philosophy is to ensure, to you – our customers, that quality is built into everything we manufacture.  

We know that performance and quality ensures future trust and confidence in our company.  

We at J&N Tactical are always open to new ideas and innovation.  

We are energized by change and continuously thinking ahead and anticipating how we can better serve you in the tactical community

Jeff Herr is the CEO of J&N Tactical and is a former 30 year, LE/SWAT officer/operator.  

He can be reached at jeffh@jntactical.com.  

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