From Scott Smith
When you own firearms or those you buy gifts for do, you can never go wrong with quality tools to maintain them. Over the last few years one of the most innovative companies for firearms maintenance is Real Avid. From a humble start with a few pocket sized tools Real Avid has branched out to include specific tools for ARs, AKs, 1911s as well as bench tools and kits.
Since my days in the USAF Reserve the only tool out there was a simple AR wrench to remove the barrel nut, receiver extension nut and possibly the muzzle brake. Other than that they were pretty useless. At the 2018 SHOT Show, Real Avid introduced the Master Armorer’s Wrench (MAW).
What sets the MAW apart from traditional AR tools is the ergonomic hammer design. The tool head is built into the hammer area to give you control when needed and the handle gives you leverage to bear down on stubborn nuts or muzzle brakes. The MAW is multi-head hammer giving you the steel head of the body with nylon of brass inserts so you do not mar or damage pins or punches. The MAW can be attached to a torque wrench to apply proper pressure on the barren nut, it fits most free float barrel nuts not just Mil-Spec ones, receiver extension nuts and it fits virtually all muzzle brakes on the market. Real Avid engraves proper PSI settings so your nuts are tightened correctly.
I have used the Master Armorer’s Wrench for the last year. It is one of the best tools around for working on ARs and the hammer is ideal for other applications. At $59.99 it is competitively priced with other AR wrenches that cannot do all the things the MAW does.
Real Avid addressed the issue of how to remove and install gas blocks, trigger guard pins as well as making it easier to repair the bold assembly with the Master Bench Block. This block is truly unique. It is a padded polymer block with cutouts for all the parts and pins clearly labeled. Not only are they labeled but magnets are embedded in the block to secure them. Having lost more than my share of roll pins over the years I can tell you this is a god send.
The Master Bench Block also has holes to punch out the pins, including those that retain a front sight gas block. This comes in handy when upgrading and rebuildingARs. Instead of fighting to get a secure place to drive that pin out, simply set the barrel in the MBB and simply drive out the pin.
What I found to be the most amazing feature of the MBB was the ejector removal tool. You set your bolt in slot that looks like and is marked bolt and simply screw in the red handle. This takes tension off the ejector so you can remove the spring, retaining pin and ejector. You can also remove the extractor parts in this slot and secure the pins in the appropriate spot on the backside of the MBB.
You will find the MBB also has a slot to work on the charging handle. The cutout secures the charging handle so you can replace the catch latch and spring and not need a third hand.
Thanks to the anti-slip frame, the Master Bench Block will not slide across your bench while working on your AR. At $29.99, this must have piece of kit will not break the bank.
Lastly you need a good set of punches to work on firearms. Real Avid’s Accu-Punch Hammer and Punches has been my go to kit since I received it.
The first thing you notice about this tool kit is, all the tools are stored in a locking case that flips open to become its own stand. Next all of the size of each punch is etched clearly and large enough to be seen without a magnifying glass on each punch. A nice feature of each punch is they have two anti-slip strips of rubber at the pin end of the punch so you have a secure grip even with oily hands. This is a feature I have not seen on other tools.
You will also find a pair of polymer pin alignment tool that wraps around a pin to aid you in the installation of pins. While the pin alignment tool allows you to tightly grip a pin, it will also allow the pin to move it when hit with the hammer or punch and hammer. Pliers will not do this, which makes installation of pins harder than it needs to be. There is also a non-marring punch to drive out stubborn pivot and take down pins on an AR.
To drive out the pins with the Accu Punches is the most unique part of the Accu-Punch; the hammer. This hammer has four heads, all of are interchangeable. There is a brass, steel and two densities of polymer heads. This will allow you to customize the hammer to the task at hand. I found the handle fits the hand well and the hammer balances so you get the most power with each strike. The handle is a hard polymer wrapped with a softer more “grippy” polymer. When driving out fitted takedown/pivot pins on one of my ARs, the hammer did not slip nor did the non-marring punch damage the finish of the AR I was working on. I venture to say you will not find another kit this complete with a $39.99 price point.
If you want to see more great tools to maintain your firearms, go to www.realavid.com . Hopefully this will give you a few ideas to make someone’s Christmas or Hanukkah merry. Remember to get to the range or field; shoot safely, accurately and have fun.