An AR-15 build is a great way to spend time on a rainy afternoon or a day that’s just too hot for shooting. In addition to the AR-15 lower parts kit, stripped lower, and other essential parts like the barrel, you’re going to need some specific AR-15 tools.
It used to be that there were a handful of suppliers for these tools, but the market has exploded in the last few years and these tools come from a variety of manufacturers. Here are some of the best tools for builds from stripped lowers.
Top AR-15 Tools
You’re going to need a stock wrench to handle castle nuts on the receiver quickly and easily. Using generic tools instead of specific AR-15 tools can make the whole process much more difficult and end up marring or otherwise damaging your AR-15 build. One of the best wrenches for this is AR-15 Armorer’s Wrench.
This is not a uni-tasker and the multiple functions and heavy-duty build quality make it indispensable whether you’re putting together one build or planning on dozens of builds. If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, though, Magpul’s AR-15 Armorer’s Wrench is the best in class for this type of tool. In short, if you’re doing an AR-15 build, get an armorer’s wrench. If you want the best, get Magpul’s.
When assembling your upper and lower receiver, it’s important to be able to clamp the parts without damaging or flexing them. The best way to manage this is with polyurethane vice blocks, which fit in the lower receiver or around the upper receiver to protect them while keeping them steady.
This is another case where the Brownells brand is likely the best on the market and come in a convenient upper-and-lower kit since you’ll be needing both anyway. It’s possible to assemble an AR-15 without these blocks, but the process is really much more difficult than it needs to be without them.
If you’re just starting out, it may make sense to buy a quality kit to get going on your AR-15 build. There are three great kits on the market that provide many tools to help you build and maintain your AR and they save you money on the package.
Brownell’s, again, takes a solid position with their AR-15 Critical Tools Kit, which contains the basics for building your rifle, including their armorer’s wrench, vice blocks, and pin tools and punches.
While you may need more tools to build your AR, this is a great base package. Wheeler Engineering AR-15 Armorer’s Essential Kit is similar to the Brownell’s kit, providing a great base for building from, including an AR-15 combo tool, wrench, vice blocks and pivot and pin installation tools.
If you want the entire kit-and-caboodle, though, Wheeler Engineering also offers a Delta Series AR-15 Ultra Armorer’s Kit. This has everything you’re going to need to assemble and maintain your AR without question. While it comes at a price, if you’re starting from scratch and want a comprehensive toolset, that’s the one to pick.