Installing GunSkins is very similar to installing most other vinyl products, such as window decals and vehicle wraps. Unlike the other applications, however, firearms tend to be smaller in scope and contain many details, rivets, and recessed areas. GunSkins looks great when installed as the material conforms to the entire surface, giving the gun a clean finish. However, the process can be troublesome if you encounter wrinkles and air bubbles along the way. Here's some advice to help you obtain the best finish.
First and foremost, ensure that the surface of your firearm or accessory is clean from any gun oil or residue. Wipe dry with a lint-free cloth prior to installation. Any moisture on the surface can cause adhesion issues and/or air bubbles. Even after all of that preparation, what happens if you still encounter wrinkles and/or air bubbles? No worries, it happens even to the best of us.
The most common cause of wrinkles is mishandling of the material. The vinyl is adhesive on one side, and if it folds inward it can be hard to work out and make straight again. Use heat to help reset the material to its former size and shape. If you've already laid it on the surface, simply peel it off and try again. The vinyl is a forgivable material. You can lay it on and off as many times as you need to in order to achieve the right fit. Heat is required to keep the vinyl flexible enough to handle as much as you need.
To install without wrinkles, especially on a flat surface such as the stock or barrel, we suggest centering the piece and working outward. If you have a hand squeegee or similar tool, it can be used to press the material down and out, working the air and water outward allowing the vinyl to lay flat and smooth. Holding the squeegee at a 45 degree angle yields best results. The squeegee should glide nice and smooth. Don't worry about pressing too hard but make sure the tool is free from nicks and imperfections.
When installed properly, the vinyl creates an air-tight seal. This is necessary for keeping water and air from getting in and under the material, but it also means that any air present underneath remains where it is; trapped. This is quite common if the surface has a grid design or other texture detail as seen on Magpul's PMAG or Hexmag's HX30-AR magazines.
The solution to this is simple: use a thin needle or the sharp end of your hobby knife and poke a small hole in the center of the air bubble. Doing so will release the air and if you press down with your finger the vinyl will self heal, closing the hole and showing no sign of ever being present. Don't forget to add more heat to seal the deal!
Take Your Time
There is no need to rush the installation. It's better to take it slowly and be careful as this will make the finished product look better and last longer. GunSkins camouflage wraps are easy to install, especially when compared to the alternatives such as hydro-dipping or cerakoting. Knowing how to handle vinyl will give you the upper edge. And remember, GunSkins will always provide the advantage of protection and concealment, even if the finish is less than perfect. Trust us when we say, the deer won't care about the seams.
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