The reasons we carry handcuffs are to:
Restrain by tightening the wrists together, so hands and arms cannot be used, while not harming the suspect.
Increase our safety from attack by the suspect.
Reduce the chance of escape of the suspect.
But what about off duty and at home.
We all carry Self Defense weapons and we should be carrying handcuffs anywhere we go. If we run into a situation where we need our weapons, we will also need a way to restrain a suspect while waiting for help.
Citizens also carry Self defense products. Some have permits for lethal weapons, but the most carry non-lethal products, like pepper spray, stun guns or Tasers. Should citizens have handcuffs available?
While it is usually best practice to get away from an assailant or would be robber to get help, there are times when handcuffs will be needed.
As an example; you catch a burglar in your home and you are threatened by him. After you use a self defense weapon, you have help to hold the suspect down. Handcuffs would restrain him/her until the police could arrive.
Choose made from materials such as stainless steel, aluminum or carbon steel. There also types that are usually nickel coated/plated, which should afford you a few years of good use before the plating starts to chip.
Make sure that they can be double locked. A double lock handcuff is placed onto a person, tightened and then a button is depressed with the cuff key. This locks the cuff so it cannot be tightened further, loosened, or easily picked.
If you need to use handcuffs, place them on the wrists of the suspect with arms behind him. (Arms in front can be used for a choking weapon, or allow easy reach of a weapon hidden on the person.) Tighten the cuffs so that the suspect cannot get out of them without using a key. Depress the double lock button with the cuff key and watch the suspect constantly until the police arrive.
You may have heard of thumbcuffs and legcuffs:
Thumbcuffs are used on the thumbs instead of the wrists. They are small, easy to carry, and can be used to restrain a suspect as described above. They are easier for a suspect to get out of and if they are used, be diligent in watching the suspect until police arrive.
Legcuffs are usually used to restrain the legs so that a suspect can walk with short steps, but would be unable to run with any speed. We used these when we had an unusually strong or violent custody. You will also see these used when defendants are brought into court. They are a good supplement to handcuffs, but I would not use them as a replacement.
Be safe out there and remember that lives are precious; protect them.