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How to Escape from Zip Ties [VIDEO]

March 18, 2012

bound by zip ties

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In any type of kidnapping situation, your best chance to escape depends on having the time and opportunity to execute a plan. Arming yourself with knowledge beforehand allows you to wait for the best time to act without worrying about what you are going to do. When it comes to restraints, most kidnappers will use common household items such as duct tape, rope or zip ties. These items are readily available in any hardware store and won’t draw any attention to him when he purchases them. Once you are secure, he may feel safe enough to relax his attention on you, and this is when you should make your move.

How Zip Ties Work

Zip ties are long strands of plastic with ridged edges in a row along the entire length. The end of the zip tie is a box or case with a latch that catches on these ridges. When you slide the end of the tie through the box it goes in easily, but the direction of the latch prevents the tie from coming back out by grabbing on to the ridges. A kidnapper may think you are secure with a zip tie around your wrists, but there are a number of different methods you can use to get free.


This method depends on the fact that a zip tie is, at heart, a strip of nylon or plastic and can be snapped with the right amount of force. Use your teeth to pull the zip tie closed as tightly as possible, as this works best with a tight tie. Hold your hands together and raise them over your head. Bring your hands down swiftly and hit yourself in the middle, pulling your hands apart at same time you strike your body. The combined stress of hitting and pulling apart will pop the lock and release your hands. If you are tied behind your back, use this same method. Bend over, raise your arms, and bring your hands down swiftly onto your tailbone, pulling the hands apart at the same time.


Shimming zip ties relies on the design of the locking mechanism of the tie. Shimming is a method of inserting a thin object, or shim, into the case to push down on the nylon latch inside. Once the latch is pushed down it won’t catch on the ridges any more, and you can easily slide the zip tie apart. This is almost impossible to do on your own zip tie, but works in cases where you are captive with someone else.

Friction Saw

You can make a friction saw to cut right through a zip tie if you are prepared enough to replace your shoelaces with paracord. Take out one paracord lace and tie a loop on each end large enough to go around the toe of your shoe. Put one loop over one toe, slip the cord through the zip tie and put the other loop around the other toe. Pull the cord tight and pump your legs like you were riding a bicycle. In just a few passes back and forth the heat from the cord will melt the zip tie.

Your best advantage in escaping from zip ties is in getting some movement with your hands. Do this by presenting your hands side by side in clenched fists when you are about to be restrained. This gives you enough leeway between your hands that you can slip out easily. Alternately, you can present your hands with one wrist stacked on top of the other, which is more secure but should still give you room to escape. Always clench your hands as hard as you can, as this increases the diameter of your wrist.

how to escape from zip tiesThis is important information to share with any security-minded people. Please share this with your social media sites. Have you had professional or civilian experience with escaping zip ties? Can you add to the techniques here?


about the author: The Patriot

The Patriot

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