Here’s a post I wrote originally for Springfield Armory’s “Armory Life” blog.


Growing up on a farm taught me many things. Chief among them was how some tools could be improvised for other duties, and that some tools held the title “Jack of all Trades.” One tool I remembered using often, especially at the ranch I worked at my junior and senior summers of high school, was a pair of fencing pliers. Between putting up high tensile fencing on the farm, and those two summers of putting up five board fences on the horse pastures, I came to love and hate, but appreciate fencing pliers.

Fencing pliers have more capability than the typical set of pliers. They can be used as a medium sized hammer, they have a robust claw on the back end for pulling fence staples or whatever else might need pried upon, and they can cut through whatever can fit between their cutting jaws. They are a heavy set of pliers for doing work on whatever might need held while being repaired. Finally, they have multi-sized crimp jaws if you are actually doing fencing or electrical work.

One day, I was trying to figure out how to carry a set of fencing pliers on the outside of my rucksack, when it dawned on me that they were similar in size to a Vietnam era, military clothespin type bipod. Sure enough, when I placed the pliers inside the case, it fit perfectly, except for about an inch and a half of space at the bottom of the case. The case I have is made of canvas, has a zippered pouch on the front, and a thin tubular sleeve on the side. I use the front pouch to hold a small “ditty” (Crown Royal) bag, which I carry various 2.5″ and 1.75″ nails, along with some wood screws.

What are some of the tasks I’ve used my fencing pliers for in the field? Fixing equipment or making shelters in a campsite. I’ve used it on a trapline for securing or running snare wire and to make improvised staples (along with my multi-tool) out of nails for that task. They will easily cut through the 2.5″ nail shown in the pic. What you use your fencing pliers for is only limited to your imagination.

When it comes to weight, the pliers, bipod case, and a couple dozen nails weighs in at 2.15 pounds. The case is durable; mil spec canvas with an “Alice” clip attachment point on the back. The pliers are solid, durable, and multi-purpose. When it comes to tools a survivalist wants to have in their gear, those attributes are at the top of the list. As to where to get both items, I bought my fencing pliers at Central Tractor, and the bipod case is available on Ebay.


“Parata Vivere” – Live Prepared.


  1. Great write up.

    Carried them on the border, because we were always fixing some rathole Pedro had tried to make in the fenceline.

    In the .mil, I had lineman’s pliers and the knife that went with it (still have a set), but fencing pliers would be a better all-around choice.

  2. Fence pliers have been a first choice in my “weapons of Mass destruction kit” for decades.
    EVERY time I set up a first aid station for off the track work for our local CART race (sadly moved on) or an aid station for the city Fireworks 4th of July (my July 4th party for 3/4 million of my closest friends) we had to use it for reconfiguring a fence, reconfiguring golf carts for stretchers, and doing electrical and plumbing work. (ALL, by the way, Paramedic skills where I learned mine).

    I ran into an antique pair with 4 grip points rather than the 2 at the top of the jaws on most of the pairs I have used. Muist have been a TX thang since I haven’t found them anywhere else.

  3. Good Idea for a Field Tool, particularly since it has a an effective Hammer. Only drawback I can see is that while it Cuts Barbed Wire, don’t think that it will work on Barbed Tape… This and your Choice of a ‘multi-tool’ pliers-type in the Bag shown would be great.

  4. I’m thinking I could PROBABLY cut Razor Wire with mine and not lose TOO much blood.

    WOULD want canvass gloves and my multi tool for assisting in control as and after the cut happens.

    • Thought about it some more, and remembered that Barbed Tape is most frequently used (where?) On top of Chain-Link Fence. Which the ‘Fence Pliers’ will make short work of. At the bottom of the Fence. Going to add one of these to my Kit.

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