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6 Tips for Finishing Your AR Lower Receiver

Building an AR lower receiver is simple. It can be stressful and challenging sure, but at the end, you’ll wonder why you were so worried. To reduce a little of that stress and make it even easier to accomplish, here are our six tips.

1. Have Good, Clear Instructions

Good instructions are a wonderful thing to have when completely an AR 15 lower. Once you start milling your receiver you should constantly check and recheck every instruction. Good,clear instructions mean you’ll have a solid understanding of what exactly you need to do.

2. Make Sure You Have all the Parts You Need

If you want to feel a high level of disappointment, start your build only to realize you don’t have all the AR parts necessary to complete your rifle. A complete parts kit is one of the best routes to take because not only do you get all the parts you need, but you know the system is completely compatible.

AR Lower Parts Kit


If you buy parts separately, you’ll need the following:

AR lower parts kit

Fire control group

Buffer assembly

Stock (For rifle AR)

Upper receiver


Gas block and tube


Upper parts kit

Charging handle

Bolt carrier group

Muzzle device



AR Magazines

3. Make Sure You Have All the Tools You Need

The right tools make building an AR 15 lower so much easier. The big tools to complete an 80% lower are obvious, a drill press or a router. However, the small tools make a difference as well. For finishing the AR lower receiver having tooling designed to cut metal is critical, as is cutting liquid, and the proper eye protection. The most important tool to have is a good solid jig. A good jig makes finishing an AR 15 lower receiver simple.

Small tools also include an AR 15 armorer’s wrench, roll pin punches, a small hammer, a vise or magwell block and takedown pin tool are all great to have when installing the small parts of an AR 15.

4. Know What Kind of AR You are Going to Build

Make this decision early on. If you decide to build an AR 15 rifle you cannot turn it into a pistol. However, if you build an AR 15 pistol you can later convert it to a rifle. Also, building an AR 15 for competition has different requirements than building one for home defense. I suggest reading about the needs and requirements of the rifle you are planning to build before you start.

5. Have a Proper Workspace

From the time you begin milling your AR lower receiver to the point where you attach your lower to your receiver, you need a dedicated workspace. The workspace should be well lit and should never have carpet. Carpet is easy to stain and makes losing small parts very easy. You want a solid workbench that is level and can take the pressure of a router or drill press. The same table should be easy to rest your lower one as you assemble it.

6. Take Your Time

This is probably the best advice one can give. Don’t rush anything when you are finishing your AR lower receiver. Ensure you have the right parts and tools, and take your time with everything. Rushing will often mean overlooking something, and it’ll take more time to fix what you broke. Take a deep breath when necessary, pause when fatigued, and rest when confused.

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