This article was written by Harold Cox . While it is over 30 years old, I found the information to be very helpful for beginners!
For those who like realism in bondage, there is no substitute for
steel — handcuffs and leg irons. Leather and rope can both be
cut, not made secure and dangerously tight. Unfortunately, many
tops who use handcuffs are not familiar with their tools. This can
cause damage to their prisoners. If followed, the rules below will
allow tops and bottoms to enjoy their scenes more.
1. DON’T BUY CHEAP HANDCUFFS.
Most cheap cuffs can be easily broken or forced open. A good
pair of handcuffs bought in a police-supply store or ordered from
a reputable specialty supplier will cost little mere than junk cuffs
sold by porn shops. For modern-style U.S.-made cuffs, look for
those from Peerless, Smith & Wesson, Jay-Pee, or the American
Handcuff Co. The best old-style (non-swing-through) cuffs are
Hiatts (made in England).
2. DON’T GET TAKEN BY RIP-OFF STORES.
Smith & Wesson high-security cuffs cost a bit more, as do
specialty models such as hinged cuffs.
3. DON’T BUY CUFFS WITHOUT A DOUBLE-LOCK
Usually, the set-look is closed by inserting the pointed tip of the
handcuff key into a small hole on the top of the lock ease of the
cuffs; the setlock is opened by turning the key backward in the
normal keyhole. Don’t buy cuffs with lever-operated set-locks,
which are typical of cheap manufacture. Lever-operated set-
locks can easily open unintentionally and become loose and
unreliable after a period of use.
4. ALWAYS DOUBLE-LOCK CUFFS AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN
Cuffs that have not been double-locked can tighten on the wrists
if the prisoner struggles or changes position and thereby cause
damage to the nerves.
5. DON’T MAKE CUFFS TOO TIGHT.
The point of steel bondage is that it doesn’t *have* to be tight to
be secure. Don’t tighten cuffs more than necessary; as long as
the cuff won’t slip off, it’s tight enough. It should still be easy to
move the cuff on your prisoner’s wrist after it is locked and set;
assuming no tension is applied to the fastening point, the cuff
bows should not press into the skin at any point.
6. NEVER SUSPEND YOUR PRISONER BY STEEL
RESTRAINTS OR MAKE THE PRISONER LIE ON HIS/HER
This can cause serious nerve damage. Suspending the arms
above the head with steel cuffs, even with feet or body firmly
planted on the floor, can cause damage if the tension is great or
the position held for more than a few minutes.
7. DON’T APPLY HANDCUFFS BY SWINGING THEM TOWARD
THE WRISTS FROM A DISTANCE.
You can break someone’s wrist or arm that way. The outer edge
of the cuff should just touch the wrist as you apply it; a short
downward snap will swing the bow up through the locking part of
the cuff and then back down and around the wrist. Practice
snapping cuffs onto yourself until you get the technique down
right. If it hurts you, it’s going to hurt your prisoner.
8. CUFF THE HANDS BEHIND THE BACK.
Unless secured otherwise, cuffs attached in front can be a
dangerous weapon. For s/m scenes where the highest security
is less important than minimizing unnecessary danger to the
bottom, it is better to fasten handcuffs behind the back so the
palms are facing each other, making any tension on the cuffs
affect only the less-vulnerable outer sides of the wrists. Palms-
out behind the back offers better security (that’s why cops are
trained to do it that way) but is riskier and less comfortable.
9. DON’T TIGHTEN LEG IRONS.
Leg irons don’t have to be tight to stay on. If they are, the bottom
won’t be able to walk, and the pressure could damage the
Achilles tendons or bruise the ankles. Leg irons over boots are
best if the prisoner will have to move around in them.
10. KEEP EXTRA KEYS HANDY.
Nothing can ruin a scene quicker than trying to remove the
bottom’s restraints (or those you’ve put on yourself) and finding
that you can’t locate the keys.