OFFICER Labs: ASP Sentry Handcuffs Review

July 16, 2024
OFFICER's team field tested the ASP USA Sentry Handcuffs and found them 100% field rated.

It may come as a surprise, but handcuffs continually evolve. It is not a fast evolution, but if you look back, handcuff design and materials recently changed in noticeable ways. In today’s world, the evolution is more subtle—as compared to the change from iron to steel—but meaningful just the same. Most recently, ASP USA released a new line of handcuffs: Sentry cuffs.

This article appeared in the May/June issue of OFFICER Magazine. Click Here to subscribe to OFFICER Magazine.

When they were first released, it was the chain-link model and, as a veteran law enforcement officer, I saw the movement and flexibility they sometimes still allowed those arrested. My first question then was, “When are the hinged handcuffs coming out?” ASP already had them in the works, and they were released shortly after the chain-link model.

For the purposes of this test and review, ASP sent two pair of the Sentry Handcuffs—one chain-link and one hinged, one Exo-S Handcuff case and one Blue Line Clip Key. For the purposes of testing, that is all that should be needed—except for the subjects to put the handcuffs on and take them off of.

For field testing, I took both pair of handcuffs, the key and the case and used them all in a refresher course at the local PD on arrest and search techniques. The curriculum, understandably, was proper application of the handcuffs, proper removal and how to use them as a pain compliance tool if the subject became resistant or combative. ASP also offers its own handcuff training to law enforcement officers and agencies.

Prior to the course, I reviewed the characteristics of the ASP Sentry cuffs with the instructional staff and got approval to receive comments from the student officers when the class was completed. Several of the instructors were surprised to learn about the design and materials differences in the Sentry cuffs as compared to other popular cuffs on the market.

Some of the design features I felt compelled to mention were: 1) The Sentry cuffs are manufactured from stainless steel with a bead blasted finish as compared to the more common nickel steel with a polished finish. It had been my experience that the stainless steel with this type of finish operated with a smoother feeling of rotation; less gritty is the best way I can put it. 2) Sentry cuffs didn’t have the usual rough edges of other cuffs made with the same stamped/layered steel assembly method, but instead had rounded edges; something not found in typical stamped cuffs. 3) There was no break-in period for the cuffs; they moved smoothly throughout rotation immediately out of the box.

Through the class, the handcuffs were put onto/taken off of about fifteen different student officers and handled by the same number in application. Virtually every officer who handled the cuffs agreed that the rotation action was the smoothest they had experienced in a new pair of cuffs. Several said the smoothness wasn’t something they’d experienced with other manufacturers’ handcuffs until they’d been “well broken in,” with that time period generally identified as over a year.

There are some unique design/construction elements that are important for officers to be knowledgeable of such as the dual-side keyways and double locks; forged (not stamped) bows with flat contact areas, and the I-Beam inspired profile of the double strands that give them their rigidity without adding unnecessary bulk.

Along with testing the cuffs, as a side-effect of use, the Exo-S case and the Blue Line Clip key were also tested. The Exo-S Handcuff case for Sentry cuffs works differently. Describing it in the simplest way, it’s got a compartment at the bottom that the hinged/chained end of the cuffs fits into, while the “bracelets” fold together and are secured at the top by a sliding lock mechanism.

While ASP has always been known for premium products, Sentry cuffs allow an officer/agency to get top-ofthe-line cuffs at a price comparable to other popular handcuff brands. At the end of the day, everyone agreed that ASP USA hit a home run with the design, materials and features. OFFICER is proud to award ASP USA our “Tested— Field Rate” Seal of Approval for the Sentry Cuffs.

About the Author

Lt. Frank Borelli (ret), Editorial Director | Editorial Director

Lt. Frank Borelli is the Editorial Director for the Officer Media Group. Frank brings 20+ years of writing and editing experience in addition to 40 years of law enforcement operations, administration and training experience to the team.

Frank has had numerous books published which are available on,, and other major retail outlets.

If you have any comments or questions, you can contact him via email at [email protected].

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