How to Tie a Handcuff Knot

by Karen

Sometimes, when we are in a situation where our survival is at stake we have to deal with people we would rather not have to deal with.  We have food, water, and supplies to protect.  More importantly, we have people to protect and we want to be sure we have a way to restrain people that cause trouble for us when needed.

The handcuff knot is a very clever knot that is capable of doing as its name implies, restraining someone by either the hands or the feet.  It is relatively easy to make, once you get the hang of it, and it can be made with the use of rope or any other number of webbing, strings, or lines.  Best of all, the handcuff knot is a brilliant knot that can help you out in other ways, as well.

Uses for the Handcuff Knot

The handcuff knot is useful when you need to restrain an individual, as mentioned above, by either restraining the hands or the feet.  This might be a looter or burglar or someone who is a threat to your survival, but someone you don’t want to injure if possible.  You can even use fishing line, if that’s all you have, to secure a person’s thumbs behind their back.  They won’t fight it because they will end up with the line cutting into their skin.  Once you have the person secured, you can easily lead them along with you if you are on the move or you can tie them to something to secure them and make sure they can’t get away.

Aside from restraining people, the handcuff knot is extremely versatile and has a number of other uses.  Let’s take a look:

  • You can use the knot to hobble an animal by securing the handcuff knot around the animal’s legs. This also allows you to haul or carry an animal carcass that you have hunted out of the woods and it may well have been the first use for this type of knot, the reason why it was created.
  • You can use the handcuff knot to create a fireman’s chair by securing the cuffs around the ankles and then pulling the person up by the rope. You need to be careful here when using a rope with a small diameter because there is a chance of cutting off the person’s circulation, so webbing makes a better choice.
  • You can use the handcuff knot to pull an unconscious person along with you (again, be mindful of the potential to cut off the person’s circulation).
  • When using webbing, you can use the handcuff knot as a harness in a variety of settings
  • Tie oars together and lash them to the rails of a boat.
  • Tie doubles of other objects together to secure them.

How to Make the Handcuff Knot

To make a handcuff knot you will need to take your length of rope and do the following:

  1. Make one loop by crossing the left side over the right side, so the right side crosses behind.
  2. Make a second loop identical to the first loop so you have two opposing loops.
  3. Cross the two loops in the middle.
  4. Grab the right side of the bottom loop through the middle of the top loop.
  5. Grab the left side of the top loop through the middle of the bottom loop.
  6. Pull the top loop through the bottom loop and the bottom loop through the top loop.

You will then have a set of handcuff loops that will work to restrain a person.  The cuffs can be tightened by pulling the loose or working ends of the rope.  Once you have someone restrained, you will need to tie the loose ends of the rope in a knot to secure the handcuffs.  This can be a regular overhand knot or a figure eight knot.  These knots will create a stopper that will make it so the cuffs can still be tightened, but they cannot be loosened, thus securing the captive person.

Check out this video to see how it’s done:

How to Tie a Handcuff Knot - ITS Knot of the Week HD

Knot Rating for the Handcuff Knot

All knots have a knot rating that provides the following information about a knot:

  • Difficulty: How difficult it is to tie the knot; the easier the knot is to tie, the lower the number
  • Strength: The strength of the rope with the knot that is specified (all knots weaken a rope to some extent); the higher the number, the stronger the knot
  • Security: This tells how well a knot will stay tied and not come loose even when subjected to a standard load; the higher the number, the more secure the knot is
  • Stability: This tells how well the knot will hold up under above normal loads, for example when the knot is pulled in wrong direction; the higher the number, the more stable the knot is

The different ratings for a knot are all on a scale of 1-5.  The handcuff knot rates as follows:

  • Difficulty: 4
  • Strength: 4
  • Security: 4
  • Stability: 4

How to Escape a Handcuff Knot

If you are tied up using the handcuff knot, it might be possible to escape from it.  Since it is rope that is restraining you, it is possible to cut it or untie it if the circumstances are right.  Here are the ways you can escape from the handcuff knot:

  • While looking as though you are being cooperative when being tied up, if you can hold your hands with knuckles toward your captor and keep a little space between your wrists (or ankles) it might keep the handcuffs of the knot from going too tight. This will provide you with some wiggle room to get out of the restraints.
  • Since you are bound with rope, you can cut yourself free if you can rub the rope on something sharp. This can be a piece of glass, a sharp rock, a nail sticking out of a board, or anything with ridges or a sharp edge.
  • If you have been tied in the front and you have not been gagged, you might be able to use your teeth to loosen the stopper knot on the handcuff knot. Even your fingers might be able to work at the knot because it has to be as close to your wrists as possible to create an effective stopper.  If the knot is too far away, you will be able to loosen the ropes, but if it is close to the wrists you can reach it with your fingers.

It does take a little time to get the hang of tying the handcuff knot, but once you have it, it is incredibly useful in a number of scenarios.  It is yet another knot that you can add to the growing number of knots you are learning to tie and yet another skill to add to your prepper skills.  Happy knot tying!

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1 thought on “How to Tie a Handcuff Knot”

  1. All the time that you are tying this so called wonderful knot the subject is plumieting you with their very destructive hands,elbows,knees,feet and head butts not to mention their knife. MAYBE GOOD FOR A DOCILE SHEEP BUT…..
    find another use for your knot. And ,of course you already knew that you would have to use your knot beforehand….BBBSSSSStttt


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