Investing in an 80% lower and 80 lower jig is the quickest and most customizable way to build your first AR-15! But there are some basics you should consider, lest your build end up disappointing. See, the AR-15 is one of the most versatile and modular firearms platforms – you need to use that advantage as your own, making your rifle exactly the way you want it. Machining your 80% lower also requires some best practices to make the project fun! Keep reading to learn the secrets and tips for building your very own AR-15:
Build your AR-15 with a purpose
The biggest mistake first-time AR builders make is building a rifle “just because”, investing in parts and accessories that look cool or they think they’ll love.
With this in mind, we recommend building your rifle with a purpose: Will you bench-shoot? Are you hunting boar? Do you want your rifle to work well for home defense? This will determine whether you opt for a fixed or adjustable stock, a red dot or a magnified optic, and a bull barrel with a big ole’ rail, or a lightweight barrel with a simple handguard.
Our rifle and pistol uppers come pre-configured for every scenario! We have super-accurate uppers with 416R stainless barrels, and we’ve got compact, pistol-length uppers for the run-and-gunner who enjoys a lightweight piece.
Considering your rifle’s purpose will also help immensely in selecting the right caliber. Do you want 5.56 for an old-school shooter or M4 clone, or might you prefer 9mm for a compact home-defense pistol? Perhaps 300 BLK for eventual suppression and hunting? You decide!
Buy the rights tool to build your AR-15
Some folks try to get away with assembling their lower or setting up their barrel and buttstock with a hammer and screwdriver. While it might get the job done, it may very well end up causing damage and poor fitment.
Invest in the right gunsmithing tools before you build your AR-15. That means investing in a proper punch set and brass gunsmithing hammer for those roll pins and picking up an Armorer’s Wrench so you can easily and professionally install your upper’s components.
Below is an essential list of the tools you’ll need to get the job done right, and you can even read more about why these tools are so critical here:
- 80% Lower and 80% Jig Kit
- AR-15 Roll Pin Punch Set
- Armorer’s Wrench
- Brass Gunsmithing Hammer
- Drill Press Vise
- Handheld Router
- Magazine Vise Block
Know how to build your AR-15 before you try it!
80% lower jigs are super simple to use. You can go from a box of parts to a functional rifle or pistol in a single afternoon – but you should be confident in the machining and assembly steps, first. All our 80% lower jigs come with tutorials and instructions.
Watch and read them first, without the pressure of trying to follow along. Understand the build process so when the times to put that end mill bit to metal, you can focus on ensuring your jig and lower are set up correctly without guessing and trying to split your attention.