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.
The world of lock-picking is complex. For the novice hoping to jump in, figuring out where to begin can be a daunting task. Let us make it a bit easier for you with this handy and simple guide to the 6 most common lock picks! Among them are the two most popular tools that no lock picking enthusiast should ever be caught without.
This one is so essential it's not even part of the actual list. If you hope to use any other other popular lock picks, a tension wrench is necessary. The tension wrench is inserted into the keyway like a normal key, and is used to apply torque and hold the pins in place once they’ve been properly aligned.
Fourth from left in the above picture, the half diamond can be used on both wafer and disc locks, for working individual pins and for raking. The wide variety of ways you can use a triangle pick makes it the most versatile pick; it's a must-have in every lock picking kit. If your kit has nothing but a tension wrench and a triangle, you have an excellent start.
The hook is the most basic of picks, used only for working individual pins.
The ball (also known as a round) pick has a full- or half-circle shape at the end, and is commonly used on wafer locks.
The rake pick, also often called the snake, is the most essential pick next to the half-diamond. Rake picks are literally raked across all pins to bounce them up until they reach the sheer line. Raking is also known as scrubbing, and is performed by inserting the rake into the keyway to push up all pins at once; the rake is then removed quickly while turning the plug with the tension wrench, causing some or all of the pins to land in the correct position.
A wafer pick is a special picks made specifically for wafer locks, although depending on who you ask within the lock-picking community, some will argue that a wafer lock can be picked with a regular pick and doesn't need one that's been specially designed. Wafer tumbler locks are generally considered easier to pick than pin tumbler locks because the keyhole is wider, and the wafers can't be pushed too far in like pins can.
You may know a warded pick by it's more common name- the skeleton key. A warded pick is used for opening warded locks, which use a very simple design: a set of obstructions (wards) prevents the lock from opening without the correct key. A warded pick has been pared down to its most essential parts (thus the term skeleton). opening without the correct key.
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.
While physical fitness is helpful for general health and well-being, in a survival situation your fitness level becomes a matter of life and death. Making targeted decisions about the types of training you do will give you the advantage when the pressure is on and increase your overall odds of survival. The key to choosing the right kind of self defense training is to choose efficient programs that promote a balance between strength, power, endurance, and mobility.
Read on for a few of our favorite methods and choose the one that's right for you.
Krav Maga is the well-regarded method of defense training used by the Israeli Defense Forces and U.S. Law Enforcement agencies. Krav Maga means, literally, “contact combat”. Krav Maga places an emphasis on easy-to-learn techniques that have been battle-tested and refined. It lacks unnecessary flourish and requires no previous martial arts training.
TZAHAL / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Learn More: http://www.kravmaga.com/
Systema is a Russian martial art (literally The System), which emphasizes mental focus, endurance, and pressure point application. Systema’s prioritization of a relaxed, focused state of mind free from anger and toxic thought makes it an excellent addition to the personal defense arsenal of anyone who wants to be prepared for the worst.
Learn More: http://www.russianmartialart.com/
MMA uses a wide variety of striking and grappling techniques gleaned from other combat sports and martial arts including Boxing, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Karate, and Taekwondo. The benefit of learning MMA is that the parts from various disciplines that are incorporated are those that are most practically applicable to real-world self defense scenarios.
Learn More: http://www.mixedmartialarts.com/http://www.mma121.com/
It’s a simple little piece of gear, so it’s easy to overlook the value in a paracord bracelet. The intricate braiding brings to mind something a pair of BFFs might fashion at summer camp rather than a serious survival tool. But don’t let looks fool you: a paracord bracelet can be a lifesaver.
The strong yet compact nylon rope is used in the suspension lines of parachutes, from whence comes the name paracord, but it is widely used for other purposes, especially survival gear. The most commonly used cord for this purpose is mil-spec 550 cord, which has a tensile strength of 550 lbs.
Nylon is powerfully strong at a molecular level: hydrogen forms strong bonds between polyamide chains. The heating and cooling that takes place during the production process allows the bonds to settle and bond further.
Nylon is actually a word used to identify an entire sub-group of synthetic plastics. When stretched into filaments they can be used for products like paracord, toothbrush bristles, and fabrics (including the women’s stockings by the same name). It’s an excellent choice for survival gear because it’s resistant to the mold, fungi, and insects that may wreak havoc on natural materials, given enough time.
Paracord is perfect for virtually anything that you need to tie, secure, fasten, connect, lash together, etc. Its’ uses are limited only by your imagination.
