A while back I picked up some used ‘Old Gen’ Patagonia L9 combat trousers in AOR2 via a certain auction site we all know and love; the type of trousers that take the Crye kneepad inserts. They had some general fading and a blown seam right in the central groin area so luckily the price ended up being less than a normal pair of G3s at retail and they were in my size; so they worked out to be a nice addition to the camouflage collection. This is both in terms of the actual pattern being comparatively quite rare to see and the potential usage and history behind a piece of apparel such as this.
I had the blown seam nicely re-done and reinforced by a bloke who’s a true craftsman when it comes to a sewing machine and military fabrics, but before I shipped the trousers off to him I made sure to have a thorough check through all of the pockets since this was one of the very few items of apparel I’ve ever bought in a used condition. I had surmised that there might be an extremely slim chance the original owner could have left something behind inside the trousers, but honestly really didn’t expect it to happen. Now granted, there’s a chance the eBay seller (who deals in a lot of similar gear) could just plant these things randomly in order to promote future business because the buyer got a cool ‘find’ one time so they’ll gamble on it happening again; so there’s no way of knowing for sure. But I think that would probably be a slightly overly pessimistic angle to take.
Anyway, the TUFF-TIE:
Since finding this one, I decided to look further in to the product. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d actually find any information, but then again the item itself isn’t sterile and as it turns out the company has an easily findable website. Interestingly they only actually make 4 products; the hand-restraints pictured being the flagship.
Their site discusses a wide range of US Federal Law Enforcement agencies which use the products and mentions military branches, but does not go into any details on that side of the house. Their main advantages are marketed as being their easy carry, easy concealment, conforming fit to reduce prisoner injury and extremely high breaking strength (800lbs); the bulk and weight vs multiple sets of traditional metal cuffs being quite evident. The braid is a nylon and the locking block is polycarbonate, meaning these things pack down to pretty much just the size of the locking block (~2 wide x 0.5 of an inch), they each weigh about the same as a couple of pieces of note paper, will resist any environmental conditions and are incredibly easy to use. If anything I’d say they’re almost perhaps a little too easy to use because they employ a 1-way slip system to lock the braids once tightened and you are not getting out of these cuffs easily; that much I can tell without trying them on for myself.
Overall, I can entirely understand how these restraints would fit perfectly in to the mission parameters for modern day SOF. With such an emphasis on CQB and capturing key members of organisations that like to blend with local populations, having a cuff system that is cheap, disposable, extremely light and super compact makes absolute sense on many different levels. An individual being able to bundle 5-10 of these things in one of the small ankle pockets on their uniform trousers and hardly notice that they’re there would be very handy indeed. Then not have to worry about taking them off when handing over detainees or constantly resupplying on bulky metal/plastic cuffs, would again, no doubt makes these a supremely useful tool in the tool kit.