Wheeler F.A.T. Wrench
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When I was reviewing Primary Arms’ version of the Holosun 507c (with its much-improved reticle), I realized pretty quickly that I needed to step up my tool game a bit. I know that for parts that move fast, over and over again, sometimes getting the torque on the screws and bolts just right can be critical.

For many other applications, you can just turn a bolt or screw as hard as you can, or try to get the torque on something right by feel. But not getting things just right for rifle scope or a slide-mounted optic is a recipe for problems.

Too much torque and you risk overstressing the screws, which can lead to shearing and your nice pistol optic flying off to whoknowswhere. Or hitting you in the face.

Too little torque and the screws are more likely to back out during shooting, leading once again to the optic not staying on the gun.

Or course, you need to use thread locker and witness marks help to watch out for this, but getting the torque right keeps problems from happening in the first place.

So, I needed to get a torque wrench that could measure in inch-pounds rather than foot-pounds, and it also needed to accept screwdriver or drill bits. Also, I couldn’t wait for Amazon’s 2022 version of “two-day” shipping. So, I checked out Sportsman’s Warehouse and found the Wheeler FAT Wrench.

Wheeler FAT F.A.T. Wrench

Yes, the FAT Wrench really is fat. It’s like a ratcheting screwdriver, only fatter. But, the extra size isn’t to make big hands comfortable. It’s to accommodate the mechanical and electronic wizardry inside that helps you get things just right when working on firearms. And, it couldn’t be easier to use.

Once I installed the battery inside the grip, I figured out that what I needed for this job is the “Live” mode. Basically, the Live mode shows you what torque you’re applying to the screwdriver in real time. That way, you’ll know when you’re approaching the right amount of torque, and know you’ll soon need to stop.

Wheeler F.A.T. Wrench
Just dial in the inch/pounds you need.

But, that’s not all. As you get close to your desired level of torque-age, the FAT wrench starts to beeps like the medical machinery in an episode of ER. But, unlike a much younger version of George Clooney and a much older version of Goose from ‘Top Gun’, your goal is to hear a solid tone.

As you get close to the right torque (that you select with those +/- buttons), it starts beeping slowly. As you get a little closer, it beeps more quickly. When the patient’s heart stops (BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP), it’s time to stop.

I guess technically that sound guidance function makes this a sonic screwdriver, but you don’t need two hearts and a police box that’s smaller on the outside to operate it.

The F.A.T. Wrench doesn’t come with every bit you’ll ever need for every amateur gunsmithing (or other) job you’ll ever do, but it takes standard hex bits like a drill or a screwdriver, so you can always buy whatever bits you need, locally even, so it’s got the versatility of The Doctor’s favorite tool, too. Wheeler also sells a 21-piece add-on bit set that gives you pretty much everything you’ll need.

Wheeler F.A.T. Wrench

It’s not the fanciest tool for this job, but for around $60, you can’t beat it. It’s definitely going to live in my toolbox going forward.

 

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Nice snipe at Amazon’s “two day” Prime delivery that takes 4 – 14 days in actuality.

    A good torque wrench is invaluable when working on firearms. The Wheeler works fine for most applications.

    Still want one of The Doctor’s patented Sonic Screwdrivers…the One Tool to Rule Them All!

    • “Still want one of The Doctor’s patented Sonic Screwdrivers…”

      You know, our Snap-on rep is a really nice guy, but if we had a couple of these in the shop, his retirement fund wouldn’t be growing quite so quickly.

      • I only have a couple of Snap-On tools (purchased in my younger carefree single daze).
        A Service buddy was a dealer for Proto tools (before they were bought out by Stanley). He gave me the “Amigo” price…that’s why most of my good tools are Proto and a few old Craftsman specialty tools. He’s the guy who showed me that the Snap-On wrenches with their thin profiles and highly polished finish were damn difficult to hold on to when your hands were oily or covered in brake / hydraulic fluid…while the Proto with their shot blasted finish were much easier to actually use.

