The Anti-Kidnapping Band is designed to allow you to carry escape tools in your watch band. It's a wearable insurance policy for military personnel, foreign aid workers, and journalists in conflict zones, as well as for travelers in countries with a high risk of kidnapping for ransom.
The A-K Band allows the wearer to escape from rope, duct tape, zip ties, and handcuffs.
I designed the A-K Band because I plan on traveling to South America this summer, and like many white guys with a mediocre command of Spanish, I was worried about getting kidnapped.
One second a prostitute is nibbling on my ear, then boom! The door is kicked in by two men wearing green fatigues and smelling of the jungle and contempt, and I end up but-ass-naked in the trunk of a car, on a one-way trip to the local FARC outpost.
Based on that theoretical, I wanted an escape kit that I could carry even when I'm not wearing any clothes - which pretty much necessitated some type of wearable kit.
The typical solution is found through a "survival bracelet" with a built in handcuff key and other do-dads. However, these type of bracelets are well known, and immediately ping off anyone whose dialed in. I wanted something with absolutely no profile.
Like many of my gear designs, this one came to me while cracked out on ice coffee at 5am. I was experimenting with ways to glue or sew a handcuff key into my watch, none of which worked to my satisfaction. Then, I noticed a spare bit of bike inner tube left over from making Ranger Bics. I slipped the section onto my watch band, and I instantly had a discreet little pouch. The A-K Band was born.
The band contains a ceramic razor blade, a polymer handcuff key, and a 4' Kevlar friction saw:
The razor goes on the outside of the band, while the cuff key and friction saw go against the wrist. When worn, it's comfortable and very low profile.
With practice, you can use the A-K Band to escape from pretty much any type of restraint.
Let's start off with the worst-case-scenario: Handcuffs. This is unfortunately an increasingly common threat. In areas like Iraq and Afganistan, insurgents have been known to steal police equipment and set up fake roadblocks as preludes to abduction. Meanwhile, in areas of South America, corrupt police officials have been known to conduct kidnappings themselves. In either instance, the attackers will likely use handcuffs.
Luckily, the vast majority of the worlds handcuffs can be opened using the universal polymer handcuff key found in the A-K Band.
Defeating handcuffs is largely a function of purchasing multiple sets (Peerless, S&W) and learning how they feel. With practice you will be able to brush your fingers against the cuffs, and instantly know what model they are, and where the key hole is located.
Practice makes perfect, but so long as you're limber and have good hands, you'll be surprised at how fast you'll be able to learn this.
Moving on to more typical threats, the Kevlar Friction Saw is ideal for dealing with the kidnapper du jour: Zip Ties. Since zip ties are actually pretty easy to break out of, I decided to use Flex Cuffs for this demonstration.
The saw comes pre-tied, allowing you to quickly slip knot the cord over your foot:
The trickiest part is getting the cord over the cuffs, and then onto your other foot. Daily stretching - not just for yoga.
Now, it's time to "bicycle saw" through the flex cuffs. By lifting your feet up and down in a alternating pattern (like riding a bicycle) the cord slides rapidly across the cuffs, which generates enough heat to melt through the plastic. Here's a typically Gearward, low-production film:
When bound with duct tape or rope, the exact same technique is used.
Here's an example with both my hands and feat wrapped with 4' of duct tape.
After removing my watch, I access the razor blade:
The ceramic razor slices through the tape easily:
With my legs free, I can then friction saw through the tape in my wrists:
Unlike most of my designs, I hope you never have to use your A-K Band. However, if you're traveling in an area with a high risk of kidnapping, I think it's a worthwhile piece of kit to have as part of a layered SERE plan.
The A-K Band is assembled in the USA out of US and Canadian parts. It comes with a carry band, ceramic razor blade, universal polymer handcuff key, and pre-tied 4' Kevlar Friction Saw.
**Watch not included**