Military Tools Using the NSN Inventory System


Our military personnel in their various ranks are charged with the responsibility of protecting the country. They do this by ensuring that our nation’s sovereignty is not compromised, and that no combative intrusion is allowed against the country. To make sure of this, these uniformed men and women are given the necessary tools to function. The truth is that these equipment and tools cost a lot.

They account for a sizable amount of the country’s budget every year. Defense matters matter as far as policymakers and many other people are concerned. For more information on this subject, you can check here.  Most of the items bought, stored, and used by the various military arms are officially labeled using the NATO Stock Number. These are numbers that consist of various codes indicating the kind and other peculiarities of the item.

We will discuss this cataloging system especially as it relates to the military. This is especially because it is mostly used to categorize items used by them. So, we advise that you keep reading as we explain the idea of NSN regarding the military.

What Is National/NATO Stock Number?

NSN Inventory SystemThis is a cataloged system of identifying products that have been proven to be unique in some sense. For instance, short rifles with different specifications are expected to have distinct features in their NSN details.

While they will share similarities in the first few digits, the last 9 numbers will give details about the uniqueness of the tool. So, in essence, the NATO/National Stock Number is a formal way the military and some other agencies identify and get details about certain tools.

Other than being called the National Stock Number, it is also referred to as the NATO Stock Number. This is clearly because this inventory system is not only used by the pertinent bodies within the United States government.

Every NATO country and some other Non-NATO nations make use of this cataloging system. So, you should not be confused when you hear the team NATO used in place of National.

Countries that Use the NATO/National Stock Number System

This centralized inventory system was introduced shortly after the 2nd World War. This was because there was a lot of confusion on how to easily identify parts in the military and many other agencies. A lot of contradictory codes were used, and this made things quite complicated.

So, the FSN was introduced. The FSN eventually evolved into what is known as NSN because of its flaw. The flaw was that the FSN did not recognize other countries that manufacture parts in its inventory system. To make up for this, 2 digits were added to the 11 digits of the FSN to create the NSN.

The 2 additional digits were to indicate the country where the parts, products, materials, were manufactured. The 2 added digits are the fifth and sixth numbers in the entire NSN code.

Considering that the United States is the major player here, more codes are assigned to the country than others. As a result, the digits 01 and 00 are commonly used by the United States. Also, unassigned items from the country are assigned codes between 02 and 10.

  • Germany’s code is 12
  • Belgium is 13
  • France is 14
  • Italy is 15
  • The Czech Republic is 16
  • The Netherlands is 17
  • South Africa is 18
  • Brazil is 19
  • Canada has the codes 21 and 20

These are just a few of the country codes as it stretches up to 82. Code 82 belongs to Algeria. If you critically observe it, you will figure out that even non-NATO countries are involved.

This is because nations that are sponsored by NATO are not left out. This helps the arm forces of these nations to take stock of what they have for the most part. For more on this subject, you can visit: 

Some Military Tools and their NSN

The United States military and many other arm forces all over the world make use of a lot of tools. Some of them are for combat operations, some health services, and several others.

Given the many parts, products, and materials used by these agencies, we cannot go over all the NSNs involved. However, some of them are seen below:

Hardware and Abrasives

Most hardware and abrasives have their NSN numbers starting with 53. You might see some starting with 52 and a few other numbers. However, the bulk of hardware and abrasive have their NSN starting with the number 53. Examples include the following:

  • Screws – 5305
  • Studs – 5307
  • Bolts – 5306
  • Machine Keys, Pins, and Nails – 5315
  • Washers and Nuts – 5310
  • Gasket and Packing Materials – 5330
  • Rivets – 5320
  • Fastening Devices – 5320
  • Weapon System – 5340
  • Bushings, Shims, Spacers, and Rings – 5365
  • Stones and Disks – 5345
  • Leaf, Coil, Wire Spring, and Flat – 5360
  • Commercial Hardware – 5340
  • O-Ring – 5331
  • Metal Screening – 5335

Hand Tools

Most hand tools have their NSN numbers start with the digits 51. However, the next two numbers before the country code shed light on the kind of hand tool in question. Examples include the following:

  • Non-powered, Non-Edged, and Edged options – 5110 and 5120
  • Hand Tools Kits, Sets, and Outfits – 5180
  • Hardware Boxes and Tools – 5140
  • Counterbores, Countersinks, and Drill Bit – 5133
  • Power Driven Hand Tools – 5130
  • Collets, Taps, and Dies – 5136

Measuring Tools

Most measuring tools used by the military and several other agencies that use the NSN system have their code start with 52. Examples can be seen below:

  • Measuring Tools Kits, Sets, and Outfits – 5280
  • Craftsmen’s Measuring Tools – 5210
  • Inspection Gages as well as parts for precision instruments Layout – 5220

Information Technology Tools and Parts

Most parts that are for information technology purposes have NSNs that start with the digits 70. As with the examples above, the next 2 numbers are based on the kind of parts and tools in questions. Some examples are:

  • Support Equipment – 7035
  • Punched Card Part – 7040
  • Control Devices for Micro and Mini Computer – 7042
  • Components for Information Technology – 7050

Wrap Up

By and large, understanding military tools NSN will help you in so many ways. For instance, you will be able to know the category of tool and the country where it is manufactured.

This is aside from other unique features of military parts. So, we advise that you seriously study the information in this article as it will help you understand certain things about the NATO/National Stock Number system as it relates to the military.

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