The shootings at Virginia Tech and Nickel Mines clearly demonstrated the possibility that officers responding to an active shooter may face some type of fortification intended to slow their entry. SWAT teams will likely have a full complement of breaching tools and options at their disposal, including explosives, mechanical spreaders, rams, sledge hammers, bolt cutters and halligan tools. However, patrol officers, detectives and administrative personnel will be the first responders to any mass killing in progress. They need breaching options that fit in a patrol car trunk, are easily carried by a single officer and useful for a variety of breaching needs.
Kurt Delia, owner of Delia Tactical, thinks he has the answer. Delia recently began manufacturing and selling the Raptor tool.
Raptor stands for Rapid, Assault, Police, Tactical, Operations, Rescue. At first glance, the Raptor looks like some type of medieval battle axe, but it’s actually four breaching tools in one: a ram, sledge hammer, axe and pry bar. The Raptor is intended to provide a lightweight and compact breaching alternative for first responders when a full set of breaching tools isn’t available or convenient.
Testing by the author and others confirmed that the Raptor is capable of breaching many doors and windows, though the lightweight and all-in-one design make it most effective against minimally fortified targets. I was able to use the Raptor to chop and break through an interior wall, including sheetrock and a 2-x-4 wall stud. The manufacturer states the Raptor can also be used to break or chop through various other mediums including ice, concrete, chain, cable, locks, wire and windshields.
Testing officers felt the effectiveness of the prying end would be increased if it were more tapered. Some reported that gripping and swinging the Raptor as an axe or sledge hammer felt a little awkward and uncomfortable due to the presence and weight of working tools on each end. The Raptor was easy to use as a ram due to its in-line design. I also found it to be well balanced for this purpose.
The Raptor is 30 inches long and weighs approximately 20 lbs. It comes in black, but tan, olive drab and red are available for an additional cost. It includes two attachment points for a carry sling, but some military and police units have reportedly found that shotgun scabbards also work well for carrying the Raptor.
The Raptor retails for $275 and includes a lifetime warranty. It may not replace individual specialty tools when time, space and manpower permit, but it will significantly increase the breaching capabilities of first responders when lives are on the line. Adding a pair of bolt cutters from your local hardware store will provide a set of basic entry tools that will fit in any patrol car trunk and will provide significantly increased breaching capability.
With multiple capabilities, the Raptor is a Swiss Army knife in the world of breaching tools.
Delia Tactical Raptor
• Four tools in one
• Small and lightweight for easy carrying
• Effective against minimal fortifications
• Pry end might be more effective if tapered
• A scabbard for the axe head would be nice
Thanks to the Kent County (Mich.) Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa City (Iowa) Police Department for sharing their experiences with this product.