L3 – 10.5 Handcuff Application

Handcuff Application

Handcuffs should be placed in the crease formed by the wrist where the wrist attaches to the arm (Figure 10.3). This places the handcuff in a location where it can be tightened enough to prevent it from slipping over the hand of most people, yet below the bone of the wrist, which is painful when struck by the handcuff.

The handcuffs are oval, so that they will fit around the oval portion of the lower arm. The person applying the handcuff should do so in a manner that would match the oval of the handcuff to the oval of the arm.

Figure 10.3: Handcuff placement

Stance, Draw, and Grip

Remember to maintain the reactionary gap while preparing to handcuff a subject. Additionally, you should stay in the combat-ready (defensive) stance in preparation for any resistance that the subject may display.

Once you place the subject into a good handcuffing position, remove the handcuffs from the holster and place them in your strong hand.

Note: Draw with either your strong or support hand, depending on where you carry the handcuff holster on your duty belt. Regardless of which hand you draw the handcuffs with, after drawing, place them in your strong hand and grip them correctly.

Grip the handcuff so that your index, middle, and ring fingers are holding the chain between the cuffs. Bend your little finger and place it between the handcuff and the palm of the hand. Turn the second handcuff at approximately a 45° angle towards the other hand, with the double bars of the handcuff placed outward away from the palm (Figure 10.4). This helps to maintain control throughout the handcuffing procedure. Often, officers will place their index fingers on the handcuff near the single bar, which could result in loss of control of the cuff. It is imperative to maintain a good grip.

Figure 10.4: Handcuffing grip

The Position of Disadvantage Principle declares that LEO should be in a position of advantage over the subject. This means that a LEO should remain outside of the “contact zone”. The main focus is to place the subject in a position that compromises their mobility and stability.