It appears that there are two types of gun owners in this world. There are those that clean their guns and those that do not. Most experienced marksmen know that carbon can build up in your firearm which can drastically affect its performance. Unclean guns can jam or shoot inaccurately. Over time they can corrode and become virtually useless.
For those that rely on their firearm to work every time, this is unacceptable. Military, law enforcement, and hunting gun owners know that the gun must fire and must fire accurately every time. To ensure the reliability of their weapon, most take the time to clean it on a regular basis. However, with the wrong tools this can be a tedious and cumbersome process.
A good cleaning kit can make all the difference, but there are so many available on the market. These kits vary widely in their specific function and cost. In this article we will break down the benefits and drawbacks of the best gun cleaning kits on the market. Hopefully this will help you find the kit that best fits your cleaning needs.
Summary Table: 5 Best Kits for Cleaning Guns
|Real Avid Gun Boss Pro Precision Cleaning Tools||Works for any firearm, small and portable case, kickstand, brass tools, inexpensive||No oil|
|Real Avid 1911 Pro Pack Premium Handgun Cleaning Kit||Covers six calibers, barrel bushing wrench, guide, small||Only covers the 1911 handgun|
|SEAL 1 Complete Tactical Gun Care Kit||Non-toxic, protective barrier, military and police endorsements, pleasant smell||Designed for tactical weapons only, most expensive|
|GUN CLEANING KITS by Sage & Braker||Speed of use, easy to wash, less mess, endorsement of competitive shooters||Designed for one caliber|
|Hoppe's BoreSnake Soft-Sided Pistol and Revolver Cleaning Kit||Ease of use, small case||Ruins bluing, designed for one caliber, use solvent quickly, potential cost|
Importance of a Good Gun Cleaning Kid
Gun cleaning kits are important for a variety of reasons. To understand this, you have to understand the different reasons people own and use guns. For myself, my firearms are family heirlooms and are used primarily for hunting. Unlike some hunters, I do not hunt for sport. I hunt to put meat in my freezer. Our family saves thousands of dollars a year in grocery costs because of the meat that my firearms provide. If my firearm is not reliable, it can cost us greatly.
I also complete several survival challenges each year and sometimes take firearms with me. I have a challenge coming up in a few weeks. In the dead of winter, my shotgun will be my only source of food. It will be a very trying experience if my gun does not provide the food I need to survive.
For myself it is a secondary use, but for many self-defense is the primary purpose of their weapons. We would of course use our firearms in the event of a home invasion, but for military and law enforcement their weapons protect them every day. It absolutely must work properly, so cleaning becomes a life or death endeavor.
Aspects to Consider
When selecting a gun cleaning kit, there are several differences between your available options. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you purchase a kit:
- Is time a factor? Do I have plenty of free time to clean my weapons, or do I need it done in a hurry?
- Is smell a concern? Many kits contain products that have a strong scent. If you plan to clean your guns indoors, this could be an issue.
- Do you need help disassembling your weapon? Some gun owners have little experience cleaning their weapons and need a guide to help.
- Will you be taking your kit to the range? Some kits are bulky or have several loose parts. This would make them difficult to take to the range.
- Is toxicity a concern? Many gun cleaning products are toxic, but non-toxic options are available.
- Do you have many guns of many different calibers to clean? Some kits work for only one caliber while others work for any caliber.
- Do you have a government or officer model that has a recoil spring plug? These models need a barrel bushing wrench to be disassembled.
- Do parts of your firearm have bluing? Some product will remove this finish.
Reviews of the Best Gun Cleaning Kits
Please be aware that we felt the need to review specific models. Many of these are only designed for one caliber or a limited number of calibers. However, most of these manufacturers make models of similar quality that work for other calibers.
This cleaning kit is of obvious quality, as are most Real Avid products. One of the high points is that it is designed to clean any gun. Yes you read that right. It can clean my 9mm as well as my 12 gauge shotgun. This is the feature that moved it to the top of our list.
In addition, the size and design of the case on this set is ideal. It has an impact resistant, engineering-grade, resin case so you know your tools will be protected. This case can be hung from a pegboard, or you can flip around the lid and use it as a kickstand to keep the case upright. When cleaning your firearm, having the case upright is a huge advantage. The design of the case holds the tools firmly in their place, so they will not scatter if you happen to drop it when open.
This is a thorough kit that has several tools you cannot find in other kits. These tools will help you reach parts of your firearm that would otherwise be neglected. It also includes brass tools that can be used without fear of scratching the finish of your gun or hurting the movable parts. In addition, it is the least expensive kit we reviewed.
Some users felt that the kit needed to be a supplement to a rod or cable cleaning system, but most felt it was thorough enough to stand alone. In addition, this kit does not include gun oil. It will needed to be purchased separately.