Clearly, paracord is extremely useful. Because a significant length of the lightweight cord can be compacted down into a very small space, there is virtually no excuse for not including it in your EDC and/or bug out bag. But it can do even more for you: a survival bracelet like the Superesse strap bracelet includes not only paracord but multiple built-in survival tools, enabling you to carry an entire survival kit on your wrist. Shop now!
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.
This is a guest post by John V Cain. John writes about the vagabonding lifestyle at VINJABOND.
A covertly equipped handcuff key for a foreigner abroad is the smallest part of their gear but potentially the most important.
Gear to survive or endure dangerous and hazardous scenarios is valuable but gear to avoid them is invaluable.
-John V Cain, founder of VINJABOND.
Specialized handcuff keys and other escape tools have been a part of my everyday carry equipment for my professional life for years but have found them to be just as useful in civilian life, especially while traveling.
It’s my nature to be drawn to danger and unstable situations so don’t take it from me but from the experience of an ordinary traveler on holiday…
While packing up to leave a hostel in Bangkok, I met Alex. A Canadian pre-med student on his gap year interested in my strange gear. We got to talking and I gave him a TIHK handcuff key and showed him how to use it.
Then I headed north towards Vietnam, he headed south towards the Thai islands, where his story begins.
The Full Moon Party
Every full moon on the small paradise island of Koh Phangan, an event occurs that started in the mid 80’s. It’s called the Full Moon Party. With up to 30,000 attendees at each event, it’s the largest recurring beach party in the world. It’s gone through many changes over the years but what remains is its crazy-intense-debaucherous-wild-hedonistic essence.
Thousands of young travelers from every country mixing with each other with powerful music blasting on a true paradise beach. What could go wrong?
When you have this much explosive and dynamic social activity going on, the socially inept tend to have a hard time fitting in, even to the point of becoming a recluse.
Traveling alone through a strange country and attending a monstrous party with thousands of strangers, Alex became that recluse.
Recluses at parties are obvious but ignored.
Belly, a slick Thai local saw poor Alex, but instead of ignoring him like everyone else, he made him his party-protege, despite the language barrier.
Anyone in Alex’s shoes would be delighted to chill with Belly, especially with the 3 girls he was with.
And so he partied on, finally…
Nearly 10 hours later at about 5 in the morning with the party still going strong, Alex was resting, sitting on a picnic table staring into the abyss of dancers dancing away against the endless black ocean.
Suddenly, Belly appears from the moving crowd like mist. He runs straight to Alex out of breath and tells him something in broken English; “Police ???? hide ??? ??? later ???…” Then he hands Alex a Pringles chips bag (tubular paperboard can) and vanished into the crowd.
Dazed and confused, as Alex starts to put the Pringles can between his feet, he’s blinded by a flashlight.
The light then trails directly to the Pringles can. His eyes focus and he can clearly see it’s the police.
One of the cops takes the Pringles can as his partner looks around the vicinity for Belly (I presume).
Again in broken but better English, the cop asks Alex if the Pringles is his. Alex confirms. The cop then opens the can and lays out the contents on the picnic table. To shocking surprise, Alex sees it’s dozens of pills (probably ecstasy) with just as many baggies of white powder.
Alex immediately and nervously denies it’s his now and tries to explain that he was just holding it for a friend.
The cop then handcuffs him and yells at him in Thai.
Alex, now detained and in tears, sits with the cop as his partner searches for Belly within the crowd.
With the cop sitting right next to him but preoccupied also looking for Belly, Alex starts twisting his shorts to reach the key. He gets it and tries to open the cuffs…
He fails and drops the key, but not on the sand.
Blindly and nervously shaking, he feels for the key on the table. He finds it. Tries again. Drops it again. Repeat…
Click, clank, clack, clack, clack… Success!
Amazed at himself but also realizing the implications of it, he loses the key again but this time it drops to the sand, lost forever. But no matter, one hand is free.
Uncontrollably nervous, he dry vomits, paralyzed.
An eternity passes by (probably 5 minutes). His hand free from the shackles, making pretend it’s still engaged as he builds up the courage to run.
Another eternity later, he bolts into the sea of people like a bat out of hell. Adrenaline at max output with his left hand sporting a shiny bracelet. He runs and runs.
Alex has been sober all his life including this night but the euphoria he feels as he finally makes it back to his bungalow is the epitome of a natural high.
He remembers my “5 minute training” and shaves his mustache, gives himself a drastic haircut, bruises his cheeks and forehead, changes into completely different colored clothing and buries the ones he’s wearing.
