Tools For An Easy AR-15 Build

I think I’ve built a mixture of 6-7 AR-15 rifles and pistols during the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020-2021, and I’ll probably build more in the future. After you build one, you won’t be able to stop. It’s fun, and a bit addictive. You’ll find that if you have a few spare parts, you’ll end of building rifles around them.

Helpful Tools For Building AR-15 Lowers

One set of tools you’re going to want for the overall lower build is a non-marring hammer and punch set is critically important. Personally, I like Wheeler products and so I recommend this Wheeler hammer and punch kit:

One of the most commonly joked about aspects of building an AR-15 lower is the ease in which you can accidentally send a detent spring and follower flying across the room. Personally, I’ve finally got to the point where I can get the pin and follower in simply using the front pivot pin, but I will admit that it’s challenging. Thankfully, there are two tools that make it a little easier.

This Hard-to-Find Fastener (clevis pin) was not specifically made for AR-15 lower assembly, but it does the job.

If you’d like a dedicated tool to help you retain lower pins and followers, this Real Avid Pivot Pin Tool is purpose-built.

Helpful Tools For Building AR-15 Uppers

If you are going to be building a complete upper, you’re going to want some gun grease for the barrel nut.

Here is the best anti-seize lubricant:

Here is the best gun grease:

In order to secure the barrel and barrel nut onto the threads of the upper, you’re going to either need a protective upper vice clamp that goes around the whole upper. Alternatively, you can get a spline socket rod, put it in the upper, and then secure it with a bench vice. The latter here is my preferred method, and so I purchased a KZ Barrel Spline Socket Rod For AR15/M4 Upper Receivers.

For tightening the barrel nut, going to want an AR-15 tool. I prefer the Magpul AR-15 Armorer’s Wrench Multi-Tool. This tool is also useful for other purposes, such as tightening the castle nut on the buffer tube.

When tightening the barrel nut, you’re also going to want a torque wrench if you are going to be installing a barrel. This one is my favorite:

Finally, although not necessarily required for any particular task, I really like the Wheeler torque wrench. I think it’s especially useful for mounting optics– where you might want to avoid stripping screws or crushing your scope tube.