How to remove handcuffs without a key

Written by olivia emisar
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How to remove handcuffs without a key
Remove handcuffs quickly (handcuffs one image by Paul Moore from

It is universally accepted that police officers use handcuffs to restrain criminals and violent individuals. However, handcuffs are also used by magicians to prove their ability to get out of seemingly impossible situations while impressing their audiences. Friends use handcuffs to prank other friends while pretending to have lost the key. But what if they really have lost the key? There are a couple of options available to free yourself quickly and without much effort.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hair pin
  • A flat piece of metal

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  1. 1

    Remove the plastic tip from the hair clip.

  2. 2

    Spread open the hair pin and insert the flat end halfway through the locking cam hole. Bend the pin towards the left hand-side inside the lock to form a 90 degree angle and remove from lock.

  3. 3

    Reinsert the pin into the lock hole and bend it towards the right. Pull the hair clip out and you will see that the hair clip looks like the letter "S".

  4. 4

    Reinsert the "hook" shape into the lock hole and twist with gentle force clockwise. The tension will release the locking mechanism allowing the 'teeth' on the handcuffs to slide free.

  1. 1

    Break the clip off a pen to use as a shim.

    How to remove handcuffs without a key
    Use common objects to free yourself (pen image by Rog999 from
  2. 2

    Insert the pen clip between the locking mechanism and the silver teeth on the handcuffs.

  3. 3

    Push the clip in and slide the locking arm out to free yourself.

Tips and warnings

  • The vast majority of handcuff manufacturer's use universal keys that can be purchased at gun shops.
  • Keep a spare key with your house keys to avoid potential embarrassment.
  • Call the police to free you if you are unable to work the lock.

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