View Full Version : Getting out of Handcuffs

10-28-2008, 02:27 AM
My MC and friend have been kidnapped and are locked in a room, both with handcuffs on. Assuming my MC has some knowledge of escape artistry, how might he get the handcuffs off? From what I gathered from Google (between bondage-related sites), he might be able to pick the lock with some kind of stiff wire, or something similar. Could a fingernail work? Or perhaps a big-toe nail?

This is all assuming that he wasn't able to prepare. And I have wiggle room regarding the kind of handcuffs, so they could use older, less secure mechanisms.

10-28-2008, 04:59 AM
Fingernails and toenails to pick handcuffs? Not in a million...of course you MC might claim that when they are doing some other maneuvre so as to not give away the trick, whatever it is. Houdini did it so it must be doable.

10-28-2008, 05:22 AM
Handcuffs are a simple single tumbler lock. They are pickable with a sturdy metal pin of appropriate angle and temper.

I had a friend that could simply smush his hands enough to where they matched the diameter of his wrists. He could slide cuffs off. He did it once and handed them back to the cop. Not a happy cop. :)

Small hands, big wrists.

10-28-2008, 06:34 AM
What George said. I realize you're open to old technology, and I cannot speak on such gear at all but I will say modern police cuffs have a double lock. Ratcheting them on automatically locks the mechanism from opening but there's a tiny push-able little inset pin on each bracelet that the ofc presses with a pin protrusion that extends from his cuff key. This activates the second mechanism which prevents cuffs from further tightening. Because of the double-lock a picker would have the defeat both directions (You know how most simple door locks require you to turn the key only one direction in order to turn the lock?) when picking...twice as hard. That said, I've known one person to successfully pick double-locked cuffs that were properly fixed (hands behind the back). Quite a few with narrow hips who could slip their locked hands from behind the back to in front (makes escape much easier, trust me...you can run much, much better with your hands in front of you) and a number of savvy perps who carried a handcuff key suspended on a string inside their britches. If your guy knows he's going to be wearing cuffs soon, he'll be stashing a key.

10-28-2008, 06:41 AM
The old standard handcuffs were quite easily picked by using a small, stiff piece of metal with the end bent at a 90 degree angle. Maximum security handcuffs, like Smith & Wesson put out, are a different story and quite difficult to open.


10-28-2008, 07:06 PM
If the cuffs are not double locked, or they don't have that feature, you also have the option of sliding a shim (small sliver of metal) into the teeth of the cuff and push against the spring loaded pawl. once the shim is between the teeth of the pawl and the teeth of the swing arm, all you need to do is pull the cuff open.

10-28-2008, 07:09 PM
The trick to being able to slide your hands out of cuffs is to spread your fingers while they're being fastened--making certain that the cuff is going around the widest point of your wrist. So then, when you draw in your fingers and contract your hand, it's easy to slip through the cuffs.

Not that I would know anything about handcuffs, of course. It's just an educated guess.

10-28-2008, 10:15 PM
mscelina, I think the cops may have caught on to that by now.

10-28-2008, 11:29 PM
This is apparently not normal, or so I'm told, but I've always been able to bring my hands from behind my back, over my head to the front. That would make it much easier to figure out how to get handcuffs off.

10-28-2008, 11:33 PM
mscelina, I think the cops may have caught on to that by now.

Not the last time I checked. ;)

10-29-2008, 12:11 AM
The old standard handcuffs were quite easily picked by using a small, stiff piece of metal with the end bent at a 90 degree angle.

Can you give me an idea of the size required? I'm still kind of leaning toward a clipping from a big toe. That might be good enough for people that don't have any handcuff-picking experience.

10-29-2008, 12:57 AM
A hairpin would do it. a toenail, small enough to fit into the hole would be way to flexible to turn the lock. There is also the leverage problem with something that small. Even something an inch long would need more than half its length inside the lock. That would leave you about a quarter inch to hold onto with enough force to turn the lock mechanism. I for one, wouldn't believe it.

Sheryl Nantus
10-29-2008, 01:05 AM
the problem with the toenail is that it'd have to be one sharp, HARD bit o'nail.

none of that wussy stuff.


10-31-2008, 06:08 AM
Assuming standard handcuffs, just picking them should be all you need, and it's not that hard to do that. That's why they are put in position where they can't pick them or it won't matter...there's a lot of reasons that plastic ties are so much more popular, and not all of them have to do with injuries...