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Reviews : Police Product Test

Police Product Test: Shieldspike's Hammerspike Glass-Breaker

With this durable, lightweight tool you can efficiently break a window with one hand and hold a shield with the other.

May 17, 2012  |  by Christopher Ruscitti

Photo: Mark W. Clark
Photo: Mark W. Clark

Editor's note: Please watch our video of the Shieldspike's Hammerspike in action.

The vehicle assault is an often taught but seldom executed tactic in SWAT operations. Because it occurs so infrequently, officers tend to overlook a major component in the success of the mission: defeating the vehicle glass. This is important to allow a clear and unobscured view inside the compartment of the vehicle so the problem can be resolved with no loss of life to the hostage(s) and operators, and can be a challenge for many reasons. Fortunately, the Hammerspike makes breaking structure and vehicle glass much easier, whether for SWAT during an operation or for a first responder to rescue a trapped motorist.

When I asked SWAT members from various teams to describe their immediate action drill to defeat window glass on a vehicle assault, the answers varied. Many stated that they would shoot through the glass to get to the objective. Others said they would muzzle punch the glass with their rifle barrels to breach the window, and some simply have trained to execute vehicle assault tactics with the windows down and not thought about defeating the glass.

There are significant issues with all of these responses. Breaching is the foundation of most SWAT tactical operations. If the operators cannot get into a structure to solve the situation, then the team has failed in its mission. This concept is the same when the mission is a vehicle assault. Dynamic and violent, a close quarters battle with an armed suspect who has hostages leaves little room for error. The team assaulting the vehicle has to be fast, efficient, and precise, and most make-shift tools SWAT teams might use are not up to the task.

That's why Shieldspike has developed the Hammerspike specialty tool, designed specifically to eliminate the window glass in a building or vehicle.

This close-quarters tool weighs only 1.5 pounds and is easily deployed with one hand, which means you can use it while holding a ballistic shield for cover. And at 19 inches long, it has a short range of motion so it can be used in close quarters around other operators with no fear of hitting and injuring them.

The Hammerspike is also designed with a 90-degree-angle bend to act as a standoff to eliminate hand injuries from carry-over into the window. The standoff also guarantees positive penetration. Because the tool is lightweight, it can be swung forehand, backhand, and at odd angles with no difficulty. In fact, it can be used to breach several windows in rapid succession with no hesitation. Despite its relatively small size, the Hammerspike is durable, thanks to its stainless steel construction and a special heat-treated tip.

All of the Hammerspike's features translate into smooth, efficient deployment for breaking glass. If you don't believe me, watch the Police Product Test video on Equipping a breacher with Shieldspike's Hammerspike tool to execute a vehicle assault increases a team's likelihood of success in the mission immensely. The Hammerspike is a fast and effective way to remove the glass barrier between your team and the immediate threat within a vehicle.

ShieldSpike Hammerspike Specs:

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Length: 19 inches

• One-handed operation

• Designed to effectively penetrate vehicle or structure glass with small swinging motions

• Can use to strike a window in any location to achieve a successful breach

• Keeps operator's hands away from breaking glass, preventing injury

• Can be carried alone or mounted onto existing shield with proprietary bracket

Price: $120

Christopher Ruscitti is a breacher with the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Police Department.

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Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

DEADMAN @ 5/18/2012 12:21 AM

I believe,you might be better served with a spring loaded punch,obtainable,where ever you buy tools.
Wt. 1.5-2,0ounces
Length 5-6 inches
Cost Approximately $5.00-$6.00
Don't want to injure hand,wear gloves
Storage,Shirt pocket,briefcase,glove compartment,console,trunk.
I used one for twenty years,no problem,still have it and you can still use it with one hand while other hand is holding shield or anything else,does not spray broken glass pieces all over the county,drops them straight down.Newer expensive toys are not always better for the job,they just make people rich and take money out of police departments budget.I can't believe that advertisement even made it into the magazine or on this e-mail .
Instructions on use of spring loaded punch:use on passenger side rear window in lower right or left corner so you don't get glass on drivers seat in case you have to drive car away.

DEADMAN @ 5/18/2012 12:24 AM

A screwdriver with extra pressure in same spot on window usually has same effect,same money.That advertised tool is a joke,don't spend your money or departments money on simply expensive toys.

