Compact casing tongs include a tube which is secured to a connector, the connector in turn being supported and rotated by a quill of a top head drive assembly. The lower end of the tube regidly supports a set of cams which define multiple recesses. A jaw is mounted in each recess, and each of the jaws is connected to a brake ring positioned outside the tube. By externally braking the brake ring while the quill connector body is rotated the jaws are shifted out of the recesses to grip the exterior of a casing positioned within the tube. The tube is dimensioned to ensure that the jaws engage the body of the casing beneath the upper collar of the casing.