Even in the survival and prepping world, there is a common notion that lock pick sets are illegal to own. It’s ultimately up to the individual state, but in general this is actually a misconception. Lock pick sets are not illegal to own in every state and there is no federal law that prohibits ownership of lock picks across the board.
Lock picks are illegal to possess/transfer in the following countries:
Also be aware that different laws may apply to different types of lock pick sets. This includes auto jigglers/try out keys, bump keys, bypass tools, handcuff keys, etcetera. As a consumer you are responsible for checking and complying with your local laws.
This Father’s Day, give dad the gift of preparedness with one (or all!) of these slick survival tools.
Whether he’s in law enforcement, the military, or he just likes to be prepared for anything, this tiny tool should be a part of dad’s everyday carry. A 5-pack of these little guys is the perfect quantity for stashing in a few strategic places as well as carrying on his person every day. At less than an inch long it won’t take up any extra space, but the strong clip and gripping teeth ensure it’ll be there if dad ever needs it. Get it here.
Considering a set of handcuff keys for dad? Take your gift to the next level with a Handcuff Trainer Kit. The kit comes with a 10-pack of universal HK2 handcuff keys and a clear working handcuff. The cutaway side allows dad to see the locking mechanism in action and get a clear visual of what’s going on inside most standard handcuffs when the key is inserted. Get it here.
Another tiny tool that packs a big punch! The EvadeClip is a super lightweight and versatile Escape & Evasion tool that features a carbide glassbreaker, a stainless steel rod saw and three-piece lock pick set, and a carbide grit cord saw. The strong clip allows dad to hook it to just about any place on his clothes or gear. Get it here.
This one is perfect for the minimalist. It’s the same size as a credit card, and thus can be easily slipped into dad’s wallet. The UST features several useful tools including a bottle opener, nut wrenches, Philips and flat head screw drivers, and a doorjamb shim. In addition to all of these, the body of the UST contains a multi-use shim and a tensioner, w-rake and triangle pick, optimized to fit just about any lock type. If he needs the lock pick tools, dad can just snap them out of the card. When he’s done they’ll slip easily into a pocket in his wallet for future use. Get it here.
With the thin rubber case in place this one doesn’t look much different from a ballpoint pen, but it’s got some pretty useful secrets. The Escape Stick is like a slimmed-down cousin of the Evadeclip (above), with an added feature: an integrated metal handcuff key at the end of the carbide grit rod saw. It also includes a thin metal saw perfect for cutting through rope or duct tape. Dad can slip it right into his shirt pocket next to a real pen and no one will bat an eyelash. Get it here.
The items you choose to carry on your person every day are an extension of your identity and can reveal a lot about who you are, whether you’re a Type-A killer of to-do lists or you’ve locked yourself out of your car three times this month. Although the prepping/survival communities are especially fond of good EDC, you’ll benefit from putting some careful thought into your everyday carry no matter who you are. Read on for some thoughts to consider as you choose the best everyday carry for yourself.
While some items are nearly universal (wallet, keys, phone), the everyday essentials can also vary wildly from person to person. Do you reach for your chapstick twenty times a day? Maybe you live somewhere sunny and can’t imagine stepping outside without sunglasses. It could be an inhaler, a bottle opener, or a well-loved pocketknife. The core of your essential everyday carry is made up of whatever items you can’t get through the day without using. Greatest hits include (but aren’t limited to):
What does your occupation require you to keep on your person at all times? Obviously some materials won’t make it off the jobsite with you, but your job may still manage to influence your everyday carry. A paramedic, for instance, is much more likely to have an emergency CPR pocket mask on their keychain. Think about how your job influences the way that you view the world, and what you personally find is important to carry with you.
Do you require bling, or do you hate to attract attention? Maybe you pride yourself on a clean and understated look that screams sophistication. There’s no reason why your essential everyday carry- your wallet, your phone case, your watch- can’t reflect the vibe you’re trying to give off.
