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Gotcha handcuffs: Pick-proof and lightweight

Founder: "In seven years we've had people try and no one can get out of our cuffs"

By Erin Hicks
CorrectionsOne Associate Editor

As you are well aware, standard handcuffs are getting easier and easier to break out of. Gotcha Handcuffs by Taper International, based out of North Carolina, came up with a solution: Cuffs that appear to be impossible to jimmy.

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The company started out in 2004 with their new patented locking mechanism — the first developed since 1862. The company's first handcuffs were made of steel and were met with a positive reception.

However, the only problem is they weighed around 12 ounces, making them a little cumbersome and hard to use.

Always looking to improve the product, Bill Taper, founder and chairman of Taper International, parent company of Gotcha Handcuffs, began working with a chemical company to develop cuffs made from lightweight, durable materials using the same unique locking mechanism.

Photo Taper International

"We worked a number of years to develop materials so our resulting product is a composite and steel handcuff that has been tested in the lab to be 25 percent stronger than a conventional cuff," said Taper. "The standard model weighs less than nine ounces and our light weight version, which uses carbon fiber material, will be less than seven ounces," he said.

They are also tested to be pick-proof since the conventional handcuff locking mechanism can be jimmied by a comb or any thin object. "Ours replace that mechanism with a gear and the teeth on the swing arm, so you have two gears with teeth intermeshed and they stay in constant contact unlike conventional cuffs, which makes them impossible to pick," Taper said.

"In seven years we've had people try and no one can get out of our cuffs. We even had Special Forces try to get out of them and ours was the only restraint they couldn't escape from."

The cuffs were shown at three events this past year, Mock Prison Riot, AJA and ILETTA, and Taper said officers were surprised at how light they were. Another feature he said officers were interested in was the fact the cheek plates and swing arm are molded so there are no sharp edges, therefore eliminating the problem of skin abrasions and bruises on inmates.

When asked why a CO would be interested in this product, columnist Dave Young, who conducts training with Gotcha Handcuffs, said, "They have the ability to adjust from the smallest to the largest of wrist, there is a key hole on both sides and a different key is needed to open them than the standard key that "everyone and his brother" has a pair of."

The cuffs are tested and ready for production — however, the company is on hiatus as they work to perfect the manufacturing process.

It hasn't always been easy pushing through engineering difficulties, but Taper said the officers motivate him to make his dream a reality. "What kept me going was feedback from the officers, who said to me 'Man, if you can do what you say you're going to do, you're going to save lives.'"

He expects the cuffs to be available for sale around March next year.

If you have any questions regarding orders, delivery, testing and evaluation of our products please e-mail

Gotcha handcuffs and leg restraints from Taper International are the only patented geared restraints in the world. Developed for maximum protection, Gotcha
handcuffs cannot be picked, jimmied, or opened with a standard key.

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