There's something about Mary Ram

This entry tool will help breachers avoid 'dancing at the door'


While browsing products at a police conference, I was introduced to Chuck Esty of Esty Breaching. He had an unusual looking entry tool named Mary.

Before I get into the product, I want to talk about breachers whose primary duty is to overcome otherwise impossible or impenetrable barriers, usually by force, accompanied by shock and awe.

You can easily identify a breacher in casual conversation when their attention drifts to locks, doorway construction and...locks. Breachers will pause at an architectural opening to study how the design could be overcome, beginning from the lock structure, and ending with how easily the hinges could be separated. Breachers are obsessed with padlocks, examining them to see if chain links are welded and assessing the strength of materials by their alloy composition.

Overcome any barrier

Chuck Esty is a breacher. In real life, he is a (recently retired) sheriff’s sergeant, who still teaches breaching to law enforcement professionals. 

He has the “overcome any barrier” demeanor with an enthusiasm for his work that is contagious. He looks like a breacher. In fact, he epitomizes this rare breed so much that the designers of the Tom Clancy Rainbow Six Siege video game consulted with him. If you want to know what Chuck looks like, Google the main character Sledge. The resemblance is not a coincidence. The character was modeled after him.

Chuck began designing and building breaching devices based on his experience and on experimentation. He explained to me that the design and correct use of alloys are critical in breaching tools. I’m quite certain that agencies appreciate the fact that the guy who designs the tools actually uses them.

Chuck told me, “All I’ve been doing is breaking into houses.” Originally, he was building breaching tools out of his garage. He then joined with Phase 5 Weapon Systems, who helped bring his expertise and some viable designs to the table.

Mary Ram multipurpose breaching tool

The Mary Ram is a multipurpose breaching tool. One end has a flat face for door ramming. The other has a unique looking fork. The fork has proprietary machined surfaces that grab and secure shackles and locks.

One end of the Mary Ram has a flat face for door ramming, the other has a unique looking fork.
One end of the Mary Ram has a flat face for door ramming, the other has a unique looking fork.

The fork and shaft of the Mary Ram is made of 4140 steel. The neck is a softer steel, which reduces shock to the hands, yet maintains a structural rigidity and shatter-resistant qualities. The shaft is actually welded into a unique joint where the neck connects. Welds are usually more brittle than the steel that connects it. This creates a shear point at this junction. The Mary Ram has a V-shaped notch cut into the neck, which redistributes the stress area into two different planes. The receiver portion is 1018 steel.

The Mary Ram’s tip is connected with rosette welds that are recessed, preventing any welded services from interfering with its mission.

The tip on The Mary Ram has a complex machining process in the fork. The Phase 5 Weapon Systems guys told me that they tested this tip on every commercially available lock currently in the industry. It was pretty cool for them to demonstrate how this fork can tear open a padlock.

tip design is critical 

Tip design on a breaching device is really critical. The lock, connected to whatever device (or chain) it secures has to seat correctly into the tip of the fork. That is, the fork has to fill the gap between the device and the body of the lock. The Mary Ram has a tapered prying surface that fits against the lock. This gives the user the proper leverage to rip the thing open.

What if the breaching device doesn’t rip the lock open, especially one attached to a chain? The lock will “pretzel.” I don’t have to describe it much further. Now the breach or is stuck with the fork, stuck to the lock, stuck to the chain, stuck to the door.

The Mary Ram can lay down a tremendous amount of prying force, given the strategic placement of the handles. It is designed to make quick work of steel or wooden framed entrances.

Chuck told me, “Everything we do is to reduce our dance at the door,” referring to the breacher’s aversion to exposure at the doorway. He was demonstrating how both the Mary Ram and the Betsy Bar, a pry bar with a little extra leverage, were designed to prevent the breacher from operating in the doorway.

The Chuck-E-Tool portable pry bar is designed to be worn on a duty belt.
The Chuck-E-Tool portable pry bar is designed to be worn on a duty belt.

Additional products

Esty Breaching has several other purpose-built products, including the Betsy Bar, which has the fork of the Mary Ram and a pointed door destroyer on the other. There is even a portable pry bar, designed to be worn on a duty belt called the Chuck-E-Tool. As Chuck told me, “My goal is to equip those in harm’s way when milliseconds count.”

Esty Breaching can be found at estybreaching.com. MSRP on the Mary Ram is $750. Components are priced from $35-$750. Products are made with 100% all US steel, manufactured entirely in the US and the company has a “no questions asked” warranty on its products.

NEXT: How to buy tactical entry tools (eBook)

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