The Tactical Handyman’s Toolbox: Paint Pens

Paint pens are extremely important and extremely versatile to a shooter. There are some surfaces, like smooth steel or black anodized aluminum, that a pen, pencil, or even a permanent marker like a Sharpie just won’t write on or at least won’t show well. When you come across a surface like that, only a paint pen will do.

Tactical Handymans Toolbox Paint Pen Witness Mark

Use your paint pen to:

  1. Mark magazines with numbers and distinctive marking patterns so you can identify problem magazines and identify your magazines in a crowd.
  2. Witness mark rear sights on handguns so you can tell if they have drifted or mark the center so you can easily swap rear sights.
  3. Witness mark every threaded fastener (screws, bolts, nuts, etc.) on your firearm that is crucial to proper function so you can tell if something needs to be tightened at a glance.
  4. Mark the location of various items like optics, lights, and vertical grips so that you can easily return them to the same locations should you need to remove them.
  5. Place a dab of paint onto screw threads to use it as a thread locker (like Loctite) in a pinch.

Tactical Handymans Toolbox Paint Pen Mag Marking

Numbering magazines and witness marking threaded fasteners are some of the habits of successful shooters. Those two tasks alone justify adding some paint pens to your toolbox.

6 Responses to The Tactical Handyman’s Toolbox: Paint Pens

  1. Rob Tackett September 13, 2013 at 07:36 #


    Paint marks are key to keeping all your gear running smooth. Thanks for getting the word out.


    Rob Tackett

  2. Will September 13, 2013 at 20:03 #

    Off topic, but what hand stop are you running here?

  3. Chad September 14, 2013 at 02:17 #

    Better would be how to keep paint pens from drying out. Seems they never work very well after initial use. Any secrets?

    • Matt September 14, 2013 at 06:07 #

      I don’t have a tip for you there. I have been using the same two Elmers paint pens for the last 3 years with no drying or clogging issues. I just close the caps tightly and store them upright (other wise they leak).


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