Hammer Time

Apr 10, 2024

When it comes to tools, serious gunsmiths, the ones that actually make their living working on guns, spend more on their tools than the GDP of some smaller nations. The itty bitty ones that nobody can name or find on a map.

But most gun owners don’t need to take on that kind of financial commitment, and only require a smattering of specialized tools to work on their firearms. Tools like a bench vise, which a lot of people may already own, a proper driver set for various screws, especially for optics, and a bench block will take care of a lot of gun maintenance needs.

For many DIYers working on their guns, a hammer or two found in their regular tool box is probably pulling double duty when it comes to working on guns. That will work, but it’s not really optimal.

Gunsmiths often have a selection of specialized hammers for working on guns and none of them come with a claw for pulling nails. If you’re using a claw hammer on your guns, well, it’s time to step up your game.

Real Avid recently sent me one of their new Armorer’s Master Hammers, which coincidentally replaces my own claw hammer, for working on guns.

Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall process the power of do-it-yourself gunsmiths everywhere. Real Avid’s new Armorer’s Master Hammer handles a wide range of firearms disassembly and installation tasks where a hammer is called for.

The Armorer’s Master Hammer is designed to cover most. if not all, of your DIY gunsmithing needs. With a soft-blow hammer head cover, steel hammer head, rubber, nylon and brass hammer interchangeable heads, it does the work a multiple hammers.

It weighs 20 ounces, so it’s bit heavier than some of the smaller gunsmithing hammers, but not too heavy for working on most firearms. Of course, how you use it, meaning using it properly, will determine how successful you are wielding this Mjölnir for armorers.

This shouldn’t be a problem as the overall length is just 9.5” which means that unless you are trying to tear your rotator cuff with a giant roundhouse hammer blow of some sort, this shorter hammer will help prevent you from doing damage of the overzealous type.

Damage? you ask. Yes. The customer service department phone logs of certain gun companies are littered with calls from customers who used the wrong hammer, used it incorrectly and ended up cracking their frame.

Of course, they likely blamed the gun company, following the first rule of DIY gunsmtihing which is to blame someone else for your own mistakes. Don’t lie, we’ve all done it at one point, still doesn’t make it right, though.

But, try not be be that guy – or gal – and get your hands on the right tools, even if just for the occasional workbench job.

Having seen cracked polymer frames first hand, I know a bigger hammer, a harder strike, isn’t always the correct path, and can easily lead to disaster. Thus the need for this purpose built tool.

Shown here with brass tip installed, the nylon and rubber tips are stored in head of the hammer’s cross beam. Note the polymer shroud that covers the larger steel hammer head. This acts as a soft-blow feature.

The hammer’s interchangeable heads – brass, nylon and rubber – will help cover a lot of gunsmithing bases without, or at least minimizing, the risk of damaging your firearm.

Stored in the grip of the hammer is a Magnetic Pin Starter that fits pins 1/16” to 7/32” (1.8mm to 7.14mm). Driving small pins in, or out, is a primary task for a hammer like this and it’s real easy to lose a pin, damage a frame or, worse, your fingers trying to free style it by hand.

The Magnetic Pin Starter is an excellent, and important, feature of this hammer. It instantly adds to your gunsmithing capabilities and, provided you don’t screw it up, should ensure you don’t ruin something during assembly.

Once you have your pin started properly you can move to the correct pin punch to drive it home. A good set of pin punches is another one of those useful workbench accessories, and once again Real Avid has you covered there as well.

When the new Armorer’s Master Hammer was announced, they also announced the availability of the Armorer’s Master Hammer and Accu-Punch 11-Piece Standard Pin Punch Set. This combo platter gives you the hammer and a pin punch set for an MSRP of $89.99.

The 11-piece Accu-Punch set comes in a three-position plastic case that when opened makes the punches easily accessible. The standard punches range from 1/16” up to 9/32” covering most of your DIY needs.

The punches themselves are made of hardened steel with a nickel plating finish for corrosion resistance. The hex-shaped handles allow for better control. What I like best is that they are clearly marked and easy to read.

There is nothing I hate more than having to use the iPhone’s camera to read small type or markings on products. Somebody at Real Avid either had the same feeling, or simply realized most of their customer base has aging, crappy eyesight. Whichever it is, I appreciate that simple touch of clearly marking the punches.

If you work on your gun a lot, or plan to, and you think you might start installing factory replacement or aftermarket parts yourself, then you will need a hammer suitable for gunsmithing tasks. The Armorer’s Master Hammer from Real Avid is a great place to start.

Pick up the paired hammer and pin punch set and you’re that much closer to full-on DIY status. Plus your friends will be jealous of your sweet new tool set.

— Paul Erhardt, Managing Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network