I am looking to build my first AR15. I see some places have the whole kit minus the lower. Would I be better off doing this for my first one or purchasing individual parts for the build. Interested in opinions and places that people have purchased parts and kits. Thanks.
I have built two and as foxrunner said, you learn a lot by putting together your own rifle.
I cheated a bit though and bought completed uppers from Red-X arms. Bought the lower, a lower parts kit and the stock and buffer tube all from different places.
The guns went together great, they are accurate and they function flawlessly. Saved some money in the process, too.
Start checking Palmetto State Armory's website. They run a lot of daily deals on packages of various parts kits, uppers, rifle kits, etc.
I'm working on my third build up and sourced parts from them on all three of my AR-15s.
I like AIM Surplus also for uppers and parts kits.
I love Palmetto State Armory's deals on their blemished lower's and uppers. I have bought a couple and haven't found a blemish yet. Like mentioned above watch them for their holiday deals or when they have free shipping.
When putting together one of the kits, what are the absolute must have tools. I know there are a lot of tools out there to help with building an AR, but I would like not to spend a fortune just on the tools.
For a lower all you need is a punch and a hammer...
X2. I also would add some of that blue painters tape. I remember that I covered some areas so I would not scratch them during assembly. I also made (actually my dad did) made a jig (to put into the lower where the mag goes) instead of buying a plastic one.
I don't think you can build something of the same quality for as little as you can buy it complete. I've put together a few, and helped a friend start his AR "manufacturing" company. But, even going with bottom end components like those from Model 1 or Palmetto, you still end up with more into it than just buying something from a middle of the road maker with a warranty like Bushmaster, DPMS, Colt Competition, or Armalite for just under $700.