[5 minutes reading] Useful Handcuff Key Tips For Police Officers

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“What is it to say about handcuff keys?”

“Aren’t they all the same?”

“You are only supposed to use them to open handcuffs, and that’s it?”

Well, yes. But no.

There are some things you might say about handcuff keys.

Not much, but enough to write a little guide.

Hang on, let’s dive in:

What are handcuff keys?

It is small keys used to unlock handcuffs and lock the double lock.

Used by law enforcement and security personnel.

Different kinds of handcuff keys

There are several types of restraint keys.

Most of the handcuff keys are universal. You can use Smith and Wesson handcuff keys on Peerless handcuffs. And vice versa.

However, there are also some special keys out there.

Not all handcuff keys are the same.

Some keys can only be used with the specific cuff it came with. Those are typically high-security handcuffs.

You also have keys that are of different sizes and in different materials.

Hidden handcuff keys are also something that exists.

Looking for new handcuffs? I’ve written about some of the most popular and best handcuffs on the market here.

Let’s check out the different kinds of handcuff keys:

Universal handcuff key, peerless
Universal handcuff key, Peerless

Standard/Universal handcuff keys:

You’ll get these when buying a pair of handcuffs at the tactical gear store. It comes along with cuffs from all the known manufacturers.

They are small and easy to carry and bring with you.

Yet, they are sometimes hard to use because of their size and length. It’s easy to fumble with them since they are often somewhat slippery.

Read this article for more information about universal handcuff keys.

Handcuff key pen

Pen style handcuff Key, Zak Tool
Pen Style Handcuff Key

Some keys are the size of a pen. They have this little pen clip holder or pocket clip so you can attach it to a pocket.

They are longer than the standard handcuff key and are easy to use.

I will soon write a little guide where I get hands-on with a pen handcuff key.

Swivel handcuff key
Swivel handcuff key

Swivel handcuff keys

These resemble the pen keys. But they are without the pen clip.

They come with a key ring that you can attach to a swivel mechanism.

You can attach the cuff key to a belt clip.

This kind of handcuff key is what I prefer.

Both swivel handcuff keys and pen handcuff keys often have a knurled grip. So they won’t slip out of your hand as easily as a standard handcuff key.

Handcuff key extension tool

Handcuff key extender tool
Handcuff key extender tool

This tool lets you mount your standard handcuff key to extend its length. The extension tool may come with a swivel or as a pen type.

As you can see in the picture, you mount your standard key to the extender tool. It should work with most of the standard handcuff keys on the market.

I have written a mini-guide on the handcuff key extender here.

Hidden Handcuff key

I honestly don’t enjoy writing about this, but I have to. Every police and law enforcement officer should know about this.

The main reason I don’t like to write about it is that thugs also will read this.

You have keys that are easy to hide. Concealable handcuff keys come in wide varieties. You can hide them in the belt, shoelaces, cardholders, etc.

If you work in law enforcement, the military, or rely on restraints in your job, you have to know about hidden handcuff keys.

When you know about them, you can more easily detect one when you see one.

Read my guide about hidden handcuff keys here.

Special handcuff keys

As I previously said, not all handcuff keys are the same.

You have something called High-Security Handcuffs. Most of them have special keys with a unique key for each set of cuffs. One example of a High-security handcuff is the Model 710C from Peerless Handcuff Company.

Smith and Wesson also have high-security handcuffs. Their model 104, for example.

The key to this model is similar to a universal handcuff key; just a little noticeable detail separates these keys. Have a look at the image, and you’ll notice the difference.

Materials used in handcuff keys

The question that comes to mind is “what are handcuff keys made of”.

Shackle keys are often made of stainless steel. This is because of the durability.

You can also find handcuff keys made of aluminum and plastic.

I’ve seen someone ask if handcuff keys are magnetic. The answer is YES and NO. It depends on the material.

My choice of keys for handcuffs

Zak Tool Swivel Handcuff Key
My Zak Tool Swivel Handcuff Key

My primary choice is a swivel handcuff key. The Zak Tool ZT9P Knurled Flat Grip Swivel Key, to be exact. I would have no problem using a pen handcuff key either.

I have a Zak Tool swivel handcuff key. In this article, I share images and my personal experience with the Zak tool key.

I choose the swivel key instead of a standard key because I can roll the barrel between my thumb and forefinger. It gives me more control.

It’s as simple as using a swivel handcuff key is much easier than a standard one.

That’s my opinion. You might find someone else that prefers a different kind of key.

Where to buy handcuff keys

You can buy keys for handcuffs in several places.

Check out LApolicegear.com or Amazon.com, for example.

Or, if you have a local store selling police equipment you should stop by.

Handcuff key tips for police officers

A few tips at the end:

  • Always carry multiple sets of keys in your uniform, and have a replacement key if your primary one gets broken.
  • Zak tools make great keys for handcuffs. I wouldn’t be afraid of using them. I’ve written an article about my pair of Zak Tool keys here
  • Be careful when putting the keys in the handcuff. If you use force, you might break the key, and your handcuffs might jam. There are plenty of examples of handcuffs jammed so hard that they had to be replaced.

Interested in learning more about handcuffs? Be sure to check out our article about the different types of handcuffs.

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