TFB’s second day of Christmas may not be the most exciting category, but receiving tools as a gift has can be extremely satisfying. Whereas it is easy enough to drop $500 on ammunition, spending $20 on a single hand tool for yourself seems outrageous – even though we already know paying for quality tools is a wise investment. So why not put gunsmithing tools on your holiday gift giving (or receiving) guide to family and friends. Some are small and inexpensive enough to be stocking stuffers, other’s can be the main event.
If the list seems biased towards the AR15 platform, it’s for good reason. The modularity of these rifles make them easy enough to work on by almost anyone.* Parts supply is bountiful, relatively inexpensive and options are almost limitless. And because almost everyone owns an AR these days, information on modifications and maintenance is easy to find.
The last thing I will mention here is that for gift-giving, stick to multifunction tools that serve a wide variety of purposes. Even though we would all love to have a $400 sight pusher tool, the casual shooter may only use it once a year. On the other hand, a magnetic parts dish or non-marring vise pads can be used every time you enter the shop.
My personal go-to supplier for parts and tools is Brownells, however there are plenty of other places to source everything you may need or want this season. Have a tool supplier everyone should know about? Post it up in the comment section below. I am not beholden to any one manufacturer.
* Let’s go ahead and keep cousin Eddie away from the Dremel and all of your guns.
No, I’m not being sarcastic. Used properly and with discretion, a rotary tool like the Dremel can do anything from basic polishing to grinding and precision cutting. The poor Dremel gets a bad rap – like the guns in our safe, it’s not the tool itself that is either good or evil, it’s the person pushing the power switch.
Torque Wrench – $50-$300 (EST)
Make 2017 the year of ‘no more guesses’. Yes, you too can now torque that muzzle device to exactly 30 foot pounds.
Everyone who owns an AR should also own an armorer’s wrench and know how to use it properly.
Stop mangling pins and scratching receivers. A good set of punches that includes brass, polymer and roll pin specific options will save you from making frustrating decisions in the heat of battle. Like grabbing that finishing nail to drive home a bolt catch roll pin.
Standard big-box hand tools are fine for around the house projects, but the screws on your Browning shotgun deserve better. Whether you know it or not, even flat head screw drivers can be profiled in many different shapes. Make sure you pick the right one for the job.
Installing flash hiders and muzzle breaks should be an easy task. Supporting an AR barrel using a extension support rod allows you to torque down on that muzzle device without putting strain on the upper or lower receivers.
Tired of propping up a few different thicknesses of wood to hold a part in place while you work on it? Consider a punch block cheap insurance from avoidable frustration.
Measure twice, cut once right? But raise your hand if you have ever used your kid’s elementary school ruler to make a “precise” measurement. A solid set of calipers should be in all of our toolboxes.