Pros: Works for any firearm, small and portable case, kickstand, brass tools, inexpensive
Cons: No oil
Again, Real Avid has proven its value in this kit. This one happens to be designed specifically for six different calibers of the 1911 hand gun. It is a complete and thorough kit that has every brush and tool you might want for a handgun.
One of the high points of this kit is that it has a barrel bushing wrench that catches the recoil spring plug on government and officer models. This is by far the easiest way to disassemble these models. It falls in the middle of the price range on these kits.
The other serious benefit of this kit is the guide that comes with it. This guide provides detailed instructions on how to disassemble, clean, and lubricate every model of the 1911. Users commented on how helpful the guide was even for experienced marksmen. They also loved how small and portable the kit is. It is an ideal size to take with you to the range.
Pros: Covers six calibers, barrel bushing wrench, guide, small
Cons: Only covers the 1911 handgun
3) SEAL 1 Complete Tactical Gun Care Kit Review
If your primary use for a gun cleaning kit is for the cleaning of tactical firearms, this kit may be the best fit. No other kit we reviewed received as much law enforcement and military endorsement. This product is completely made in the USA and was designed specifically in cooperation with Navy SEALs, Marines, and Army personnel.
The kit is designed to clean and protect firearms that simply must work every time. Its components were created to focus on the needs of the competitive shooting industry along with police and military applications. The kit is made to protect tactical firearms that get significantly more use than the average gun.
One of the best aspects of this kit is that the products season the gun. This means that the compounds create a barrier on the metal which continues to get stronger with continued use. For anybody that hits the range on a regular basis, this is a major advantage. The products protect against particles such as copper, lead, dust, and dirt.
Another major concern for those that clean their firearms several times a week is cleaning time. With the wrong tools, the process can be very time consuming. This kit greatly speeds up the process. It also seems to be more thorough than other products. With two viscosities, this kit is great at restoring badly corroded parts. It is also quite common to remove additional dirt and grime directly after cleaning the firearm with other kits and products. It is a noticeably superior product to most kits available.
The other major advantage of these products is how pleasant they are to use. While they effectively prevent fouling from sticking and improve performance, the products are completely non-toxic. They also have a pleasant peppermint scent that will not clear a room like more abrasive products. Only a small amount of product is required for each cleaning, so they should last quite a long time. The only downside that we found was the cost. It was the most expensive kit we reviewed, but is still quite reasonable in my opinion.
Pros: Non-toxic, protective barrier, military and police endorsements, pleasant smell
Cons: Designed for tactical weapons only, most expensive
4) GUN CLEANING KITS by Sage & Braker Review
This kit is designed for speed. Its one-swipe design replaces the rod, brush, and patches that are required for most gun cleaning kits. It is also designed to create less mess. It has a detachable brush, and after one swipe through the bore it can be thrown into the washing machine.
The kits has even been used dry to clean firearms with no issue. It has also been used on similar calibers, but is really designed to only clean one caliber. Despite this limitation, the kit has the endorsement of several competitive shooters. It is widely regarded as one of the easiest and fastest kits to use.
Pros: Speed of use, easy to wash, less mess, endorsement of competitive shooters
Cons: Designed for one caliber
This gun cleaning kit is specifically designed for one caliber of pistol or revolver. However, they make this kit for shotguns and rifles as well. It is made to be as small and portable as possible. In fact, the case attaches to your belt making it perfect to take to the range.
One of the greatest advantages of this kit is the speed and ease of use. As with the previous kit, it eliminates the rods a swabs you will find in conventional kits. One user commented that even a six year old child could use this kit.
It does have a few downsides that put it in the number five spot on our list. The solvent in this kit comes in an aerosol can making it difficult to control. If any parts on your firearm have bluing, this solvent will ruin the coloration. You also tend to use up the solvent quickly because of the lack of control. This kit varies in cost from the middle of our range to well above the other kits depending on the caliber for which you purchase it.
Pros: Ease of use, small case
Cons: Ruins bluing, designed for one caliber, use solvent quickly, potential cost
We find that the Real Avid Gun Boss Pro Precision Cleaning Kit was the best value of the kits we reviewed. While it appears that Real Avid make a wide range of high quality products, this kit has one overwhelming advantage. It can be used on any firearm, while every other kit is limited in some way.
The quality can be seen in both the case and the tools. While most kits have a soft case or a flimsy plastic case, this kit has a hard resin case. The tools fit tightly in their slots holding them in place in case you drop the kit. It even has a kickstand to hold them upright for use. We find details like this to really show the time and effort put into the design.
The kit also happens to be almost half the cost of the other kits we reviewed, so this just adds to the value. It would have been nice for oil to be included, but for most users with a safe full of firearms (such as myself) this will not be a concern.
I hope this article has helped you make your choice for which kit will work best for your needs. I felt the need to review the kits based on my personal collection and the number of different firearms that I own. That being said, for those that have a different type of collection please consider all of these kits. If you enjoyed the article, please take the time to comment below and repost on social media.
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