Has anybody had a handcuff key just stop working to unlock cuffs?

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by KiloBravo, Jun 10, 2020.

  1. KiloBravo

    KiloBravo NRA Life Member

    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    1,083
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    I carry two extended cuff keys when working. My primary has always been a Zak Tool key on an enlarged split ring carried on a belt keeper. I keep a standard pen style key with a clip tucked into my uniform shirt in the space between the buttons. I just tried using the one on my keeper to unlock a set of cuffs and it didnt work. It goes into the key hole, but wont turn at all in either direction. It has never failed before. I used my pen key and it worked perfectly.

    The trouble key is at least 10 years old and has been used a lot. I dont mind replacing it with a new one, but I was just curious if this has ever happened to anybody here? Does the metal get bent out of spec ever so slightly over time? I dont see any hairline cracks in it anywhere.
     
  2. sas-G19

    sas-G19

    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    409
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    KY, USA
    Yes, happens quite often when used heavily.
    I had to replace my HC key at minimum twice a year.
     
    KiloBravo likes this.

  3. KiloBravo

    KiloBravo NRA Life Member

    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    1,083
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    Hmm...that's strange. Okay. Guess I'll just toss it then.
     
  4. collim1

    collim1

    Messages:
    13,675
    Likes Received:
    12,153
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    Yes. Many times.

    Sometimes the key gets bent out of shape.

    Sometimes it’s the center stud in the keyhole on the handcuffs that gets bent.

    Those keys are usually just soft mild steel or iron. They are very easy to bend. Especially if your keys hangs on your belt where you are sitting on it like a lot of guys do.

    I have also had more than one key get stuck or break off in the cuffs and the fire department had to cut the cuff off their wrist. Not fun. Especially if the suspect is a ******* about it.

    I have had the same key since I went to the academy. Two or three times now it has bent out of shape and I had to tap it with a hammer to true up the flag or reform the center hole to perfectly round.

    Always have multiple spare keys on your person. Including one that is not visible and you can reach if you were handcuffed behind your back.
     
    wprebeck and KiloBravo like this.
  5. KiloBravo

    KiloBravo NRA Life Member

    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    1,083
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    That would suck to have to get cuffs cut off. Lol. And I agree with carrying several. And I do in fact have a standard sized key hidden that I could grab if cuffed behind my back. It's funny we all think alike. I teach everybody I train to hide one on their person as well.
     
  6. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Messages:
    62,357
    Likes Received:
    57,319
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Kentucky
    In the days when we wore uniforms with shiny stuff on them, I always kept a spare on the whistle chain, since I had no use at all for a whistle. Hidden in the back of your trouser belt would be a better plan.
     
    KiloBravo and seanmac45 like this.
  7. blueiron

    blueiron

    Messages:
    12,699
    Likes Received:
    2,963
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Decades ago, they seemed to last much longer. Now that everything is made in China and the keys are made out of sintered metal, I've have them wear and one actually chipped off while in use.

    The old Safariland key made out of stainless steel was the strongest key I ever used. I wish they still sold it.
     
    sixgun2 and KiloBravo like this.
  8. seanmac45

    seanmac45 CLM

    Messages:
    10,120
    Likes Received:
    17,604
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2000
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    It's not unusual at all. My rear keepers contained two hidden cuff keys covered with velcro.

    Onion Field syndrome prevented.
     
    KiloBravo and knoxvegasdaddy like this.
  9. JArthurD

    JArthurD Silver Member

    Messages:
    6,166
    Likes Received:
    17,841
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2017
    Location:
    Manassas, Va
    It happened to me once. I had to cut the headboard in half to extricate the wife!

    Joking
     
  10. knoxvegasdaddy

    knoxvegasdaddy UBER VOL !!!

    Messages:
    2,701
    Likes Received:
    1,914
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2002
    Location:
    Hallowed ground - Neyland Stadium!
    First, hey KB, nice to hear from you, hope you and yours are well!

    Second, keys are precision machined devices. You should expect that a precision key with much wear WILL eventually crap out.

    ZERO experience with HC keys, but much experience with house and car keys that just won’t function the device they used to function. Entropy is a devil!
     
    KiloBravo likes this.
  11. knoxvegasdaddy

    knoxvegasdaddy UBER VOL !!!

    Messages:
    2,701
    Likes Received:
    1,914
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2002
    Location:
    Hallowed ground - Neyland Stadium!
    Being able to escape your own trap is wise advice and good training.
     
    KiloBravo likes this.
  12. knoxvegasdaddy

    knoxvegasdaddy UBER VOL !!!

    Messages:
    2,701
    Likes Received:
    1,914
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2002
    Location:
    Hallowed ground - Neyland Stadium!
    The Onion Field is old school! I haven’t seen the movie in 30 years, and I’m 50.
     
    KiloBravo likes this.
  13. Trench Sweeper

    Trench Sweeper On the day of your birth death began stalking you

    Messages:
    9,192
    Likes Received:
    9,111
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    KY where the taxes are as high as half the people
    I had to have a pair of cuffs cut off me once. Nothing would open then except a saw.
     
    KiloBravo likes this.
  14. billorights

    billorights

    Messages:
    3,065
    Likes Received:
    5,103
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Yeah, extra keys are a good idea. I kept one on my whistle chain too when in uniform. I practiced a lot opening cuffs with a paper clip too. Very easy to do if not double locked. Anybody else do that?
     
    KiloBravo likes this.
  15. KiloBravo

    KiloBravo NRA Life Member

    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    1,083
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    Thanks. All is well. Good to hear from some old friends here. I took a long break but have started creeping in the reloading section again lately. I just tossed the problematic key. No longer a concern. Still have my other pen key and a spare one like it in my patrol bag.
     
  16. wprebeck

    wprebeck Have you seen me?

    Messages:
    12,448
    Likes Received:
    13,013
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Location:
    Mm..looks like heaven
    Yep. Easy to do.
     
  17. Ftttu

    Ftttu

    Messages:
    5,555
    Likes Received:
    4,520
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Location:
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    I’ve never had a key fail, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a set of my cuffs fail. The closest I have been to that was transporting another officer’s prisoner and their cuffs had to be cut off at the jail since they wouldn’t unlock.

    In uniform, I carried a key on my whistle chain, a key on my unit key ring which I kept on my right front belt keeper and one on my personal key ring. In plain clothes duty, I carried one in my wallet. I still have a key on my key ring after almost 5 years being retired.
     
  18. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

    Messages:
    23,900
    Likes Received:
    18,144
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1999
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Really? Were they double locked? If not double locked even if key areas damaged a thin piece of metal should slip it.
    I may have used a hammer, anvil, punch to drive out rivet. .. It took 5 hits. If allowed to hit with angle grinder first I bet 3 would do it. Plastic stuck inside, dribble water, short cuts to prevent heat buildup...
     
  19. Trench Sweeper

    Trench Sweeper On the day of your birth death began stalking you

    Messages:
    9,192
    Likes Received:
    9,111
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    KY where the taxes are as high as half the people
    No, they weren't double locked. Just a cheap pair of peerless cuffs. I was a MP at the time. We were doing self defense/handcuffing techniques. We tried several things only for them to get tighter when we tried to put a shim in. Finally went down to engineer unit the cut them off with a grinder.
     
  20. Ftttu

    Ftttu

    Messages:
    5,555
    Likes Received:
    4,520
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Location:
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    Our county jail uses a large bolt cutter. Takes just a second.