How to uncuff handcuffs without a key

Written by allison melman
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How to uncuff handcuffs without a key
Learn how to uncuff handcuffs without a key. (handcuff image by Marek Kosmal from

Police and security personnel around the world use handcuffs to help pacify suspects and criminals. Handcuffs are often constructed of stainless steel or other metal combinations. It's virtually impossible to break out of handcuffs using sheer strength. However, with just a hair clip, it's possible to uncuff handcuffs and free yourself. Knowing how to open the handcuffs without a key will prove useful if you ever lose your handcuff key.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hair clip

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  1. 1

    Take a hair clip and open it wider, increasing the angle of the curve until the hair clip forms a shape similar to the letter L.

  2. 2

    Measure in 2mm from one end of the hair clip and make a 90-degree bend. If it's hard for you to bend the metal with your fingers, than you can use a pair of pliers to make the metal bend easier.

  3. 3

    Lock the handcuffs by closing the loops. Attempt to open the loops to verify that they're locked.

  4. 4

    Inspect the lock on the handcuff and you'll see that the keyhole looks similar to a circle with a straight line attached to it.

  5. 5

    Insert the hair clip into the keyhole. Be sure that only the small piece of metal that you bent in Step 2 goes into the keyhole. The metal from the hair clip should be flat against the handcuff and it should be inserted where the circle of the keyhole meets the straight line of the keyhole.

  6. 6

    Press down on the hair clip and you'll hear a popping sound. The handcuff should spring open.

Tips and warnings

  • It will take some practice before you can easily open the handcuffs on the first try.
  • If you find yourself detained or arrested by the police, do not attempt to open the handcuffs. This is a very serious offence.
  • Avoid using a pair of handcuffs that do not have a working key.

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