A minimalist and a, shall we say collector of things both need to carry a wallet, but the similarities end there. Some people won’t feel secure if they don’t keep every receipt from the past three months in their back pocket, while others don’t want their wallet to take up a width greater than a single credit card. Think about how much “stuff” you’re comfortable carrying with you everywhere you go and assemble your EDC accordingly.
How does your job, your lifestyle and your personality influence the potential situations you could find yourself in? Individuals who travel frequently or often find themselves in seedy areas may feel much more comfortable with a hidden handcuff key on their person. Perhaps you work swing shift in an urban area and need to carry some form of self-defense, perhaps a can of pepper spray or even a kubotan. Maybe you’re a parent to small children and your pockets are just filled with wet wipes. Think about the situations that are likely to arise in your day-to-day life and consider how you can best prepare for them.
Need ideas? Check out the TIHK product line for high-quality everyday carry for urban survival.
If you're a professional who travels abroad often or otherwise find yourself in dicey situations, you need a rod saw.
What other device allows you to cut through almost any material with nothing but a small thin rod and as much time and patience as you can manage? A small rod saw, easily concealable on your person, and a little know-how is all you need to be sure that you can escape just about any restraint- from rope, to cord, to metal chain.
There are two primary types of rod saw available- carbide and diamond.
A diamond wire blade is simply a wire impregnated with diamond dust of various sizes, but don't underestimate its strength. The diamond dust enables the wire saw to cut through nearly any material: rope, cord, metal bars, chain-link, etc. Any material softer than the ultra-hard diamond surface can eventually be cut through with time and patience. A diamond wire blade will be more expensive for obvious reasons, but is more brittle and, with a thinner diameter, may snap.
What a carbide rod saw may lack (compared to diamond) in hardness, it makes up for with its overall strength. In addition to greater affordability, a carbide rod saw is thicker in diameter than a diamond saw, and much less brittle and less likely to break during use: a crucial attribute if you find yourself in a life-or-death situation.
For less-dense materials like rope and cord, a cord saw is your best friend. Quicker to use for lighter materials than a rod saw, a cord saw is equally small and concealable.
The keys to successfully using survival saws are practice and persistence. Get a feel for how they works with different materials and the best stroke speed and length for each before you find yourself in a survival situation, and we guarantee you won't regret keeping one of each with your everyday carry.
Disclaimer: All recommendations and links listed here are for reference only. TIHK products are intended for use in accordance with all local, state, and federal laws. Improper or illegal use of TIHK products or other products obtained through links provided here is not endorsed or encouraged. Use of all products is at your own personal risk and discretion.
When it comes to everyday carry, your real estate is precious and limited. Make the most of your wallet space, with very little added bulk, with these 5 super-slim EDC items.
Readyman Wilderness Survival Card (Violent Little Machine Shop)
You may not need fishing hooks every day (or maybe you do!), but a dual-sided saw, tweezers, and sewing needles could come in handy no matter where you are. This little powerhouse is stainless steel, lightweight, and strong enough to cut through rope and wood.
Folding Credit Card Knife with Ultra Sharp Blade (ACE Hackware)
Is the bulk of an ordinary pocket knife too much for your minimalist lifestyle? This super-slim pocket knife transforms from a card to an ultra sharp functional tool in seconds.
Credit Card Lightbulb (Dragon Impact)
How are you going to grope about in the dark for the keys you dropped on the ground when your phone battery is dead? With one of these clever little beauties you never have to wonder.
Urban SlimTool (TIHK)
Biased? Us? What are you talking about?
Tighten a bolt, loosen a screw, crack open a beer... and when the sh*t really hits the fan, break out the lock picks.
Searching for the ideal self-defense item for everyday carry can be daunting. A handgun isn't always ideal, not to mention requiring extra training and certification to conceal. Pepper spray is all too easy to fumble and requires frequent testing to make sure it's in working condition. For a lightweight, easily concealable, highly effective self defense weapon, why not try a blunt-force tool?
