Handcuffs are used by law enforcement agencies to restrain criminals or suspected criminals. Handcuffs have been used for centuries, and the designs have gradually changed to get the types available today. While every country and enforcement agency has slight variations on handcuff designs, they all use similar types of cuffs.
Chain handcuffs are the most commonly seen handcuffs. These handcuffs have a short chain between the cuffs and are relatively flexible because of the chain. The flexibility of the handcuffs and the design make it ideal for getting the cuffs on a criminal or suspect and is appropriate for anyone with larger hands.
Hinged handcuffs have a hinge that bends in the middle and does not have a chain. These handcuffs are more rigid and restraining in design because the wrists of the suspect are held closer together and movement is more limited. According to 911 Gear, hinged handcuffs are smaller than traditional handcuffs, so it is sometimes challenging for officers with larger hands to use these cuffs.
The rigid handcuff is a mix between chain and hinged handcuffs. The design has a metal block or bar between the cuffs, which is slightly more flexible than the hinged cuffs, but more restraining than chain cuffs. The rigid handcuff allows a law enforcement officer to use restraining techniques while only one hand is cuffed, making it useful for dealing with suspects or criminals that are resisting.
- handcuffs image by William Berry from Fotolia.com