        Primarily want a Sonic Screwdriver because I can destroy a #2 Phillips in a couple of minutes…it would be nice to have an indestructible cross-pattern driver.

        • I’m with you on wrench finishes, but my brother runs the wrench users here, and he’s a Snap-on guy. They do look pretty after a wipe down. I have some Proto myself, and those are what I bought for the maintenance shop at a campground several years ago.

          Yes, Phillips are one of the worst. We work on a lot of Hondas, and I learned that their Phillips profile is slightly different from SAE. I bought a set of Japanese screwdrivers, and have saved a lot of screw heads. Not yet having a Sonic available, you understand…

    • Tell us Old Guy in Montana, how much did Sportsman’s Warehouse pay YOU to pretend their 5-8 day shipping is faster than Amazon’s 2-day shipping? It’s obvious that they are paying Jennifer and TTAG for this ad, but how much extra for your shilling comment.

      While reading this paid ad I checked the price and shipping on both sites — I can get the Wheeler F.A.T. wrench for $59.99 from Sportsmans Warehouse delivered Sept 29th or I can get the identical wrench for $47.89 from Amazon Prime delivered on Sept 23rd.

      Yes, if I happened to live next door to a Sportsmans Warehouse store that happens to have the torque wrench in stock I could go pick it up tomorrow, but I’d still be paying an extra $12.10 (plus my time and gas) to get it one day sooner.

      • @TomC

        Wow! You really should learn to read for comprehension and content.

        I have never done any business with Sportsman’s Warehouse, nor have I ever “shilled” a product for them.

        I based my comment on my own empirical experience with Prime shipping…YMMV.

        PS: how much did Amazon pay YOU to promote their shipping?

  2. I’ve been using this for optics and other sensitive torque items for a while now. It works great and is just as important as using torque wrenches in automotive applications when precision is needed.

    • Same, and it’s worked well for me. I was going to suggest it as a lower-cost version for those of us who don’t use them much but it looks like now it costs at least as much as the battery version…

  3. While I’m sure this version works great, as a typical gun owner who only uses one of these a couple of times a year, I prefer the mechanical FAT wrench I picked up for about $45. It does the job and I don’t have to worry about batteries in something I don’t use very often.

    • Good to know Prndll! As I move into running a LPVO I need something like this. Also lot’s of YouTube info available. Brownells is pretty good…

  4. I have a similar one that doesn’t require batteries.
    The only problem is that I rarely know which torque setting to use.
    The torque instructions for the scope rings or optics I want to mount are always either missing or written in microscopic fine print that requires an electron microscope to read.
    If I had good enough eyes to read that microscopic print, then I’d be able to hit the bullseye with iron sights and wouldn’t need to mount an optic!
    What’s the best (or safest) torque setting to use for optics mounting if I can’t find the instructions, 20 in/lb or 15 in/lb?

  5. I’ve never used a torque wrench for my gats, to be honest. I simply use a light ThreadLock and gently tighten until I feel moderate resistance. May not be the *perfect* method according to some, but I’ve never had any screw ever loosen on any gat over my lifetime.

    A pin edging its way out of a frame, yes (Glock-style). Screws, never.

    • They are nice. I have one. The only thing about it that I kinda don’t like is the display isn’t back lit.

      I see the price has gone up though, I picked mine up about a year ago for $40.00 on Amazon.

      • The price hasn’t really gone up that much, it is still under $48 on Amazon, with free 2-day shipping on Prime (and yes, Amazon 2-day shipping really is the day after tomorrow, unlike Sportsmans Warehouse who just dumps the products in a box and hopes the carrier will pass them to the post office so the post office can deliver them).

        • $8 is a 20% increase. You have to pay for a Prime subscription in order to get the “free” shipping (which you pay for).

  6. I have one of those torque wrenches, along with a variety of Snap-On 1/2 drive and an inch pound Snap-on but it didn’t go down far enough as what the Wheeler did.
    If you’re screwing around with gun stuff, you’d likely be well off getting one. It’s not like it’s going to break the bank.

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