Last week a buddy of mine showed me a video of this thermal breaching option called the Breachpen. Breachpen was founded by an Air Force PJ with the basic idea of a disposable and lightweight thermal breaching option when mechanical, ballistic and explosive breaching are not ideal or may not be needed. After watching the video, I knew I had to see what the BreachPen was all about. I contacted Breachpen and within 30 minutes I received a call from the owner who we will call “B”. He told me how he came up with the idea of a lightweight thermal breaching option when he was a PJ in the Air Force. I gave him a little insight into what I do here at the Loadout Room as well as my everyday job as a contractor. Within an hour I had my certification and my demonstration setup scheduled.
3 days later I find myself driving down 64 to the oceanfront to meet with a former SOF Operator (he’s going to hate that I put that in here) who is one of the qualifiers of the Breachpen. He retired from the military but is still very much active in the SOF world as a contractor, so for this article, we will call him “Jack”. Jack is the type of guy that’s been there and done that in all aspects of the SOF community but you’d never know unless he told you – he’s as quiet as the breeze when it comes to everyday life. He’s worked at every level in the world and he has a wrath of knowledge. Jack start’s going through the Breachpen procedures and I complete the Breachpen class and exam – now it’s time to cut some shit!
Thermal breaching was way down my list of ways to breach a door, but in all honesty, I’d rather blow a door any day of the week.
- It’s faster and it’s more of a surprise
- It’s a lot less moving parts.
- I don’t have to worry about having a fuel source on my back that can explode when the bullets start flying if you’re going thermal.
- The breacher usually carries the most weight as is and when I’m in a maritime or high-speed environment weight is crucial.
- It’s a pain in the ass climbing a caving ladder as is, so in order to stay fast and keep up with my team, if I don’t have to run a Broco Torch system, I won’t.
Those are the reasons why the Breachpen is such a good idea.
The Breachpen is not even 1 pound a stick. It is 1 foot long before you assemble it. It has the same effect that the Broco Torch system has minus the fuel source you carry on your back, and if the Breachpen is struck by a bullet it will not light or go off.
Comparisons have been done between the BROCO and Breachpen and the BROCO still takes the cake for surface cutting. BROCO fuel torches excel in surface cuts because of the high-pressure push through the metal on a vertical plane. The Breachpen is more for horizontal plains, where directional pressure and gravity cut through in a ‘plunge cut’.
So what’s wrong with the Breachpen you may ask? My answer is that the flame lasts only for 20-23 seconds, but with that said you can use multiple – but one at a time (for now, but they have a few things in the works). When you use 1 after the other, you can also light the Breachpen from the molten metal. Now, what is wrong with thermal breaching in general? It’s loud, it takes more time than a flex linear charge or a ballistic charge, and it creates an ungodly amount of light. Add all those up and you’re fixin’ to ruin your element of surprise and have a bad day, but that’s not the Breachpen’s fault, that’s just thermal breaching in general. The Breachpen is meant for the high-speed guys, it’s built for the guys that want to stay light, but it’s also built to be another tool in the toolbox. Signal flare? Breachpen. Start a fire quickly? Breachpen (combustion is 5072 degrees Fahrenheit). Need to cause a distraction? Breachpen. Need to cut through just about anything besides tungsten? Breachpen. This thing can be used in so many ways and that’s why it’s one of the best lightweight option’s to add to the toolbox.
Use of the Breachpen is simple. You assemble the Breachpen by sliding the top cap up and away from you. Next, you insert the top cap into the tube itself that you just pulled it out of. You grab your match at the other end of the tube, light the match using the strike pad on the Breachpen, use your match to light the adhesive on the tip of the breachpen and you’re ready to rock n roll. Strike, light, cut, attack.
So all in all… am I going to use the Breachpen every time I have to breach a door or cut through a chain? No. But that’s not what Breachpen is preaching. Breachpen was made for the unknown. It was made for adapting on the go and as Military or Law Enforcement/First Responder, you should always know that you always have to adapt to different things. Nothing EVER goes as planned. So why did I add the Breachpen to my gear? I carry it because I’d rather carry a little over 2 lbs extra in 3 Breach Pens in case I need to cut through chain/locks, use a signal flare, or to start a quick fire. Remember, it’s always “better to have, and not need than to need and not have” but with that being said don’t have 6 optics on your rifle, 12 PMags, and 3 knives on your loadout.
Stay simple, stay fast, stay aggressive!