News | Nov 6, 2019

Air Force researchers in Dayton building company around invention, an active-shooter door barricade

Inventors just returned from National Harbor, Maryland, where they received a Defense Innovation Award at the Defense TechConnect Conference

The Fortress door barricade was specifically engineered to quickly deploy.

Courtesy Matt Srnoyachki/S9 Engineering Technology Corp.

A sturdy door barricade designed to be portable and quick to deploy is being turned into a new product by its Air Force inventors.

S9 Engineering Technology Corp., a new firm in Dayton, completed a patent license for the commercial rights to the Fortress device invented at the Air Force Research Laboratory on October 21.

The invention inserts between the door and the striker plate, securing a pivoting metal block that prevents intruders from forcing entry.

Unlike similar devices, the Fortress’ hand grip keeps your fingers out of the jam, allowing quick and easy installation.

The license agreement, which contains undisclosed fees and royalties on sales paid back to the Air Force, allows the company to offer the Fortress door barricade as a new product to military or non-military customers like schools preparing students and teachers to survive mass shootings.

“We’ve worked with local schools during development and testing,” said Matt Srnoyachki, founder of S9 Engineering and a mechanical engineer in the Air Force lab’s 711th Human Performance Wing who co-invented the Fortress. “The staff gave provided user feedback, which we used to make improvements.”

Photo of the Fortress courtesy S9 Technology Engineering Corp.

Srnoyachki said the invention team began working on door locks in 2015 during the AFRL Commanders Challenge at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Indiana.

Since then, more than 1,413 mass shootings in the United States have occurred, according to the Gun Violence Archive, including the August 4, 2019, attack at a downtown Dayton bar, where 24-year-old Connor Stephen Betts killed nine and injured 27 people with an assault rifle. (Mass shootings are those having four or more victims injured by gun violence in a single time frame, not including the perpetrator.)

“There’s only a few ways unarmed people can protect themselves in the case of an active shooting,” Srnoyachki said. “Our technology can substantially increase the strength of a door.”

Marti Elder, senior technology manager at TechLink, the Department of Defense’s national partnership intermediary for technology transfer, helped facilitate the license agreement for the Air Force Technology Transfer & Transition Program.

Contact Matt Srnoyachki at