At some point last autumn, I found myself inundated with all manner of riflescopes, mounts and reflex sights. Some I bought for personal use and others were things I was/am reviewing. It got to a point where mounting and installing these things across various rifles and handguns with the supplied Torx wrenches wasn’t cutting it any more. Not only because using small little wrenches can be cumbersome, but also because there is no way to properly gauge how much torque a mounting screw receives from a tiny hand wrench. So I found myself rummaging through the aisles of one of the local big box outdoors store next to the shelf with all the scope rings and mounts and I decided to take a chance on the most basic general purpose Fix-It Sticks optics mounting tool kit.
At the time of my purchase, I wasn’t terribly familiar with Fix-It Sticks or their products other than hearing about them in passing. Although this set was not the cheapest option on those shelves, I took a chance on it solely based on the kit’s form factor. The entirety of this basic tool set fits in small carrying case I can best describe as being slightly wider and taller than the typical smartphone. At most, the width of the tool kit is maybe twice or three times as wide as that contemporary phone. This kit is extremely portable and easy to stow in any range kit or case when going shooting. The basic Fix-It Sticks set that I purchased includes the Fix-It Sticks All-In-One Torque Driver, a three-way T-handle with 1/4 inch hex sockets, a 1/2 inch socket with 1/4 inch adapter and fifteen different 1/4 inch tool bits. Among the included bits are both Torx and Allen with sizes relevant to most gun owners.
After buying it and taking the kit home, I had no idea what to expect and was even somewhat skeptical of the most crucial element in the tool kit, the Fix-It Sticks All-In-One Torque driver itself. This was the first time I saw any torquing tool that didn’t look like a ratchet with a twisting handle where one has to pre-set the torque setting by twisting to the right spot. The All-In-One doesn’t work that way, however and in fact works quite seamlessly because the unit itself has all of its torque values starting at 0 inch pounds all the way to 65 inch pounds (more than enough for general purpose torquing of mounts, bases, screws and rings) marked along intervals on the upper part. The uppermost part of this torque driver has a 1/4 inch hex adapter while the lowermost part which accepts 1/4 inch bits and spins semi-independently from the main part of the torque driver. The premise of the tool is fairly simple and to use it, one only needs to drive all fasteners until they’re snug. Once snug, one simply turns and twists the driver with the T-handle until the desired level of torque is applied. The bottom part that holds the bit that indicates the current torque when the proper amount of tension is applied to the tool. When the driver is “resting” with no tension whatsoever, this marking returns to and rests at 0. I find it to be a very smooth way of torquing things and I appreciate that I never have to preset the tool to my desired torque setting. Instead one only has to keep twisting until the indicator lines up with the amount of torque they require.
The three-way T-handle is nice too because all three ends accept any 1/4 inch bit or 1/4 inch adapter, and the All-In-One torque driver can be used on either short side or the long side depending on how much leverage is needed to tighten something properly. The fifteen different included tool bits consist of [Torx] T10, T15, T20, T25; [Hex] 3/32″, 5/64″, 1/8″, 5/32″, 3/16″, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, P1 (Phillips), Slotted 5mm (Flathead). They show every indication of being of high quality and first glance look a little nicer than your typical 1/4 inch bits found in most hardware store tool sets. I mostly use the T10 and T15s with my applications, and they provide a snug fit and purchase when inserted to the screw’s cavity. The entire tool kit is stored in an organized plastic chassis that makes space for every bit and part. The outer nylon and zippered pouch that I previously described as being twice or three times wider than the typical phone also provides some extra space so you can throw in other bits or wrenches or miscallaneous items. Personally, I keep extra screws for pistol dots, the Holosun tool and the little 3/32″ wrench used for Leupold Mk 5 HD turrets.
While I’m very grateful that Fix-It Sticks offers this basic tool kit that makes my life easier, this particular set is not the end-all be-all. It’s a general purpose kit and such should be considered a jack-of-all trades-master-of-some. My only real concern using it thus far is when it comes to mounting Holosun optics to pistols (direct experience with the HS507COMP and the regular HS407/507 that also share the Trijicon RMR footprint). The diameter of the torque driver is somewhat wide, so I had to use an extended bit holder in order to be able to line up the bit straightly over either T10 screw. This is due to the top edge of the protective lens hood on these Holosun units sitting fairly close to either screw hole. Besides this challenge with Holosun dots, I’ve not had any other issues mounting other optics or bases. Even so, it’s unrealistic for a general purpose kit to magically worth with every single permutation of guns, mounts and their optics. If I had any feedback for Fix-It Sticks, it would be to also include a bit-holding extension, if anything due to the popularity of RMR footprint based open-emitter Holosun products on the market today.
After using my set of Fix-It Sticks on a nearly weekly basis to replace, install and switch around optics and their mounts, I’ve realized how indispensable this tool kit is. And not just for me but to the modern shooter in general. Although this kit costs more than similar products, the fit and finish of the kit is apparent and it’s very hard to beat its hyper portability and the way it’s organized. It solves a lot of headaches and certainly helps me out as a reviewer that handles guns and optics on a frequent basis. I’m glad I took a chance on it.
Read the full article here