Upper and Other Tools
Welcome back for the last section. For this week, we will not follow our guide. All of the tools in this section will be considered Nice to Have (NH). For the most part, most people start with an assembled upper for their first build. However, if you are the adventurous type, you may find assembling an upper to be rewarding as well. So, today, we will discuss tools for assembling uppers and tools that are generally helpful on the whole.
Upper Assembly Tools – We are going to assume that you have read Part 1 and Part 2, and have acquired an armorer’s wrench and a set of roll pin punches. Both of these will be super helpful. In fact, the wrench is necessary for this. You have to have a wrench that can tighten the barrel nut and the compensator. There are a few other tools that will help you
finish the job.
First, you will want to have some way to hold the upper. For this, you will need a vise to clamp it in and some way to clamp it. The cheapest way is a polymer upper vise block like this:
These are reliable and easy to use, but you have to be careful. Even with the block, you may mar or crack the upper. Another option is this:
You will also need a good torque wrench and a full set of Allen wrenches. Make sure you get a good quality set of Allen wrenches, most cheap sets have spec issues in the smaller sizes, and you will need the smaller sizes to put on the gas block and possibly your handguard. If you are using a delta ring assembly with drop in handguards, you may want to get a handguard tool. You may also want to pick up an alignment tool. A pin like this
will help prevent damage to your gas system.
A Wheeler Bench Block can make general purpose holding a breeze. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/393867/wheeler-engineering-delta-series-ar-15-armorers-bench-block
Other Gear – Most of this may go without saying, but I will take this opportunity to talk about some of the other gun gear you may or may not have. First, safety gear is super important. You need safety glasses, hearing pro, and a way to secure your weapon if you have children. Safety glasses can be purchased just about anywhere, depending on your needs. Personally, I have a set of ANSI/ISEA approved prescription glasses.
Ear protection has expanded like crazy. You used to have your choice of big ear-covering headache inducing muffs and the cotton/wax combo. Now, you have all kinds of disposable options that are super inexpensive, a full range of muffs and electronic plugs. You can even get a Bluetooth compatible job like this:
Whatever you choose, just make sure it has a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of at least 28db.
There are also many great ways to secure your weapon. The cheapest (Most times free, at www.projectchildsafe.org) option is to get a chamber lock. Another way is to conceal it.
We met the guys from Tactical Walls at SHOT Show and got to demo some of their great products. Finally, set up some kind of safe. Either a small single gun safe or a large, multi-gun floor safe.
The last thing you will want to have is a cleaning kit. It can be anything as simple as this kit:
Or a full on everything included box kit like this monster:
Either way, you need a kit, cleaner and lubricant.
That finishes up our series on the tools that you will need to complete your AR-15 project. Next time, we will get started on populating the lower receiver with the lower parts kit.