Urban E&E/SERE Survival Tools: Shomer-Tec Gear Study
31st March -2013
Author: Chief
*E&E*: def. Escape and Evasion- Military training course that teaches tested and proven escape and evasion techniques for operators that would need and use such training.

Basic E&E is taught to most "Operators"...I.E. DOD Personnel, PMCs Etc... Higher Level E&E and SERE Skills are taught to Fighter Pilots/Aircrews, Special Ops and other operators who would be considered at "high risk" for capture.
*SERE*: def. Survival-Evasion-Resistance-Escape. The training in this course includes evading capture, survival skills, and another very important part, the military code of conduct. This course is taught to operators who may be captured in the line of duty and is taught to many of the same operators as E&E. However SERE also focuses on 'Survival' and 'Resistance' whereas *E&E* primarily focuses on Military-Based Escape and Evasion.
**Note**SERE: UK definition-  Survive.Evade.Resist.Extract.

Many many forms of E&E and SERE have existed for many years before they were really "formalized" or called something specific by the military. From the survival and stealth evasion techniques used by the Krypteia of Ancient Sparta, to the insanely over-dramatized and mostly historically inaccurate Ninja of Feudal Japan, to the Spies of WWI and WWII, on to the Aircrews and Spec Ops Teams of today. The US Military version of SERE was established by the USAF at the end of the Korean War conflict (1950-1953) and the program was extended even further during the Vietnam conflict (1959-1975) to include operators from the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. With many other countries following suite afterwards.
Knowing how our military developed SERE is one thing, but to understand our current E&E/SERE Operators and what is important as far as training and equipment goes, we must look back at history, to the SERE operators that came before.

    Each year the Spartan Ephors would "declare war" on the slave population, so that Spartans who had proved themselves (citizens) could participate in the "Krypteia" without fear of blood guilt or retaliation. Sent into the wilderness with just a knife and their skills, the Spartans were expected to stalk and kill Helots at night as a part of their Education. They were instructed to take their lives, and take any food they needed. If they were caught in any of these acts, they would be punished by whipping, so stealth and covert action was paramount. As I'm sure most of you know, whipping was no picnic. There is much more historical data surrounding the Spartans and their training, but very little on the Krypteia. Many Scholars define who they were and what they did differently.
The word
'Krypteia' is defined as "hidden or secret things". They were generally considered the Spartan 'Secret Police'... and were widely feared. However some scholars only speak of the Krypteia as training for warfare. This is not to say ALL Spartans had to participate in the Krypteia though, but any Spartan who wanted to reach the highest ranks in their warrior society had to demonstrate a willingness to kill for the state at a young age. Although alot of the details of the Krypteia are ambiguous, their existence, and the fact that they operated in a stealth environment is not in question.
    Although there is a lot of Hollywood and Stigma surrounding the truth. The Ninja of Feudal Japan were highly trained in all aspects of Survival for the areas they were in and techniques for using the environment, plants, and animals to help them survive. They were constantly refining and developing new Evasion techniques to use on their enemies during covert operations. They were well schooled in Resisting the torture and interrogation techniques of the day because they could never give up their clans' location, lest they all get wiped out by the better armed and highly organized Samurai. In fact, it is reported that often times if captured, the Ninja of Feudal Japan would either take their own lives, or another Ninja from their own clan would be sent to dispatch them so they never had a chance to give up any secrets or locations. And finally, they were also strict practitioners of many various Escape techniques. Detention in Feudal Japan was different then than it is now, but there were similarities: For Example- the Samurai would use special Hojojutsu (Rope/Knot Tying)Techniques to hold a prisoner or Ninja, they also had places similar to what would be considered prisons where they could permanently keep High Value Targets, Political Prisoners, and other 'undesirables', and question them there.
    The Spies of WWI and WWII used various and different techniques and tools to aid in their SERE Practices. We wont dive too far into the techniques, but we will dive into the tools..many of which are still in use today. Some tools haven't changed at all, some are advancing as fast as computer tech. Tools like lock-picks, pick guns, shims, key cards, bump keys, tension wrenches, micro crowbars/pry-bars, and many more. There are also weapons that were used by the Spies of WWI/WWII for/during SERE-type operations. Of the weapons they used, many are still made today, but with modern materials. Weapons like: Thumb Daggers, Triangle Bladed Daggers/Knives and other Stabbing Tools...all made of Polymers like Zytel, the FRS or Folding Razor Saws which are small disposable Razor Knives with a small Hacksaw blade in them as well, Ceramic Bladed Knives and Ceramic Razor Blades that stay sharper for an exceedingly long period of time, Micro Escape Saws and Ti-Escape Rings which harken back many years and are even still in use on todays battlefields, Concealed Handcuff Keys of all sorts and in many configurations, many other types of concealed Blades, and more. The options for SERE and E&E Equipment is a list that I cannot even begin to tackle in a single article, let alone a book.

At this time many tools exist for E&E, SERE, and Covert Entry/Exit. One such company that shines in the manufacture of covert gear is Shomer Tec. They are very similar to a modern day "Q-Branch". They produce multiple types of equipment, however we will focus on the gear that fits into this article...but I assure we will be featuring more gear from their shop. Their creations take me back to my childhood reading about the gear used by the SOE and OSS of WWII, and the awesome gear used by James Bond. The Spies in WWII used some of the most innovative and Genius Gear available as we spoke about above, lots of which was designed and produced privately by small Govt Groups and Tested in the field. The chances Shomer Tec would have worked for the WWII OSS??...pretty darn good, I'd say. 
One of the coolest pieces of gear to arrive here a while back was the Ti-Escape Ring. It employs an easily wearable Titanium Ring with a channel around the inside that conceals a Micro Escape Saw that can be used in variety of fashions. (Please note in this pic, the Micro Saw is slightly bent in a few places because we tested the Shimming capability, they do not arrive this way)

We found it can and will shim 2 types of steel handcuffs that we currently have on hand. Many HC Shims are made of the same thin spring steel and are within the same tolerances as this Micro Escape Saw that Shomer Tec included with the Ti-Escape Ring. There are two well known types of HC Shims, one that is shaped similar to a key, and one thats just a small strip of steel.

