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10 Must-Have Tools for the DIY Gunsmith

Before you begin your 80% lower journey in earnest, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re doing everything right – whether that’s setting roll pins, securing your lower for machining, or cleaning up those inevitable mistakes. Look below for the 10 must-have gunsmithing tools for the DIY gunsmith! We recommend these 10 tools based on our personal experiences and past challenges on our own builds.


  1.    The AR15 Rifle Shooters Case

You need a good place to store all those gunsmithing tools, right? You also need a convenient, easy-to-access place to seat your rifle (or pistol) while you work on it. The AR15 Rifle Shooters Case provides the solution for all this. You’ll enjoy easy storage and organization of your pins, hammers, punches, disassembled jig, and more, and you can safely rest your AR in place while you work.


  1.    AR-15 Build Mat

The AR-15 Build Mat has saved us quite a few times. This nifty mat serves a few purposes for the DIY gunsmith. Obviously (and perhaps most importantly) it provides an easy guide for assembly and disassembly! This is a great alternative to looking steps and odd info up. It also provides a safe surface to rest your rifle and parts. It’s a non-slip rubberized mat, so it’ll prevent scratches and dings, and it’ll help you keep track of all those little springs and pins.


  1.    Armorer’s Wrench

This is the single most important tool any AR-15 owner can buy. The Armorer’s Wrench is specifically designed for assembly and disassembly of the standard black rifle. You absolutely need an Armorer’s Wrench if you’re swapping barrels, handguards, or buffer tubes, and it’s necessary to safely add or remove any muzzle device.


  1.    Porter Cable Handheld Laminate Router

Now it gets fun! The Porter Cable Handheld Laminate Router is the router we recommend for all your 80% lower builds. It’s a crowd favorite among most 80% jig owners simply because most jigs are built with this particular router in mind. It’s easy to set up and it’s ergonomic, powerful, and affordable!


  1.    AR-15 Punch Set

Ask any DIY gunsmith what they despise most about building an AR-15, and they’ll almost all tell you: Those damn roll pins. They’re tiny, difficult to punch in place, and more often than not, they get lost. The AR-15 Punch Set is specifically designed to help you easily and precisely seat all those roll pins with ease. Trust us, if you’re building even one AR, you want these punches.


  1.    Drill Press Vise

A reliable, accurate AR needs an 80% lower that was built to exacting tolerances. That means drilling all those holes for the fire control group to exact specifications. Doing so means investing in a good work vise like our Drill Press Vise! This is a must-have for any 80% lower build.


  1.    Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black

Whether you’re building your 80% lower or you’re just hitting the range, chances are, you’ve scratched up your black rifle once or twice. Fixing that anodized finish is easy with a small, convenient bottle of Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black. Easily repair blemishes and make your rifle or pistol look new with this professional-grade gunsmithing touch-up finish in seconds!


  1.    Brass Gunsmithing Hammer

That AR-15 Punch Set is wonderful, but using those punches correctly means investing in the right hammer. An old ball peen hammer simply won’t do – you could break a punch or mar up the finish on your AR. You need a small, by-design, brass gunsmithing hammer like this one. It’s a softer metal so it won’t break your punches or scratch your lower receiver, and it allow for precise, small taps to get those roll pins in place.


  1.    AR15 Magazine Vise Block

The easiest way to work on your AR-15 is by seating it in a bench vise via the magazine well. Instead of sacrificing a PMAM or STANAG mag, our AR15 Magazine Vise Block is the perfect solution! This heavy-duty block slices right into your lower receiver and allows you to secure your rifle to a vise without actually contacting the rifle itself. This frees up the rifle entirely and makes for easy bench work during your gunsmithing hours.


  1.   Bench Vise Jaw Pads

Keeping with the theme of protecting your work while you machine and mill, our Bench Vise Jaw Pads provide an easy method of securing your rifle while protecting the finish from your bench vise’s metal surfaces. They’re designed to be non-slip and they contain magnets to keep the pads secure while you work.

DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY gun building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. At 80 Lowers, we are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.

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