Real Avid AR-15 Pivot Pin Tool-Pro: Do You Have One?

One of the coolest things about AR-15 rifles is that there are so many parts to upgrade. Pins, safety selector, mag release, mag catch… you get the idea. But with all those interchangeable bits and bobs, shooters need quality tools to tackle the job. The Real Avid AR-15 Pivot Pin Tool is one of those tools. The Pivot Pin Tool helps you remove and install the all-too-pesky pivot pin on your AR-15 in a matter of seconds, including the spring and spring detent.

The pivot pin spring and detent can be tricky. The first way I learned to do it was with a carriage pin and safety clip. I know that sounds very professional, but it was a master armorer and machinist by trade who taught me that.

It was only after I had built multiple AR-15s and fiddled with one too many of those tricky pivot pins that I took notice of Real Avid’s Pivot Pin Tool. The carriage pin works fine, but the Real Avid tool almost makes it dummy-proof.

Real Avid stands out as a company that makes tools for specific guns and parts. Now that I have been using their Pivot Pin Tool for some time, I decided to give the Pivot Pin Tool-Pro a try. It’s basically a heavy-duty version of the original tool. I would say get one if you plan to use it a lot, but they’re so affordable that I recommend just buying the heavy-duty one to begin with.

Pivot Pin Tool-Pro

The tool is so simple; there’s not much else to say about it. Just wait till you see it in action!

I’ll go through the steps of removing and re-installing the pivot pin, spring, and detent shortly. If you are not familiar, there are two pins that hold the upper and lower receivers together. The rear pin is called the takedown pin and the front pin is the pivot pin. Both pins are often referred to, in general, as “takedown pins,” but there is a difference between the two. The front pin allows the upper receiver to swing open when the rear takedown pin is pulled out. When both pins are in the open position, the upper receiver will come all the way off.

Real Avid Piot Pin Tool-Pro.
The Real Avid Piot Pin Tool-Pro. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
The Pivot Pin Tool (PPT) consists of four pieces: the housing, plunger, housing tool pin, and removal tool. Detents and detent springs are not expensive, but they are easy to lose while installing. It can be frustrating to postpone putting your AR-15 back together because you lost a small spring or detent. The PPT keeps the process simple and quick. During installation, it’s best to have something that will hold your lower receiver in place. The Real Avid AR-15 lower vice block is what I use anytime I am working on the lower receiver.

Removing the Pivot Pin with the PVT Pro

With your lower receiver on a vice block, you first need to remove the current pivot pin. The PPT has a pin remover on it just for this purpose. The main pin that slides through the housing has a handle on the end of it. Hold onto the pin while pulling on the handle and it will come off (see photo above). Insert the pin remover into the small hole on the end of the pivot pin of the AR-15. With the pin remover pushed in, rotate the pivot pin and tool upwards. This will take the detent pin out of the groove of the pivot pin (see photo below).

Pivot pin removal tool.
The pivot pin remover on the Tool-Pro. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
This is the important part if you don’t want to lose the detent and spring. As you pull the pivot pin out of the lower receiver, keep your thumb over the end of the pivot pin as it leaves the frame. The detent spring is pushing the detent outwards, which will cause it to fly out. Once you feel the detent hit your thumb, the pressure is gone, and you can pull the detent and spring out of the frame.

Pivot Pin Installation with the PPT Pro

Installing the new spring, detent, and pivot pin is a little different. First, place the PPT housing over the eyelets of the AR-15 lower receiver and insert the PPT pin through the right side. Next, insert the detent spring and detent into the hole on the front of the housing. Use the plunger to push the detent into the receiver. While pushing, rotate the tool upwards 90 degrees.

Because the holes are no longer lined up, the detent will not come out as long as the housing and housing pin are in place. Remove the plunger and pick up the pivot pin. Line the pivot pin up on the left side of the receiver with the groove facing towards the back or the receiver.

Using the pivot pin tool-pro.
Rotate the plunger and tool upwards and then remove the plunger. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Use the pivot pin to push the PPT pin out of the eyelets. As you push, you will hear a clicking sound. The PPT pin and housing can now be removed from the receiver. Inspect the pivot pin to ensure the grove is facing the rear of the receiver. Push the pivot pin closed and then pull it back open to make sure it functions correctly.

Believe it or not, this entire process only takes about 2 minutes from beginning to end.


This isn’t a tool you think about when shopping for some new armorers’ tools, but it’s handy when you need it. Another thing I found that was helpful is the metal construction of the PPT allows it to stick to a magnetic strip. I kept misplacing the old one, which is made of plastic. I keep this one on the wall where I can always find it. The plastic version sells for $11.99 and the pro version retails for $19.99. Like I said above, why not just get the pro version? The all-metal construction makes it a durable tool that will probably last a lifetime. If you learn better from watching videos, Real Avid provides a QR code on the back of the packaging the tool comes in. Scan this code and you will be taken to Real Avid’s how-to video. If you own an AR-15, don’t go without this handy little tool.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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