Harpoon-Breaching Tool

Technology Summary

There is a need for a way to ensure rapid, forced entry into a structure for police, firemen, SWAT teams, and security officers. Current commercially available methods, including cutting saws, spreading tools, explosive devices, and “burning” devices are often extremely noisy, have significant time-delay, present potential fire hazards, and require the close-proximity of personnel.


Sandia has developed a harpoon breaching tool that allows law enforcement personnel to breach metal doors or walls within seconds. Because this tool can be mounted to a vehicle’s standard receiver hitch, danger to personnel can be mitigated. Also, because explosives are not used, the risk of a fire drops significantly. The harpoon works by first driving the vehicle toward the structure and penetrating the wall/door with the harpoon. Once the harpoon has entered the structure, the pivot blade can be released, essentially “hooking” the inside of the wall/door with the tip. The vehicle can then reverse direction, taking with it  the door or a section of the wall thereby allowing law enforcement to enter the premises quickly (within seconds) of attempting to breach the structure.


  • Extremely fast entry (second)
  • No fire hazard
  • Mitigate danger to personnel

Applications and Industries

  • Law Enforcement Officers
  • Security Officers
  • Fire Departments

Intellectual Property

ID Number
Patent Number
Vehicle assisted harpoon breaching tool 7652.0 7,887,092 02/15/2011
Technology IDUS Patent 7,887,092, SD# 7652Development StagePrototype - TECHNOLOGY READINESS LEVEL: 6 A PROTOTYPE HAS BEEN DEVELOPED AND TESTEDAvailabilityAvailablePublished08/03/2012Last Updated03/07/2013