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How to Get Out of a Zip Tie

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.



How to Get Out of a Zip Tie

When dealing with crowds of protestors and other such activists these days, law enforcement agencies like to use zip ties because, well, there aren't enough handcuffs to go around and zip ties are way lighter, cheaper, difficult to get out of, and ideal for immobilizing large groups of people quickly and effectively.

And they're right, zip ties are difficult to get out of, unless you know how. There are two ways to get out of them without having someone else cut them off you:

1. When presenting your hands to the officer to receive the zip tie, do so with your palms facing downwards and your fists clenched. This actually makes your wrists the widest they can be and key to removing them later because you are creating wiggle room. Once the officer has put the tie on you and moved away, unclench your fists, spread your fingers, and slowly turn your hands so that your wrists face each other (as if in prayer). You now have wiggle room to slowly begin slipping your hand out (focus on getting a thumb out first as this makes it much easier). It's not going to be quick, but with patience, it shouldnt take you more than about five minutes.

The other method is quicker but also way more obvious and difficult to conceal:

2. Once you have the zip tie on you, hold your hands wrist-to-wrist and use your teeth to pull the zip tie as tight as possible--yes, until it starts to hurt. Try and have the locking mechanism located between your wrists if possible, The locking mechanism is actually the weakest part of the tie. Then, lift your arms behind your head and flare out your elbows as much as possible (visualize trying to make your shoulder blades touch). Then, in one swift move, bring your arms down quickly into your stomach (as if you are punching yourself in the stomach). The strain on the locking machinism will be too much and it should snap open.