Manufacturing an AR 15 off the grid for personal use sounds like a massive and complicated undertaking. But by using a few tricks, it can be a lot simpler than you might think. One of these tricks is using an 80 percent lower receiver.
An 80 percent receiver is a block of aluminum that’s almost been made into a lower receiver. What this means is that it’s not considered a firearm yet and that their sale is not controlled in the same way as firearms. However, it’s up to the consumer to finish the process of milling it into a lower receiver so it can function as the center of a finished AR 15. This means drilling a few holes and milling out a cavity. After that’s completed, the lower is legally considered a firearm.
An 80 lower jig holds the 80 percent lower receiver in place and provides a guide that tells you where to drill in order to finish the receiver. Therefore an AR 15 jig will allow you to finish an AR 15 80 percent lower receiver.
There are a number of AR 15 jig models available, but we’re going to be looking at four based on ease of use and affordability, and going over why they’re the best.
Polymer80 is a company known for creating plastic 80 percent receivers, primarily for the AR 15. However, they also offer a polymer jig that’s designed with their receivers in mind. Nonetheless, the Polymer80 jig is compatible with all mil-spec 80 percent AR 15 receivers whether or not they’re made of plastic. This means it will work just fine for metal receivers as well.
The RJ556U is one of the most affordable jigs available, and the kit contains all the drill bits required as well as trigger guides by default. At this price, and with this level of compatibility, you’d be foolish not to purchase this model. But, all this praise may leave you asking: what’s the catch?
The RJ556U is the most affordable option for a reason. It’s only capable of being used for two or three lowers before it’s too worn out to work reliably. However, it does work well for the first few lower receivers, so if you don’t see yourself manufacturing more than one or two AR 15s, then the Polymer80 jig may be exactly what you’re looking for at a price that just can’t be beaten. It’s not the best jig, but it’s by far the best value.
First Generation Easy Jig
When it was first released, the Easy Jig revolutionized the American personal AR 15 manufacturing scene by making it easier and more affordable than ever to finish an AR 15. It’s quicker than a traditional jig, simple to set up, and there are simple, easy to follow instructions that can help you finish a lower in about an hour.
Since the release of the second generation Easy Jig, this one has decreased quite a lot in price but has become no less useful. This makes it a fantastic mid-point between budget jigs and higher-end jigs. There are options available to purchase the jig with or without the required tooling and drill bits, with slight differences in price between the two.
Able to finish more than twenty lower receivers without replacement, this is still one of the best ar 15 jig options on the market, as well as one of the most popular. This 80 lower jig is a comfortable midpoint between high and low-end jigs, but still maintains a high standard of all-American quality craftsmanship.
Second Generation Easy Jig
The second generation Easy Jig took everything that the first one did, and then did it better. It’s easier to use than ever, provides the same detailed instructions with simple setup, and can finish a receiver in as little as half an hour; twice the speed of the first Easy Jig.
As with the first generation jig, this one allows you to purchase it either with or without tooling, but it also offers options for a shop-vac attachment, making cleanup a breeze. You don’t have to disassemble the jig to remove the lower, and there’s a massive decrease in the amount of drilling you have to do.
Much like the original Easy Jig, this one can finish well over 20 receivers without slowing down and is by far one of the best options on the market. It’s beginner-friendly, easy to use, and high quality. If you’re looking for something similar to the first Easy Jig, but are willing to spend a bit more, then the second generation Easy Jig is exactly that, but better in every way.
5D Tactical Router Jig Pro
The 5D Tactical Pro is a multi-platform jig designed to work with AR 15, AR 10, as well as AR 9 80 percent lower receivers. It’s designed to accommodate almost any AR lower, including polymer ones. This makes it one of the most versatile jigs available. But it isn’t just versatile, it’s fast. A well-trained hand can use this jig to finish an 80 percent lower in fifteen minutes.
The kit includes the drill bits you’ll need, but it will require you to pick an option for the ReadyMILL kit depending on your router model. But the finished tooling will attach directly to your router, helping increase stabilization. The jig also allows for shop-vac attachment for easier cleanup.
The material construction of the jig and guides which help to keep your drilling smooth allow this jig to finish a virtually unlimited number of 80 percent lower receivers. If you’re after a jig that will keep working until your grandchildren are old, and has unparalleled overall quality, then the 5D Tactical Router Jig Pro is for you. It’s not the cheapest, and it isn’t designed to be the easiest, but its versatility, durability and power are without compare.