Can anyone tell me what these are used for? I have a full set that was handed down.

enter image description here

There is NO edge on these at all for cutting and they are too light of a gauge to be snips.

  • 1
    It looks like a pair of tin snips, but the pic is fuzzy enough it's hard to tell for sure. The jaw on the right looks like it might be sharpened for cutting. However, the tips look a bit odd for snips. From that perspective, they look like snap-ring pliers. The device across the jaws to lock it shut might be evidence for snap-ring pliers - you get the pins on the nose into the holes in the ring, squeeze it together to make the ring smaller to remove it, then lock it in that position so the ring doesn't expand and fly off as you lose grip. Can you supply a less fuzzy picture?
    – FreeMan
    Nov 11, 2020 at 12:34
  • Thanks FreeMan, there is NO edge on these at all for cutting and they are too light of a gauge to be snips. Snap ring pliers makes sense. My father was a A&P mechanic so that makes sense. I am going to sell them as such. Thank you for the help
    – Mark
    Nov 11, 2020 at 12:37
  • 1
    Well, with a fuzzy picture, that could have been a cutting edge... I understand that there are situations that would prevent keeping everything for sentimental reasons, but you've made me a little sad, now, knowing that you're selling your dad's tools. :(
    – FreeMan
    Nov 11, 2020 at 12:44

4 Answers 4


These appear to be snap-ring pliers.

The pins at the nose go into the holes in the snap-ring, then you squeeze to compress the ring to release it from its groove, and flip the lock to hold the squeeze so the ring doesn't expand, rip the pliers from your hand and launch the ring to wherever it is that small parts go to die.

  • 2
    Are those the same as circlip pliers?
    – gidds
    Nov 11, 2020 at 21:25
  • 5
    @FreeMan More precisely, snap rings are a specific type of circlip. All snap rings are circlips but not all circlips are snap rings.
    – J...
    Nov 12, 2020 at 13:12
  • 3
    @J..., not all snap-ring pliers have that feature. I have a (cheap) set that have two different handsets for inside vs outside rings. They also have removable tips for different sizes/styles of ring. They also have a tendency to be "missing" when I need them, like most tools. :-) Nov 12, 2020 at 15:56
  • 2
    You have 10mm socketed snap-ring pliers, @computercarguy? :D
    – FreeMan
    Nov 12, 2020 at 16:01
  • 5
    +1 for the "launch the ring to wherever it is that small parts go to die" part :)
    – Aleks G
    Nov 13, 2020 at 16:22

FreeMan's got it, Snap-ring Pliers. heres another example in use: enter image description here


in the UK these are called circlip pliers.

The points fit inside the ends of a circlip (also called a snap-ring or rotor ring). It is not a cutting tool.


Retaining ring pliers also known as snap ring pliers, circlip pliers, c-clip pliers. They are designed for removing internal or external retaining rings.

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