If you have ever successfully installed a GunSkins vinyl gun wrap, you'll know first hand just how useful heat can be to achieve the perfect finished look. GunSkins are made from a heat-stretch vinyl, which makes it malleable and form fitting. Some may wonder, however, should they use a hair dryer? Heat gun? Blow torch? How much heat is too much?
In our installation video demonstrations we often use a blow torch when applying GunSkins. On our website we offer an installation bundle which includes a heat gun, not blow torch. Which one should you use? The truth is, both will work. Even a simple hair dryer from your local drug store will get the job done.
The ideal temperature during installation is between 70°F to 100°F. With these numbers in the back of your mind it's easy to see that you don't need to melt the vinyl to get it to work. A slow, even heat is far more effective than hitting the material with focused high heat. The only reason we use a blow torch in our videos is because it's quicker for our installers to use for detailing. But, I suspect our installers just love using a blow torch more than the heat gun.
A fair warning, however. Is it possible to use too much heat during and after installation. Please do not exceed temperatures of 230°F. There is no need to use the high temp setting (1000°F+) on your heat gun. The low setting will be more than adequate for a successful installation. Keep the nozzle 6-12 inches away from the surface of the gun and the vinyl for best results.
Installation is not the only time the GunSkins may experience heat. Our products are designed to be used on a daily basis, that means actually firing the weapon in succession on hot summer days. Most of the time there will be no problem if you wrap the barrel of your gun. As long as you fire in semi-auto, the GunSkins will be just fine.
However, if you plan on shooting in full-auto or wrapping a suppressor, you can expect an increase of heat that will exceed the amount the vinyl can take. Rule of thumb, if your barrel is too hot to handle with your hands and will burn a hole in your pants, it's going to be too hot for GunSkins.
What will happen to the GunSkins when it reaches extreme temperatures? First, the vinyl will become discolored and eventually turn brown/black if too hot. It will produce an odor because you're essentially burning chemicals from the coloring and plastic, not good to breathe in. If continually cooked, the vinyl will form bubbles and essentially melt in place. How do we know? See for yourself!
It will require purposefully heating the vinyl to an extreme temperature before you experience any sort of damage. It certainly won't burn or discolor under normal circumstances. Heat is good, but too much can ruin the skin. Keep your heat gun on the low setting and apply at a safe distance of at least 6-12 inches. Consider keeping the barrel unwrapped if you're firing in full-auto.
Arm yourself with this helpful knowledge and don't be afraid to wrap every inch of your weapon!