Tag Archives | The Tactical Handyman’s Toolbox

The Tactical Handyman’s Toolbox: Tape

Every Tactical Handyman knows that a little duct tape, properly applied, can fix just about anything. However, every Tactical Handyman also knows that the one-size-fits-all solution isn’t always the best one. When it comes to tape, you can save yourself some headaches by keeping a few different types on hand.

Tactical Handymans Toolbox Tape

Duct tape is a good all-around tape that I find most useful for repairs or marking items. It is available in a number of colors including camo patterns from local big box stores. It even works as a replacement for medical tape in a pinch. No survival or EDC kit is complete without it. Its biggest strength is its versatility and availability but it deteriorates fairly quickly and leaves a lot of residue.

Masking tape is a must have in the Tactical Handyman’s tool box. It is great for its intended purpose, masking off painting projects. I use it to ensure that optics and sights don’t get painted when I paint a rifle. It is also perfect for use as a label if you are organizing gear. I typically write on it with a Sharpie or other permanent marker and find that the labels I make this way last pretty much indefinitely for indoor use. Its biggest strength is also its biggest weakness. It is designed to peel away easily. It also retains water and gets soggy fairly easily.

Electrical tape or vinyl tape is still widely used by Tactical Handymen everywhere but I have given up on it for everything but actual electrical projects. I have replaced it with Battle Systems Vinyl Tape, Coyote Brown. Battle’s Systems’ tape is heat resistant, stretchy, durable, and it bonds well enough. It also doesn’t leave a ton of residue or turn to goop in heat and humidity. It is excellent for strap management, silencing rattling gear, even providing some water resistance to containers, and more. I use it constantly.Battle Systems Vinyl Tape, Coyote Brown Webbing WrapBattle Systems Vinyl Tape, Coyote Brown on Tin

One of the best ways to improve your recoil control is to improve grip and one of the easiest ways to improve grip is the addition of some strategically placed grip tape. I really like 3M 7635NA Safety-Walk Tread Tape. It doesn’t shed much grit, stays put fairly well, and it comes is various handy sizes. I usually just get the 2″ wide roll. I use it on handgun grips, the top of the a handgun slide in front of the rear sight to aid in one hand manipulations, knife clips, and more.

Even good old “Scotch Tape” is handy to have on hand. My favorite use for it is as a diffuser and lens protector.

Of course there are other types of tapes that are handy to have around. What types of tape do you keep on hand and what are some applications for it?

The Tactical Handyman’s Toolbox: Thread Locking Compound

Listen to me, my children, as I pass down the wisdom of all the Tactical Handymen before me. When it comes to guns and gear – if it has threads, it gets Loctite (or a similar thread locking compound). The only exception is when the manufacturer says otherwise. Recoil can and will loosen threaded fasteners over time. Thread locking compound can prevent that from happening.

Most manufacturers color code their thread locking compound. The blue stuff is all you need for most applications, but if the part will be subjected to high heat, go with the red stuff or some other product intended for use with high heat.

Tactical Handymans Toolbox Thread Locker

Use thread locking compound on:

  • Optic mount screws
  • Flashlight mount screws
  • The set screws on your handgun sights
  • Sight adjustment set screws
  • Grip screws on your carbine
  • The screws that hold your holsters to their belt interface or shroud
  • Almost anything with threads that would ruin your day if it loosened
  • Seriously, use it – a lot

Don’t use thread locking compound on:

  • AR-15 receiver extensions/buffer tubes (these should be staked at the castle nut)
  • The nut on a Larue Tactical QD lever
  • Anything you need to be able to unscrew later
  • Anything that the manufacturer specifically states not to use thread locking compound

No one wants to deal with threaded fasteners that back out. At best, you will have to re-zero an optic costing your time and money. At worst, something could fail you at a critical time. Please go get some thread locking compound and add it to your toolbox.

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.

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