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Best AR-15 Build Tools to Help You Get Started

We've put together a list of tools you need to make your AR-15 building experience go a lot easier (and smoother)!

If you’re looking to build or customize a rifle that looks and shoots exactly how you want it to, you’re not going to find a better gun than the AR-15.  

With a seemingly endless supply of upgrades at your fingertips, modding or building your AR-15 from the ground up has never been easier.

Modded AR-15s
Modded AR-15s

For the most part, modding or building your AR-15 from the ground up is relatively simple and straightforward. And best of all, most of the tools needed for the job are probably lying around in your toolbox already.  

Best AR-15 Foregrips
Lots you can install…

And if this is your first time building an AR-15, make sure to take a look at our list of essential gunsmithing tools to see if you’ve got everything to get started.

Today, we’re going to look at…

  • Vise blocks
  • Pin punches
  • Wrenches
  • Tool kits
  • Screw kits

Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s take a look at some of the best AR-15 build tools designed to make gunsmithing easy and convenient.

Essential AR-15 Build Tools

1. Brownells Upper & Lower Vise Blocks

When assembling your AR-15, it’s important that you use vise blocks to clamp your receiver halves together without damaging or distorting your upper and lower receivers.

Upper Vise High
Vise blocks help you not damage your goods.

There are a number of different vise blocks available on the market, but the advantage of going with Brownells is that you’re able to get two high-quality products without having to pay an exorbitant amount of money.  

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Both blocks are made from a heavy-duty urethane plastic that’s strong enough to withstand pressure from your bench vise while also keeping your upper and lower receiver protected from damage.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

And if you need both, you can grab the set for a pretty good price!

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What do you think about the vise blocks? Rate them below.

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (1177)

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2. Magpul BEV Block

Magpul took the standard block and improved it.

The BEV Block locks your upper to it with a pin through the pivot hole and comes with steel lugs that enable you to work on barrel nuts and flash hiders without flexing the receiver.

This tool allows you to conduct a series of important building steps for your upper, and it’s more diverse than clamshell-styled blocks.

Some types of AR uppers don’t fit perfectly into these molds, but the BEV Block will accommodate them fine.

at Magpul

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

In addition, the BEV Block doesn’t require you to remove your optic to complete jobs once your gun is already built. Finally, it also comes with an o-ring post to mate with your BCG for extra stability.

3. Real Avid Pivot Pin Tool

A takedown pin tool is built from heavy-duty plastic that’s strong enough to remove takedown pins without damaging your gun.  

Rear Detent and Takedown Pin
Rear Detent and Takedown Pin

It’s also helpful for installing your magazine catch without marring or scuffing up your lower receiver’s metal. How so? It lets you push the mag release back far enough so that you’re able to install your mag catch without any issues.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

4. Magpul Armorer’s Wrench

The Magpul Armorer’s Wrench is for when you want the Cadillac of spanners.  

This sturdy wrench is designed to maximize grip and comfort. Just like other armorer’s wrenches, it works with both pin and stock-style barrel nuts and is compatible with standard-sized muzzle suppressors. It also is able to tightly grasp castle nuts without causing damage to the nut.

Magpul Armorer's Wrench
Magpul Armorer’s Wrench

Oh, and you can also open bottle caps with it, which is great for cracking open a cold one after you finish working on your build.

This wrench is created to give a firm grip on the nut in three places, making it easier to exercise control over the nut without causing any damage.  

Best Armorer's Wrench
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

5. Brownells Armorer’s Wrench

If you’re not about living that minimalist lifestyle and want the Swiss Army Knife of wrenches, the AR-15 Armorer’s Wrench is right up your alley.  

This heavy-duty tool is strong enough to withstand heavy use without breaking or bending but is delicate enough to protect your gun from scuffs and scratches while handling stock and pin-style barrel nuts.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Plus, it makes a great lightweight tool to carry around in your range bag. Curious about other wrenches? We have more recommendations in our Best Armorer’s Wrench article.

