How to Load a Pistol Grip Tape Dispenser

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A 3M tape gun with a brake tension adjustment knob.
A 3M tape gun with a brake tension adjustment knob. (Image: pablo_rodriguez1/iStock/Getty Images)

Applying tape with a pistol grip-style tape dispenser is quick, simple and accurate, which is why so many shipping and building professionals use one. Moreover, loading new tape into the gun is merely a matter of placing a fresh roll on the spindle, routing the tape between a guide and a roller, and pulling it through to the cutting teeth. With a little practice, it takes only a few seconds to do.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape dispenser
  • Roll of packing tape

Use the right size of tape. Two-inch and three-inch widths are the most common. Your tape gun will accept one or the other, but not both.

Lay the tape dispenser on a stable flat surface and pull the old tape core off the tape wheel.

Pull about six inches of tape from the new roll and fold the last inch over so that the sticky sides adhere to each other. Press the new roll onto the tape wheel as far as it will go with the sticky side of the tape facing down toward the pistol grip of the dispenser.

Route the tape between the guide flap and the roller, then pull it up to the cutting teeth. Cut off excess tape by pulling the slick side of the tape back against the teeth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some pistol grip tape dispensers have a brake tension adjustment knob in the center of the spindle. Adjust the brake tension so that the tape applies with minimal effort and doesn't break from too much tension.
  • Do not touch the dispenser's cutting teeth with your fingers, as they can be very sharp.

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