If you're a carbine D.I.Y.er the Real Avid AR15 Armorer's Master Kit is a must have. This compact kit contains all the tools you need to repair and modify your AR-15.
What's In The AR15 Armorer's Master Kit:
- Master Wrentch With Replacement Hammer Heads
- Lug-Lok Upper Vise Block
- Smart-Fit AR15 Lower Vise Block
- AR15 Master Bench Block
- Torque Wrench
- Easy-Grip Handguard Tool
- AR15 Pivot Pin Tool
- AR15 Pin Punch Set
- Accu-Grip Picks
- Bore Illuminator/Safety Flag
- Front Sight Adjuster Tool
- Professional Tool Case
- Top 18 Mods Book
If you’re of a certain age, the following quote will resonate: “My old man is a TV repairman. He’s got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.”
If you want to fix things, you need tools. And not just any tools, but the appropriate tools for the thing to be fixed.
Enter Real Avid. This company has been making the right tools to work on and fix firearms for a few years now. The latest step has been to take the tools you need to work on an AR-15, put them all into one handy carrying case and make your life easier. It is called the AR15 Armorer’s Master Kit.
The case is a molded plastic container, hinged to open flat, with the tools clipped inside. It’s the size of a salesman’s sample case, and inside are many of the tools you’ll need.
The big ones for getting stuff done are the Master Wrench, which is a combined tool. It can tighten or remove barrel nuts and handles both the mil-spec and free-float nuts. It can also loosen or tighten standard receiver extensions (buffer tubes) and carbine tubes as well. It’s a hammer, too, including a steel head and a place to screw in the included brass, nylon and aluminum hammer faces. There’s a slot with ¾-inch flats to tighten or loosen such extras as flash hiders and muzzle brakes.
In addition, there’s a socket for a torque wrench, with the torque specs printed on the hammer. And there’s a torque wrench. That’s a big thing, because many torque wrenches are made for automotive or industrial users — and they’re priced accordingly. You now have a way of knowing what torque specs you’re tightening your barrel nut to, as well as the receiver extension, castle nut, flash hider and so on.
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You’ll also find a barrel bar in the kit. It’s an aluminum bar, and you clamp one end of it into your bench vise. The other end is starred like the locking lugs on your barrel. You can then slide the barrel receiver, or receiver and then the barrel, over this. The locking lugs of the barrel take the torque load of loosening or tightening, instead of the receiver. If you’re removing a shot-out barrel, you might find that the years of use and thousands of rounds have made the barrel nut very reluctant to give.
You can put a lot more torque into the nut with the bar to either loosen (might I suggest some penetrating lubricant as well?) or tighten it and not risk damaging the receiver.
Ever try to remove mil-spec handguards by yourself? Even the military manuals show this being done with three hands. Real Avid includes a special handguard removal lever, similar to a pry bar, to get the delta ring back so you can wrestle the handguards off.
It Keeps on Giving
There are also tools that make the work easier. One is the Master Bench Block. This is a molded block with recesses specifically located for various parts and tasks. When you take the pins out, the block will keep them handy. When you want to strip a bolt, the bolt and its T-handle let you compress the ejector and keep it compressed while you work.
There’s also a small, tweezer-like tool that lets you hold pins and not hit your fingers with the hammer (as you normally most certainly will do when you lack such tweezers). And there’s a complete set of punches and pin alignment tools, along with plastic picks and scrapers made specifically for the AR-15.
All of these come with a booklet that gives you a step-by-step description of the 18 top modifications you might want to make to your AR-15.
This package of goodness costs you $250. Now, that might seem a bit steep at first, but when you start adding up the individual cost of the tools inside, it starts to look a lot better. Pricing just a hammer, two barrel-nut wrenches, a castle-nut wrench and a couple of open-end wrenches for the buffer tube and flash hider gets you most of the way to the Real Avid Master Kit price. And then, what? Are you going to just toss your tools into a cardboard box and let them rattle around while you schlep it to the range? Have a little more pride than that — please.
Ownership Rating: Mandatory
Even if you’re only going to be working on your own ARs, this is the tool kit to have. If your buddies at the gun club view you as the go-to AR guy, having this in the trunk of your car can only burnish that reputation.
Now, Real Avid can’t put everything into a handy box. You will need a bench and a bench vise to complete many of these tasks … unless you have a buddy who’s so strong that he can hold the various parts you’re working on as firmly as a bench vise. (No … I thought not.)
Additionally, there are a couple of tools Real Avid doesn’t include that I might to have to pack separately. The Real Avid punch set includes a staking punch, which you can use to stake both the castle nut and the gas key screws should they need staking. I did that a lot in the old days, and I much prefer to use a spring-loaded center punch. So, I’m going to have to find a way to include mine in the kit.
The other is a chamber throat gauge for finding out if a chamber is .223 or 5.56. I can’t see room in the case for the gauge and reamer, so I’ll have to find a way to pack those as well.
About this “ultimate set of tools”: Learn how to do the job right, and stay clear-headed when you do it. You’ll thank yourself down the road.
For more information on Real Avid's AR15 Armorer’s Master Kit, please visit www.realavid.com/.
The article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.