There are many good reasons to be able to kick open a door. Maybe you lost your keys and can’t get or wait for a locksmith. Maybe there’s a fire and you need to get someone out. Maybe … When you find yourself in a situation where the best option is to use brute force now and repair the door later, it’s good to know the best way to do it.
Anatomy of a Door
The weakest point on any door is the knob. The knob contains a small metal plunger about the size of an adult thumb that rests inside the door frame and the door itself. Unless there is also a deadbolt or chain lock, this small piece of metal is the only thing keeping the door shut.
The Deadbolt or Chain
Many doors have other locking mechanisms in addition to the knob. These include deadbolts, chain locks and swing arm locks. Only deadbolts are visible from the outside as both chain and swing arm locks can only be activated from the inside. You can identify a deadbolt by the hockey puck-like fixture usually about a foot over the knob.
Most external doors have three hinges on the opposite side from the knob. The hinges are attached to the door and the door frame to allow the door to swing open and closed. There are typically three or four screws in each flap of the hinge holding it to the door and frame. This creates multiple points of reinforcement and is typically much stronger than the knob.
The door itself can vary widely in quality and strength. The doors found inside a home are typically made of thin, flimsy wood that is easy to break but typically don’t have a lock or have one of those that you can open with a simple flathead screwdriver. External doors are typically solid, strong wood that are difficult to break through.
The door frame is more than just the trimming around the door. It’s what the various locking mechanisms connect to in order to keep the door shut. In the event that you do kick open a door, it’s likely that you’ll destroy the frame in the process and have to replace it.
This next part, if put into practice, will result in damage to your home and possibly injury to yourself. Be smart and make sure that you’ve exhausted all other options before you employ this one.
The best, quickest, and safest way to kick open a door is to kick with the bottom of your heel above the knob so that your force can be applied most directly to the deadbolt or chain lock as well. This technique will focus all your force into a small area and apply it most directly to the plunger and then to the frame. It may take several attempts depending on the quality of the door, but, if done properly, an average sized adult male can kick open a door in fewer than three kicks.
When this technique is successful, the door should fly open and your foot might continue continue moving forward and down towards the ground so be ready to balance yourself to avoid smashing your face into the door frame.
The worst way to force a door open is by slamming your shoulder into the door. Shoulders are not designed to absorb these kinds of impacts and you’re most likely going to injure yourself. Slamming your body weight into the broad side of the door distributes your force more generally throughout the door and is less effective.
If kicking isn’t an option for some reason, it’s better to throw yourself so that your shoulder blade hits the door as close as you can get to the frame on the knob side of the door. If this works, you’ll likely find yourself charging into the room and falling into a heap as you stumble in.