Essential Tools & Equipment (AR 15)

So, I finally jumped into the AR world this Saturday… excited about that. Nothing too fancy, but it’s MINE!
However I am super new at the idea of building/customizing your gun. I don’t have a lot of buddies that work on their own guns, but >I< want to be the one working on my gun and eventually be able to build my own… that’s part of the fun, right!?

So, I was wondering what the typical tools & equipment you guys have for customizing and building? what’s “required,” maybe your preferences, anything helps!

Side note, if you guys have any good websites or videos that would help a newbie out… It’d be much appreciated!


Oh btw! :grin:

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Clearly the next thing you need to buy is one of these.


Proper tools to do the job make life a ton easier. Brownell’s and MidwayUSA sell the items you need. is also a great resource. Building them is far far more fun! Especially the small parts, if you need one buy 4 :smiley: Over time you get enough parts for another build!

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The three main things you need for building AR’s are

Upper Vice Block w/ internal filler: I got mine from Brownells decades ago and it still works. The internal filler bit keeps you from crushing the upper.

Lower Vice Block: OK a disposable magazine will work in a pinch but a poly block is much better

Barrel Wrench: I like the DPMS one primarily because of two features. The “button” for the castle nut is hardened steel and fit’s just about everything. It has a 1/2" square hole for a socket wrench so that you can give the flash suppressor an “UNGHH” to get it lined up or the barrel locking ring/block/whatever they call it these days.

Add ons:

A good set of pin punches
A “Small” ball peen hammer - If it takes more than a tap you are doing it wrong.
A micro hemostat (for holding roll pins as you tap them in) AKA roach clip, Mosquito Clamp, Hemostat [Tweezers also work but are not locking, generally]
A 1/4" cleevis pin to assist with getting those pesky take down detent springs in place.
A full set of Allen wrenches down to “itty bitty” for the 4-40 grub screws on the Aero M4E1 Lowers to hold the safety detent and spring in as well as the bolt release.
Any other part specific tools for your particular rig.