Learning to defeat items that can be used for illegal restraints, like hardware store zip ties can make all the difference during an attack like a home invasion. Defeating these is a simple process that starts by understanding how they work.
Common zip ties consist of a sturdy nylon tape that features small teeth running lengthwise down one side and a small-toothed ratchet mechanism concealed in an open case. The ratchet is molded to allow free travel in one direction, but not in the other. Zip ties commonly have a weight rating, but we’ve found these methods to work with ties as strong as a 175 lb. tensile strength.
In an illegal restraint situation, one tactic can be presenting your hands, so that you can create as much space as possible once the zip ties are cinched down. By making fists with your hands and squeezing through the application, you could give yourself enough room to slip out once your hands are relaxed.
If this doesn’t work and you need to break out of the zip ties, just remember, it’s only that small ratchet mechanism that stands between you and freedom. If your hands are in front of you, try to wiggle the tail of the zip tie to where you can bite it to over-tighten the zip ties. This increases the pressure they’re under as the force you apply is delivered to break them.
The technique is to lift your hands above your head, slightly bend at the waist and in one fluid motion, bring your hands down with as much force as you can. Don’t stop the motion at your chest or once you feel resistance, follow all the way through, “chicken winging” your elbows and trying to touch your shoulder blades together. The goal is to create a wedge as your hands follow through past your chest, breaking the ties.
A tip here is to practice the technique with weaker zip ties and work your way up to the stronger ones, you may also want to tape your wrists to protect them while practicing.
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