It may come as a bit of a shock to the readership that was never in the military, but we don’t always have a million-dollar solution to a problem. It hasn’t been that long since the best Counter Terror troops in the world had a D cell Maglite attached to their rifle with hose clamps. So it shouldn’t be all that stunning to hear that especially early in the GWOT, we were absolutely making things up as we went along. And one of those solutions may be an item you want in your survival kit, despite the fact that it comes from someone unlikely to ever run an ad in a gun magazine.
Despite living in a world of explosive breaching charges, sledgehammers, and battering rams, I saw one piece of gear grow more and more popular over the years. The simple wonder bar, aka the baby crowbar/nail puller. “Wonder Bar” is actually a registered trademark of Stanley and is made in Mexico. The name, however, has become synonymous with a class of very similar in size and function small bars. And if you buy it from Vaughn instead ($12.97), it is made in the USA.
Why exactly would SOCOM’s assaulters carry one of these when they already had tools up to Stihl quick-cut saws and det cord? For all the things a small bar would do, not to mention everyone could have one at hand. The specialized tools get spread across the team, and one might not be near you when you need it. Experience showed that the Wonder Bar size could solve a lot of problems, and be light enough to be common equipment.
A Wonder Bar is great for post-assault, doing duties like popping open desk drawers and filing cabinets. It will also attack padlocks in a pinch, in one of two ways. It is tough enough to attack the lock directly, as a striking implement, provided you are dealing with Chinesium or worse locks. Most often, it is used to attack the weak point of any padlock system, the screws holding the hasp. Even at only 15 inches, this size of bar wreaks havoc on third-rate wood screws or nails.
For both interior doors and exteriors without a deadbolt, the Wonder Bar is generally enough to pop the frame and bypass the lock. Not only is this less destructive, but it is also quieter than a sledge or other dynamic entry. Which is sometimes exactly what the doctor ordered. It will also take care of improvised barricades, especially those put up with nails. Let us also not forget the sharp point to defeat glass. Every one of us GWOT ninjas, usually as a young man, found out exactly how tough auto glass is. It takes the wind out of your sails when you muzzle strike a car window and bounce off instead of breaking it. Auto glass is tougher than it looks, try it some time at your local junkyard if you don’t believe me. The sharp corner of the pry bar’s pulling end solves this dilemma quickly.
Any of which might be necessary for you in a survival situation. Remember, the first thing a breacher uses is his head. When it comes to SHTF load out, all of us are looking for multi-use and absolutely necessary tools. Depending on your area, the extra small nail puller might be something you need to consider.