How to Escape from Handcuffs

Three Methods:Escaping Standard Handcuffs with a Makeshift KeyEscaping Standard Handcuffs with a ShimEscaping Zip Tie Cuffs

Hopefully you'll never experience being held somewhere against your will, but if you find yourself in a tricky situation, you'll be glad to know a few effective escape strategies. Standard-issue police handcuffs, and more recently, zip ties, can both be rendered useless in a matter of seconds if you know what you're doing. Read on to learn how to escape either standard cuffs or ties.

Method 1
Escaping Standard Handcuffs with a Makeshift Key

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    Find a piece of wire.[1] Chances are you don't have a key in your pocket, unless you're performing your escape as a magic trick. Not a problem; you can fashion a key from many small, wire-like materials. Look for one of the following:
    • A paperclip. This is probably the easiest item to use for a homemade handcuffs key, and the easiest to come by. Straighten it out so you can bend it into a key-like shape.
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    • A hairpin or bobby pin. Again, you'll need to straighten this before you can use it. If it has a plastic covering, remove it before using.
    • A length of stiff wire.
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    Place it into the keyhole. Find the keyhole on the handcuffs and place the straight piece of wire inside of it.
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    Bend it. With the wire placed inside the keyhole, bend it about 70 degrees.
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    Now bend it the other way. Put it back in the hole and bend the end again. You should end up with an angle shaped like a squiggle.
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    Insert the "key" in the hole. Find the hole again and wiggle the bent part into the hole so that it points toward the locking arm. It should be at a 90-degree angle to the keyhole.[2]
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    Twist it and spring the cuffs open. Just like you would with a key, twist the piece of wire. It should lift the locking device inside and click the cuffs open.
    • You may have to practice twisting the key in both directions before it springs open. Be patient.
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    • If you're unlocking the cuffs from behind your back, be very careful not to let go of the pick you're using.
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Method 2
Escaping Standard Handcuffs with a Shim

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    Find a flat piece of metal. You can use the clip from a pen or another small, flat, thin piece of metal to do the job. It must be about as thin as a credit card, and narrow enough to fit into the locking mechanism on the cuffs. This bit of metal is called a shim.
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    Insert the shim between the locking mechanism and the teeth. Slide it up into the locking mechanism so that it runs along the teeth; you're essentially sticking it into the cuff along the rim.
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    Tighten the cuff a notch. With the shim in place, tighten the cuff just one notch.
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    Push the shim and unclick the cuff. As you're tightening the cuff, push the shim. The cuff should unclick.

Method 3
Escaping Zip Tie Cuffs

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    Tighten the tie. In order for this method to work, the tie should be as tight as possible. This makes it easier to break. Whether your hands are cuffed in front of you or behind, pull the end of the tie to tighten it.
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    Position the tie lock between your wrists. Turn the tie so that the lock is centered between your wrists. The lock is the weakest spot, and in order to break the tie, it must be in this centered position.
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    Hit the tie against your butt or stomach. Using a quick, tight motion, raise your arms and hit the tie against your butt, if your hands are tied from behind, or your stomach, if your hands are tied in front. The tie should break on impact.
    • Open your elbows on impact. This puts even more pressure on the tie.
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    • Let your hands spring back from your body. The point isn't to hit yourself as hard as you can. Instead of ramming your hands into your body, let them bounce back after impact.
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Warnings

  • Do not attempt this whilst in police custody (this applies to almost any country). You will certainly be the subject of an intense use of force. Use your head and only practice this for entertainment purposes, unless you're escaping an emergency situation i.e. kidnapping.

Things You'll Need

  • A stiff piece of wire

Article Info

Categories: Tricks with Objects