The COVID-19 pandemic has led to disposable restraints being considered essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for law enforcement and corrections. An increasing number of agencies are reevaluating their policies to safely handle suspects while protecting officers by utilizing disposable restraints, protective gear and hand sanitizers. The use of disposable restraints eliminates the risk of transmission of pathogens from contaminated handcuffs.The US DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program will provide funding for equipment,including law enforcement and medical PPE.
Disposable restraints aren’t without their downsides. If incorrectly applied, they’re more uncomfortable for the subject being restrained and more likely to lead to injury. Care must be taken to prevent over tightening. Most models cannot be double locked, increasing the risk.
Disposable restraints are more easily defeated than standard cuffs. Techniques employed against polymer restraints include breaking the restraints (the ratchet is weakest spot), shimming, melting, use of a friction saw, or simply slipping out of them. These techniques are common knowledge on the street. Manufacturers have attempted to address these deficits with varying degrees of success.
Milspec Plastics Cobra Cuffs® disposable restraints are among the best. Of compact tri-fold design, they’re easy to carry and use. Officers can carry multiple sets for use in in situations where multiple arrests may be anticipated. And they can be double-locked.
Cobra Cuffs are made of specially engineered cross-linked rubber polymer, with a tensile strength of over 425 pounds (657.71 kg), The rubber-based polymer isn’t only strong and UV resistant, it also adsorbs shock and stress during a struggle. Cobra Cuffs are designed to work well in extreme cold or dry, hot climates, from –20° F to 120° F (-29° C to 49° C).
There are other pluses to the rubber-based polymer. The use of rubber helps prevent the stress cracking common with nylon ties when exposed to heat, cold or folding/creasing. It also resists brittleness and has a superior shelf life. Cobra Cuffs have a Five-Year Quality Guarantee for all colors.
Cobra Cuffs are the only disposable restraints with a patented double lock that prevents over tightening. The double lock reduces liability, provides added security and makes the cuffs impossible to shim. You simply push in the integral double locking clip to double lock the cuffs. They also feature riveted pull straps that are designed to give tactical leverage, allowing for easy application and more control and distance than standard metal cuffs.
Cobra Cuffs come fully assembled and folded. Folded, the cuffs measure 7.5 inches (19.05 cm) in overall length and have an overall width of 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) and an overall depth of 0.97 inches (2.46 cm). The straps are 0.56 inch (1.42 cm) wide to prevent them from cutting into a suspect’s wrist.
Cobra Cuffs fit easily in carrying pouches. Mil Spec Plastics offers nylon restraint pouches to carry Cobra Cuffs. Three folded Cobra Cuffs will also fit in a standard 30 round 5.56 NATO magazine pouch. They can also be stored open on standard PALS webbing for rapid deployment.
Cobra Cuffs are available in four standard colors — Black, Tan, Green and White. Custom colors in Orange, Yellow and Pink also available. Different colors may be employed as a color-coding system to classify prisoners based on gang membership, offenses committed, transport code, etc.
Re-usable Trainer Cuffs for training only are available in Blue or Red. The Trainer Cuffs allow officers to use Cobra Cuffs for training in proper techniques and procedures, without the cost of wasting actual Cobra Cuffs. The training restraints lack the double lock. The straps simply pull free with minor resistance.
Cobra Cuffs are removed using any standard disposable restraint cutter. Milspec Plastics also offers it patent-pending Cobra Cutter™ Keychain safety cutting tool. Available standard in Black, Yellow and Tan, it functions as a key chain and safely cutter to release Cobra Cuffs and other disposable restraints, as well as an emergency seat belt cutter. Custom colors and printing available.
To Sum Up
To sum up, I am very impressed with design and strength of Milspec Plastics Cobra Cuffs. They’re well-suited to law enforcement applications. In my opinion, you would be hard pressed to find any better disposable restraints.
Cobra Cuffs have been issued a National Stock Number (NSN) — NSN 8465-01-676-2327. They’re currently in use by the US military worldwide.
Cobra Cuffs are NTOA Member Tested and Recommended. MSRP is $24.99 (6-Pack of Cobra Cuffs or 3-Pack of Trainer Cuffs) to $325.00 (Box of 100 Cobra Cuffs).
Milspec Plastics is also offering PPR (Prevention, Protection & Response) Agency Kits that include Cobra Cuffs, Cobra Safety Cutters, Combat One Foam, and 5 mil thick medical-grade nitrile disposable gloves. Combat One Foam is a military grade all-purpose skin cleanser/sanitizer, conditioner, and protector. MSRP varies depending on size (quantity),
Milspec Plastics offers a handcuff certification course “Principles and Tactics of Handcuffing using Cobra Cuffs Disposable Restraints” which includes standard law enforcement procedures using Cobra Cuffs.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
Photos courtesy Milspec Plastics.