New to building AR-15s? Everyone’s gotta start somewhere! Starting your first build can be a little overwhelming. It seems like there’s a ton of parts to understand and install. However, as you’ll soon find out, there really isn’t much to it.
The parts are mostly pretty similar, and I think you’ll be surprised how easy they are to install. After one or two builds, you’ll be pretty proficient at installing what you need.
However, we would like to make this process as easy for you as possible. For this reason, we are putting together this list of the basic gunsmithing tools that you’ll need to make your build as smooth as possible. Keep in mind that this isn’t an all inclusive list, but it’s at least a start. Having some general tools, such as screwdrivers and pliers, will probably be helpful at some point.
This is one of the most important aspects of any build. You’re going to need a vise to hold the weapon or receiver in place to be able to work on it. Whether you’re working on a build, or making adjustments to a completed weapon, a bench vise is very important.
You don’t want to clamp the weapon directly into the vise though. You’re going to want to get an upper and lower receiver vise block. This will allow you to clamp the block into the vise rather than marring the finish of your weapon.
AR-15 Armorer’s Wrench (https://www.ar-15lowerreceivers.com/collections/gunsmithing-tools/products/castle-nut-wrench-ar-15)
This is somewhat of a multitool for an AR-15 build. This tool can be used for the castle nut, barrel nut, and for the muzzle device, to name a few. If you’re going to build an AR-15, save yourself the time and just buy one of these.
Obviously, there’s quite a few pins involved with building an AR-15. As such, there’s quite a few punches you’ll need. You’ll also need a gunsmithing hammer to drive these pins. This set of roll pin punches (https://www.ar-15lowerreceivers.com/collections/gunsmithing-tools/products/ar-15-punch-set-roll-pin-punches) is a great start for AR-15s that commonly use roll pins, but you might also look to get a roll pin holder to start driving the pins in. A roll pin starter is a great tool for getting the pins out.
You can accomplish the build with flat face punches, but it will be more difficult.
Having a place to keep all of those small parts and pieces is never a bad idea!
80% Lower – Jig, Router, Drill Press, Drill Press Vise
This should be obvious, but if you’re going to be starting with an 80% lower, you will need a jig (https://www.ar-15lowerreceivers.com/collections/gunsmithing-tools/products/easy-jig-gen-2-tooling-ar-15-308-jig), a router (https://www.ar-15lowerreceivers.com/collections/gunsmithing-tools/products/router-80-arms-easy-jig?variant=7327322669114), a drill press, and a drill press vise (https://www.ar-15lowerreceivers.com/collections/gunsmithing-tools/products/drill-press-vise).
The jig comes with all of the tooling that you’ll need, so this should be pretty much all that you’ll need tool wise. You can also accomplish the build with a hand drill rather than a drill press.