by Adam Harris

You belong to the gun owner fraternity (or sorority).  Congratulations.  You stand in the good company of tens of millions of other gun owners who realize the value and utility of firearms ownership.  You know, for personal protection, hunting, sport, competition, etc.

Guns are also a pretty decent investment.  Well maintained guns will keep their value or even appreciate over time.  Poorly maintained guns depreciate quickly, both in their monetary value, and their overall performance.  

When the bad man with evil in his heart comes knocking, you want your gun to work flawlessly.  It probably won't save your family's bacon with a rusty patina, spider webs in the barrel and moldy, corroded ammunition.

Simply put, a gun that hasn’t received the necessary maintenance ceases to become a tool for protection and instead becomes a liability. But what can be done? After all, not every gun owner also moonlights as a gunsmith.

The good news is that you can maintain the health and well being of your gun from the comfort of your own home.  Well, if your significant other doesn't like some of the gun cleaning smells, maybe from the comfort of your garage…  Either way, all it takes is a few tools to make it happen. 


1. A Gun Care Screwdriver Set

Your standard or Philips head screwdriver, unfortunately, won’t be sufficiently capable of helping you maintain your firearm. 

Why? Pretty simple: You don't want to bugger up your gun, or scrape the finish off by using the wrong sized screwdriver. No matter what do it yourself task you are performing, the wrong equipment can damage the workpiece. This is as true with guns as it is with anything else. Maybe even more so. After all, tough exterior aside, guns are sensitive creatures. If you want them to perform to your expectations, you need to treat them right.

The good news is that you can find appropriate gunsmithing screwdrivers (Amazon / Walmart) that are available for under $40 if you catch a good deal.  The alternative is reducing the resale value of your gun by at least that much by deforming the screws by using the wrong screwdriver(s). 

Heck, there's even a "Winchester" branded screwdriver set for $13 from Walmart.  Or $10 plus shipping and tax from Midway USA.  For a weekend warrior, that might fit the bill very well.

Courtesy MidwayUSA

An eight-piece set should give you everything you need to do rudimentary upkeep on most firearms.


2. A Gun Vise

Courtesy MidwayUSA

The gun vise is what will secure your rifle to the table as you work on it. If you are going to take a more serious peek into one of your rifles, there is no getting around the need for a decent rifle vise.

Not everyone will need a secure gun vise, but if you do you should be able to find one for under $100.

3. Steel Wool

Steel_wool_fineMost folks don't think "steel wool" when it comes to firearm maintenance, but it has its place.

Steel wool on firearms is a little bit controversial. On the one hand, some people are afraid it will wear off the finish materials. On the other hand, there is no better approach to taking off the rust.

So, who is right? The truth is that both sides of the issue have valid points. The key is to use finesse. 

Do note, however, that the kind of steel wool you use really will matter. Try super fine 0000 with a little bit of oil to work through really thick rust, and you should be ok.

We believe that every gun owner should have some decent steel wool on hand (especially because you will also get your money’s worth out of it when it comes time to do dishes in the kitchen).

 When it comes time to buff out the rust, just go slow, be careful, and you won’t have any problems with the finish. 


4. Cleaning Rod

Every gun owner needs to keep cleaning rods on hand. This part of the upkeep process is actually surprisingly tricky though. It can be easy to mistakenly damage the muzzle crown using the wrong equipment.

The solution is to make sure the metal in your cleaning rod is softer than the metal of your firearm. Don’t skimp out on this purchase. Get something decent to ensure that you aren’t damaging your gun as you try to clean it. 

Courtesy Photobucket user "ibdmentd"

Leave the Walmart cheap-skate cleaning kit rods to the people who drag their guns across their concrete driveway to give them that "well used" or distressed look.  A good rod will serve you for life while protecting the crown of your barrels.

Pro Shot Products, based right here in Illinois, has some fine rods and other cleaning gear.



With the right gear, anyone can be their own gunsmith. Maintaining your own firearm is rewarding, it keeps the gun in good condition, and most importantly, it ensures that it will be safe.

Not every gun owner will need the same tools. However,the items that we have listed here today are simple and basic enough for most people to get some good use out of.

Don’t wait. Go out and get some gun upkeep tools to ensure that your gun will stay in great shape for years to come.


About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!

One thought on “HARRIS: 4 Gun-related tools every gun owner should have”
  1. Reading this article reminded me of a couple channels on YouTube that I enjoyed, learned a thing or two from and haven't watched in a while. C&Rsenal and AshburnArmorer. Both have some good gunsmithing tips, etc. I think I saw them on too for those avoiding the video fascists at YouTube.

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