A look at the Wheeler 43-Piece Professional Gunsmithing Screwdriver Set, featuring all the bits and drivers you need for common firearms.
Back in the old days, I’d buy screwdrivers whenever I found them at garage sales and harden the tips and grind them to fit. Fit what, you ask? Whatever needed fitting. Regular screwdrivers didn’t fit firearms screws and trying usually meant cosmetic damage and heartache.
Well, that ended a long time ago when those who make firearms tools started offering properly fitted and hardened screwdrivers. Now, we have a plethora of choices of brands and sizes—and Wheeler is right there in the mix. They offer a wide array of kit sizes. Here, I focus on the sweet spot of kits: the Wheeler 43-Piece Professional Gunsmithing Screwdriver Set.
All The Things
One of the first things you learn when looking into tools is that you can’t have a complete toolkit—unless you’re willing to stock a rolling cabinet. You know, the steel box on wheels that’s larger than your grandmother’s china cabinet and has everything needed to pull maintenance on any machine? Try and take that to the gun club “just in case.” (Even then, it won’t fix everything.)
The Wheeler 43-piece kit has all the bits and drivers for all the common firearms you’ll most likely encounter or have with you, at home or at the gun club. The handle is rubberized and has a magnetic insert, so the bits won’t fall out when you invert them to start tightening something. And all its bits come in a closable hard case.
The bits themselves are hollow ground (the flat blade ones), properly hardened and given a phosphate coating to slow down corrosion. They’re hard, so they can’t be rust-proof, but the phosphate slows down corrosion. The rest is up to you. There are also hex, Torx and Phillips bits in there, so you have almost all the bases covered.
Now, the 43-piece kit isn’t the most compact screwdriver set you’ll come across, but it is compact enough. It’s protected, and it’ll fit into your range bag. And the design of the case means it won’t slide off of a shelf; it latches shut. Plus, the front and sides are printed with what it is, so you won’t have to take everything off the shelf to see what is what. Those who commonly label everything can relax—the job’s been done for you.
You get all this for a list price of $45, which is a very fair price. Plus, the case has a small, recessed section inside, so if you have some specialty bits that you need for the specific firearm you use at the range, you can drop those into the recess and count on them being with you if and when you need them. You can make your 43-piece kit a 50-piece kit … or whatever number you need.
Don’t be that guy at your gun club. You know, the one walking the line saying, “Anyone got a screwdriver to fit my pistol?” Be the guy who can say, “Probably, what is it?”
Be that guy.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the 2023 EDC special issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
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