You don’t need to be a gunsmith professional or learn how you can modify your firearms yourself. A well-equipped toolkit is crucial. A well-equipped toolkit makes simple tasks more efficient, and more difficult tasks more achievable.

Let’s begin by looking at some of the common tasks that gunsmiths do with their guns, or guns owned and maintained by their customers.

What Does A Gunsmith Do?

Gunsmiths are trained to modify, restore, decorate, repair, and maintain firearms. They may also build firearms with off-the-shelf components, or custom parts they have built. Gunsmithing involves a skillful trade. This requires knowledge in many creative and technical areas such as metalwork, and woodwork.

Essential Gunsmithing Tools

We’ll look at the tools that professional gunsmiths need to do repairs, modifications, or decorative work.

Gunsmith Screwdrivers Set

Gun manufacturers frequently use special screws that are not common in other areas of the firearms industry. Specific screwdrivers for guns are needed. Gunsmith screwdrivers typically have hollow ground bits. These bits, unlike standard slot screwdrivers, do not taper and are instead concave. Hollow-ground bits make it easier for the driver to fit snugly into the slot.


Gunsmiths collect a lot of files. It’s because their files must be able to withstand a variety of metals. Component shaping, cutting the edges of machined components, and adapting firearms or other components all require files. Metalwork requires several large files.

Pin Punches

Pins are used in firearm manufacturing as fasteners and components for the trigger assembly and gun’s action. Pins are used to keeping guns together more often than screws.

Depending on the gun you choose, you may find:

  • Dowel pins
  • Spring Pins
  • Taper pins
  • Groove pins
  • Detent pins


Gunsmiths need to have hammers. For the pin punches and other tasks where you need to accurately deliver large forces in small areas, hammers are necessary. Three types are common for gunsmiths: a lightweight hammer with a ball-peen handle, a brass or plastic hammer, and a heavier hammer with a sleeve.


Gunsmiths employ a variety of different wrenches, each one tailored to their particular needs. They are used to disassemble and assemble guns, tighten and loosen lock nuts, or fit parts such as scopes. The wrench is probably the most important.

Hex Keys

After having looked at pin punches & screwdrivers, we now look at the third common firearms fastener: hex bolts & screws. Many gun makers use hex bolts. Gunsmiths may need a wide range of -hex keys to make their jobs easier.


Calipers combine a rule with a pair of jaws (one fixed, one with a moving pointer) to measure. Items are placed between two jaws so that the rule can read the item’s dimensions. There are many types to measure inside and exterior dimensions.

Thread Checkers

Gunsmiths will often come across pieces that use fasteners using unusual threads. Gun components may also be made with threads of different pitches or depths. Screws and parts that are not properly threaded can cause damage.

Bench Blocks

Gunsmiths are required to not only use tools and components but also to hold firearms while they work. If you have to work with guns of unusual shapes, it can be hard to hold onto them.

Firearms Fasteners

Finally, professional gunsmiths always have a diverse range of firearms fasteners. Guns can use many types of fasteners so it’s a good idea to have spares.

Visit our American Gunsmithing Institute Page or contact our team for more information.