Buyer’s Guide for 2019: The Best AR-15 Armorer Wrenches

Working on your AR-15 build means having the best tools on hand. For those of you who have experienced what a poor-quality armorer’s tool can do to your gun and hands, it’s a no-brainer to opt for a dependable and safe tool every time.

In this article, we will look at what an armorer’s wrench is used for, what to look for when selecting a wrench, and recommend some of the best wrenches for your AR-15.

AR-15 Armorers Wrench Comparison Chart

Product

Our Rating

Price

Smith Enterprise AR-15/M16  

Brownells AR-15 Armorer's Wrench

Magpul Armorer's Wrench – AR15/M4

Arrington Accuracy Works AR-15/M16 Colt Law Enforcement Carbine 

Tapco Weapons Accessories AR-15/M16 Armorer's Tool

Precision Reflex - AR-15 Barrel Nut Wrench

Brownells AR-15/M16 Combination Wrench

Rock River Arms - M4 Stock Wrench

What You Can Do With An Armorer’s Wrench 

An AR-15 armorer’s wrench has a specific purpose and function, which is often misunderstood.

Since many AR-15 owners may never disassemble or assemble their gun beyond basic field stripping, they will be able to do most of the work without ever needing an armorer’s wrench.

If you are planning to build a rifle that does not include an already assembled upper, then you will need a good armorer’s wrench for the job.

When working on a firearm, having the right tools for the job is essential, and an armorer’s wrench is probably the most critical of these tools. An armorer’s wrench can be a multipurpose tool or be good at a single function.

The most common uses for an armorer’s wrench are to remove or install a muzzle device, remove or tighten a buffer tube castle nut, tighten or loosen a barrel nut or free float handguard ring.

What to Look for in an Armorer’s Wrench

Many armorer’s wrenches are either basic single-purpose tools, or will perform nearly all major assembly tasks, but a good wrench will give you multipurpose use.

Price

A good wrench doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but remember that a cheap wrench is a single purpose tool. Although an expensive wrench may cost you more, it will perform all tasks.

Build Quality

For a wrench, the quality matters a lot, since everything should be perfectly aligned, and the wrench should be able to take all sorts of punishment without warping or getting damaged.

Easy to Store

The wrench has to be easy to store when not in use. It means that the shape or design should be suitable fitting into for boxes or tool sets.

Safety

Many wrenches aren't ergonomic which leads to injuries and discomfort when we use them, so keep this factor in mind when selecting your wrench.

Often, wrenches can leave marks or scuffs on the metal or powder coating of the gun, so choose an appropriate one.

Quick Take - The Best AR-15 Armorers Wrench

Reviews of the Best Armorer’s Wrenches for the AR-15

Now that you know what to look for when choosing the right armorer’s wrench for an AR15, it's time to check out our top picks. We’ve rounded up the most durable, reliable and functional wrenches for you, so check them out.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Solid construction

Cons

  • Too large to install a flash hider without damaging the crush washer

This heavy-duty wrench is compatible with encapsulated or peg-style barrel nuts for easy installation and removal of all barrels up to 1¼" diameter. It has an extra-long handle with smooth, contoured edges for comfortable use.

It doesn’t slip off and is thick and strong enough  to handle the torque. It includes ½" square drive opening for torque wrench application; 5⁄8" and ¾" slots fit the receiver extensions and the A1/A2 flash suppressors.

Bottom Line

This versatile and durable armorer’s wrench will last a lifetime and get the job done. Keep in mind that the wrench is thicker than the standard A2 "birdcage" flash hider, and if mounted with a crush washer, it won't fit properly.

Pros

  • Durable
  • It won’t slip off
  • Solid construction

Cons

  • Not as comfortable as some other wrenches

This AR-15 armorer's wrench is compatible with encapsulated or peg-style barrel nuts and has a long handle which ends with a carbine buttstock wrench.

The four teeth on the buttstock wrench make removal and installation of an M4-style receiver extension nut easy. It is both functional and simple in design and does its job well.

The wrench includes a 1/2" square drive opening for torque wrench application, 5/8" and 3/4" slots to fit receiver A2 receiver extensions and flash suppressors.

Bottom Line

This stout little wrench won’t slip off and damage your weapon and is tough. It is worth buying and will not disappoint you.

Pros

  • Excellent quality
  • Ergonomic design
  • Bottle opener included
  • Large handle for easy usage

Cons

  • None

Like most things Magpul makes, this armorer’s wrench is heavy-duty and highly functional.

The wrench can engage both stock and pin-style barrel nuts as well as standardly sized flash hiders. You can use it to install and remove rifle receiver extensions and carbine castle nuts.

The extended teeth are used with ASAP plates and it features two hammer faces. The wrench works with 1/2" torque and once you’ve completed your build, use the built-in bottle-opener for a nice cold one.

It’s big and thick, giving great leverage without biting your hands. It is made in the USA and features a solid steel construction with grip-enhancing phosphate finish.

The enclosed end means it’s a tiny bit slower than an open-ended buttstock wrench, but the quality of engagement seems worth the reduced productivity.

Bottom Line

If you have the budget, this is the armorer’s wrench to shell out for, as it makes most other wrenches pale in comparison. It will last a lifetime and is so comfortable and intuitive to use that you will never go for any other wrench again.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Comfortable to use
  • Does it all in one package

Cons

  • None

This wrench can do it all. It combines, in one small package, a barrel nut wrench, a muzzle device wrench, a spanner wrench, a forearm wrench, a flat tip screwdriver, an A2 tube remover, a receptacle for ½" drive/torque wrench, and a bottle-opener.

