Mini-Review: The Dental Pick

One of the most useful gun cleaning / smithing tools I have is a dental pick.

The dental pick I use looks like the one pictured 3rd from the right.

Dental picks can be used for any number of common tasks such as scraping powder residue out of hard to reach places, holding down springs and miscellaneous adjustments. If you plink with dirty .22 LR ammunition they can be used to gently scrape off the powder that accumulates on the bolt face, so you can keep on shooting without feeding problems and without having to strip the gun.

They do have limitations. Because they are made from hard stainless steel you have to be gentle with them and you should keep away from outside finish of a gun.

A single stainless steel dental pick costs only a few dollars on eBay.

They get a 5 star rating from me, at only a few dollars they are worth every cent.

Picture 14-16

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • vxbinaca

    I’ve used them when repairing computers as well. Nothing that cheap and durable beats old dental picks for removing jumpers from hard drives (notoriously difficult to get at unless you invest in quality needle nose pliers).

    They’re also handy for picking out wire from punch down jacks in wire closets.

    I can also knock out the pins on my M1 carbine without – in a pinch mind you – using the slide spring guide rod. I’ve even used it to losen for easy extraction a broken shell in a caliber that to my knowledge does not have a broken shell extractor (10mm Auto).

    Theres tons of listings for them on ebay, and you can even ask your dentist and he may cut you a deal on some.

    I have a set in my range bag and my tool bag. What more can I say.

  • Tom

    I have a set of tough plastic picks that do a great job scraping hard to reach places while cleaning, without any possibility of damaging the finish. On old guns with lots of cosmoline and caked on grease they’re invaluable.

    They’re also great for hooking and jiggering parts into place in tight spaces. The uses truly are endless; picks are some of the most commonly used tools in my shop as a gunsmith.

  • Jim

    Yeah I use one on my C7, definitely got to avoid the bluing. It’s great for getting into the chamber, probably the dirtiest place for carbon to accumulate.

  • B. Magoo

    They’re also useful for survival in a post-apocalyptic world when it’s every man (or woman) for themselves, and your old family dentist is wandering the streets with the rest of the zombie pack looking for delicious brains to eat. Never know when you’ll have to do your own root-canals and stuff, ya know. This tool set and maybe a couple of small files and a pair of pliers for pulling will set you right up. Don’t think that you can simply pull a Tom Hanks and use the blade off of a ladies ice skate and a rock to do all of your dentistry work, stock up now before it’s too late! And tell them Budda sent ya!

    • Sam Suggs

      ya sure this I want to see. I may not perscribe to the posssibliy of a zombie apocalypse howeverI do pescribe to the desprat hoard of food seeking humans that with rape whats left of our civilsation and kill all who stand in their way after the collapse of civilasation

  • troy

    Like Tom mentioned, Tipton makes them in plastic and you can not have to worry much about damage; great for scraping out around extractors, firing pin holes, forcing cone recesses and so on. Here’s the MidwayUSA page:

    They don’t last incredibly long if you’ve got some hard scraping to do, so order a few packs at the same time.

  • I agree, they are worth their weight in gold. Every gun show I’ve been to has them as well. I think I bought 3 of them for $5.