I thought I would stop in and add some new stuff I've come across in the past while. Bear in mind that while most of the following photo content is geared towards escape and evasion that this type of belt system makes an excellent EDC addition. The vast majority of us aren't very likely to ever really need this sort of gear as none of us are James Bond so if you go through with getting a similar belt, some basic survival related items would probably serve you better and be used more often than a plastic handcuff key. Though on the topic of E&E gear, the Diamond wire saws you see are normally listed at $5 or so a piece, you can get 10pc sets of Diamond jeweler’s files for about $8 and the file length is almost double. You could cut them in half with a rotary and have twenty of them for way less than these sites are selling them for. The same goes for the handcuff shims, get some .5 millimeter spring steel stock which is wicked cheap and cut them out yourself, you can make dozens of them for less than the cost of a happy meal.
For escaping zip ties here's a few common items that work very well speaking from personal experience. I've been fascinated by Harry Houdini and "escapeology" as its commonly called now since I was a kid and this takes up some of my free time. Larger zip ties are easier to shim/pick than smaller versions because the ratchet and area it functions is bigger and allows more room for a tool to manipulate it. A simple safety pin is very effective at opening these, just press the pin between the ratchet and the other section of the tie and a tiny bit of force will allow you to open the tie effortlessly. The only exception is if they are on VERY tight, so tight that they will cut off circulation. The problem is that the pressure keeps the ratchet pressed into the teeth making inserting your improvised tool much more difficult.
Even so, with a little patience you can still free yourself, sometimes attacking the ratchet from the side and wiggling the safety pin between the two operating pieces works best. This is also simple with any sort of pin, sewing needle or similarly thin and pointed piece of steel. There are only two ways to shim the ratchet of zip ties, directly on from the front or starting at one side and levering inwards to get the tool between the ratchet and other zip tie section. Technically you could attack the mechanism from the "underside" that is against your skin but having enough room, the freedom of movement and an appropriate tool makes this less than effective. The time required is an order of magnitude greater than any of the other picking/shimming or cutting methods. If you are somehow unlawfully restrained by zip ties then time is precious and wasting it attempting to escape isn't advisable. Bobby pins simply don't work unless you remove the little plastic end caps and those can be a bitch to get off sometimes. You could just bend them back and forth to break em off but that wastes time. Even if you get one off they aren't the best tool in the world, I've tried.
Any slim, pointy wedge will work, most pocket knives and their variations will do nicely as a knife blade is just a very finely ground wedge. On the topic of actually cutting the zip tie instead of attacking its locking mechanism this can take some time depending on if you are bound with your hands in front of you or behind your back. The difficulty with picking zip ties from behind is MUCH greater than with your hands in front where you can see what you are doing and have much improved freedom of movement. As whomever has restrained you will most likely do so with your hands behind your back this moves us out of the shimming/picking area of techniques and into the world of cutting directly.
To address the small ceramic, carbide or steel razors you commonly see with online E&E kits such as those pictured here, they just aren't very helpful. Don't get me wrong, any tool is infinitely better than no tool at all however when choosing any tool, you want one that will do the job as effectively as possible. Knives will do the job but require sawing and this again, takes time. The tiny size of these razors means there is NO secure handle, now that's bad because you might hurt yourself but more importantly, you can't GRIP the blade well enough to apply the force necessary to defeat the tough plastic material. In general, as far as knives go depending on your range of movement and the type/size of blade you have to work with, escape time is measured in minutes. On the other hand two tools that will allow you to escape from zip ties in seconds whether your hands are in front of you OR behind your back are scissors and V shaped cutters. There are excellent cigar type folding scissors on the market but they are cost ineffective as they range from $40 and up. On the other hand you can pick up folding pocket scissors for less than $10 at Sears or similar hardware store that easily fit on a key chain and are well suited to restraint escape.
