The New KING of Compact Body Hammers - Martin Tools 171G
Updated: Feb 13
Today my new Martin Tools 171G body hammer arrived. A viewer on YouTube pointed me toward the existence of this Hammer after we were both saddened by the loss of the previous Martin Tools 167G Compact Body Hammer.
Did you know about the Martin Tools 167G Compact Body Hammer? How about the fact that it doesn't exist anymore? I covered this hammer and compared it to the Snap-On BF612 hammer a few years ago in a YouTube video. Since getting my 167G and making that video, Martin Tools had to stop production of the hammer due to a patent issue with the big rest beast. The loss of that hammer saddened me as it was my go to recommendation for a Compact Hammer. In comes the 171G, the NEW King of Compact Body Hammers (in my opinion anyway). This new design of Compact Body Hammer features an excellent weight to size ratio as well as being a double sided hammer. Now instead of just a "flat" faced hammer, you have both a Flat (24" Radius) and a Medium Crown Hammer (12" Radius). As well as having the added benefit of being a different enough design to avoid any legal issues the previous design encountered. The first thing I noticed about the Martin Tools 171G after taking it out of the box was the weight of the hammer. Many people have been known to create their own compact body hammers, but the number 1 complaint is always a lack of weight. Body Hammers (when made properly) are designed to have adequate weight to move metal, crush welds, and simply do their jobs. Once you start modifying and removing material from them, you lose that weight. Losing the weight means you are losing striking force, and in my opinion often control as well. A well balanced hammer is easier to control for me. Too light and it is hard to keep track of what you are doing or how the hammer is moving. Let's compare the weight of the Martin Tools 171G to the Snap-On BF612 Compact Hammer and the
Snap-On BF612 - Compact:
313 Grams (11.05oz)
Martin Tools 171G - Compact:
375 Grams (13.23oz)
Snap-On BF603B - Long Pick:
418 Grams / 14.74oz With these weight numbers you can see the 171G has an excellent weight to size ratio. If you were to cut down the BF603B Pick Hammer into a more compact form factor you would likely be at or below the weight of the 171G. Now what about size? Let's face it, that is the primary concern when we are discussing a "Compact" hammer. Length wise the Snap-on BF612 and Martin Tools 171G are the same (end of the handle to top of the head). When it comes to the head size, the Martin Tools 171G is larger than the Snap-On hammer.
1.912" / 48.56mm
Martin Tools 171G:
2.21" / 56.04mm
So if you want the absolute smallest hammer, the Snap-On is still your winner. However to me that is an oversimplification. Sure once in a while that may matter, and in those instances I'm glad I have both hammers. However the Martin Tools has the distinct advantage of not being JUST a Flat faced hammer, but a flat and domed face hammer. This means you have the option of using this hammer with more panels than the Snap-On could ever dream of. If you got a second Snap-On BF612 and ground a radius face onto it, you'd be losing even more weight off the already lighter hammer, not to mention the expense. Lastly, let's mention that Expense. The Martin Tools 171G ran me $35.99 from Summit Racing plus $10 shipping since I didn't meet their Free Shipping minimum. The Snap-On BF612 will run you a cool $86.50 for one hammer. Almost twice what I paid for the Martin Tools 171G WITH shipping. Maybe you can get a Snap-On distributor to cut you a discount, but it'll never be enough to make it match the value of the 171G. All of these factors added together, this new Martin Tools 171G is taking the crown as my KING of Compact Body hammers! Pick one up today from Summit: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/mtf-171g
Or the Snap-On BF612: https://shop.snapon.com/product/Hammers/Compact-Body-Hammer/BF612