Friday, 24 May 2013

Handcuff Keys

Police Handcuff keys are pretty homogenous in design and function as they must conform to the basic standard of being able to open issue handcuffs.  There are few fancy handcuff keys out there that come with an LED light, a built in window punch or additional novelty features but the primary function of any handcuff keys remains the same, be able to lock, unlock, and double lock standard cuffs (double locking is the process of locking the handcuffs in such a fashion as they will not close any further onto the detainee to prevent injury).

Most forces issue a tiny little silver handcuff key to new recruits when they first join up, however it rapidly becomes apparent that it is next to useless for any practical application being too fiddly to manipulate if the suspect is struggling or you are wearing gloves (winter or slash resistant!) so most officers upgrade their handcuff key pretty sharpish!

There are a few gucci handcuff key brands out there, like ASP who do theirs embossed with the company logo in gold etc. but the standard for the UK market is the Zak Tool (or ZT colloquially) range of handcuff keys.  The most popular model is the shortened round swivel handcuff key which at 6.5cm long is the ideal size for most police officers being large enough to handle easily whilst still compact enough not to be a cumbersome inconvenience. ZT also offer a number of other handcuff keys, the standard slightly longer key, a light weight (but slightly fragile) carbon fibre  key, the covert pocket clip key, the extra easy to use flat knurled swivel key and a key with spring loaded window punch.  The handcuff key with the spring loaded window punch is very handy in what it allows you to do - break a car window, quickly, easily and with relative safety however this feature means the key cannot double lock handcuffs.

Streamlight do a small cuff key with an LED light built in which allows you to illuminate the handcuff key hole whilst trying to get your key in.  There are two variants  one with a right light and one with a red light.  The key with the white light provides brighter, clearer illumination of the handcuffs, but it will also diminish your night vision and be much more visible to others if you are trying to maintain a low profile or covert status.  The red light version does not provide such a bright or clear illumination but doesn't not have such a negative effect on your night vision and is less eye catching than white light at night.

1 comment:

  1. The keys for the handcuffs have got to be a pretty important piece of equipment. I know that some police forces will actually use zip ties as well which are extremely difficult to get out of. I think they are almost better than the cuffs themselves because they are cheap and can be used in any situation.