Blunt-force tools are intended to enhance self-defense tactics by strengthening the force of a punch. They also often concentrate the impact into a smaller area to increase damage done. There is a wide variety of blunt force self defense tools on the market, typically made of aluminum or high-impact plastic. Many double as a bottle opener and keychain. There are a couple of broad groups to choose from, including:
Knuckles and Punchrings
Imagine brass knuckles you've seen in movies, then dial it down a notch or two (and a finger or two) and you've got a good idea of what's available. Many of the tools are shaped with a hole or two in the center to fit over one or more fingers, with the back end held in the palm and the impact side pointing outward to be directed at an attacker.
The word "punchring" tells you everything you need to know about what it is and what it does: they are made to fit over one finger just like a ring and used to very effectively increase the impact of a punch.
Some knuckles and punchrings have sharp corners to maximize damage, but the sharpened tip isn't necessary to cause a lot of pain and give you time to get away.
Kubotans and Tactical Pens
Kubotans, kappo sticks, tactical pens, and similar blunt force tools are intended to be held in the hand like a weapon. The term kubotan (sometimes mistakenly spelled kubaton) is a trademarked term that has been genericized to refer to a wider variety of similar products (like Band-Aid or Kleenex). The original kubotan is truly blunt, but many other items on the market being sold under the same name have a tapered tip.
Kubotans, tactical pens, and pressure point control devices can be used to strengthen the force of a punch, concentrate impact into a smaller area to increase damage done, gain leverage on wrists, fingers and joints, and increase pressure to pressure points.
A Kappo stick is like a kubaton, with a strap that keeps it against your palm for open-hand strikes and applying pressure without dropping it.
Why Choose a Blunt-Force Tool?
A blunt-force tool incorporates seamlessly into your everyday carry- many double as keychains and can serve other purposes aside from self defense. Most are highly inconspicuous and some (such as tactical pens) are disguised as everyday objects to further avoid detection. An item like this, if you practice with it regularly and have developed the muscle memory to render it effective in an emergency, give you a serious edge should you find yourself in a sticky situation.
Lars was an avid traveler: he embraced the challenge and excitement of traveling alone, usually with little more than the clothes he was wearing and a small backpack. In spite of his few possessions, he considered himself pretty well prepared. He carried a small handcuff key in his back pocket along with a good pocket knife. He got pretty chummy with a fellow drifter he befriended in a hostel in Central America. Unfortunately, he let down his guard after a few drinks one night and let it slip during the lighthearted conversation that he was carrying quite a bit of cash on his person. In his bleary half-drunken state Lars thought it was still a joke when his new friend suddenly produced a pair of handcuffs and cuffed his hands behind his back, but he sobered up quickly when he realized that his acquaintance was going through his meager possessions and pocketing everything of value.
He reached for the handcuff key in his back pocket and managed to fish it out despite his trembling fingers, but having never actually practiced with it his fingers had no muscle memory. He fumbled with it behind his back, unable to find the keyhole. His shaking hand dropped the key after a moment, and a crack on the head made him black out.
If you are a frequent foreign traveler, a law enforcement or security officer, in the military, or otherwise determined to be prepared for anything, a handcuff key should have a place in your everyday carry. This is an excellent first step, but just like any other specialized gear, a handcuff key is worthless to you in an emergency situation if you have no experience using it. Lars’ story is an all-too-common one, about an individual who considers himself well-prepared because of the gear he carries. His huge and potentially deadly mistake was in not cultivating the skill to actually use his handcuff key. His lack of applicable skill rendered the key useless.
