Friday, April 29, 2011

Building an AR-15: The Tools You Need

Why Build an AR-15?
So you want to build an AR-15 rifle? It is is an exceptional rifle for close to medium range tactical combat and can serve as an excellent platform for long range target shooting. However, a quality AR-15 in a basic, stock configuration can be expensive and many people choose to build their own rifles in an attempt to avoid paying the premium prices often associated with custom AR-15s.

One of the major advantages of the AR-15 platform is the modular design and readily available parts. The amount of custom parts available just on the internet is truly astonishing. These products range from high powered AR-15 specific optics to tactical grips and stocks and vary tremendously in both quality and price. When buying any part for your rifle it is wise to purchase it from a reputable dealer and from one that is available to be contacted for any questions regarding the part and its application.  Inexpensive parts will not only perform poorly, but they may actually damage your rifle.

Recommended Tools
While you don’t need to be a certified gunsmith to build an AR-15, it does take some fundamental weapon specific knowledge, some basic household tools, and a few specialized AR-15 tools sure make it much easier and less aggravating!  The specialized tools you will need are a barrel wrench and barrel action block or some other fixture to steady the upper receiver in a vise.  However, if you plan on building an AR-15 with a free float tube instead of a regular two piece handguard and delta ring assembly, you will want to get an AR-15 free float tube wrench instead of a regular barrel nut wrench.  Better yet is the AR-15 Multi Tool that includes both of these wrenches as well as a spanner wrench for the castle nut on the stock.  These valuable and specialized tools are relatively inexpensive and can be picked up from our store’s AR-15 tools page.  Because many AR owners find that they are frequently modifying their weapon and are recruited to build some for friends, it is a good idea to acquire these tools at some point if you are interested in the AR-15.  Apart from the specialized AR-15 tools, we also recommend the following basic tools when building an AR-15:
  • A pair of needle nose pliers
  • A hammer or mallet
  • A X-ACTO knife or a sharp cutting utensil
  • A flat head screwdriver
  • A roll pin punch set
Additionally, we recommend picking up an AR-15/M-16 Armorer's manual.  While you certainly do not need an Armorer's manual to build an AR-15, it will help guide you through the assembly process.  There are also many free online tutorials and videos from reputable companies that can show you many of the steps and parts in assembly.  You can most likely get by with less, but the tools listed above will make your AR-15 build a lot easier and get you sending rounds downrange faster!

Thanks for reading our blog...check back often for more news and information pertaining to the AR-15 platform and feel free to contact us anytime with any questions you may have. (revision 20111030)


  1. Thanks for sharing.I found a lot of interesting information here. A really good post, very thankful and hopeful that you will write many more posts like this one.