Adams Rite Has a Lock on Aluminum Door Hardware

July 2, 2020
The Steel Hawk Electrified Deadlatch remains the retrofit option of choice when electrifying so-called storefront doors.
Adams Rite Steel Hawk 4300 Electrified Deadlatch
Adams Rite Steel Hawk 4300 Electrified Deadlatch

During my years as a working locksmith, I often was asked to electrify aluminum entrance doors. Currency exchanges, jewelry stores, laundromats and office doors all had the same general requirements: Owners wanted to control their doors without having to walk some distance to lock or unlock their door. Laundromats and some office situations also required a timer, so an entrance could be left unlocked for an extended amount of time. 

Either Adams Rite MS deadbolt locks or 4500 series latch locks almost always were the original locks installed in those aluminum doors. The 4500 series latch locks easily retrofit in place of an MS deadbolt, but to electrify an aluminum door opening, the only choice years ago was to mortise the door jamb for an electric strike.

Fortunately, Adams Rite makes a full line of electric strikes, so there was no problem in finding the correct Adams Rite strike to fit the application. Unfortunately, aluminum door jambs come in many shapes and sizes. Some door jambs aren’t deep enough to accept an electric strike easily. I remember one instance where my drill bit hit the edge of an adjacent window glass. The cost of the window replacement amounted to much more than what my charge was for the electric-strike installation. 

Even if the installation of the electric strike went perfectly, considerable time still was required to fit an electric strike properly into the aluminum frame. Additional time was required for attaching mounting brackets and finding ways to run wire inside the door jamb.

Enter the Steel Hawk

A few years ago, Adams Rite introduced the Steel Hawk 4300 Electrified Deadlatch, and that made a world of difference when it comes to electrifying MS-prepped narrow-stile aluminum doors. Other locksmiths agree.

“Some genius came up with the Steel Hawk,” says Larry Schwalb, who owns Houdini Lock & Safe, a three-location locksmithing business in and around Philadelphia. He has installed the Steel Hawk on many occasions and says, “It’s sweet.”

“I’ve put it in pharmacies,” Schwalb adds. “It’s very rugged, no problem. I’ve put it in hematology clinics where they draw blood. I’ve put them in all types of applications. I find it to be a cost-savings product from a labor perspective, and it holds up very well. There’s not a whole lot of maintenance to it, and it looks nice and clean when you’re done.”

Besides getting rid of the necessity to mortise a door jamb for an electric strike — and, perhaps, paying for a window replacement — the Steel Hawk has a bunch of features that benefit the customer as well as the locksmith. Let’s start with the deadlatch’s two-way winged latch. This design, where the latchbolt has two parts that fold in to form a more conventional latch shape, helps to make the door more secure by resisting attempts to loid the door latch by a case knife or some other means. A similar smaller auxiliary latch adds another layer to the security.

The Steel Hawk accepts any standard mortise cylinder from either or both sides of the door, and cylinder backset dimensions of thirty-one-thirty-seconds of an inch, 1-1/8 inches and 1-1/2 inches are available.

Installation is easy with a Steel Hawk, particularly where the customer wants to reuse existing trim, because of the deadlatch’s quick plug-in connector. It secures the door for left- or right-handed operation, and it’s field-selectable to match 12-, 16- or 24-volt power requirements. The 16-volt option is notable, because that option would require the addition of a power adapter (No. VA 7400-16VDC).

Schwalb adds that because the power is run to the deadlatch instead of a strike, it makes the wiring part of a retrofit job easier and less time-consuming, because you run the wiring through the door itself, rather than the frame, as you would a strike. From there, you connect to wiring in the wall and, ultimately, an REX button, intercom or access control system through an electrified hinge or door cord.

The Steel Hawk has optional latch-status monitoring available, so a customer who has an access control system can see, for example, when someone opens the door.

“It can handle continuous duty,” Schwalb says of the Steel Hawk. “You can energize it all day and put it on a timer at night. You don’t have to use it with just momentary power.”

Just because the Steel Hawk requires no drilling doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t have to drill at all on the job, however. Drilling will be necessary if you have to add a power-transfer device or if you install a new latch or some other operator on the interior side of the door.

Low-Touch Option

The latter is important to note, because in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the customer might want to reduce the necessity to touch the door hardware if not make it entirely touchless. The Steel Hawk is compatible with a wide range of Adams Rite hardware (as well as Securitron electric components), including the 4591 paddle, which allows a person to open the door either by pushing against it with their back or side or pulling it with a wrist or arm.

Benjamin Williams, director of product management for ASSA ABLOY Electromechanical Solutions Group, which encompasses the Adams Rite product line among others, says such a solution is one of many ways that businesses can help people to feel more secure as they return to a more normal work or life situation.

“It’s an emotional reaction to help people gain faith to return to the building,” he says, whether the building is a storefront or a workplace. “The very focus is on comfort and safety as people walk through.”

Besides making people feel safer, the paddle switch or other Adams Rite levers, when connected to the Steel Hawk, provide compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by providing a single motion to enter or exit (a “knowing act”).

One other important note about the paddle: Because of the double-wing latchbolt, if the customer wants to dog the deadlatch so it doesn’t self-lock, it has to be done by turning an included hex key in the escutcheon, rather than holding down part of the latch.

As for the door jamb itself, options consist of installing a no-cut surface-mount strike (4304) for retrofits or a flush-mount strike (4901) when covering either an existing MS deadbolt installation or a new application.

The hole patterns for installing lock cylinders and paddle units are identical to standard Adams Rite 4510 and 4530 deadlatches.

Adams Rite offers a RITE Pack, which includes four faceplates: two for flat-door shapes and two for radius-door shapes. The flat-door faceplates can be adjusted in the field for left or right bevel-edge doors. The faceplates include one 628 Clear and one 313 Dark bronze finish.


  • Case: Steel with corrosion-resistant plating; 15/16 x 5-13/16 in., depth varies by backset
  • Latchbolt: Stainless steel; 5/8 x 1 x 5/8 in. throw
  • Auxiliary bolt: All metal
  • Faceplate: 1 x 6-7/8 in.
  • Weight: 1-1/4 lbs.

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