The answer to this problem of false preparedness is simple practice. Just as you can tie your shoes in just about any circumstance without thinking about it, your goal is to develop the muscle memory to be able to use a handcuff key in a variety of situations- in the dark, while distracted, with your hands behind you, etc. An excellent tool to assist you in this is a handcuff trainer. A handcuff trainer is a real working handcuff with a cutaway side so you can see the movement of the inner mechanism as you work on the lock. Practice with a trainer will increase your overall understanding of how handcuffs work, increasing your effectiveness at escaping and thus your overall chances of survival. The real question is not why you need a handcuff trainer, but why don’t you have one yet?
Get prepared now with our handcuff trainer kit -- Check it out!
When Can You Be Legally Handcuffed?
Ask the average law-abiding American citizen when they can be placed in handcuffs legally and you’ll probably be met with a blank stare, followed by “uh, when you break the law?” Naturally, it isn’t always as black-and-white as that.
When you decide to keep a handcuff key on your person for a SHTF event, the possibility of societal collapse, and everyday preparedness, it’s essential that you know your rights. The following are situations in which you can be legally handcuffed by law enforcement. We do not advise attempting to escape in these situations, even if you question the legality of your detainment. If you feel that your civil rights have been violated, contact a civil rights attorney.
The primary law to be aware of is the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. We could take pages and pages discussing what warrants an “unreasonable” search or seizure; ultimately that will be up to the officer in the moment and is likely to vary from person to person. With this in mind:
According to a training bulletin from the Los Angeles Police Department:
“The principle reason for handcuffing an arrestee is to maintain control of the individual and to minimize the possibility of a situation escalating to a point that would necessitate using a higher level of force or restraint. The decision to use restraining procedures and devices depends on common sense and good judgment.”
Law enforcement can make a case that any of the above situations warranted handcuffing you.
What About Citizen’s Arrest?
Citizen’s arrest began as a common law that allowed for citizens to make a warrantless arrest for crimes such as prostitution and gambling. Most states have since codified those common laws, and they vary widely by state. All states require that a citizen can only legally arrest an individual if the crime happened in their presence. This extends to merchants, who enjoy in most states the ability to detain a suspected shoplifter until law enforcement arrives.
A handcuff key is an important part of your everyday carry, but should not be used when you have been detained by law enforcement, especially considering the lack of rigidity surrounding the legality of detainment. It will be easier for an officer to defend their choice to handcuff you than it will be for you to defend your choice to escape custody. It is much wiser to seek professional legal counsel if you feel your civil rights have been violated.
It’s true that, aside from law enforcement and military personnel, the individuals you are most likely to find in possession of a handcuff key are the bad guys. But beware of drawing fallacious conclusions: possession of a handcuff key does not a criminal make. It simply follows that those who are most likely to desire a secret way of escape are those who have something they feel the need to escape from: i.e. jail time.
Because of this notion, we often receive earnest questioning from people who wonder why in the world we would market a tiny inconspicuous handcuff key to the general public. They are sure that the majority of our clientele must be those who would do harm to the good guys. While we acquiesce that products falling into the “wrong hands” is an unfortunate reality of the marketplace (and one that we do not condone), consider the fact that handcuffs also can also be purchased by anyone.
Take, for example, the very recent story of a Los Angeles couple who were detained in their own home by home invaders in ski masks. The couple was detained not with rope, wire, zip ties, or any other shady tool to which we may erroneously assume the bad guys are limited. They used regular old handcuffs. Fortunately the couple was not harmed in this case by the trespassers brandishing a screwdriver and a handgun- merely robbed. No one would suggest that they should have freed themselves, should they have had the means, while the invaders were in their home, but who knows how long they had to wait, and scream for help, and pray that the thieves didn’t return while they sat helplessly cuffed?
Choosing to possess a universal handcuff key as part of your everyday carry is not an immediate sign of a criminal, or even of a paranoid person. It’s the choice of someone who knows how frequently the bad guys use handcuffs, and who chooses to do everything in their power to be ready, should the worst-case-scenario happen. It’s about taking responsibility for your life into your own hands, rather than putting it into the hands of someone who would do you harm.
Last Updated: October 10, 2017
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