Lets face it, you probably have an AR-15, maybe a couple of them; and if you don’t already have one, you’ve probably thought about getting or building one.
And, if you don’t already know, there are a few specialized tools you need to build an AR-15, or take one completely apart. The main things you may run into are the barrel nut and the castle nut, but you may also need something for compensators or flash suppressors, etc. I’ve used many tools for these various things, ranging from specialized tools, to off the shelf Craftsmen wrenches.
Many off the shelf tools will work for things like the compensator/flash suppressor and the other various pins, and screws, but for things like the castle nut and free float rail installations, you really need special tools, and one that will hold up to some use.
The tool that I’ve had the best luck with, and have built quite a few rifles with is the DPMS Armorers Tool. You can pick one up on Amazon or at many local retailers for a good price (usually around $33).
Features & Usage
This tool has all the bells and whistles that you may need for building or working on your AR-15s.
The tool includes the basics that you need for installing and disassembling free float handguards. This is the front section of the tool that has two pins sticking out. These pins will hook into standard handguards (used by most companies) and will allow you to properly tighten (or remove) them. It’s worth noting, that if you purchase a rail, and it doesn’t use the standard mounting equipment, often times the manufacturer will include the required wrench. But if you plan on doing handguard upgrades, this is something you should have on hand.
Also built-in is a tool for installing and removing barrel nuts (the front of the tool), this is important if you plan to change the barrel of your AR-15. Probably less common for your at-home armorer, but if you need it, it’s there.
One of the more useful items included in this package is the notch cut out for installing and removing compensators/flash hiders. With the market flooded with different compensators, you may be tempted to remove the standard A2 flash hider on your rifle. If you are, this tool makes easy work of it. But just make sure you don’t have a compensator that is staked on to your barrel (a 14.5″ barrel with a staked compensator to make it legal). If you do, you will not be able to remove the compensator; and if attempt to remove the compensator, you may damage your barrel in the process.
Probably one of the most important features, for me anyways, is the castle nut wrench. This allows you to properly tighten or remove your castle nut. The castle nut is what secures your stock tube to your lower. So this is something you have to deal with when you are building up a lower, or want to change various buttstock components (for example, to install a stock that has an integrated tube). The castle nut wrench on this tool is so great mainly because of its strength. If you are trying to remove a tube on a factory rifle, it is probably staked, and if you don’t have a well made tool it is extremely difficult to remove (and can break many tools).
Also included on the tool is a cut out for installing and removing a standard rifle stock. This is something you will need if you are going to upgrade a standard A2 stock. So if you have a rifle with a standard A2 stock and want to put an adjustable stock on, this is something you will need, along with the castle nut wrench to install the new tube.
Falling in with the removal of a stock, there is also a large screw driver on the end that can be used to remove buttstock screws. These are generally large screws, so sometimes standard screw drivers don’t work well for them. This just makes sure that everything is there, in one handy place, to take everything apart.
Bringing everything together, there is also a 1/2″ socket cutout on the tool that you can use to connect a standard 1/2″ drive socket wrench. This allows you to use a torque wrench to tighten things to spec, as well as gives you the ability to attach a larger wrench for more torque, if you need it.
Oh, yeah, and it also has a hole drilled in it so you can hang it on the wall (I’m not sure that qualifies as a feature).
The tool is made of 4140 steel and has a powder coat finish. I’ve seen shops and manufacturers that have these tools and have used them to build 100s of rifles; and they still look and work like new. If you break one, you might need to check out what your doing with it, because you might have the wrong tool for the job.
In my book, this is one of the better AR-15 Armorer tools on the market, especially for the price. So if you’re in the market, check it out.
Have an option that you like better? Let us know in the comments.
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