Sundevil @ 5/18/2012 11:29 AM

Sorry but I'm not relying on a "screwdriver" as the best response option for instantaneously removing a glass window so I can put a shot on a suspect or rescue a hostage etc. Window punches work when they want to and they are a one shot wonder. Under duress or high stress event, those two "tools" wouldn't be my first option.

BigSky1* @ 5/18/2012 11:55 AM

I actually like the tool's concept, looks fast....

Razor6480 @ 5/18/2012 1:51 PM

I have been a police officer for over 15 years, with the last 5 years on as a sniper/entry member for a full-time SWAT team for a major metropolitan police department. My professional opinion is that the Hammer Spike is the best window breaking tool on the market. I have personally used the Hammer Spike on several operations within the last three months. The Hammer Spike has defeated and DESTROYED every glass I needed to get through. The Hammer Spike is amazing and effective tool that has saved lives. Just last week I used the Hammer Spike to gain immediate entry into a locked vehicle with a person who was in Diabetic Shock. The diabetic victim was incoherent and had lost all control over his action. The victim's car was in reverse and had back up against a wall. All the doors were locked and the windows were up. The victim could not speak to us and was unable to get his door open. Fire Department was on the way, but were several minutes from the scene. One officer was trying to break open the window with a small handheld window punch. He was not able to break the window and after several attempts the officer gave up. It only took one swing with the Hammer Spike and the right rear window of the vehicle was broken out. We gained entry into the vehicle and started giving medical attention to the diabetic victim. The fire department arrived a short time later and stated that the victim was only minutes away from going into a diabetic coma. I believe that the Hammer Spike saved that individual from going into a diabetic coma and even possibly from dying. The Hammer Spike is not a toy or a waste of money. It has been a very effective tool and a life saver both in SWAT operations and patrol work. You have to ask yourself this question when purchasing equipment for police work. How much is your life or a citizen's life worth? Is a $120 tool too much to save a life!

Trojan73 @ 5/18/2012 2:00 PM

Yeah, window breaking with Craftsman tools doesn't seem so easy.....

Kakashi @ 5/18/2012 4:35 PM

I worked for a fire department for over four years that used (attempted to use) those spring loaded punches. On at least three seperate occasions (once on a scene and twice during training), the punch failed to break the glass. only after repeated attempts did it finally work.

As a police officer, I tried to break out a window of a vehicle that a gunshot victim with an expandable baton. I managed to get the glass to break after about a dozen hits.

I've been witness to rake and break teams fail to break out windows on houses with their designated rebar tool. And I have used and seen this tool work on the first attempt, 100% of the time.

For you to comment that a screwdriver or novelty window punch would work during hostage rescue, vehicle assault, or other time critical emergency shows an apparent lack of situational awareness and understanding of the mission. What are you supposed to do if the punch spring breaks? Who has the hammer that is striking the screwdriver? When you find a tool that will produce 100% reliability with no moving parts to break thats cheaper, let us know.

RJDS552 @ 5/18/2012 6:47 PM

Mr. Deadman....As i respect your 20 years of sevice to the job its your ignorance i will pray upon. A screw driver or a window punch? Hmmm....step into the 21st century my friend. A screw driver is just that. A tool used for screwing in screws. A spring loaded window punch? May work if your wife locks her purse in the car. "Wear gloves" is your solution to not cutting your hand. Somewhere during your 20 year career you have lost your commen sense. I find it extremely unprofessional that you would post comments about a tool you know nothing about. Im sure if you conact the company they would be more than happy to send one to you for a T and E (test and evaluate). Think before commenting my friend!

I myself along with members of my team have experimented with several instruments in an attempt to find the best tool to break a car, house or arcadia (sliding door) window. Hammers,hooligans,pry bars, rebar, steel pipes,window punches,golf clubs, aluminum baseball bats and yes even a screw driver. All failed miserably. Since its introduction to our team we have used the hammerspike at least a dozen or more times, with a 100% SUCCESS RATE! Every squad assigned to SWAT has one. Its light,easy to use and has a 4-5 inch stand off which reduces the chance of you getting cut with glass with or without gloves. You cannot put a price tag on an officers life. If so, 5-6 dollars sounds pretty cheap to me! Stay safe!!!

Stacie Henley @ 11/18/2012 7:22 AM

Thank you.....

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