Metallic Handcuffs Compliance Testing Program

The restraint and control of prisoners is one of the most important aspects of officer safety for both law enforcement and corrections personnel. Prisoners who are improperly or inadequately restrained pose an immediate threat to the safety of the personnel responsible for their control and custody, and ultimately, to the safety of the general public.
Metallic Handcuffs Compliant Product List

To ensure that the metallic handcuffs used by law enforcement and corrections agencies are safe and reliable, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), through the Law Enforcement Standards Office (OLES), developed a national voluntary minimum performance standard for metallic handcuffs (NIJ Standard-0307.01). This standard specifies requirements for user information, markings, workmanship, weight, dimensions, mechanical strength, salt spray corrosion resistance and cheek-plate tamper resistance.

The testing program is administered by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center-National (NLECTC-National). Manufacturers seeking NIJ compliance status for their models of metallic handcuffs must submit a sample of the model to NLECTC-National, where the user information, markings and workmanship are inspected to ensure compliance with the NIJ standard. To meet the requirements of the standard, a sample of five handcuffs is tested. For a model to comply fully with the standard, four of the five pairs of handcuffs must meet all of the requirements. Samples are tested at independent laboratories that have been approved by NIJ.

Models tested through NLECTC-National's testing program and found to comply with all the requirements of the standard are listed in NLECTC's Metallic Handcuff Consumer Product List (CPL), which is updated periodically.

The Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Advisory Council (LECTAC), which comprises executives from law enforcement and corrections agencies throughout the United States and Canada, provides guidance to NIJ on technology needs and priorities. Recently, LECTAC informed NIJ of the need for more reliable and efficient restraints for prisoner transport. NLECTC-National, in conjunction with OLES, has undertaken the following three-point effort to address this issue:

  • Seeking input from law enforcement and corrections agencies to help define the nature of the problems experienced in the field and to establish the requirements for the program.

  • Reviewing the current standard (NIJ Standard-0307.01) with the intention of developing an updated version.

  • Coordinating these efforts with handcuff manufacturers, soliciting their input on potential solutions to identified concerns.

Interested in Submitting Restraints for NIJ Compliance Testing in Accordance With NIJ Standard-0307.01?

Manufacturers interested in submitting restraints for compliance testing should first review NIJ Standard-0307.01 to ensure familiarity with testing, labeling and workmanship requirements. Second, the manufacturer should contact an NIJ-approved laboratory to schedule a compliance test. Once the laboratory has been contacted and a test date has been scheduled, manufacturers submit five samples of each handcuff model along with a letter requesting the testing to be conducted in accordance with NIJ Standard 0307.01 and notifying NLECTC of the test date and testing facility that will conduct the test. Once the CTP has the handcuffs, staff will inspect them to ensure that they meet the labeling/workmanship requirements and that the manufacturer has submitted all the essential documentation. After that, the CTP will forward the test samples to the laboratory for compliance testing.

  • NLECTC will need to have the handcuffs two weeks prior to the scheduled test date.
  • NLECTC staff will examine the handcuffs to confirm that they meet the user information, marking and workmanship requirements of the standard, and then forward the handcuffs to the laboratory conducting the testing.
  • After testing, the manufacturer will be sent a copy of the compliance test report form by the laboratory and the laboratory will return the handcuffs to NLECTC.
  • NLECTC will issue a letter of compliance to the manufacturer if the handcuffs successfully complete the testing.
  • NLECTC retains possession of the tested handcuffs in its archives.
  • NIJ/NLECTC Approved Metallic Handcuff Testing Laboratories.

Revised Standard

  • Includes minimum requirements for form and fit, performance, testing, documentation and labeling of restraints.
  • Addresses wrist and ankle restraints only.
  • Defines restraint types based on intended operational use.
 Type  Number of uses  Key Type Typical use
 Type 1  1  Keyless Mass arrest, detainment or evacuation
 Type 2  Multiple (<20)  Standard Mass arrest, detainment or evacuation
 Type 3  Multiple (~1000)  Standard Duty restraints
 Type 4  Multiple (~1000)  Non-standard For use on high-risk individuals


Alex Sundstrom, Testing Coordinator
Phone: (800) 248-2742 or (301) 240-6749