Streamlight CuffMate

Streamlight CuffMate, retail $19.95 at
Manufactured by Streamlight (
Last update 04-18-09


No, the CuffMate isn't the deadly looking weapon it might appear to be from the picture shown above; it is actually a true handcuff key with a tiny but bright white LED light built right in!
It is made of a tough fiberglass reinforced polymer compound, and also comes equipped with a very beefy keyring attachment, in addition to the alloy steel key & double-lock pin.


Since I don't own a pair of cuffs - I'm neither kinky nor am I in law enforcement, I don't have a handy way to actually test the cuff key itself. But the light is useful :) Giving the body a squeeze gives off a bright white light directly in front of the key, right where you need it to illuminate the keyhole of the iron bracelets. Releasing pressure automatically turns the light off, so it can never be accidentally left on.

The CuffMate also has a pin on the other end for double locking the handcuffs once you've got them in place, thus preventing them from tightening or loosening after you place the suspect in the back of your patrol vehicle.

The key fits most common handcuff sets used in modern law enforcement, including the following brands:

The CuffMate comes with batteries installed and ready to go, but when they do eventually peter out, you'll need to change them. To do this, remove the three screws & lift off the door. Carefully remove the milky colored washer and set it aside. Holding the LED in place, dump out the batteries; it isn't a crime if the LED also comes out - that's OK.
If it does, replace it in its holder so the straight lead lies on the bottom of the case, then set two new batteries, flat side (+) down, in the chamber. Slide the washer back in place under the LED wire, replace the door, and screw back together.

This is something you probably want to do back at the station, say... on the table in the breakroom while having a doughnut. :)

Because the CuffMate's light is designed for intermittent use (while cuffing & uncuffing suspects), the batteries should last a very long time between changes. The website says they'll last "12+ hours" which is not that unrealistic, and is in line with other products using this type & size of battery.
In an intermittent duty situation such as this, 12+ hours could translate to many months of use.

The CuffMate appears to be a very durable instrument, and it has a good name behind it: Streamlight. They don't make junk, so the CuffMate shouldn't give you any guff.
It comes with a full lifetime warranty, excluding the usual suspects (abuse or mutilation). It also has a 30-day unconditional money back guarantee if it does not suit your needs.

The case is made from fiberglass reinforced polymer, and the metal components are alloy steel. Step on the CuffMate and you can almost hear it laughing at you - you can certainly see it winking back at you anyway.

The key is able to withstand several foot-pounds or more of torque - far more than is normally encountered while turning it in a handcuff lock. The body of the light appears to have been moulded around the key & the double-lock pin, and it doesn't appear that it will ever come apart even with manhandling, foot chases, and rough, frequent use.

A triangular loop is affixed to the back with a swivelling collar; this loop can be affixed to the very sturdy keyring or attached to the ring of keys you already have. The idea here is to replace your existing handcuff key, so just wear it the same way you're already accustomed to wearing your regular key. It weighs less than 0.5 ounce, so you'll never even notice the difference until you whip it out and use it.

CuffMate's light. Rated at 10,000mcd, measured at 10,056mcd.
The shadow on the right side of the beam in the pictures is from the key itself.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED in this flashlight.
USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

The LED used in the CuffMate is a smaller 3mm type, not the garden variety 5mm that is used in virtually all other LED flashlights. So the beam configuration is a bit different than you might be used to. It is more than bright enough to use as a small general purpose light, such as for making a quick check through confiscated purses & bags or for when your regular flashlight has fallen from its holster and rolled away during a foot pursuit.

The intermittent type switch, normally the bane of miniature lights, actually works out well for the CuffMate.


CuffMate kinda sorta "in use".
This picture is only to show how the CuffMate lights the area under the key nicely.

UPDATE 06-19-01:
A fan of the website was given the CuffMate for a couple of weeks to use in his job as a security guard.
Here are some of his observations & thoughts on it:

"I got the light a couple days ago. I've been using it at work for the past couple of nights. The light output is pretty good. The key will work in the Hiatts brand of handcuffs, which a few of the generic keys won't. The locking mechanism is different on Hiatts than other brands. (goes on to describe the internal mechanism)
Some of the generic keys don't work in Hiatts because the piece on the key that goes into the lock isn't long enough to engage all three plates. This one is."

"As a hand cuff key it works very well. It fits the hand nicely, and is easy to use."

"The only thing I really didn't like about the light is that the LED is on the wrong side. I can't remember who said it on the forum (Candlepower Forums), but it would have made more sense to put the light so that it helps when double locking the cuffs. When unlocking a person it's either in a lockup, or in the field there's no stress since your letting the person go, he's not going to be fighting you, you can take the time to use your flashlight, or vehicle lights. It might be possible for the LED to be detrimental, if it comes on while double locking the cuffs, the light is pointing right at your face, and if your eyes are dark adapted it could be slightly blinding. Most of the time your hand would be blocking the light though, but still it might happen."

"Basically it's a good LED light, and a very good handcuff key. If Streamlight were to put the LED on the other side it would be excellent."

Durable, unique product, great new tool for law enforcement.

Has a funny looking beam, but you get used to it quickly.
Battery changing is a bit complex.
See comments from the field tester in blue text above.

      MANUFACTURER: Streamlight
      PRODUCT TYPE: Illuminated handcuff key
      LAMP TYPE: LED, White, 3mm
      No. OF LAMPS: 1
      BEAM TYPE: Square, relatively narrow
      SWITCH TYPE: Momentary squeeze-on
      BEZEL: None
      BATTERY: 2 CR2016 lithium coin cells
      CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
      SUBMERSIBLE: Unknown
      ACCESSORIES: Heavy duty split ring
      WARRANTY: Full lifetime



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