It’s no secret that building firearms requires a significant investment of time and money. To get the quality build you want, requires spending some of that investment on a good set of tools.
Professional tools can be expensive, however good quality tools can make properly assembling your weapon much easier and the tools will last through many builds.
The key takeaway in this is that a quality set of tools, while expensive, will provide you with better results and require less replacements down the road.
You’ll want to make sure you have a solid workbench with enough storage and space to work on things comfortably. It should also have a sufficient surface for mounting a bench vise.
Having a peg board and a variety of pegs on the back of your work bench can also be very useful. This ensures most of your tools are easy to get to and find.
Recommendation: Olympia Tools Multipurpose Workbench
This workbench has everything you need including an overhead light and built in power strip for any power tools or additional lighting you may need.
A bench vise combined with the proper AR-15 vise blocks will allow you to securely hold your firearm in place while you work on it. This especially comes into play when torqueing down your barrel and castle nuts.
Your bench vise should be large enough to hold your vise blocks. This means having a jaw size of at least 4 inches. Another recommendation would be a vise that will rotate, allowing you different angles at which you can work.
Recommendation: Yost 5” Heavy-Duty Bench Vise
This bench vise will provide you with enough stability and maneuverability for any build.
A good armorer’s kit will provide several of the tools you’ll need when building your AR-15. The recommended kit below includes the following quality tools:
ARMORER’S MASTER WRENCH
REPLACEMENT HAMMER HEADS
PIVOT PIN TOOL
AR15 MASTER BENCH BLOCK
FRONT SIGHT ADJUSTER TOOL
SMART FIT AR15 LOWER VISE BLOCK
BORE ILLUMINATOR / SAFETY FLAG
PIN PUNCH SET
PIN ALIGNMENT TOOL
EASY-GRIP HANDGUARD TOOL
LUG-LOK UPPER VISE BLOCK
One thing to note about this kit is that the armorer’s wrench also doubles as a hammer and comes with brass heads which you’ll find useful when hammering in pins and you don’t want to damage any of your rifle parts.
Recommendation: Real Avid AR15 Armorer’s Master Kit
NEEDLE NOSE PLIERS
A good set of needle nose pliers can really make a difference when trying to manipulate some of the tiny parts included in an AR-15. They will save you the pain (literally) and frustration of trying to hold a tiny roll pin in place while driving it in with your brass hammer.
Recommendation: Stanley 84-096 5-Inch Needle Nose Plier
A good set of screwdrivers is not only needed for installing your Pistol Grip but can also be useful as a light-duty pry bar or a tool for pushing down detents and springs.
Recommendation: CREMAX Magnetic Screwdriver Set 10 PCS
ALLEN WRENCH SET
This is one of those tools you’ll find yourself using quite frequently during your AR-15 build. A quality set of Allen wrenches will hold up for a long time and prevent damage to the screw heads. The best type of Allen wrenches for this job would be T-handle wrenches. These offer more leverage, making installing hex head screws easier.
Recommendation: Bondhus 13390 Set of 10 Hex T-handles w/ Stand
All the tools recommended above I have personally used and continue to use for all my builds. As you work on your own builds, you may find there are other tools that may come in handy as well. However, these recommendations will provide you with everything you need in building your AR-15.