Video: Tactical Handcuffing Made Simple

by Matt on May 21, 2009

In the police academy, I was taught how to place handcuffs on a suspect. First, I had to direct the suspect to turn away from me and turn his head, so he could not see me. Then, I would order him to spread his feet apart while bending forward at the waist. He should then put both hands behind his back with his palms facing outward and his thumbs pointing up. His hands should be elevated away from his body while I quickly approached from the rear on a 45 degree angle. My timing had to be flawless so I could perform a perfect “touch-push”, thereby applying the first cuff at the exact moment that I touched the suspect with my opposite hand. With the first cuff on, I simply had to grab his other hand with my non-cuff hand while turning my handcuffs into anĀ unnatural position so I could apply the bottom cuff.

In over 15 years of arresting people, I have never applied handcuffs the way I was trained. I am willing to bet that if you were trained like me, then you abandoned your handcuff training the moment that you walked out of the police academy, too. I have often wondered why I was trained in such an unrealistic technique. The reason is actually pretty simple. Once the first officer was trained in this technique, it quickly became protected under the “we do it this way because we have always done it this way” blanket.

There could be tactical situations where the old handcuffing technique is useful, but we typically order dangerous suspects onto the ground to be handcuffed. Anyone who would follow all of the instructions required for the old technique to work on them would probably be willing to handcuff themselves for you.

In this video, I will show you a simple handcuffing technique that has worked quite well for me over the years. As with any new technique, you need to practice it before attempting it on the street.

If you have a handcuffing technique that works well for you, please feel free to share it with us.


Handcuffing from Spartan Cops on Vimeo.