Bob Farrell shipped one of the first production Maxximus Rexxs out here and we were able to put it through some work at the Irons and Ladders class during the South Metro Fire Learning Symposium this October. Since then I received my own Maxximus Rexx and a Lock Slot 8 from Fire Hooks Unlimited and had the opportunity to put a little more work into these new tools. While there is still plenty of work to be done I think we have had enough time with these to pass on a few thoughts and comments. I will admit I had some reservations about any changes to the near perfected Pro-Bar but in the end I have been pleasantly surprised and found that overall the Maxximus is a great bar with some outstanding features that provide firefighters more options.
Before I talk about the Maxximus and Pro Bar I’ll hit on the Lock Slot 8 There is no debate or doubt here, the Lock Slot 8 is an outstanding axe. Well balanced for striking, a steel that strikes extremely well with the halligan and the polished finish and taper of the head is a great capture or driving wedge. The off the shelf notched head is well designed and placed marrying the halligan snugly and tight to the handle with no strap needed.
Now on to the Maxximus Rex and how it compares to the Pro Bar. There are features which are improvements over current generation Pro-Bars and there are also areas where these options compromise the strengths of a standard Pro-Bar.
The Maxximus Rex comes with a rubber wrap however I prefer my halligan clean so I cut the grip off. You can see that side by side the main difference in the bars is the wider adze and the incorporated Rex tool. This right here is where the trade is made.
As through the lock training and technique is expanding more and more firefighters are discovering the speed at which doors can be defeated by pulling locks however it is typically done with a tool in addition to your standard irons, like Rex, Lil Rex, Adze Rex, Truckman’s Tool, S&D Tool, A-Tool, K-Tool and so on and so on. The Maxximus Rex provides that lock puller built in and it is very efficient. The design of it is very slim which slides in well behind the locks and the single piece forged bar wastes no energy in transfer to the lock and it fails locks quicklyThe trade off for the benefit of the lock puller is the wider adze which reduces the mechanical advantage of “camming” the adze. A standard adze is about 2″ wide where as the Maxximus is closer to 3″. On the 30″ bar this changes the mechanical advantage in this technique from 15:1 to about 10:1 or 33%. If this is difficult to think through here are two videos to demonstrate. The door was set with the same resistance wood and performed multiple times to confirm the difference was not just variations in the wood. Scroll down and hit play on them at the same time.
As the videos show the standard adze fails the prop with much less effort. This difference also presents when using the tool in this fashion to create a gap using the door crush technique on an outward swinging door. The thinner adze does set in the gap better initially than a standard adze however due to the lack of taper and curvature on the Maxximus adze it takes more outward pull on the bar with the strikes then the standard adze which tends to more naturally work around the door as it is driven in.
The best feature of the Maxximus is the out of the box tuning of the bar and the harder steel. I believe that these will be transferred to next generation Pro-Bars as well but I have no idea when you will see it. The forks are very well done, and you’ll find depth marks on both the adze and the forks from the forge.
So what is my final verdict? If you are a department with little money for additional through the lock tools and mainly just engines, or a department running 3 piece holligan bars the Maxximus is a great option. If you are a department that has well tuned Pro-Bars and through the lock tools it will be difficult for you to see a need to replace a good thing with a very very close second. That said I am glad I had the opportunity to give it a try, I really like what it brings to the table and I won’t be giving it back or giving up our standard Pro Bars so in short look for us to be running both.