The EDC Tool Roll is a feature on Jerking the Trigger in which we profile various every day carry worthy tools. The tools shown aren’t multi-tools but rather real tools, that by virtue of their compact size, light weight, usefulness, or unique functionality, can find a place in any range kit, emergency kit, or every day carry bag.
Feel free to comment on the tools that you carry so we can all learn! The discussion on these posts has been very valuable so far.
I am not sure that Vice Grips are ever the right tool for the job (unless the job is rounding a fastener)! The flip side of that coin is that they often seem like they are the only tool for the job. The bottom line is that I use them all the time and you use them all the time. It makes sense for them to have a place in The EDC Tool Roll.
Several companies make 5″ locking pliers but these are larger than I like for a pocket tool kit. A few companies make 4″ locking pliers and one of them is Irwin in their Vice Grip line. I’ve used Vice Grip locking pliers as long as I have been using locking pliers. I trust the brand, even though they are made overseas now, so that is what I bought for my kit.
The Irwin Vice Grip 4WR Locking Plier is basically just a scaled down version of their standard curve jaw locking pliers with wire cutter. They are 4″ long from the tip of the jaws to the back of the knurled thumb screw when the thumb screw is turned all the way in. Most of the time the nut isn’t turned all the way in so they are slightly longer than 4″. Their jaws can open to just under 1″ wide.
So how do you use them? Well, a lot of different ways. I bet most people have a story about using locking pliers to get out of a jam. It could be locking onto a frozen fastener or holding parts together long enough to limp a car home. I’ve even used this pair as an improvised target hanger when I was on the range and out of staples. Like I said before, they are almost never the right tool for the job but they are often the only tool for the job.
Where and How to Buy:
There is a good chance that you can find these at your local home improvement store, automotive store, or farm supply. Most Irwin Vice Grip dealers will have a large selection of sizes on hand but the 4″ 4WR model isn’t always the easiest to find on its own (though it may be found in a combination pack). If you can’t find them indivdually, Amazon has you covered: Irwin Vice Grip 4WR Locking Pliers
I have owned some terrible locking pliers over the years so I am hesitant to stray too far from the Vice Grip line. They make a number of pliers in this size.
The 4LW has jaws designed not to round fasteners. It may be worth a look but I am concerned it might not be as versatile as the 4RW. Please sound off in the comments if you have tried them. Irwin Vice Grip 4LW Locking Wrench
The 4LN has long nose jaws which can be handy in some situations. Irwin Vice Grip 4LN Locking Pliers
See all the reviews for previous tools: The EDC Tool Roll
Do you have locking pliers brand that you prefer or another tool recommendation that fits The EDC Tool Roll? Tell us about it in the comments below or drop us a line on the Contact page.
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I carry a set of these in my side utility pocket every day and they get used every day. Can be hard to find, lots of places have Irwin’s plastic :”comfort” handle vice grips. Don’t waste money, they are crap.