How To Escape Zip Ties

Michael Major
By Michael Major November 17, 2020 09:02

How To Escape Zip Ties

While it is unlikely that you will ever find yourself unlawfully detained with your hands secured by zip ties, the possibility does exist, and it is worthwhile to know how to free yourself.

This article is going to outline four techniques that you can practice and use to escape having your hands bound by zip ties. I suggest that you practice all these techniques because remembering how to do something you’ve done is a lot easier than remembering something in an article you skim read on your smartphone during your morning commute.

The techniques that I am about to describe should never be used in the event of being lawfully detained by law enforcement officers. In that case, exercise your Miranda Rights by complying with the law enforcement officer, remaining silent, and seeking legal counsel as soon as possible.

The Most Important Step

If you find yourself facing unavoidable illegal detention, your first step is to remain passive and present your hands to be bound. This accomplishes two goals, the first is that your captor will take your submissiveness as a sign that you are not going to attempt an escape, the second is that you may be able to dictate how you are going to be bound.

To facilitate an easier escape, present your hands to be bound to the front, not the rear. If you take the first step and hold your hands out in front of you your captors are more likely to bind you in this way rather than securing your hands behind your back.

Slipping Out

The best-case scenario is to simply slip your hands out from the zip tie. To make this method of escape happen present your hands to the front, palms down, fists clenched and thumbs touching.How To Escape Zip Ties

What this does is provides space between your wrists. When the zip tie is wrapped around the wrists and tightened your fists will prevent your wrists from being bound tightly together.

How To Escape Zip TiesIn this case, all you will need to do is rotate your fists inwards so your palms touch which will provide enough slack to be able to slip your hands out.

How To Escape Zip TiesAlternatively, you can present your hands with wrists stacked one on top of each other in an ‘X’.

How To Escape Zip Ties

Then when you want to escape you should be able to wiggle and slide the rest of your hand out.

How To Escape Zip Ties Your goal here is to get one thumb out from the zip tie which should allow the rest of your hand to be freed.

How To Escape Zip Ties This method is nowhere near as easy as the previous one and will require a lot of effort, but it should be possible to do in most circumstances.

Breaking Out

If your captors know what they are doing, then they will want your palms and wrists tight together when securing the zip tie. In this case, one method you can use is to break the ratcheting mechanism inside the head of the zip tie. The method is broken down into steps here:

Step One – Make sure you have the next steps in your escape plan mapped out before removing your bonds.

Step Two – Try to move the ratcheting mechanism to a position between your wrists which will make it easier to break. Also, get the palms of your hands facing each other which will make the maneuver that you are about to execute more effective.

How To Escape Zip Ties Step Three – Using your teeth, tighten the zip tie around your wrists. It is important to get them as tight as you can.

How To Escape Zip Ties Step Four – Raise your bound hands above your head. Take a deep breath and engage and tighten your core muscles.

Step Five – In one swift and strong motion bring your arms down flaring out your elbows and bringing your bound wrists into your upper abdomen. DO NOT HESITATE! What you are doing is driving your arms down and through your torso and if the zip tie breaks as planned your arms will continue past your sides as they are released from the zip tie. You might need a few attempts to get this technique to work.

How To Escape Zip Ties Step Six – Escape.

How To Escape Zip Ties If your hands are bound to the rear using the same technique can work but is far more difficult to execute in the event of being bound to the rear you may have to attempt a modification of the friction saw which will be covered next.

Friction Saw

You may fail at the above method for a variety of reasons. You may not have enough strength, the zip ties may be a higher grade, or they may be using police flex cuffs to secure your wrists. In any of these cases if your hands are in front you can use friction to cut the zip tie.

This method requires using the laces of your footwear, but normal shoelaces are nowhere near tough enough to be used as a friction saw. Instead, replace the laces on your shoes or boots with high quality 550 cord or Kevlar cordage. Then follow the following steps to easily escape your bonds.

If you do have footwear that has regular shoelaces still attempt the friction saw just be decisive and aggressive in your execution of the technique. What may happen is that the shoelace will weaken the zip tie enough that you may be able to break it through the above technique.

#1. Remove the laces of one of your shoes.

#2. Tie a slip knot or bowline loop on either end of the cord.

#3. Run the cord through the zip tie that you are planning to cut.

#4. Place one loop over each foot.

#5. Using a bicycling motion you want to use your legs to move the cord over one spot on the zip tie rapidly causing friction which will melt the plastic and break the tie.

If your hands are bound to the rear, then you will have to use a modification of the friction saw. Still tie two loops but secure one loop to a solid object and the other to your foot. Pull the cord taut and run the zip tie back and forth across the cord hopefully breaking it.


This method is very difficult to do on your bound wrists but if you are being held captive with other people then it is a good option to free others so they can in turn free you.

Inside the head of the zip tie is a plastic locking bar that holds the teeth of the zip tie securely in place. If you shim this locking bar away from the teeth the zip tie will loosen. To do this you need to work a thin object between the locking bar and the teeth of the zip tie.

