If there is a hijack situation and the terrorist guy shoots at the cockpit door to go inside, will that work?

Are the cockpit door locks in commercial planes like 737s etc good enough to handle a bullet shot?

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    $\begingroup$ people often erroneously focus on a door's lock, it's often easier to look for other weak points than going for the lock. I don't know the quality of cockpit doors, but I assume it's the same here. $\endgroup$
    – falstro
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 11:24
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    $\begingroup$ @PeterKämpf woah! Nobody in the linked discussion seemed to suggest closing such questions. I can totally understand that many people here can't talk about this, to the degree that it may even be unanswerable, but in no way is it off-topic. Also I'm not convinced this isn't answerable for non-US matters. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ I vote this can be answered. Either by quoting regulation saying it is required or lack thereof. Any regulation is publicly available,right? Im working on it. $\endgroup$
    – vasin1987
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 0:10
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    $\begingroup$ @vasin1987 At least in the case of the U.S., no. It's not at all uncommon for security-related regulations to be non-public information here. It's very common for them to be some form of controlled unclassified information and not unheard of for them to be classified. (Yes, I've had to deal with the latter... it's really fun when they decide to tell you can't export something, then they won't tell you why or what you could change to make it exportable.) $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 6:10
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    $\begingroup$ It's not sensitive security information because of the scope of the question. If you applied a bazooka to an airplane door, the door would lose, and that shouldn't surprise anyone. The real reason this question needs to be closed is because the scope is far too broad. $\endgroup$
    – Jae Carr
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


The FAA standards seem to anticipate the use of firearms by people attempting to gain unlawful access to the cockpit.

Opening locks with firearms is probably not as successful as TV would have you believe.

Cockpit Door Standards

Press Release – FAA Sets New Standards for Cockpit Doors
Release No. APA 01-02
January 11, 2002
Contact: Alison Duquette Phone: 202-267-3462 WASHINGTON, DC
In response to President Bush's call to strengthen aircraft security, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today published new standards to protect cockpits from intrusion and small arms fire or fragmentation devices, such as grenades. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act authorizes the FAA to issue today's final rule that requires operators of more than 6,000 airplanes to install reinforced doors by April 9, 2003.

From FAA Press Release

This press release doesn't actually say that the locks on the doors must resist being fired on using handguns but it is apparent that the scenarios envisaged included those where handguns were present. There are obviously other measures to prevent passengers carrying combat shotguns into the cabin surreptitiously.

Guns and Locks

In movies and television, a locked door, or a padlock on a cage is never an impediment so long as the Hero has bullets to spare. One or two shots is generally enough to destroy the lock, allowing the door to open. Unfortunately, in real life — as shown by the MythBusters — this requires a high powered gun at close range, which causes lots of very dangerous shrapnel. Lesser firearms, especially handguns may harmlessly bury rounds in even standard padlocks to little effect. Only SWAT teams and soldiers ever do this in real life, and it involves a shotgun, Kevlar body armor, specialized ammunition (a powdered metal breaching round, often jokingly referred to as "Avon Calling"), and full face protection. Even then, the goal is not specifically to destroy the lock, but to destroy the surrounding door or the hinges.

From TvTropes Shoot out the lock

Other references


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