A Guide to Tactical Handcuffs

what are tactical handcuffs

A Guide to Tactical Handcuffs

In this article, we will examine handcuffs in-depth and explain what they are, when they are used and different types of handcuffs used in the line of duty.

What are handcuffs?

Handcuffs are often used by Police to restrain suspects for the safety of the officer and any bystanders.

Each handcuff is usually linked to each other by either chain, a hinge, or a rigid bar. Each cuff has a rotating arm which when engaged with a ratchet which keeps from opening up once closed around the wrist. To open the handcuffs, a key is required.

Without it, the cuffs won’t open and the individual with the cuffs around their wrist won’t be able to move their wrist more than a few inches. This makes it impossible to complete any tasks and hard to escape from. Handcuffs are often used for individuals who have been arrested or detained.

Types of Handcuffs

Metal Handcuffs

There are many types of handcuffs out there, but the best handcuffs are metal handcuffs. There are three types of metal handcuffs.

Chain handcuffs, which are held together by a chain; hinged handcuffs, which are considered more secure than chain handcuffs; and rigid handcuffs, which are bulkier and mostly carried by law enforcement. One of the largest suppliers of rigid handcuffs to police officers is ASP, Inc. Metal handcuffs can be constructed from materials like carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, or synthetic polymers.

Metal handcuffs can come in the standard size or they can be oversized.

Plastic Handcuffs

Plastic handcuffs go by many other names.

Maybe you have heard of wrist ties, zipcuffs, flexicuffs, disposable plastic strips, and many more. Police officers and soldiers usually carry them in bulk for situations where they may come in handy. For example, during protests and riots. Recently, airline companies have started carrying them to restrict disruptive passengers.

However, the downside of plastic handcuffs is that they are not very cost-efficient. Once tightened, they can not be loosened and have to be cut off. In recent years, new advanced plastic handcuffs are being designed where they can be loosened and tightened with a key.


Legcuffs are very similar to handcuffs. However, the inner perimeter is much larger so that they fit around an individual’s ankle more efficiently. Some cuffs are designed to fit more comfortably but it varies from brand to brand. Legcuffs are usually used for transporting a prisoner outside of the four walls of a jail or prison. It prevents prisoners from escaping and secures transport. The way these legcuffs are designed allows the individual placed in these cuffs to walk normally but prevents them from running. As the chain between the two cuffs is shortened, it makes it hard and harder for someone to walk and makes it impossible to run.

Combination Cuffs

Combination cuffs are belly chains (a type of restraint) which are attached to handcuffs, as well as, legcuffs. Similar to legcuffs, these are usually given to prisoners when transporting to a different prison, to a medical facility, or to go to court.

The belly chain usually consists of metal, leather, or canvas belt which sometimes also has a lock pad. The handcuffs are attached to the belly chain, which means when wearing them the hands must be kept on either side close to the body.

This allows the individual wearing these to be comfortable to a certain degree while also keeping the lock secure. Depending on the type of cuff, some are more restrictive than others.


As you can see, the types of handcuffs are endless.

Companies are designing, improving, and testing their product to meet consumer needs. Some of these companies test and re-test their products to make sure that they are providing individuals with top quality handcuffs. Not to mention, they are also tested by law enforcement professionals, and the input they give is taken into consideration to make the cuffs even better, dare I say, almost near perfection.

Various types of handcuffs can be found, from metal handcuffs to plastic handcuffs, to legcuffs, to combination cuffs. Some are cost-efficient while others provide the ultimate security. Handcuffs are typically used by law enforcement officials for various reasons.

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