Picking Handcuffs With Laser Cut Keys

At this year’s HOPE conference, German competitive lockpicker and security researcher [Ray] gave a talk about escaping high security handcuffs that are probably being used by your local police and other LEOs. He’s doing this with 3D printed and laser cut keys because, you know, security through obscurity never works.

Two years ago, [Ray] gave a talk at HOPE on 3D printing Dutch handcuff keys (you can listen to his conference as an .MP3 here). This time around, [Ray] copied the keys of Bonowi and Chubb handcuffs, very popular brands for American police. After obtaining a key from each of the two brands, [Ray] broke out the calipers and micrometer and designed his own versions that can be printed on a RepRap or Makerbot, or just laser cut from a piece of plastic; the perfect material for sneaking one through a metal detector.

The .DXF and .STL files for the handcuff keys will be available on Thingiverse shortly. We’d suggest watching this Thingiverse account (nevermind), as they have the files for [Ray]’s earlier Dutch handcuff key.

18 thoughts on “Picking Handcuffs With Laser Cut Keys

    1. Why would they bother with anything else – they’d still all be identically keyed and any viable alternative I can think of offhand would be bulkier and more complex.

    2. yeah most departments use very generalized simplistic handcuffs … if you need to restrain someone who is overly dangerous you use zip-cuffs

      most sex shop handcuffs are more complicated than the ones found on police XP
      and more comfortable.

      1. FYI to these experts: Rural places in Europe, UK, Russia, and the US are using dimple cylinder and tubular pin. Even in the places they do still use ward, it’s 2-3 ward with removable cylinders like is used on glass case locks in department stores..

        These work on legacy gov. handcuffs, and kids toys

        and I don’t even lockpick..

    1. I have never met a pair of handcuffs I couldn’t pick pretty easily with a paperclip. Even the ones that the feds use around here aren’t that secure.

      The lock just isn’t large enough to be a truly complex mechanism, and a paperclip is malleable enough to form nearly any key profile.

      1. Though the lock mechanisms have been simple enough to pick with a paperclip in less than a second, any real cuffs I’ve handled have had much too stiff a spring to allow a paperclip to work.

  1. If you are cuffed, chances are your hands are behind your back. So this key needs to be in your belt, or the back of your pants.

    To break out of panduit straps (zip locks, cable ties) it would help to be Ceramic, with a sharp edge.

    1. I’ve found the ideal place to hide a standard cuff key is in a standard watch band. None of the veteran or rookie officers ever thought to search a watchband for a key. Even better some keys have a protrusion on the top that looks similar to the prong you would expect to find going through the holes in the band to fasten it.

  2. I’ve been lockpicking as a hobby for well over two years now (well, 30 if you count the years I didnt know anything).

    I’m all in favor of anything lock/security-related offered to the public as information, as long as it’s used for security awareness, locksport or to promote the sport…but EVERY time theres a thread like this ANYWHERE on the internet, MacGuyver, Rambo, and 007 all give their stupid “tips”.

    Tips that are USELESS when they WORK.

    If you are cuffed, chances are you’re going to be watched, or locked in a squad car or holding room.

    By this time, they probably already have your identity, unless you werent driving, not with friends, didnt answer any questions, didnt have your wallet on you, and so on…which leads me to think HOW can they arrest you? Most states if you are walking (even running) at 3AM and a burglar alarm is sounding nearby, and you refuse to identify yourself, they MUST let you go unless you match the description of a suspect.

    That said, if you are in handcuffs, they ALREADY KNOW who you are…and if you do get out, you’ll just be charged with resisting arrest, and any possession or use penalties of whatever youd used to get out of the cuffs. What will you do then? Rambo your way out of the police station and live on the run like Grizzly Adams forever?

    If I were a cop, and I had reason to arrest someone, and I’d found they were UNCUFFED when I’d cuffed them…I’d probably draw my weapon, or tase them.

    Think twice before pulling off something you’d seen on the internet. Buy a cuff set for $19.99 online (S&W Model 100) and join a local TOOOL chapter.

    Better be for more than a traffic ticket!

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