Sometimes the pointed tag end of the zip tie can be used but fingernails, credit cards, handcuff shims, small screwdrivers, etc can be very effective.

How To Escape Zip Ties Practice makes perfect

Knowing these techniques is one thing but having practiced them is going to be the difference between a quick, clean escape and a clumsy escape attempt.

The technique for breaking zip ties should be practiced as a confidence measure so that you not only know that the technique works but have the confidence to not hesitate in using all of your strength and power to break your bonds.

The friction saw technique is challenging because tying knots with bound hands is very difficult.

The odds of being kidnapped or unlawfully detained are exceptionally low but there are countries in which kidnapping is commonplace. Knowing how to escape from zip ties is an insurance policy against unlawful detainment and is one that is easy to learn and a worthwhile technique for children to learn because, although abductions are rare, they are more likely to happen to children than adults.

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Michael Major
By Michael Major November 17, 2020 09:02
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  1. TAL November 17, 15:57

    Good to know, but if we’re all in this type of scenario, I’m sure we’ll be surrounded by foreigners in blue helmets, with auto weapons & cattle prods.

    Then we’ll all be treated to a nice long train ride, with the promise of a nice relaxing shower at the end of the line!

    Don’t be fooled Folks! If you ever allow yourself to be put in this type of situation……………..GAME OVER!
    Liberty or Death!
    When they try to take Our Liberty, THEY DIE!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Garagetinker November 17, 17:38

    I’m sorry Tal but I can’t agree with you. I don’t believe it’s “game over” for the captive until the captive is actually dead. As long as a captive can draw breath and has their mental faculties about them then they always have the ability to effect escape.

    Reply to this comment
  3. jpurp3 November 17, 18:55

    they don’t use one tie they use two loop ties

    Reply to this comment
  4. Patriot November 17, 20:12

    I don’t trust my government, but I still love my country and I took an oath to protect it from all enemies foreign or domestic.

    Reply to this comment
  5. T November 17, 21:28

    I agree Tal . This election could be blue + helmets with red star on them. I hope not.

    Reply to this comment
  6. zeroturnzed November 18, 00:16

    Raise your zip tied hands above your head and throw them down forcefully. Your arms will naturally try to separate which apply horizontal force also breaking the bond.

    Reply to this comment
  7. IvyMike November 18, 01:33

    May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. And may your kidnappers always be considerate, and bind your wrists loosely.

    Reply to this comment
  8. red November 18, 05:56

    Most folks who get plenty of arm exercise should already have good wrists. I try to carry an old credit card with a razor blade glued to it in my back pocket under the wallet. A little tape keeps it from cutting me, and while they might grab a wallet, they don’t look farther. Small, but handy. niio

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  9. Grumpy November 18, 13:26

    I always have a straight pin in the heels of my shoes and 1 stuck in the belt to use for shimming. This also works for regular handcuffs if they are not double locked. One of the first things the taught us in MP school.

    Reply to this comment
  10. John B November 18, 15:14

    I noticed all of the methods involved had your hand to the front. What if your hands are behind your back? You could still have some ability to fight if your hands are to the front but not if your hands are behind you’

    Reply to this comment
  11. Spike November 18, 16:18

    What are the chances of breaking your wrist trying to escape. These methods are well known enough that I think most captors would use heavy zip ties.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck November 18, 19:01

      Anyone with any experience always restrains the hands behind the body. Want to immobilize against this sort of activity, zip tie the zip-tied hands to the belt or a belt loop. No belt or loops, cut a hole below the waistband and slip the zip tie through that hole and around the hands.

      Don’t need prisoner mobility, zip tie the feet crossed over and then zip tie the feet to the hands. Run the zip tie going to the feet to the hands under the belt or through the belt loops or through the hole under the waistband.

      Okay, Houdini, time to go into your act.

      All of the methods mentioned for escape is the reason for having prisoners strip to their underwear before restraining them. The snowflakes scream and cry when the troops do that, but there is very good reason for it. Actually a better course is to strip them nekked but that makes the snowflakes get hysterical.

      Fortunately in an EOTW situation, most of the snowflakes will have melted.

      Reply to this comment
      • IvyMike November 19, 00:08

        Just spent a week primitive camping, never been happier to get back to bed, plumbing, and HVAC. Might be turning into a snowflake, hoping the EOTW doesn’t come around soon. Need to add squats to my workout.

        Reply to this comment
      • red November 19, 06:42

        LCC: Now that’s an unpleasant thought, snowflake sludge. niio

        Reply to this comment
  12. Captain zero November 19, 08:32

    Don’t forget the Suffocation bag lock tightly around your neck and the Mitten cuffs can’t see can’t breathe don’t have your hands to be able to move your fingers locked into a train shackles around your neck your wrists your midsection and your legs train tracks to the processing camp into the chipper shredder squirts you right out into the hog trough then they sell the pigs Flinch meat back to the people nice ride on that train it happened before and it’ll happen again when good men do nothing today’s generation will be too busy looking at the palm of their hand to realize that’s going on right now look how many people disappear in America every year never to be heard from again Rex 84

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