Training >> Browse Articles >> Patrol


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.

  • Wcso_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Could also just keep juvie cuffs in the squad......

  • Samsonsp_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Good Tip...Gotta remember that one.

  • Dudlee_1__max50


    about 6 years ago


    i'm now enlighten

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 6 years ago


    Good idea. I have in the past handcuffed small frame or double jointed above the elbow to keep them from getting out of the handcuffs

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    I've used and tought this one for years and am surprised that it's not more widely used. You get violent juveniles or small framed people, especially females, can slip right out. Doing it this way restrains them even more because there is no play without the chain/hinge. One other note. The over under also works with large individuals. Instead of placing their hands near their waist or butt, put one hand over the other in the small of their back and use the cuffs vertically. Big guys HATE it.

  • Bill1998_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Very creative idea but I don't know if this would work in the field especially for those who are fighting being cuffed. They would have to be some tiny wrists to fit in 1 cuff IMO. We had a local guy who was born with only 1.5 arms and would use the cuff to the belt loop technique but his SHORT arm (mid forearm) was very powerful and would hurt like hell if he struck you with it and he was the violent type and a common drug dealer who was locked up at least once a month. I found zip cuffs to be the best for this situation. Good thing I'm retired & don't have to worry about this crap any more ;)

  • Kimber_ultra_cdp_max50


    about 6 years ago


    This has to be one for the memory bank for sure. Not only do Juvi's have smaller wrists but I had a 29 YO Female whose wrists slipped through easily and was a flight risk ! Thanks for the great article and the wisdom !

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    good advice

  • Memorial_day_2008_010_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Sounds like a good idea to me, and if the perp is exceptionally strong for his size you could actually use both cuffs side by side with keyholes on the outside..

  • Shrel-only_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Good idea. I have at times used the suspect belt into the cuff to take up slack. Have also cuffed above the elbow as "REKEAN" pointed out.
    Too bad that "BUY GENERIC COM" Is not bright enough to learn from others.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    thats a good idea, never thought of that one.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    I find it just as easy to put one cuff inside the other before placing the cuffs on the wrists. It's worked for me every time. Of course, this will not work for hinge cuffs.

  • Img_0035_max50


    about 6 years ago


    not a bad idea. i'll have to remember that next time i arrest a skinny person. not sure why some think it was a "dumb article", but to each his own.

  • Mourning_badge_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Great idea, never heard that before. Thanks

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    Not a bad idea

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

bill9823 commented on: "Bill 9823", 32 minutes ago.
janetqgagne commented on: "janetq gagne", about 1 hour ago.
janetqgagne commented on: "janetq gagne", about 1 hour ago.
janetqgagne commented on: "janetq gagne", about 1 hour ago.
janetqgagne commented on: "janetq gagne", about 1 hour ago.