Do It Yourself

How to Properly Escape a Zip Tie Restraint



Zip ties are cheap and easy to come by, making them a very popular option when it comes to effectively restraining a human being. These things are no joke! So,  we though it might be important to teach our readers how to escape from them.

You might think you could easily break free of these plastic handcuffs, but once you’re in the restraint, you’re pretty much stuck. Unless, you know a couple of secret evasion techniques.

Check out the step-by-step instructions below for getting out of some insane situations that result in your arrest or kidnapping.

Method 1: Pop The Lock

  • The first method is similar to escaping duct tape.
  • When you are getting zip-tied, make sure you keep your elbows together and bend forward.
  • Next, you need to have the lock in the middle of your hands. This allows you to pop the lock, later. If the lock is not in the middle of your hands, you need to maneuver it, or use your teeth to reposition the lock.
  • Put your hands over the head, come down past your hips out to the side. The lock will pop right off.
  • Obviously, not everyone can do this method because everyone has different strengths.

Method 2: Slip Out

According to this Buzzfeed video above, you can also do the following:

  • Place hands together with palms clenched
  • Maintain tension as zip-tie is tightened
  • Turn palms so they are facing each-other
  • Shimmy them back and forth until you’re free

Method 3: Use Friction

  • This second method is similar to escaping rope by using paracord.
  • Just like with escaping rope, thread the paracord through your hands. Create a loop at both ends of the rope.
  • Place the loops around your feet and lay on your back. Go through the bicycle motion. The paracord should pop off almost immediately.
  • Zip ties should never be able to intimidate you again. Have you used a different method? We would love to hear it in the comments below.

Check out these related articles:

7 Self Defense Video Techniques You Need To Know

DIY Home Security for Preppers | Badass SHTF Home Defense

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 10, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Left Coast Chuck

    June 13, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Who applies zip ties with the hands in front? Also, who applies anything with the hands together like that? Show me someone getting out of restraints with the hands behind them with wrists crossed, double zipped and I will be impressed. After I have zipped you the only way you are getting the zips off is if someone cuts you out or your hands fall off. This is of interest if the person zipping you has never had to restrain anyone before and doesn’t have a clue. A person “restrained” like the subject in this article is almost as dangerous as someone who is unrestrained. Hands behind the back! Hands behind the back! Hands behind the back!

    “Restrained” like the subject is in this article, he can grab your clothing and head-butt you as you step back admiring your handiwork. He can grab you and apply front shimewaza and choke you out before you can think to knee him in the groin. Once again, repeat after me: When restraining, hands behind the back! Hands behind the back! Hands behind the back!

    • Klem Kadiddlehopper

      June 13, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      I couldn’t have responded better LCC.

    • Oathkeeper

      June 13, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      True. Many police depts make it mandatory to cuff prisoners to the rear.

    • ChewyBees

      June 13, 2014 at 9:33 PM

      It sounds like you are very experienced at making others your property. This is otherwise known as kidnapping or enslavement, take your pick. Now I know you and a bunch of other government puppets are going to wax poetic about civil duty and keeping the peace. But after centuries of that bullshit, why is there no peace?

      Enjoy your union pay and your arrests while they last. When it progresses to murder squads, Zip ties may become very important when transporting masses of people to the killing floor.

      At that point, perhaps an idiot will make a mistake, in a hurry and place a single zip in the front. It might be you in a hurry.

      The other side is the “prepper” crowd that is prepping to kill as many people as necessary to make themselves the self anointed ruler over all. These are the hate their neighbors preppers, the ones that have to have someone to despise in order to make their dream of their personal world domination come true. They stockpile enough guns and ammo to kill their neighborhood, knowing full well that an armored transport with 20 men and a couple of hand grenades could destroy their little empire in a second.

      Stop acting like their is proper way to kidnap another man. Arrest is a legal term. It sounds nicer than kidnap. While there may have been a means to arrest men in the past, those that are arresting are just as culpable for being arrested. It’s because they are dishonorable. An honorable man follows oath and promise. A dishonorable man takes oath and then follows the orders of rich ahole strangers, also known as politicians. But you’ll never hear the union bosses complaining, unless the politician in question isn’t giving that union boss the kickback from the election bribe.

      All government workers should be fired immediately, since not one of them actually does the job they were hired to do with any effectiveness. If this site is truly “survivallife” the why the F do we need government soldiers as our pseudo protectionists (protection racket).

      Which leads to the next question: what the hell is the purpose of government anyway?

    • Raven MacHoid

      June 13, 2014 at 11:08 PM

      LCC…never underestimate the determination of a person intent on escape. It is not very difficult at all to take my hands (crossed wrists as explained) from my back and pull my legs thru and face them to the front of my torso. I do understand this is not possible for some due to size or build of their bodies, but it is easy enough to accomplish. And as an FYI I have witnessed larger zip ties than typically used in riot control situations broken by a man that stood 6’2″ tall and weighed 165lbs. Of course your option then would likely be to use a firearm to subdue the person. “Contempt of Cop” is a real and serious issue plaguing law enforcement. It has withered our law enforcement agencies into sad representations of their former selves and degraded moral support of the communities they practice in.

  2. Paul Foreman

    June 13, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Zip ties have a little “flapper” lock that fits into the “jaws” on the side of the zip tie. a bobbie pin or similiar 1/8in flat tool pushed into the lock will open the flapper and release you. Keep a bobbie pin hidden on you such as back pocket or that little pocket on your jeans, or tapped on the underside of you watch band.
    NOTE: the above advise in intended for only the honest citizen or entertainment purposes ONLY!

    • Shavager

      June 14, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      EXACTLY Paul, I’ve released them dozens of time with a small knife point or even the pocket clip that most ink pens come with to clip in your shirt pocket. Most mechanics I know who do their own “shade tree” mechanic work, use this method to save those ties for future use rather than cutting them unless the loop enclosure is large enough to cut the tie and still have some length of tie left for re-use. A small flat screwdriver like that used for very small screw heads is usually small enough to also work to release the tie lock.

  3. JG

    June 17, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    One part is unclear to me: “thread the paracord through your hands”. Does that mean around the ziptie or inside the loop?

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  13. Peter Strauss

    August 15, 2023 at 8:37 AM

    For chewybees-
    Talk about getting off topic! The article was NOT about how you got into zip ties, but how to get out of them. About 1 in 1000 LE carry zip ties. About 1 in 2 cartel members carry zip ties. And in a combat zone, everyone has zip ties, good guys, and bad guys! Put the cool aidedown, and get back to reality! Although, reading this column indicates there is hope for you.

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