Your Third Hand? Real Avid Master Gun Vise Review
March 28th, 2022
5 minute read
Anyone who has ever built an AR from parts knows that there are really only two hard bits. The worst is getting the pivot pin for the bolt catch installed without scratching the finish. The second is installing the front pivot pin without losing control of the detent and spring.
There’s a trick to it. I run a .30-cal. cleaning rod in from the left to hold the detent in place and then carefully install the pin from the right. At least that’s the way it is supposed to work.
I’m technically a gun writer and therefore a sort-of professional (I know, that’s like being sort-of pregnant). I should know better. I also live half an hour outside of town. Replacement parts not found in the local hardware store 30 minutes distant are 10 days away and cost a holy fortune in shipping. In retrospect, I just should have been more careful.
I did have sense enough to wear eye protection, but I had the lower receiver assembly pinched between my knees as I jimmied my cleaning rod in position. Just as the pivot pin was about to snap into place something jiggled and the whole thing exploded.
The detent spring launched across the room to bury itself irretrievably among the impenetrable clutter that is my personal world. The detent itself likely blasted through the ceiling and is currently orbiting the moon. My project ground to a screeching halt.
I can fabricate a fresh detent out of an appropriately sized nail using my drill press as an ad hoc lathe. That stupid little spring, however, was irreplaceable. I have since stocked up on such nifty trinkets, but chances are none of that would have happened had I simply used the right tools to begin with. The Real Avid Master Gun Vise is that third hand you need to undertake such gunsmithing projects easily at home.
The Real Avid Master Gun Vise is a serious piece of kit. As rugged as it is precise, this device is designed from the ground up to support DIY home gunsmithing with rigid multi-axis positioning. The design is versatile, powerful and user friendly. I honestly did not realize how much I had needed one of these things until I actually used it.
The chunky bits are heavy steel, powder-coated for long life. Your grandkids’ kids will still be using this thing. The base secures to any handy workbench via three included machine bolts. My bench was too thick to accommodate, so I used lag bolts instead.
The base has a ball and socket mount with a built-in Speed Cam clutch lever that allows the vise component to rotate and pivot as your imagination demands. Real Avid calls this the Torq-Lok. Your work rotates 360 degrees in either the vertical or horizontal planes. Once in position, just lock the clutch lever and it stays put. If you need serious strength, to install or remove a barrel for instance, you straighten everything up and then insert a heavy pin that locks the mechanism in place as though it were bolted to bedrock.
The top half is a conventional shop vise with a twist. The jaws are hardened steel that could damage a gun part you chucked into them. However, the Master Vise comes with a pair of the neatest reversible Gun-Fit jaw sleeves that slip over the top. These reversible appendages are grooved on one side and thickly padded on the other. They are rigidly secured in place via four heavy pins.
The padded side of the Gun-Fit jaws will grab most anything safely and gently. You control the gripping pressure with the vise lever. In this configuration, the vise will not mar sensitive wood or fine metal components.
Flip these jaws around and you have a neat waffle-pattern non-marring nylon surface. This grid is designed to accommodate Arca-Swiss mounts or any standard Picatinny rail. Lock your favorite rifle or pistol rail in place and then dial in the orientation of the firearm for customization, cleaning or maintenance. These jaws will also manage both suppressors and barrels in both vertical and horizontal orientations.
When it is time to install a scope on your rifle, the Master Gun Vise sports an Accu-Level Micro-Adjustment Leveling Cam that allows you to precisely control cant up to three degrees off center. Mount up your scope. Drop a small level on a handy flat surface of the weapon, and then gently adjust the cam on the vise until the gun is perfectly square with the world. Then you can rotate the scope to ensure there is no cant error to your optic and lock everything down.
The optional Smart-Fit Vise Block slips into the magwell of your favorite AR to hold it in place for maintenance tasks. The optional Lug-Lok Upper Vise Block secures your AR upper receiver rigidly for barrel installation and removal chores as well.
So, What’s It Good For?
The Real Avid Master Gun Vise lets me do most all of my gun building, cleaning and maintenance chores better. The particulars were clearly crafted by folks who know guns, and the workmanship is honestly flawless. Using this device, I can lock most any of my weapons into most any position. Thusly configured, stuff that used to be hard just isn’t any more.
I used this device to help mount a Holosun red dot on my Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 9mm pistol. I also used it to swap out the trigger in my trusty SAINT for a drop-in Hipertouch 24C from Hiperfire. The nickel boron-treated stock trigger in the SAINT is exceptional out of the box, but I like to fiddle. The end result is a neater workspace and smoother workflow, and I also don’t leave a detent pin orbiting the moon. Everybody wins. MSRP is $299.99.
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