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Creative Cuffing for Small-Wristed Subjects

Dr. Richard Weinblatt

In defensive tactics for policing, we’re always looking for ways to control (that operative word is bolded on purpose) the behaviorally challenged individual. Unfortunately, not all wrists come in a convenient size to fit our handcuffs. Many people with slender wrists, particularly juveniles, are able to slip out of the cuffs despite our best efforts to do the right things. This Weinblatt’s Tips column covers what you can do with creative cuffing to control escape-prone wrists.

By way of reminder, those “correct things” include handcuffing behind in almost all cases (except some situations such as limb disabilities, etc. which should be spelled out in your agency’s procedures), turning the keyholes in the same direction, “finger” testing for fit, and double-locking for officer safety. Hopefully, you also indicated that you double-locked the handcuffs in your report’s narrative. That documentation cuts down on those nasty complaints and tort claims.

But what if you tighten that single strand (or single yoke, as some refer to it) all the way down and there’s still plenty of room for the perpetrator to pull out? There’s not much control if the person can pull their hand out of the handcuff.

One solution is the use of flex cuffs. A couple of downsides are the danger of tightening them too much and not having the ability to loosen them and the need for a cutting instrument to slice them off. You also need to have those flexible restraints on you, not buried in the trunk of the patrol car.

Reusable flex cuffs are out there, however they are harder to find and tend to be used in training environments. Also, their locking and unlocking mechanisms take a little getting used to.

But wait, there is an even more convenient method that you can use to handcuff people who have slim wrists and it’s right on your duty belt. They are called (drum roll please)….handcuffs.

The trusty old handcuffs are the same. Your aim of controlling the subject is also the same. So what’s changed to make them work? It’s your creative cuffing application of the metal bracelets that is modified.

What I used to do with thin-wristed folks is have them (sometimes with some assistance- their tax dollars at work) place their wrists together behind their backs horizontally. I would then take one handcuff and place it around both wrists. Of course, I would finger test for fit and double-lock them. The other cuff could then be handcuffed to a belt loop on the back of their pants.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Yall are throwing good graces to the plastic cuffs and zip ties... But have you actually applied the In a field setting? And have you tried to get them bitches off? The cheapest way isn't always best. People who aren't accustomed to zipties or zip cuffs can get in a world of hurt...

  • E7_2_max50


    about 5 years ago


    You can go to an electrical supply house and buy heavy duty zip locks that do the same job for a fraction of the cost. KEEP IT SIMPLE! :-o) What I have seen us do is trying to cuff someone who you don't have under control yet. You must have them under control then you cuff. A suspect with one handcuff and out of control is very dangerous; now he/she has a cutting weapon. Have an awesome day!

  • 100_0221_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Myself and a few of the fols i work with carry the flex cuffs stuffed around our headlights so they are somewhat accesible when you need them. Get some strange looks form violators wanting to know if the car is falling apart.

  • Thumbnailcaf8y9in_max50


    over 5 years ago


    They can fit between your inner belt and your duty rig, if you do it right your keepers will not let them move.

  • Gas_mask_1_max50


    over 5 years ago


    This is a great post and I really like the input of everyone else. There are alot of interesting techniques out there.

  • Picture_191_max50


    over 5 years ago



  • Don_27t_20tred_20on_20me_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I had to restrain a female meth-head that had literally, no meat on her. I managed to cuff her from the FRONT (yes, I said the front) with the cuffs above her elbows. She was going NOWHERE

    Also, I keep two flex cuffs in the inside lining of my duty never know when you will need flex cuffs!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    I cuffed a female's wrist during training using one cuff and it was effective. I would like to try the ASP restraint system.

  • Img00015-20101105-1530_max50


    over 5 years ago


    well thats good to know

  • 412-4_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Good tip. Might have to bring this up at our next monthly training. Not a bad idea to use on the kids either? Haha jk

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


  • E_2011_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Good Idea; unless its againist policy (but in a pinch) they are strong enough to rip the belt or belt loop. 1 item we use is the ZAK Tool Handcuff Helper its around 5.00 and you can carry in backpockey or shirt pocket

  • L_59fe72e99fa891e59f62e6ceb62eca88_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Great tip.....Been doing this for awhile now.

  • Devils_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I've heard you can also cuff one hand, then lock the other cuff through it with their other hand. Almost like not using the chain to keep them cuffed. I've never seen it done yet, but it's supposed it take up more space so they cannot slip out.

  • Sf_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Good thinking...liked the drum roll

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