Applying Hand Cuffs Properly

In this article I will explain the correct way to apply hand cuffs. I will also identify what not to do. After reading this you will know how to properly apply hand cuffs; with practice, only a handful of people may will be able to compromise and defeat the hand cuff.

Overview of the parts:

· The hand cuff is comprised of two halves.

· Each half has a stationary part and a rotating part.

· On each stationary part there is a keyhole and on most units, a double lock switch or button.

· The two halves are linked together by chain or a hinge.

· The key should have one side that has a flange on it and on the other side should be a pin that sticks out about a quarter of an inch, which is for the double lock mechanism.

Hand Cuff Inspection:

· Always inspect your hand cuffs prior to starting your shift.

· Inspect the handcuffs for rust, discoloration, and ground out or faulty gears.

· Run the rotating part through the stationary part. You should hear clicks.

· Inspect the key visually; the flange should be straight. Then place the key in the lock; it should slide in easily and fit tight without forcing it.

The steps to properly apply handcuffs:

· After inspection is done, you need to learn how to hold the hand cuffs to properly apply them quick and easily.

· Always (I can’t stress this enough) have positive control of the person you are cuffing. It will hurt them less and be easier for you to apply the cuffs.

· You need to hold them with the rotating part open with both the keyholes pointed up towards your face, so you can see down into the keyhole. If you don’t complete this step right, the assailant could pick the lock and compromise your cuffs.

· You hold the chain or hinge with your non-dominant hand. If you use your dominant hand you can lose control of the person and fumble when applying the cuffs.

· With the assailants hands behind his or hers back, you need to turn their hands so the back of the hands are touching. If you fail to do this, the assailant will have more movement of their hands giving them a better opportunity to defeat the cuffs or “slip” the cuff. Always apply one cuff at a time.

· Using your dominate hand, start on your non-dominate side and put the stationary part of the cuff on the wrist of the assailant and rotate the rotating side over the wrist; you will hear a clicking sound when inserted into the stationary side.  

· Using your pinky finger, slip it in-between the cuff and the side of the person’s wrist. This allows the cuff to be tight enough so they can’t get out of it but lose enough that it doesn’t cause unnecessary use of force and discomfort.

· Now you need to work the other side. Slide the stationary side on the wrist of the person and rotate the other side. Follow the same procedure for tightening the cuff as explained above.

· Now, while keeping positive control of the person, you need to get out your key.

· On the back side of your key, you should have a quarter inch pin that sticks out. This is for the double lock. The double lock prevents the cuff from tightening further than you originally set it.

· Using that pin, find your double lock. On most models it underneath the cuff or on the side of the cuff.

· Depending on your model, you either need to push in the button or toggle over the switch.

· Remember to always have positive control of the person.

· To remove the cuff you just simply put the key in the key hole and turn the key. It will unlock the double lock and the cuff at the same time.


The key to applying hand cuffs is to have positive control of the person being hand cuffed. Helpful Hint; if standing, place your foot in between their feet; if they get rowdy you are already in position to assist them to the wall or the ground. Remember the best time to learn your lesson about personal security if before something happens.

Adam Sisterhen is the president of Your Personal Security Store and author of personal security and self defense articles. He is a proud advocate and a firm believer in personal security and self defense products that help protect you, your family and your loved ones.

Find More What To Know When Applying For A Credit Card Articles