Brief History of Handcuffs

by Jeff on January 23, 2012

To some people, the handcuffs used by today’s law enforcement officers and agents as standard police equipment might seem like a relatively modern invention. While that’s technically true as far as specific designs go, the need for restraining disorderly or dangerous subjects has existed since prehistoric times. Let’s take a brief look at how restraints have evolved over the millennia.

Prehistoric Times

It is commonly believed that in prehistoric times early humans used strips of animal hides to bind someone’s hands and/or feet. Later, primitive rope made from twisted vines and reeds were used in place of hides.

The Bronze and Iron Ages

Once human beings learned to work with metal, they were able to fashion more sophisticated, reusable handcuffs that featured locking mechanisms. The restraints that emerged during the Bronze and Iron Ages were still a far cry from what could ever be considered police equipment, but were nevertheless a significant advancement for the period.

Ancient Greek and Roman Society

Historical records and literature from ancient Greek and Roman society contain numerous references to felons and prisoners of war being bound by “fetters,” “chains,” and “irons.” This represented yet another progression in restraining devices, as chains were heavy and cumbersome enough to make escape or flight extremely difficult. One of the earliest literary allusions to handcuffs comes from Vergil, a Roman poet, in his description of the god Proteus’ captivity.

Middle Ages

The Middle Ages saw the rise of manacles and shackles as the primary restraining devices of choice. Though these restraints exhibited more advanced workmanship than their predecessors, they were not adjustable, so prisoners with smaller wrists were often able to slip out and flee from their captors.

Modern Developments

The biggest design breakthrough came in 1862 when an inventor named W.V. Adams patented the familiar ratcheting mechanism that is associated with modern police equipment. The ratchets were engaged by a small locking apparatus that allowed the cuffs to be adjusted to virtually any size wrist. Subsequent improvements, including the addition of three chain links between the cuffs, were later made by Orson C. Phelps and the Tower Company.

Current Designs

Today’s law enforcement agencies approve the use of many different types of restraints as standard police equipment . Besides typical chain link handcuffs, LEOs also rely on hinged cuffs, disposable PlastiCuffs (aka FlexiCuffs or zip-ties), trifold restraints, and leg & waist restraints to control subjects.

As you can see, the progression from primitive restraints to today’s handcuffs has been a long and slow one. But the overall importance of these restraining devices as police equipment shows that the wait was well worth it.


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How to Choose the Right Gun Holster

by Jeff on January 16, 2012

The perfect gun holster gives you both a physical and a psychological advantage. On the one hand, a good holster is comfortable and doesn’t lead to soreness or fatigue due to poor ergonomics. This helps keep you fresh, alert, and ready for situations that require the use of your firearm. On the other hand, a good holster also allows for a smooth draw. You know you’ll be able to extract your weapon quickly and precisely, which boosts your confidence and gives you the mental edge you need for armed confrontations.

But choosing from all the different carry styles can be a bit confusing. Are shoulder holsters best for you or should you wear your gun on your belt instead? Are ankle holsters the only option for your secondary weapon? Before making a decision, consider the following factors:

  • Security. Your weapon should fit snugly enough in the holster that it doesn’t slip or drop out while sitting, walking, or running. Most belt and shoulder holsters employ straps, snaps, or tension screws to aid in achieving a secure fit.
  • Access. Having unimpeded access to your firearm is often a matter of life or death. Shoulder holsters are easier to draw from while seated, but a belt or paddle holster might be better if you stand a lot or walk while on patrol. Ankle holsters are the least accessible and should only be used for a secondary weapon.
  • Comfort. Since you will be wearing your holster for 8-10 hours per day or more, comfort becomes a major issue. Look for an ergonomic holster that distributes weight evenly, is padded, and won’t dig into your body.
  • Concealment. If concealment is a big concern, then inside-the-pant and shoulder holsters are both excellent choices. Ankle holsters also offer superior concealment capabilities for a smaller backup weapon.

Finding the perfect gun holster can be a challenge, but using the above tips as a general guideline can help with the process. Remember to visit to view our lineup of belt, shoulder, paddle, inside-the-pant, and ankle holsters when you’re ready to make your final selection.

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The Importance of Police Equipment

January 9, 2012

The importance of police equipment should be evident to anyone who has ever put on a uniform. Without the right tools, you’ll be unable to do the job you signed up for—namely, to protect and serve the public. Many law enforcement officers choose and purchase their own police equipment from a list of products approved […]

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The Mace Pepper Gun

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Reviewing The QuiqLite Hands-Free Uniform Light

December 26, 2011

When you go out on night patrols, you need some different police equipment than when you work during the daytime. Of particular importance is having a portable light source that will allow you to read or write in dark conditions so you can consult your codebook, take notes, or fill out reports. Instead of trying […]

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5.11 Tactical RUSH 24 Backpack

December 19, 2011

Military gear is popular with soldiers and civilians alike because of the high degree of functionality found in these products. When you purchase something intended to be used under the extreme conditions typically found in a war zone, you can be confident that the item will stand up to whatever you dish out while on […]

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The Hatch D1 Patrol Police Supply Bag

December 12, 2011

One key to being a successful law enforcement officer is keeping your police equipment organized in a single location. This allows you to be ready to go at a moment’s notice and also ensures that you don’t misplace your flashlight, codebook, or other essential gear after going off duty or switching fleet cars. The best […]

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Reviewing The Safariland 6280 SLS Hooded Level II Duty Holster

December 5, 2011

Safariland is one of the top manufacturers of duty holsters for law enforcement and tactical operations in this country. Many LEOs are issued a Safariland holster as part of their duty gear, and a large number of these officers end up purchasing the same product for their personal weapon because of the comfort, safety, reliability, […]

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Tactical Gear and Military Police Equipment

November 28, 2011

When looking for tactical gear and military police equipment online, you need a store that offers a large selection of the highest quality name brand merchandise at discount prices. That’s why it pays to shop exclusively at You won’t find better deals or bigger inventory on Blackhawk, Bianchi, Galco, 5.11, and Streamlight products anywhere […]

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Howard Leight Impact Sport Hearing Protection

November 21, 2011

Hearing loss is a common problem for those that spend a significant amount of time around firearms. The noise levels produced by handguns, shotguns, and high-caliber automatic weapons can reach 150 decibels (dB) or more, which is enough to result in permanent damage to your ears. The best way to reduce your risk is to […]

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