Hardware Talk: Real Avid Smart Torq Wrench

I still remember my late father teaching me about engine work: rebuilding carburetors, the proper sequence of tightening lug nuts or the intricacies of various engine parts.

And the mysterious tool known as a torque wrench.

Firearms threaded fasteners didn’t receive such care back in the 1960s. Back then, tight was tight. Now, we know better. There’s a proper torque level for screws on your firearms, be they action screws or optics screws. And those numbers aren’t arbitrary. They matter.

Real Avid, as we all fully expect, has an answer. Their Smart Torq wrench isn’t sturdy enough to reassemble a Ford Windsor 351, but I haven’t had to do that since 1983. However, what it offers are useful things to tinkering gunners.

First, it’s calibrated in inch-pounds, so you can tighten all the various fasteners on your firearms, and not over-torque them. Trying to coax a foot-pound wrench into delivering 3 pounds (36 inches) can be nerve-wracking. (You know how I know this. And if you don’t know, then you don’t want to know.)

real-avid-smart-torq-wrench
The settings are easy to set, easy to read and easy to hear when you’ve reached the proper torque setting.

And the settings are easily adjusted, audible and can be read at a glance. It has its settings in increments of 1 inch-pound, which is another bonus. You don’t have to split the difference, or flip a coin, between 5-pound settings, for example. The range is from 10 inch-pounds up to 70, which covers pretty much everything on a firearm I’ve ever had to tighten.

The working end of the Smart Torq is a hex-socket, so you can use whatever bit you need. All sizes, designs and types are yours for the selecting out of an array. And one more detail: There’s an included 90-degree handle you can use to push or pull the wrench until it’s up to torque, and use your other hand to simply keep the wrench firmly in contact with the screw.

The Real Avid Smart Torq comes in its own zippered storage container, with the 90-degree handle and a starter selection of a dozen driver bits. Since it’s a standard hex-socket, the entire big-box hardware store selection of bits is available as you need them.

Speaking of sturdy, if the Smart Torq has one fault, it’s that it’s not pocketable. It is perhaps a bit big to have in a gear bag at the range, unless your range sessions are like mine: Pack like you’re leaving forever (sometimes it feels like that.) For me, the Smart Torq is going to be a bench tool and not a range bag tool. But that’s fine, because that’s where most of my scope mounting, and stock-to-action assembly, is done.

So, the Smart Torq takes its place on the bench next to the racks of screwdriver, Allen, torx and other bits, ready to be used in assembling the next project. And you’ll find the entire kit with a street price of about $80. It’s not super-cheap, but what you get is certainly worth the money.

Oh, and carburetors? They mixed air with gasoline in the feed system of an internal combustion engine, and when in tune things were great. When not, performance and mileage sucked. I don’t know that there has been an engine made for a U.S. car with a carburetor since 1990. In this case, retro isn’t cool.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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