Most hand rivet tools have a small and large rivet "nail" nosepiece. The key to successful riveting is keep the flange of the rivet held solidly against the material while pulling the nail to "POP" it.
Also make sure the hole you drill is the same size as the rivet, a sloppy fit will cause a loose joint and difficult to squeeze to pop the rivet. Maybe that's what Joe did... Buythe guy some of those squeeze handles to build the muscles in his hands. Dan