The Best AR-15 Tools To Get Started With

The fastest way to sabotage your AR15 build and drive your frustration through the roof is by going cheap on your AR15 tools.

While you don’t need a full-blown armorers kit to build and maintain an AR-15, there are a few gunsmithing tools you’ll absolutely need.

The AR15 tools you’ll need for a new build are the same tools that you’ll be using to maintain your AR-15. This means that if you’re going to actually shoot your rifle, you’ll likely need these tools for maintenance and upgrades down the road.

Spend once, cry once; you’ll thank me later.

Prior to starting your build, make sure you have the AR15 building tools you need for success.

Bench Vise

A quality bench vice from a big box store won’t set you back more than a hundred bucks. Make sure that it can be solidly mounted to your bench. I prefer a vice that is bolted to my workbench.

If you don’t have the space for a dedicated workbench you could explore the possibility of a vice that clamps to a table or countertop. Be aware that with this option you risk damaging the table or countertop that it’s mounted to when you’re torquing on different parts.

WORKPRO Bench Vise

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

Wheeler Professional Armorers Wrench

The Wheeler Delta Series Professional Armorers Wrench is designed to be the last wrench you’ll need for your AR15 builds. This armorers wrench is what every gunsmith or armorer needs to be able to build, disassemble, and repair AR15 rifles and pistols.

The Professional Armorers Wrench is constructed from the highest quality materials, delivering you the best performance for all your gunsmithing needs, and includes 6 different essential AR tools. The handle has torque measurements listed on the handle for easy reference on your gunsmithing bench.

Professional Armorer’s Wrench

at Wheeler
Prices accurate at time of writing

Wheeler F.A.T. Wrench

Wheeler’s F.A.T. Wrench (Firearm Accurizing Torque) takes all the guessing out of installing a scope or other weapon attachment. I learned a lot about how bad I’ve overtightened screws over the years. The F.A.T. wrench works perfectly every time as long as you read the manual before you start working on your scope rings or rail systems.

With the F.A.T. wrench, all I do is tighten until I hear a click after I set my torque for each specific screw, bolt, or nuts. With other torque wrenches, you have a similar audible click, but the F.A.T. wrench is so much smaller and compact. It allows you to control the torque wrench with one if needed and you can properly set your desired torque anywhere you want, including the field.

F.A.T. Wrench with 10 Bit Set

at Wheeler
Prices accurate at time of writing

½" Torque Wrench

The Wheeler Professional armorers wrench has a handy square hole that allows you to attach your ½" drive torque wrench. Most proprietary barrel nuts come with a wrench that allows for the same. There is a reason for this. Torquing the different parts of your build properly is important to make sure it remains reliable and to ensure you don’t overtighten and damage anything.

You need a torque wrench for your barrel nut, castle nut, and muzzle devices.

CRAFTSMAN Torque Wrench, SAE, 1/2-Inch Drive

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

Wheeler 55 Piece Screwdriver Set

What makes this set unique is the fact that it includes SAE/Metric, hex, and Torx bits. Those beginning their gunsmithing journey might find this a little confusing or even unnecessary, but it’s to help accommodate guns of different origins.

Some users have even taken this kit beyond gunsmithing and used it to repair boats and motorcycles due to the mix of SAE and Metric. Nonetheless, the screw bits are all hollow ground to work best with guns. If you have other more comprehensive gunsmithing kits on hand, this one might compliment it quite well.

Like other Wheeler screwdriver sets, this one comes with a diagram for placing the bits into the correct slots, making it easier and more streamlined to use. Another handy feature is an area to keep small parts during firearm disassembly or spare bits.

Wheeler 55 Piece SAE/Metric Hex and Torx Screwdriver Set

at Wheeler
Prices accurate at time of writing

Roll Pin and Punch Set

You’ll also need a decent roll pin/punch set. These can be made from steel or brass. Brass is to keep you from marring the steel (as the brass is softer than steel).

Brass Punch Set

at Wheeler
Prices accurate at time of writing

Some guns have roll-pins (thin sheets of steel that are rolled up to create the pin). These will often have a hole in the middle of the rolled-up pin and you’ll need roll-pin punches to drift them without damaging them. If you damage a roll pin, you may not be able to get it back in.

A roll-pin punch has a flat face with a small nipple that indexes into the roll pins void, which keeps you from flattening out the top of the pin as you hammer it out or mushrooming the pin when hammering back into place.

Roll Pin Starter Set

at Wheeler
Prices accurate at time of writing

Wheeler Delta Series Upper Vise Block Clamp

The Wheeler Upper Vise Block allows you to safely clamp onto your AR-15 upper receiver in a vise holding it securely without twisting, crushing, or marring the finish. This Block is the perfect product for torquing a barrel on, removing a stubborn barrel nut, or for simple gun maintenance and cleaning.  It is made of a high-pressure, solvent-resistant polymer material that can withstand almost anything you can throw at it.

The Delta Series AR-15 Upper Vise Block truly is the all-around product for your AR-15 gunsmithing, maintenance, or cleaning needs. As an added bonus it includes a receiver insert with a gas tube alignment system, making sure your gas tube is always in line when installing a barrel, and torquing a barrel nut.

Delta Series AR-15 Upper Vise Block Clamp

at Wheeler
Prices accurate at time of writing

Related Article – Building The Best Gunsmith Tool Kit


Shooting guns is a great hobby. Building guns and performing other gunsmithing tasks isn’t necessarily part of that hobby. Similar but different.

Instead, building and maintaining AR rifles is a whole new hobby that is loosely connected to the shooting part. Enjoy the ride!

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