When deployed, training or otherwise out in the field doing stuff, a sniper team is required to constantly maintain their equipment. One of the standard routines that all snipers typically get into, is the matter of checking that all of their mounting screws and nuts on their Sniper Weapon System are properly torqued in order to prevent anything from coming loose at a critical time. The traditional way to do this has been to carry a T-Handle torque wrench in their deployment kit and to re-torque the critical parts daily while in the field. The normal torque wrench that is most widely used is set to 65-inch-lbs and is used for both the action screws as well as the cross bolts attaching the scope rings to the rail. But 65-inch-lbs is too much for the scope ring caps and would damage the scope tube, so a second torque wrench is sometimes used. What we are reviewing here is a small and cleverly designed set of torque wrenches that are setup very well for a deployed sniper team and much more portable and deployable than the traditional T-Handle wrench.
Fix It Sticks is a company that produces a series of small portable torque wrenches that can be used for a variety of things, and who happens to have a kit that is tailored exactly for the needs of a sniper. The original Fix It Sticks were designed by a frustrated cyclist who was looking for portability, lightweight and durability. These are all traits that we want for our deployments as well. We received a set of Fix It Sticks that included three different torque limiters that fit just right for long range precision rifles. The included limiters are 65-inch-lbs, 25-inch-lbs and 15-inch-lbs. Also included with the set is a half inch drive and sixteen different bits which include most everything needed on the various Sniper Weapons Systems out there. If you need one that is unique and not included, it should be no problem to find one to work as they are standard 1/4″ sized bits found at the typical hardware stores. There is also a nice OD green carry pouch made by the folks at Tactical Tailor that has attachment clasps for attaching to your ruck, tactical vest, or other kit. Each torque limiter is a different color (red, green or blue) and also a different size that makes differentiating them easy.
The torque limiters themselves are manufactured by Sloky, a branch of JIC Tools from Taiwan, and are packaged with the Fix It Sticks to create the torque wrench tool used here. The torque limiters attach to the T handle and then to the desired bit or drive to create a simple to use torque wrench that is smaller than the traditional T-Handle wrench. The idea behind the Fix It Sticks is to keep everything small and portable and you can see the difference in size and weight when compared to the traditional wrenches as seen below.
The weight is also a significant difference that favors the little fix it sticks, as is the fact that they break down into multiple small pieces. The T handles themselves also have spots on each end to hold different bits to further enhance the portable and user friendly nature of the tool. They are made of stainless steel for durability and they have magnets to hold the bits in place.
To test the wrenches we pulled out our FN SPR A4, which we shoot a lot as our duty rifle. (Meaning its always on duty and ready to go and gets used in classes, and testing, and for training, etc.) We assembled the T-Handle Fix It Stick wrench with the 65-inch-lb torque limiter, the red one, and tested it on the cross bolts of the Leupold Mk4 rings. The smaller size of the handle itself makes for a bit more required pressure to be applied with your hand than with a traditional larger sized T-Handle wrench. But it was not difficult at all and appeared to be accurate and repeatable, much like the traditional calibrated Seekins unit we normally use. One thing we did like is that once the torque limiter gets to the 65-inch-lbs, it does not “snap” like the traditional wrench, but rather is just ‘gives’ and continues to turn without applying any more than 65-inch-lbs to the nut. It seemed to work well. The specs on the torque limiters are to within about 5%, which for a deployment tool should be okay. There is no calibration to the limiter so if one does go bad, you have to replace it.
We then quickly changed over to the 25-inch-lb torque limiter and inserted the proper torque drive bit (star shaped) to fit the Mk4 rings used on this rifle. With the lesser amount of torque required, we did not notice any significant increase in required force. For tightening our rings we typically use an adjustable “FAT” wrench set to 25-inch-lbs, but it never seemed to be an accurate means of torquing and when we used the Fix It Sticks it ended up tightening each of the scope cap screws a little bit more than they were when tightened with the FAT wrench. In this case, I trust the Fix-It Sticks more than I do the adjustable wrench we had been using.
All and all, we are impressed with these little units. For the set of three torque limiters, two T-Handles, sixteen bits, and the carrying pouch, the MSRP is $140, which is decent amount of change. But for the peace of mind that properly, and regularly, torqueing the important parts of the rifle far out weigh the price. If you are planning on replacing some of the tools that are getting old with your deployment kit, or you need to lighten and compact your kit for mobility, then take a good look at the Fix It Sticks. We plan to make them a permanent part of our deployment tools and liked them well enough that we plan to offer them here at Sniper Central so others can add them to their kit as well.