Handcuffs use an extraordinarily simple locking mechanism called a ‘warded’ lock, this makes them probably the easiest lock to pick currently in use. Now, you may ask, why would law enforcement agencies use
|handcuffs when they can be picked so easily? Simple: if those handcuffs are applied properly (and they almost always will be) you will not be able to pick them because you can’t reach the keyhole–you wouldn’t be able to open those handcuffs if someone put a key in your hand! How is this the case? When handcuffing someone, the proper way to do it is|
to put their hands behind their back, palms out, apply the handcuffs, and then double-lock them. If this is done, you can’t reach the keyhole with either hand no matter what.
Now, what if someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing handcuffs you, what if you want to do this as a magic trick? A ha, now I can help you, in fact I can show you how to pick a set of handcuffs, assuming your hands are handcuffed in front of you, in under 15 seconds, and it only takes a couple minutes to learn how. I’ve got several videos here for you: the first one shows you the quickest, easiest, and best method of getting out of a set of cuffs by using a bobby pin, the second one shows you how to get out of a set of those plastic handcuffs (aka ‘plasticuffs’, ‘flexicuffs’, or ‘flex cuffs’) that riot police like to use, and how to get out of handcuffs with your WATCH (seriously). Have a look:
How to pick handcuffs with a bobby pin
How to escape from a set of flexicuffs (aka ‘plasticuffs’)
How to pick a set of handcuffs with your watch
If you’re really interested in magic the one site I can’t recommend enough is Ellusionist–they’ve got free info., books, some of the highest quality props you can find anywhere, etc. For beginners who have a bit of money to spend, I personally recommend the Quick Start Super Bundle, or if you’re on a bit of a budget and just want to get started with something, then their DVD on How to do Street Magic is an awesome way to do that since it’s centered around basic tricks you can do on the street (bars, clubs, cafes, etc.) or in front of friends in a spur-of-the-moment kind of situation that require very few props or advanced techniques.
The best site for learning about lock picking, locksport, safecracking, etc. on the internet (I was a member here for years, trust me on this one): LockPicking101.com
If you’re interested in doing this as a magic trick and want to learn some more basic stuff have a look at one of my recent articles: Cigarette Trick How To: Make a Cigarette Disappear (no extra props needed, GREAT bar trick)