There is a time and a place for a sledgehammer. Assembling an AR-15 isn’t one of those times. While there may be occasions where a hammer may call like a siren’s song due to maximum levels of frustration, life is much easier when you have the right tools for the job. It just happens that Geissele, purveyor of well-liked AR-15 triggers and handguards, produces some of the necessary tools to make assembling or working on your AR-15 easier in the Geissele AR-15 Armorer's Package.
Initially, all I had needed was Geissele’s Reaction Rod. Eventually, I found myself looking at all of the company's tool offerings. The Armorer’s Package also includes a trigger-fitting pin, gas block roll pin tool and one gas block pin punch set. If you are in a position where you need to put an extreme amount of torque on the barrel, I’d recommend going straight to the Super Reaction Rod to help alleviate some of the load on the barrel extension.
Until recently, if you wanted to tear your AR-15 upper receiver down, you largely had two options: a block with two pins to anchor the receiver by the takedown and pivot-pin holes or a strange clamshell block contraption that’s used in conjunction with a plastic dowel rod that fills the receiver. The former allows only one orientation of the upper receiver in the bench vise; the latter allows two. Both tools can get the job done but are probably not ideal under all circumstances. Don’t get me wrong,they're useful accessories,but there is a better tool when you need to work on different sides of the upper receiver assembly, and it's found in the Geissele AR-15 Armorer's Package.
Enter the Geissele’s Reaction Rod. Basically, the Reaction Rod is a round bar milled with two opposing flats on one end to facilitate clamping in a vise. The other end has lugs machined to engage with the lugs in the barrel extension. This means that you can rotate the upper receiver with barrel just by sliding it off the lugs, turning it, and sliding it back onto the lugs. The adjustability makes gas block set screw installation easier by allowing users to orient the upper-receiver assembly to the most-convenient angle for work. One of the advantages of using the Reaction Rod is that it helps to take the load off of the upper receiver when tightening barrel nuts and muzzle devices. This prevents potential damage to the upper receiver.
The included trigger-fitting pin is designed to make trigger and hammer installation and removal less of a pain. Geissele thoughtfully added a spherical plastic ball for a handle on one end to help spread the pressure across more of your palm when pressing the hammer and trigger pins in and out of the lower receiver.
To help with the installation of gas blocks, Geissele includes its Gas Block Roll Pin Tool. Geissele’s version of this tool actually requires pressing the roll pin into the tool. This helps prevent losing the roll pin when it drops out of a typical roll-pin holder. It also allows the builder to get the roll pin started without damaging it or spreading it open. If, for some reason, you need to remove the pin from the tool, you may need pliers, but the roll pin won't disappear into the ether with one accidental tipping of the tool.
The last thing Geissele includes is its Gas Block Pin Punch Set. This is a set of two punches: a pin punch and a starter-pin punch. The starter-pin punch helps in the removal of an installed roll pin. Sometimes these can be rusted or fouled in place and particularly resistant to removal. The starter punch has a taper to it to help keep it from bending when trying to remove particularly stubborn roll pins. Once the roll pin has started moving during disassembly, you can switch to Geissele’s included pin punch. Both punches are properly sized to .078 inches. Not many pin punches exist in this size, as it isn’t a typical commercial offering. The extra diameter over a 1/16 inch pin punch helps resist bending. Both punches are made from O1 tool steel.
For those with experience using Geissele’s products, the quality of these tools will come as no surprise. These tools are no exception in Geissele’s product line. Additionally, these tools are available separately but if you’re serious about your AR-15 building, you shouldcontact Geissele and get the whole package. You’ll be happy you did. The suggested retail price on the Geissele AR-15Armorer's Package is $131.