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What are gunsmithing tools, who needs them, and which ones to choose?

Whether you’re an avid gun enthusiast or you own a gun for protection reasons only, it is essential to know your weapon. In order to make sure your gun works properly if needed, you need to maintain it. Some weapons have better quality than the others. However, at the end of the day, it depends on you how safe, reliable, and effective it will be. A cleaning kit and a couple of basic gunsmithing tools will allow you to keep your firearms in great shape and dependable. 

Of course, you can pay the professionals to maintain your guns. Still, doing it yourself can be highly rewarding in many ways.

Should You Consider Gunsmithing as a Hobby?

If you love guns, you may not relish maintaining and cleaning duties, at first. However, sooner or later your bond with your weapons will grow stronger and you’ll want to take care of it on your own. Or maybe not, if you keep it locked in the closet or gun safe all the time.

Anyway, here are some of the reasons why it’s a good idea to get some gunsmithing tools for some DIY gun maintenance.

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of firearms. The better you know your weapon, the safer and more reliable it becomes. You will also learn to appreciate the engineering and design subtleties. Becoming familiar with the ways it functions and operates, you’ll be able to figure out which weapons suit your needs best.
  • Improve your shooting. Even the best firearms may become a liability in ignorant hands. Working with your guns will stimulate you to shoot more often and hone your shooting skills.
  • Customization and personal touch. Once you enter a gunsmithing world, it’s a never-ending adventure. There are always new skills, techniques, gunsmithing tools, and tasks you can learn. But, it’s entirely up to you – you can enjoy practicing a couple of basic skills forever or widen your range of skills at will. Anyway, molding your gun to fit you perfectly or just repairing and refinishing the stock of your old rifle will make you immensely satisfied and proud.
  • It’s a rewarding activity in itself. All hobby activities have some things in common. A hobby gives you a way to relax, learning new skills is a rewarding experience, and it usually helps you to connect with other people with similar interests.
  • SHTF scenario. If it gets ugly and your gun jams, you’d like to be able to inspect it and fix the problem.

gunsmithing tools

Top 10 Gunsmithing Tools for Every Gun Owner

A gunsmith is a little bit of a machinist, metalworker, woodworker, and artisan. Moreover, he or she possesses some knowledge of ballistics, mathematics, and chemistry. Also, the list of gunsmithing tools and tasks is almost inexhaustible. But, don’t let it discourage you. You don’t need to know everything immediately. Or ever. All you need to know will come naturally as you hone your skills.

So, here’s a list of necessary basic tools to commence your gunsmithing adventure.

1. Gunsmithing Screwdrivers

gunsmithing tools screwdriver

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Gunsmith screwdrivers are different from classic screwdrivers in more respects than just a fancy name. Typical hardware screwdrivers aren’t good enough for firearms. They can damage screw edges as well as nearby parts of a gun. Gunsmithing screwdrivers have tapered and beveled heads.

There are two common types: magnetic tip and fixed blade screwdrivers. Magnetic tip screwdrivers are a good choice for beginners as they are more affordable. Also, they are more convenient with small screws. However, fixed-blade sets provide more strength and control.

2. Gun Cleaning Kit

gun cleaning kit

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Each and every gunsmithing task begins with proper cleaning. Sometimes it is all it takes for your gun to miraculously start functioning again. A high-quality cleaning kit should contain strong rods in different sizes, brushes, cotton mops, brass jags, and brass brushes. You should complement your kit with gun oil, grease, silicone oil for woodwork, copper and powder solvents.

3. Brass Hammer

gun maintenance tools

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Gunsmithing involves more hitting and hammering than you may have imagined. A brass hammer is one of those necessary gunsmithing tools for accurate tapping and hitting. Commonly, these hammers have two faces: a brass tip for driving pins and nylon or rubber tip for direct hits that won’t damage the finish.

4. Pin Punches

gun smithing tools

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You need pin punches to drive out or insert pins when assembling or repairing your gun. There are two basic types of pins in almost every gun – solid and roll pins. It is the same with pin punches. Regular pin punches are used for solid pins, while you need roll pin punches to deal with roll pins. Pin punches can damage pins so you need to be careful and precise. Make sure to use corresponding sizes and high-quality tools.

5. Bench Block

basic gunsmithing tools

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Now you have something to hit (punches) and something to hit with (hammer). What’s the missing part?

Well, it’s a good idea to have something to support your gun while hitting. Bench blocks come in different sizes with a couple of slots and holes. It provides support and protection, but it also captures pins. 

Punch sets like the one below containing a hammer, pin punches, and a bench block are available to simplify your purchases.

gun maintenance tools

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6. Gunsmith Vise

gunsmith vise

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A vise is very helpful especially when you work on small parts. But, it is convenient for cleaning or just about any work on your piece. While you can basically use any kind of vise, gunsmithing vises always have non-marring contact surfaces. It allows you to be relaxed while cleaning or working on your gun.

7. Torx Head Drivers

gunsmithing screwdrivers

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Torx screws have revolutionized the screw drive industry. These gunsmithing tools are made of steel, hard to break, and easier to work with. So it’s imperative to have a high-quality Torx screwdriver set.

8. Calipers and Micrometers

best gunsmithing tools

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Accurate measuring is an important part of gunsmithing. Typically you can use calipers or micrometers. Calipers are a little bit more versatile and easy to use while micrometers provide more accuracy. The difference shows in the smallest ranges: calipers can measure down to 0.02 mm and micrometers down to 0.001 mm.

9. Files

gunsmithing files set

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There’s a number of gunsmithing jobs that are difficult to do with a machine such as reshaping a wood stock or smoothing out an action. A couple of files is enough for starters, but you’ll probably end up with more files than you can count.

10. Hex Keys

most important gunsmithing tools

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Modern guns often use hex bolts. You may not use hex keys all the time, but you will need them occasionally for sure. So, get a set of hex keys and make sure to get one with both inches and metric sizes.


Professional gunsmiths are highly esteemed craftsmen and artisans. However, you don’t have to be a professional to achieve professional results. Well, at least when it comes to some basic servicing, repairing, or renewing metal finishes.

Gunsmithing covers so many different tasks, but with proper tools you can excel at some basic repairing, modifying, and molding skills. It will make you happy and proud.