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WARNING: be careful of cuff placement on your duty belt.....


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  • WARNING: be careful of cuff placement on your duty belt.....

    While in the Army as a Military Policeman, I kept my cuffs in the small of my back because they're easier to get to if you're hunched over a fighting suspect. When I joined the civilian force some 6 years ago, I adopted the same practice. Well, I found out the hard way that this is not a safe practice. Cruising around for hours on the city streets caused the cuff cases to push into the small of my back. I never really felt it, so I never thought anything of it. I got into a foot pursuit with an armed robbery suspect one day and noticed that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't run any faster than a walk. My body finally wound down to where I couldn't walk. It turns out that over time the cuff cases in my back had ruptured my L-5 disc and pinched my sciatic nerve, thus numbing my left leg. I had to have surgery to relieve the pressure.

    If you wear your cuffs on the small of your back, I highly suggest moving them to the front from now on.

  • #2
    I used to carry my cuffs off to one side, which prevented getting to them with the off hand. I moved my cuff case (double cuffs) around to the front of my belt next to the buckle, which enables me to get to them with either hand. Where i work we have some freedom on where things can be placed on a belt. But your right, a cuff case in the small of the back will get you over time.


    • #3
      Tough break TC. Hope your sugery goes well.


      • #4
        Thanks for the advice, T.C. Did surgery fully correct the problem or will it be an ongoing problem?


        • #5
          That darn L5 disk! Had my case just to the left of the small in my back TC. Between the cuffs and the black note book in my left rear pocket, overtime the L5 slipped out of it's nice little gel home! Responded to a fight in progress and slipped on newly laid sod and pop, out it came. Nothing like screaming in pain and asking the two knuckleheads to please stop stomping on eachother! Now my back goes out at least four times a year. Did the surgery help TC?


          • #6
            Jeez TC! I hope everything turns out OK for you!

            When I was in uniform, I wore two pair, one on each side in back as far out towards the sides for just this reason. When i was first coming up, we had a guy that wore his in the small of his back that fell square on 'em in a foot pursuit. It really hurt his back. They did an information memo telling everyone that this kind of cuff placement can encourage more serious injury in a fall and mess up you back over time.

            You might want to drop Caliber Press a line on this one to include in their e-mail newsletter. It might help a lot of officers.

            Hope things get better for you. Keep us posted!

            Fiat justina.


            • #7

              TC I'm sorry to hear your bad news and I hope you recover quickly. As for your advice on cuff carry this goes for off-duty small of the back holster as well, if you fall on your gun in this position you could end up with the same problem as TC. I carry cuffs in the rear with a Cuff Strap, this would be the safest way to carry them if you must carry them in the small of your back.

              stay safe!



              • #8
                Wow, this explains how I "blew" a disk pushing a stall out of an intersection. Never considered the cuff case in the center of my back to be a contributing factor.

                For all you folks asking, a discectomy is a wonderful thing! Had mine last June on the L4-L5. Also have a mild herniation of L5-S1, but no pain so they left it alone. Off duty for 35 days after the surgery. Couldn't even walk without assistance for three days following surgery. Now, however, I am 100%. I would strongly recommend the surgery to anybody that has not been helped by physical therapy.

                I never knew so many LEOs had bad backs.


                • #9
                  When I first joined I tried my cuffs at the back. I found that it really started to hurt my back due to the amount of time I spent sitting in the car. Then we were issued with the rigid "quick-cuffs" (a superb item of kit!!!) and now I wear them to the right of my belt buckle, so that my right hand hovers next to them naturaly when talking to someone. Next to my cuffs is my CS spray, again just next to my right hand. (we dont have guns in the UK...yet....) next I have a document pouch containing tickets etc, it sits where a holster would usually sit for a US cop, next to that is a mini-maglite. On the other side slightly round from the belt buckle is my radio, then on my left hip is my PR-24, and just behind that is the loop for my 3 cell maglite for night patrol. The back is totally clear, which makes vehicle work much more comfortable. I find my duty belt really heavy, and it still gives me a back ache. We are soon to be issued with an overt stab/balistic vest, which may incorperate clips for cuffs, radio, docs and baton, so we wont need a belt. The guys trialling the vests say that they ease the load on the back, but are still heavy and hot. I dont know what the answer is, but we need to carry all that kit, and the only other way is to wear some kind of light weight tactical type vest, but that would look too military and would not be popular. How do the rest of you get on with carrying all the kit around you need with you all the time??


                  • #10
                    I'm sorry for the late reply, was out playing out of town this weekend. I had what Lenny had...the discectomy. It helped TREMENDOUSLY! It's been nearly 2 years since the surgery and the only problem I have with my back now is I get spasms every now and then.


                    • #11
                      LAte reply, just got on. Have same problem with cuffs at back,. Have spent countless hours on light duty after 7 years of wearing in the back. Doctor arranged belt. Im right handed. Put key next to buckle on left followed by OC, then radio, then cuffs( basic same position as sidearm). Nothing on back. On right next to buckle put magazine traps horizontally( felt weird but removed pressure), weapon, followed by flashlight ring


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the suggestion... I have always been told to put them on the right side.. away from your pistol...but I found on the right side worked out better with keepers to keep it from getting too close to your weapon...


                        • #13
                          Yep, L-5, mind-numbing pain,

                          screaming agony, unable to walk,

                          herniated and bulging,

                          pressure on the sciatic nerve,

                          CAT scans, MRI's, nerve blocks,

                          months of PT followed by complete rupture thanks to months of PT,

                          walking with a cane,

                          mind-numbing pain,

                          surgery, 5 days of crappy hospital food and a nurse built like Mike Ditka

                          blessed morphine,

                          and months of PT,

                          sporadic spasms,

                          permanent nerve damage,

                          now I'm a walking barometer, change in weather imminent

                          weeks of waiting for workmans comp to pay the bill,

                          credit history getting raped because they're dragging their feet,

                          collection notices,

                          learned whole new set of colorful curse words after speaking to idiot W/C claims adjustor

                          did I mention mind-numbing pain?


                          • #14
                            Hey TC, good point. I learned before I got hurt.

                            Also, those of you who carry cuffs, especially the hinged, keep them in a case. I know of one officer that carried hinged in the small of his back, one side stuck under his belt, the other on the outside. While trying to subdue an assailant, he went down on his back, the outer cuff extended, jammed in the pavement and broke his back under the weight of him and the assailant. Had backup not arrived, the perp would probably have killed him. The officer is unable to work after 6 years.

                            Stay safe all!



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