The Micro Escape Saw will make a small cut in the various types of Flex-Cuffs to allow for escape, and it can also shim Flex-Cuffs too. Flex-Cuffs can be shimmed the same way as normal HandCuffs. And you can clearly see from the pics below that the Micro Escape Saw will cut thru hard and soft plastic with ease. I also succeeded in cutting myself with the MES too, so it is sharp. 

As we know from After-Action Reports, many Abductors in South America that do it for the money use disposable restraint devices like FlexCuffs or even heavy duty ZipTies. The Titanium Escape Ring can and will aid your escape from these restraint devices. and likely will not be discovered by your captors.

Deploying the Ti-Escape Ring is simple and almost self-explanatory. It can be deployed from any finger and can be had in a variety of sizes too. There is numerous places, teachers, and sources online that can teach you to shim cuffs, and we will be doing an article on it soon too.

Here is a Link to the Ti-Escape Ring:

There are also times where you may need to deploy other tools for various reasons, and there are many from the Shomer Tec Line Up. There may be a time where you find yourself with a set of actual double locking handcuffs on you. Not the best day, not the best situation, right? Un-lawful detention is not uncommon... but in our "free" country it is less common.

So what can you do, what tools does Shomer Tec make for this particular problem besides the Ti-Ring? Quite a few, but we have some favorites here.

The one we have all come to know and love is the 'Coin Handcuff Key'. Deployed from a US Nickel Coin, the Coin HC Key is absolutely one of the coolest tools in the modern day Escape Artists' toolbox. Easy to use, easy to deploy (if stored in the right spot), and even easier to carry. 

Here you can see the Coin HC Key with the key folded out.

Here is the Coin HC Key actually being used on hinged Cuffs.

A few Nickels, 10 cents... right?

Just out of curiosity, which coin is the one with the key in it?

Open Says ME!!! I know that was corny but damn, that was cool.

Here is a Link to the Coin Key (You might as well buy two or 3.you'll regret it when you get one if its your only one): http://www.shomer-tec.com/product/coin-handcuff-key-1546.cfm
Another fine tool, but we see as a disposable tool after a couple uses, is the 'Covert HandCuff Key'.  No bigger than a Quarter, and weighing almost nothing, the 'Covert HC Key' is Plastic and small, and uses exactly like a normal Cuff Key. I believe it wasn't truly meant for more than a few uses, but my gosh, how many times will you get cuffed in one day? OK I guess if youre a POW or another type of Prisoner, you might be cuffed a few more times than an Abductee... but I digress. In a situation where one would need to deploy these, it would be prudent to wait for the proper opportunity. watch and learn the patterns of your abductors. and only use your one tool when you have your BEST chance to escape the enemy.

Here is a link to the Covert HC Key (Again, you are going to want more than one): http://www.shomer-tec.com/product/nonmetallic-handcuff-key-1465.cfm
There is another aspect to E&E/SERE. Survival after Escape. One such tool that can aid in Survival after escaping captivity if a bladed tool. One of these tools is the 50-Cent Coin Knife from Shomer-Tec. One word. BADASS!! You like WWII Spy Tools? GET THIS!!

Easily deployed and extremely well made by an expert machinist, the 50-Cent Coin Knife is above and beyond the call of coolness. That's not to mention its flat out utility. This small blade is RAZOR SHARP and can be used for a large variety of survival tasks. It can also tackle every day tasks as well. It takes up no more room than the rest of the pocket change you may carry, and it weighs the same as any 50-Cent Piece. If you know survival, you know how important a blade of ANY KIND is. That's the reason experts will even make a blade out of Obsidian or Flint if they don't have one with them. Another great thing about the 50-Cent Coin Knife, the blade is replaceable and the coin can be used over and over.

I have personally fooled everyone I know with it. I am not kidding.. everyone. They are PERFECTLY machined and made to a standard I thought was long lost in the world of Covert Gear. Here is a link to the Coin Knife (At the risk of sounding repetitive, get a few. if you don't, you'll wish you had): http://www.shomer-tec.com/product/fiftycent-covert-knife-1562.cfm

Shomer-Tec also makes many other types of gear, Sap Caps, Lock Picks, the Lock Pick Card or 'Access Card', various Self Defense Tools, and more. Visit their site to see these items for yourself, and get your credit card out, if you're anything like us, you will be ordering a lot of gear. Here is a link to one of the coolest websites filled with some of the coolest gear we have seen in a long time: http://www.shomer-tec.com/department/urban-survival-tools-37.cfm

Shomer-Tec, their Designers, and their Machinists have revitalized our faith in Covert Gear QUALITY. If they can make believers out of us as skeptical as we are, they can do the same for you.   

Thank you to the Shomer-Tec Team for designing and making gear we all dream of owning, and a HUGE Special Thanks to Joel for your patience. Keep up the great work Shomer-Tec.

As a side note, some of you know we are planning a book, and if all goes correct, we would like to include some favorite Shomer-Tec Gear and some new Shomer-Tec Tools as well.   

In Closing, God forbid you should ever have to use any tools like this or need them for an emergency. but if your ever are faced with any such scenario, we Pray you will have the skills and tools necessary to survive. 

Chief and Team, out.