Not long after that, he made it safely back to Bangkok.
Handcuff Keys and Shims for World Travel
A life saved by a piece of plastic, a handcuff key.
There will be detractors on civilians carrying handcuff keys. If you are one of those, I’d like to ask you: “What would you do in Alex’s exact situation?”
Would you let yourself be arrested and spend a quarter century in a foreign prison because the “law is the law”?
Remember, you didn’t murder anyone, steal from a store or even knew you were committing a crime. For all intents and purposes, bad friggen luck.
I don’t know about you but I will not go to prison for holding a bag of chips if I can help it. And it’s not like “I was holding it for a friend” or “I didn’t know it was drugs” is going to hold up in court in this scenario.
If you still don’t want to control your own destiny and trust a foreign justice system implicitly, then at best you can; get yourself officially arrested, processed into their system, go to lockup, wait to see a judge, meet with an embassy appointed lawyer, go back to lockup and 6 months later you’re rather set free or sent to prison.
Complete Escape Tool Gear Kit
I received the longest email ever from Alex (not his real name by the way) shortly after. I wish it was written on paper by hand as it was motivating and one of the most touching pieces of words I have ever read.
Back home or abroad, it’s unlikely to be unfairly or unjustly arrested but it’s more likely to occur as a foreigner because of unfamiliar international laws, cultural differences and inaccurate communication.
Then there’s also the possibility of kidnapping.
It will most likely never happen to you (or so you think), but it does happen quite frequently on a global scale.
So as Franz Kafka so wisely says, “Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.”, reinforced by the fact that a covert handcuff key is smaller than a clothing button and almost as inconspicuous. Reinforced by the fact that a covert handcuff key is smaller than a clothing button and almost as inconspicuous.
Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.
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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NEITHER TIHK NOR ANY OTHER PARTY INVOLVED IN CREATING, PRODUCING, OR DELIVERING THE SERVICES, PRODUCTS OR TIHK CONTENT WILL BE LIABLE FOR ANY INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING LOST PROFITS, LOSS OF DATA OR GOODWILL, SERVICE INTERRUPTION, MOBILE DAMAGE OR SYSTEM FAILURE OR THE COST OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICES ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THESE TERMS OR FROM THE USE OF OR INABILITY TO USE THE SERVICES OR CONTENT, WHETHER BASED ON WARRANTY, CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), PRODUCT LIABILITY OR ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY, AND WHETHER OR NOT CLASSPOP HAS BEEN INFORMED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE, EVEN IF A LIMITED REMEDY SET FORTH HEREIN IS FOUND TO HAVE FAILED OF ITS ESSENTIAL PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT WILL TIHK’S TOTAL LIABILITY ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THESE TERMS OR FROM THE USE OF OR INABILITY TO USE THE SERVICES OR CONTENT EXCEED THE LESSER OF THE AMOUNTS YOU HAVE PAID TO TIHK FOR USE OF THE SERVICES OR TIHK CONTENT OR FIFTY DOLLARS ($50), IF YOU HAVE NOT HAD ANY PAYMENT OBLIGATIONS TO TIHK, AS APPLICABLE.
TIHK is in no way responsible or to be held liable for any claims, including for physical, bodily or financial injury, arising out of your use of TIHK product(s) on the whole, and your use of TIHK product(s) in your state, and you are subject to the additional terms and policies of each applicable private venue, local, state and federal laws as applicable.
We prefer to resolve things amiably when possible therefore, you agree to the following dispute resolution policy in connection with any potential claims or disputes arising from your use of the Application. Start by notifying us of your dispute by sending a notice via our contact form.
These Terms, and any future updates we make, constitute the entire and exclusive understanding and agreement between you and TIHK. If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction finds any provision of these Terms invalid or unenforceable, that provision will be enforced to the maximum extent permissible and the other provisions of these Terms will remain in full force and effect. You may not assign or transfer these Terms, by operation of law or otherwise, without our prior written consent. Any attempt by you to assign or transfer these Terms, without such consent, will be null and of no effect. If we provide certain notices or other communications to you, we will place the information on the Site.
TIHK’s failure to enforce any right or provision of these Terms will not be considered a waiver of those rights. The waiver of any such right or provision will be effective only if in writing and signed by a duly authorized representative TIHK. Except as expressly set forth in these Terms, the exercise by either party of any of its remedies under these Terms will be without prejudice to its other remedies under these Terms or otherwise.
Questions & contact information
If you have any questions regarding these Terms, please contact us.