Guide to Escaping Illegal Handcuff Restraint | ITS Tactical

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A Comprehensive How To Guide on Escaping Illegal Restraint that Could Save Your Life

By Bryan Black

Guide to Escape and Evasion

Advocating certain skills that could one day save your life has been a continuous mission here at ITS since day one back in 2009. While showing how to break out of zip ties, pick handcuffs and escape from other common items available to criminals can be looked at as nefarious to some, these are still subjects we’re passionate about demonstrating to those that could one day find themselves in the middle of a home invasion or other illegal restraint scenario.

My goal with this article and comprehensive video below, was to pool together all the different techniques we’ve shown over the years into one definitive resource to reference and learn from. I’ll say it up front and reinforce it later, that these skills are not designed for escape from Law Enforcement.

I’ll be showing how to pick and shim your way out of handcuffs, so let’s briefly talk about handcuff technology and availability. First off, are the style and grade of handcuffs available to literally anyone out there the same that are issued to Law Enforcement Officers? Yes, which poses a serious issue in my book. The ratcheting style handcuff design that’s remained largely unchanged since 1916 is still utilized today, as are the simple universal keys that fit just about every cuff on the market today. Double lock mechanisms are relatively new in the overall technology for handcuffs, but as you’ll see, that can be defeated as well. It still uses the same key.

How to Escape Illegal Restraint

So what’s keeping our officers safe then? Proper cuffing technique and a watchful eye. I won’t get into the proper LE cuffing technique, but suffice to say that if you find yourself in that situation, there’s not a lot that can help you escape. I could put a key in your hand, but you’d never be able to open the cuffs. That being said, the techniques I’ll demonstrate today are to escape from the untrained criminal that thought it was a good idea to go out and buy handcuffs to illegally restrain their victims.

Criminals are stupid, there’s a reason they’re criminals in the first place. With a little knowledge and power, you can outsmart them. We can discuss semantics all day long, but at the end of the day, the scenario will always dictate your options during a home invasion or any other other illegal restraint. The idea is to stay alert and have a few tricks up your sleeves.

Rather than ramble on and try to describe technique through an article, I’d rather just let you watch the video we’ve put together below and refer you to the comments below if there’s anything I can help elaborate on. This resource was created to help you and your loved ones learn important life saving skills. Information like this is why we exist here at ITS. Please help share this around and explain the importance of those around you learning these skills.

While this article and video aren’t intended to be a sales pitch, a lot of the tools you’ll see demonstrated in the video come from products we’ve been refining for years to help during a home invasion or escape and evasion scenario. Our ITS Urban Kit is shown below and includes the essentials for just these purposes.

ITS Urban Kit

In addition to our Urban Kits, we’ve got a slew of security and lock picking tools we’re proud to carry in the ITS Store to help you learn and expand your skill-sets.

Again, we’re here as a resource, ask any questions you might have below. Even if you don’t agree with our methods, let us know why, I’d be happy to discuss that with you in the comments below as well.

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  • KC Hoang

    Bao PxstormBruce Hoang

  • Caleb Pocernich

    I got this skill in the bag allready

  • Clarence Smitherman

    How do you do it with your hands behind your back?

    • Strych9

      For zip ties it’s the same “chicken wing” attack but in reverse. Doesn’t seem like it would work but it does. Takes a bit more practice to get it just right though.

  • Keith Baldwin

    Zip ties yes… Flex cuffs no…

  • Patrick O’Leary

    The sad truth of the matter here is, if you have been taken captive and you are in this position you are very close to being dead or wishing that you were. You should do anything and everything in your power to escape and not to stop running until you are safe or the perpetrator is dead in which case the previous statement would then be true.

    • redteamsblog

      Patrick, having the right mindset is key here. If you have the skill but your mind has given up, then you are dead. Keep observing and waiting for the chance to escape. Give it all you have and, like you said, run like hell until you find safety.

  • Logan Johnson

    I’d love to watch you try to escape flex cuffs from behind your back

  • No way

    Flex cuffs behind your back, and I duct tape on top?  Maybe not even the cuffs and just use the duct tape.  NO WAY you are getting out.  Zero chance.  Let me duct tape your feet and hands, hog tied, and give you a day to get out.  Yawn…never happen.  This is pure fantasy.

    • Strych9

      @No way How often is someone going to flex cuff you behind your back and then add ducktape? Pretty much never. It’s like asking “What if they use 5/16″ chain and five padlocks?”. The vast majority of criminals are not that bright and don’t watch ITS. 

      Either way, if you can get them to your front you can attack them. If you can’t do that then maybe you need to work on flexibility?

  • Shawn Oglesby

    Most people don’t know the difference!

  • redteamsblog

    Great article Bryan, well thought-out and clear. By the way, all the guys in the Team have the ITS Urban Kit. And like you mentioned, it is important to understand that the kit has to be layered in your person, not kept in the box.
    If you get capture and restrained illegally, your captors will likely search you and if they find a box with E&E stuff in your pocket they might either take it ALL away, or get very angry and hurt you for being a “smartass”. By stashing the different items in many places or even using everyday items like bobby pins (things that look like nothing) you get better chances of them not being detected and of escaping.
    We learned this the hard way.

  • Kylan Van Emmerik Sr.

    Buck Faddis watch the whole video!

  • Christopher Walker

    Christopher Walker

  • Susan K. Johnson

    Mick,Janice, and Abbie proved that this works!

  • Johnny Noel

    Zip ties are commonly used after a bag is placed over the head and goes around the neck with hands secured in the back.

  • George Watlington

    Can’t say when or where, but I learned some of these techniques not too long ago. Best trsining ever

  • Rob Long

    Sarah Long Emily Long Kason Liddell lets practice

  • hmm.. how about method of escaping being tied with electrical wiring. It is a favorite method for burglars locally.

    • nfn8one

      @greekpreparedness  You have to be committed to the escape, because it’s painful…but rub the wire back and forth along an edge of something (cinder block, brick, metal edge)  It will heat up and it will burn the shit outta your wrists, but it will cut through wire.

  • Cat

    What is the wire for in the Urban kid?

  • Jeannie

    So… just found this video and was watching… one issue I have… why assume, it’s a dude watching? The demonstrator says, “… if you’re gonna try to teach your wife or girlfriend…”  One would think, you guys would be a bit more forward thinking than that.   Interesting info tho… thanks.

  • Strych9

    One thing that I would point out here is that police style ziptie cuffs can be purchased online without any LEO creds. 

    For example, Handcuff Warehouse will sell you nearly anything you want and ship it discretely. The only thing they won’t sell you are medical restraints because those are controlled by Federal Law and must be shipped to a licensed medical facility.

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