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Best AR15 Tools For Building

5D Tactical - 10th Jan 2023

So, it’s finally time to build our own custom AR15. America’s Rifle is one of the most popular, versatile and loved guns on the planet and now you're ready to give it a go yourself. So what exactly do we need to get an AR15 build kit over the finish line? Fear not builders, we're here to help! While it can seem like the tools needed to build an AR 15 could fill a garage if we’re just beginning our search, we’re here to help stock the best AR15 tool kit needed for every home builder! So what will we need past a jig, drill press or a router? Let’s dive in!

Hammers and Brass Punch Set

Photo Credit: Real Avid and Wheeler Engineering

Among the most essential and basic tools you need for any platform you're working on whether it's a handgun, AR or AK, you're going to need a punch set and hammer. Punches will help you do a wide variety of things such as taking pins in your handgun or helping you hold parts in place while you install a trigger in your rifle. For convenience sake, we love the Real Avid Accu-Punch set just because it has everything you need including a double sided hammer with a brass and nylon side. However, if you need to really wallop on some parts and have more leverage to smack things into place, we recommend the Wheeler hammer which often called a jeweler's hammer as well.

Torque Driver Set

Photo Credit: Real Avid

Just about every accessory for an AR15 involves needing Allen keys of some sort. But, you should skip the Allen wrenches and just upgrade yourself to a torque driver! They are a must have and definitely make our list of best AR tools! Don’t overthink this one too much here. This set from Real Avid might cost you a pretty penny but it will save you a ton of headaches down the road having every possible bit and size you may need whether it's for philips heads, flatheads, torx or hex keys.

Of course, a solid set of Allen keys are cheap and handy to have around for a variety of reasons but having a torque driver will ensure your screws not falling out with the correct torque spec applied to them. This way your screws aren't falling out and you're also not stripping them either from over-torquing. 

Needle Nose Pliers

Sometimes you just need to yank something out and you don't want to use a hammer to cause any extra or undue damage. Most of the time, we usually have a pair lying around somewhere in the garage anyways!

If you don't have one a trip to your local Harbor Freight may be in order. Otherwise, it could be a good excuse to finally get that multi-tool you've been eyeing for a while too. 

Heavy Duty Bench Vise

Photo Credit:  Midway USA

When I first began to work on AR15 build kits I had no idea what I needed and learned along the way. Because of this consistent trial and error I’ll tell everyone that one of the most important AR15 building tools is a heavy-duty bench vise. Don’t skimp on a bench vise.

Find a solid workbench to attach the gun vise to as well. A sturdy foundation will save plenty of tears and money down the road. Overall, don’t skimp on a great vise when it comes to beginning to collect AR 15 build tools. We really like this gun vise from Wheeler, pictured below.

A gun Bench Vise from Wheeler.

Upper Vice Block

A Magpul BEV Upper Vise Block. Photo Credit: Black Sheep Warrior

Since we mentioned it, one of the best tools for an AR 15 build we’ve found is an upper vise block. This is a block that simply holds the upper in the vise so it’s not damaged at all when working on the AR15 upper. An upper vise block is one of the best AR tools for builders we’ve found.

When building our best AR15 tool kit, the upper vise block is a must for us. Best to not take the chance of damaging expensive parts and it can be used with assembly/disassembly after the AR15 is built as well! We like this upper vice block from Magpul that’s currently in our favorite AR build tools.

Torque Wrench and Armorers Wrench

Magpul Armorer’s Wrench Photo Credit:  Primary Arms

Moving on through the best AR 15 tool kit we reach something that will save a lot of headaches and potentially the build itself - a torque wrench and an armorer’s wrench. It’s always important to get everything torqued properly with any gun build. So make certain to grab a torque wrench when collecting the necessary AR 15 assembly tools.

An armorer’s wrench is also a must have for the best AR15 tool kit. This will save a lot of time and headaches and is pretty straightforward. Snag one and thank us later. This one from Magpul is a great choice!

Punch Set and Roll Pin Punches/Hammer or Mallet

Luckily for those of us that aren’t professional gunsmiths, these come bundled together many times! Make certain to find a non-marring hammer, so as not to hurt the finishes on the gun should we miss the mark while hammering.

Brass punches are great as well, due to them being soft metal. This means we’re able to minimize our damage to the gun should something slip as the brass will actually usually take more of the damage than the gun. Here’s a great (and inexpensive) set we like that is in our box of AR 15 assembly tools!

Gas Block Alignment Tool

A Gas Block Alignment Tool. Photo Credit: HB Industries

This next little thing might seem a bit ridiculous - but will it ever save time! You never know if the gas port in your barrel is within spec or not. Factories aren't perfect and can make mistakes. A gas block alignment tool is a nifty little device when it comes to AR build tools that helps line up the gas port on your barrel and the gas block.

While this might seem a little ridiculous, this nifty little tool is worth its weight in gold. This one from HB Industries works very well to ensure you get proper gas flow in your rifle. Just make sure you get the correct caliber needed per your build.

Headspace Gauge

5.56mm Headspace gauge. Photo Credit:  Midway USA

Headspace with a rifle is simply the free space between the breech face and the cartridge base when it’s loaded in the chamber and the bolt is closed in battery. Casings expand in two dimensions when fired. The circumference increases and the case briefly presses against the chamber walls and the casing also stretches lengthwise. Because of this, a bit of play between the breech face and the cartridge base is needed. To measure this, we’ll need a headspace gauge.

Headspace gauges can be found for a variety of prices and they are very handy when it comes to AR15 building tools, but we personally have this set. While it might seem like the tools needed to build AR15 rifles and pistols might be getting long, stick with us here, as we’re almost done!

The Bottom Line

We hope going over the tools needed to build AR15 rifles was helpful to you! While it might seem like a lot at first, many of the best AR tools are probably sitting right in your toolbox or garage already. If you want to be kind of extra but really cool and always prepared to work on your guns, go ahead and splurge on the Real Avid Armorer's Master Kit! That baby comes in an organized carrying case and even has a barrel vise rod. 

Building an AR15 is one of the most fun and rewarding projects to do for many shooters! The pride of carrying your own custom AR15 into the range that you built with your own two hands is a pretty great feeling too! Thanks for hanging out with us today and don’t forget to check out our great selection of AR parts and even build kits! Until next time!