It gives plenty of leverage from its long handle for buttstock and barrel removal or installation. You can use the flat face, that is on one of the sides, as a hammer.

It is made from heat treated alloy steel, and the matte olive drab powder coat finish prevents oxidation and helps you get a firm grip.

Bottom Line

It is the perfect tool for the AR enthusiast who wants to buy one tool that performs all the necessary functions of a toolkit for assembling the AR-15. It lasts a long time and can handle any task.

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Large handle for easy usage

Cons

  • Performs only a single function

This heavy-duty wrench is designed to enable easy removal and installation of the proprietary barrel nut on the Colt LE6940 Advanced Law Enforcement Carbine (ALEC).

It has a large, 3/8" thick handle with a ½" square cutout for a torque wrench or breaker bar as well as a notch for removing the ALEC flash suppressor.

Bottom Line

Get this wrench if you have to assemble a Colt ALEC rifle, but if you are seeking a wrench that works with just an AR-15, you should look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Useful for Many Applications
  • Super-Thick Steel Won’t Flex
  • Heavy, Solid Construction Will Last for a Very Long Time
  • Hole Between Pins Help When Aligning Gas Tubes Properly
  • 10” Long Handle Provides Exceptional Convenience and Ease of Use

Cons

  • Does Not Have Open End

Made of quality materials, you can expect to enjoy this leverage for a long time to come. Cut from 3/8” thick steel, you won’t experience any flexing under intense pressure or while transferring the torque evenly to the nut. This particular model also has a built-in 10” long handle, which means it’s quickly adaptable and convenient in a variety of applications. There are also additional holes between the pins to help with properly aligning the gas tubes.

Because of these high-quality specifications, you’ll have the benefit of less strain and that, in turn, means you won’t experience any damage to teeth at all. When it comes to building and maintaining your gear, you’ll want tools that not only get the job done, but get it done easily and reliably. Precision Reflex, Inc. has an AR-15 Barrel Nut Wrench that you’ll be happy to call on time and again.

Bottom Line

For a wide range of applications, this is one tool that fits almost all needs, made of incredibly high-quality steel and craftsmanship with ease-of-use features like a long handle. Treat yourself and make builds and repairs easier!

Pros

  • Small, Easy to Store
  • Unbeatable Durability
  • Useful for a Ton of Applications
  • Often Requires Very Little Torque
  • A True Classic up to Decades-Old Military Specifications

Cons

  • No Special Features, Just a Solid Classic

The Brownells AR-15 or M16 Combination Wrench is an exact duplicate of a classic made for factory and military purposes, and is arguably a must-have for any garage regardless of what guns you own. An icon of quick and easy use in a small package, it’s versatile and allows for many fast, on-the-fly adjustments. With one single tool, you can remove barrel nuts, remove and install old or new flash suppressors, remove and install lower receiver extensions, and perform many more tasks.

Made entirely of blued steel, it is a quarter inch thick and won’t flex under pressure, but it’s also feature-packed into a tight little 5” long and 2” wide body. This makes it a very low-footprint tool that’s easy to always have on hand. There’s a reason this is a duplicate of a tool that’s been used by the military for decades—a small, thick design ensures it won’t break, no matter what you throw at it, and its small size improves the working radius. Often, you will find that you don’t even need to torque your wrench very hard but can easily perform at 70-foot/pounds and higher, with no problem.

With today’s constantly-changing hardware, there are some applications where this classic tool won’t be appropriate, but it is overwhelmingly useful for many functions. Do yourself a favor and experience the military classic.

Bottom Line

This combination wrench is a military classic capable of handling massive torque and applying itself to a wide range of uses While it doesn’t have modern features or bells and whistles, classics don’t need them when they work this well.

Pros

  • Incredible Value
  • Rubber Grip Helps Provide Stability, Control, and Comfort
  • Handle Features a Cutout for the Receiver Extension Tube so You Don’t Lose it
  • A Solid and Durable All-Steel Construction Ensures Reliable Use for Years to Come

Cons

  • Limited Functionality

The Rock River Arms M4 Stock Wrench is one heck of a steal, as the most affordable (if specialized) wrench on our list. You’d think such a low price point would mean you don’t get much, but you’d be dead wrong. In fact, this wrench offers a lot of great features that we love.

A complete steel, dual-function wrench, you’ll easily be able to remove your old extension tube to install a new A4 stock. The spanner has three lugs to fit the newer A4-style castle nut. While it does its job exceptionally well, featuring an all-steel construction that’s durable and rugged, and holds well by itself, Rock River Arms went further. You’ll get a comfortable, rubber-coated handle which not only feels better on the hands but improves grip. This is perfect if you can’t find your gloves, or don’t own a pair, and find yourself struggling.

But what we really love is such a simple, but brilliant, feature—the handle has a cutout which fits the receiver extension tube. When you’re working and have all of your parts laid out, things can get messy and disorganized very quickly, and there’s nothing worse than having to hunt for a part you just had in your hand ten seconds ago. This simple feature seems like a no-brainer, but you’ll only get it with this surprisingly affordable gem of a wrench.

Bottom Line

While it’s not an all-in-one tool, this niche wrench will give you great durability, comfort, performance, and innovation, all at a price that’s almost unfair to the manufacturer. Don’t miss it!

Conclusion

A good armorer’s wrench is a must have for AR enthusiasts who like to build their own gun.

With time, you will find that the wrench pays for itself during repeated builds, as it will make assembling and disassembling the rifle so much easier and smoother. 

Keep in mind the build quality, the price, the comfort and the safety when selecting the armorer’s wrench and do check out our top picks that are excellent options.

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