Gunsmithing Tools You Can Find at the Hardware Store: Part 1

  • Jack Collins

One thing that many newbie gun enthusiasts underestimate is the sheer amount of gear they’re going to accrue. Owning firearms means you need to maintain them, which opens an entire can of worms.

While some of these tools are pretty niche, many of them are not. In fact, you can find many simple gunsmithing and firearm maintenance tools for sale at your local hardware store. We’ll cover some of them in this post.

Roll Pin Punch Set

Unless you’re an AK guy like me (rivet rangers assemble!), roll pins are one of the most ubiquitous fasteners in the firearms world. From occasional modifications like mounting a rail to your M1A to everyday maneuvers, roll pin punches do it all.

Roll pin punches come in a variety of sizes. Since roll pins themselves have a hole in the middle of them to hold tension, you need to make sure you’re using the correct size of roll pin punch. If you don’t, you’re going to have a bad time.

If your punch is too big, you’ll never even make contact with your roll pin. If your punch is too small, it’s easy to hammer it down through the center hole of the roll pin, “mushrooming” it. Don’t do this, especially on an expensive gun, because it’s difficult to remove a trapped roll pin punch. If you don’t have a set of roll pin punches yet, you can find some here.

Needle Nose Pliers

Have you ever tried holding a roll pin and hitting it with a hammer using your bare hands? I did once, for about 15 minutes. That ended in me going to the hardware store to pick up a pair of pliers, along with the inspiration for this post!

Pliers are great for holding anything that’s too small for just your fingers. Or, if you’re going to hammer on something that you also need to hold, chances are you should use some pliers instead of just your fingers. But that’s just me. Needle nose are my favorites.


Hammers hold an interesting place in the world of gunsmithing. On one hand, many amateur gunsmiths are fearful of taking hammers to their favorite firearms. Sometimes this is warranted – you shouldn’t need to take a hammer to your AR that often, for example. But sometimes, especially for tough projects (or just whenever you want to clean your AK), what you need is some percussive therapy.

It’s important to choose the right kind of hammer, though. You don’t want to take a hammer with a metal head to any of your firearms – that can lead to lasting damage. Instead, get some kind of soft-tipped hammer. Hardware stores generally stock quality plastic- or rubber-headed hammers, which won’t leave dents in your firearms. I’m a big fan of Estwing’s products.


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