The V shaped cutters are by far the most effective line cutters for two reasons. First, they are constructed with individual razor blades instead of a ground and sharpened notch which is almost always conically shaped (a crescent or half moon). The tiny razor blades are much thinner than a one piece ground blade that is part of a larger tool and the second, most important reason they are so effective is their shape. As material is pulled through the opening of a V shaped cutter it encounters cutting force on both sides that magnifies as the material is pulled deeper into the blades. A V shaped cutter will go through even thick zip ties with a single pull but before you can do this you need to add a length of paracord sheath, Kevlar line etc to the tool to allow you to manipulate it easily. This can then be looped over a shoe or your bare foot or something in your environment, one simple pull and you're free. You can also attach one somewhere to your shoelaces and tuck it under the tongue or however so it is concealed. This gives you an easily accessible tool that can be accessed with your hands behind or in front of you and remain concealed until the moment you are ready to use it without having to remove it from a hidden location.
The scissors are also very effective and can be easily utilized whether your hands are in front or behind your back, you just need to have them concealed in a way that you can get to them without drawing attention. Medical tape is excellent for this purpose and will stay adhered to your skin for several days without maintenance, even after showering. Cloth med tape is by far the most effective and user friendly tape for securing items directly to your body in my experience and while it stays on rather well, it comes off without too much fuss. It may sound extreme to tape something directly to your skin but for those folks who may actually need E&E gear ie. active military, overseas contractors etc its something you may want to consider as you might be relieved of or even lose your shoes/pants or what have you.
Hacksaw blades can do the job but are a bit of a pain, make a good deal of noise while using them and only metal cutting blades are worth anything. The tightly spaced teeth work best, any other type will just frustrate you. My best time at cutting through large zip ties while restrained is 3 minutes and 24 seconds, as opposed to two - five seconds with a mechanical pencil, less than three seconds with a safety pin and about two to four seconds with any number of small knife blades when shimming. So... while useful for other things, hacksaw blades aren't nearly the best choice for zip ties. I've not yet used a diamond file to try to cut through but I've got some coming to me soon as I use them often for filework (decoration on the spine of knives) with the knives I make so I'll update when I've tried it.
I even tried breaking some zip ties with the bend method, back and forth over and over while not restrained. I did this test 18 times, the fewest number of complete bends necessary was 23 for total breakage and the highest was a surprising 67 but this was a fluke as all other tests were much less. The average came out to 33 complete bends to break a large zip tie, as this is next to impossible to do even once while restrained it simply isn't viable. One interesting thing to note is that a clean, very shallow cut to the outside of the zip tie facilitated breakage in only one or two bends, several times the tie broke cleanly in two with just one bend. Now you'd have to make a cut to the zip tie for this to be possible in which case you probably have some sort of tool which makes the technique rather obsolete but you never know. Its kinda hard to bend the zip tie in half even with your hands in front of you but CAN be done using your teeth however I don't recommend it.
There are a number of things that aren't strictly E&E related that would be useful both in an evasion or merely survival situation that this kind of belt system would be great for carrying. Granted they would be small quantities/size items but would remain on your person regardless of forgetting/leaving behind/being separated from your other EDC gear ie. bags, backpacks, organizer or whatever. You would have whatever you crammed in there so be creative. I wear a belt every day even though its not to keep my pants up and I'm sure a lot of you do as well, regardless whether you need it for that reason so give it some consideration and share your experiences about it, good or bad.
Here's a few things that could make your time "there" more survivable or just more comfortable.
photon micro light/batteries
iodine drops in a key chain pill capsule
motrin, pepto, tums - in some waterproof container or at least a tiny ziplock
neosporin, also in a pill capsule, include an application tool like a toothpick, etc
I don't know why this second one has all the blank space at the bottom, I edited it three times and it won't go away, viewed on my computer it isn't there so go figure.
This image simply DOESN'T want to display despite meeting the requirements so here's a linkhttp://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b340/ ... eltkit.jpg
This image isn't displaying in its entirety so here's a link toohttp://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b340/ ... fa2f_h.jpg
For some reason three files would NOT upload despite being under the maximum size nor would they link saying they were still too large, whatever, hope you enjoy!