6. Wheeler Engineering AR-15 Armorer’s Essential Kit

If you don’t want to spend nearly $300 on gunsmithing tools, but you still want to make sure that you’ve got everything you need to start your AR-15 build, Wheeler’s Essential Kit might be right for you.

Wheeler Sight Pusher
Wheeler makes some products we love, like this sight pusher.

This tool set is perfect for beginners and for people who’ve got some gunsmithing tools lying around already. It comes with all of the heavy-duty instruments that you need to build your AR-15 or modify the one you’ve already got. 

Each kit includes the following items:

  • An AR-15 combo tool for different types of bolts
  • A torque wrench
  • Vise blocks for your upper and lower receivers
  • Pivot and roll pin installation tools
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Additionally, the toolset also comes with a durable bag to carry around your tools and keep them protected from the elements.  

And while the Essential Kit isn’t quite as comprehensive as the Ultra toolset, its tools are made with the same heavy-duty design that’s built for longevity and maximum usage.

7. Multitasker Twist AR-15 Tool

The Multitasker Twist AR-15 Tool is a screwdriver multi-tool designed to help make maintenance and optics adjustments quick and easy.

This compact tool is the size of a pen, making it easy to carry around in your pocket or in your range back.  

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Features include:

  • 10 different bit heads
  • Adjuster for your Aimpoint sight
  • 3/32” pin punch
  • Pocket clip

While not a necessity for building your AR-15, this tool certainly is handy if you’re trying to clean or adjust sights.  

Final Thoughts

Whelp, that’s our list of best AR-15 build tools to help you get started with your rifle.

AR-15 Tools
AR-15 Tools

As you can see, building or modding your AR-15 is a complex process. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to come up with a tool checklist before starting your build.  

That way, you don’t have to worry about stopping midway just because you forgot to buy a pin punch set or something.  

What’s your go-to tool? Let us know in the comments below. If you’d like to learn more about building your first AR-15, Glock, or a variety of other popular guns, make sure to check out our build guides to learn a little bit about gunsmithing.  

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11 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    What! No pin-anti-launch tool?

    Shame on y'all.

    March 8, 2023 4:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jon. E.T. Miller

    Dang y'all high as the cost of your tools. Jett I

    March 8, 2021 1:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Nate G.

    Do you recommend a particular torque wrench?

    June 21, 2019 8:46 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Timothy J

    Holy cow Brandon must think every bodies loaded. You don’t need half that stuff to build an AR. And if you want to buy it you can get that stuff way cheaper at CDNN sporrts or DVOR. While I know these guys are writing for click rebates no need to get ripped off.

    January 22, 2018 8:05 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Thomas J Smith

      I agree... and Brownell's prices for vise blocks is unreal! The lower block is crap IMHO... it doesn't lock into the lower without wrapping it w electrical tape.. There are much better blocks out there..

      October 17, 2019 11:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Would you mind sending me a list of tools needed to built one. I am actually looking to built one from the ground up. Putting the upper and the lower. If you dont mind?

      October 7, 2020 3:13 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Real Avid's master kit is a great start. I bought mine several years ago and it wasn't too costly, inflation has caught up a bit. If you look around it's under $200.

        March 8, 2023 2:35 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    You forgot to include the superior "Geissele" reaction rod and block. When Brownells has a sale on Geissele products, along with free S/H, Geissele tools are very price competitive with other AR brand tools. Geissele is second to none in design. function and quality.

    January 22, 2018 4:48 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Nobody special

      You can get the same thing for $56 thru Botach on their ebay page. It's the same thing just don't have Giselle name on it.

      January 28, 2018 9:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I believe you left off Magpuls BevBlock. Approx 50.00 you can work on Upper and Lower plus Barrel.. Its a good starting tool

    January 21, 2018 6:54 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      That's new to me...might need to check it out!

      February 13, 2018 8:15 pm
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