Would you be able to escape if your hands and legs are bound by zip-ties or duct-tape?

Being taken hostage is one of the most frightening situations – would you be able to escape your restraints if both your hands and legs are bound by zip-ties or duct-tape?

Duct-tape is the go-to restraint for most hostage takers, and zip-ties are next in line. After reading this post and a little bit of practicing, you’ll be able to quickly escape both of these common restraints.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this technique, always remember that giving up hope is the number one killer in these situations, so keep this great SEAL quote in mind at all times:

Next, remember that timing here is essential – there is no point in escaping your restraints if you’re going to be either hurt or captured immediately after, so the first thing to do is wait for the right timing.

Your opportunity to escape is either when you are alone, or when there is only one guard in your vicinity that is distracted in such a way that allows you to easily overpower them (for example, when you’re behind them).

If possible, it’s best to observe your kidnappers for a few hours and learn their routine so you can prepare for your opportunity to escape.

Click the image below to watch the video:
How to Escape Hostage Restraints








So let’s get to it!
First, there are a few things you can do while being tied, that will make your escape easier:

  1. In case of zip-ties – bring your elbows close to the sides of your body, clench your fists and bring them close together, this will create a little more space between your hands and the zip-tie.
  2. In case of duct tape – bring your elbows close together, flatten your hands and bring them close together.
  3. Legs in either case – bring your heels close together, point outwards at 45 degrees with your feet and bend your knees a little.

Now let’s see how to actually break the restraints when we spot our opportunity to escape:

We’ve covered this extensively in the book Advanced Preparation (for the hands), but here is a quick summary:

  1. In case of zip-ties – move your hands forward so your elbows are touching, flatten your hands, and wiggle them out of the zip-tie. If it doesn’t work, use the paracord in your EDC to saw it open – the full step-by-step method is described in the book Advanced Preparation.
  2. In case of duct tape – lift your hands up over your head and quickly drop them down and outward, strongly pulling your arms downward and away from your body – this will break the duct tape.
  3. Legs in either case – stand up, point your feet outwards at 45 degrees and drop down quickly into a squat. It’s better to do this with your back against a wall of some sort so you don’t lose your balance when you drop down. This will break the restraints, but if the zip-tie won’t break, use the paracord in your EDC to saw it open like described in the Advanced Preparation book.

Important note: make sure to practice these techniques at least a few times – you never want your first time to be under stressful circumstances!

How to escape the area:

  1. Try to stay hidden and not to engage anyone – hide behind doors and in dark corners and sneak away using a window, or a side exit.
  2. Use some type of decoy to buy a few more minutes unnoticed – for example, if you disable one of the guards, you can pose them as your double by switching shirts and placing them facing the wall opposite any doors or windows.

As always, the best way to survive this sort of situation is to completely avoid it:
Make sure to practice your situational awareness at all times, and raise your alert level and relocate to a public place if you spot something suspicious, like:

  1. A vehicle is following you or coming towards you – you will be able to spot this from quite far away, unlike you see on TV shows or in the movies, where a van seems to show up “out of nowhere”.
  2. Someone you don’t know approaches you, and asks for the time or directions, which might be a distraction for someone else to attack you from the side or from behind.
  3. Someone is locking their gaze on you, i.e. looking at you intently, as if planning to do something.
  4. You see something or someone suspicious more than once.

Advanced Tip: it’s always smarter to stay with some sort of team, since most kidnappers won’t try to abduct someone who is part of a group and if they do, your team will have your back.

To sum up:
Being taken hostage is one of the worst possible scenarios, so stay aware and don’t let it happen in the first place. But if all the precautions failed, remember to wait for the right opportunity and to never ever give up. Use the techniques you learned, and don’t try to be a hero – escaping is your first priority so improvise, adapt, hide, and escape.

Have YOU or anyone you know ever been taken hostage and escaped?
Tell us your story, we’d love to hear it!

Please leave a comment below – I love getting your feedback and I read each and every single comment!

Coming up…
If we have to bug-in or bug-out, there are few simple things we can do to upgrade our security level – in the next post we’ll talk about fortifying our home or bug-out location.

I can’t wait to share all of this with you,

So until then – Stay Safe!!

Your friend always,

Roy Shepard

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