What are the best cleaning kits for your gun?
Shooting guns is, well, dirty work. The soot and carbon can get everywhere, and depending on the kind of firearm you shoot most regularly, may require relatively frequent maintenance.
The best gun cleaning kits come supplied with everything you need to break up all the carbon on your firearms, clean your barrel of debris, properly lubricate your firearm, and keep it in pristine working condition.
It’s up to you to maintain your firearms so establishing the habit of cleaning your guns after every trip to the range is a good idea. Breaking those dirty guns down and giving them the cleaning they’ve earned can be rewarding, educational, and — dare we say — even fun.
We cover the gamut — from universal gun cleaning kits to handgun-only kits and recommendations for the necessary cleaning tools to ensure your kit can tackle any job.
See? Cleaning can be fun.
SEAL 1 is a USA-based company whose products are nontoxic and eco-based. For shooters who are allergic to compounds found in most gun cleaning products or would prefer to avoid the most noxious chemicals, the Seal 1 Tactical Gun Care Kit is an alternative that is safe to use and easier on both you and the environment.
This product is also safe to use around animals or children as it’s non-toxic.
This gun cleaning kit contains Seal 1’s paste, liquid, their CLP PLUS® Pre-Saturated EZ-Cloth™, a pre-saturated cleaning cloth, microfiber cloth, a nylon brush, and cotton swabs.
Their products are best used when firearms are still warm from use as they liquefy carbon on contact. This product is helpful for use on heavy carbon build-up commonly found in barrels, bolt carrier groups, lower receivers, and more.
Lastly, these solutions create a barrier that inhibits residue buildup such as copper, lead, sand, dust, and dirt, helping your guns stay cleaner longer.
- GUN CLEANING KIT: Carry case includes, 2 oz. bottle of Military-Grade Gun Solvent and Battle Born...
- MULTI FIREARM TOOL KIT: Our compact multi-function quick pull cleaning kit comes in a nylon pouch...
- GUN CLEANING SUPPLIES: The stiff nylon brushes include a rugged brass core and quickly attack heavy...
This pistol, rifle, and shotgun cleaning kit includes Breakthrough’s solvent, oil, grease, two different length memory flex cables, a polymer T-handle, a shotgun rod adapter, nylon bore brushes .223 cal./5.56mm, .38 cal./9mm, and 12 gauge, brass patch holders for these calibers, and cleaning patches all zipped up in a soft travel case.
This kit is popular amongst three-gun competition shooters or those with popular-caliber firearms. It’s compact size makes it a great travel option and it’s packed with all the necessities for quick cleaning jobs.
The Sport Ridge handgun cleaning kits are perfect for revolver or semi-automatic pistol shooters. Each kit is designed specifically a dedicated caliber and includes the tools needed to clean a pistol, but does not include any solvents or oils.
Each kit comes with two brass rods, a pistol brush, a pistol mop, a slot tip, a pistol brass jag, cleaning patches, a multi-function handle that converts to a driver, and a six-bit driver set with two flat blades, two Phillips, one star and one hex bit.
Ensure you purchase the specific kit for your firearm(s) caliber as the brush sizes correspond to barrel size.
This universal cleaning kit is for handguns only. It includes brushes for .22 caliber to 45 ACP as well as a 9-inch rod that will fit all handgun barrels, a T-handle, universal slotted patch holders, and cleaning patches all packed into a soft-sided weather-resistant travel case.
It’s a versatile kit that will work well at the range or at home and gives you the ability to swap caliber brushes quickly. No oil or solvent is included in this kit.
- We researched a lot of gun cleaning kits from the most high-end brands in the US and improved on...
- Brushes: .17 /.20 /.22 / .40 /.45 / .243 / .270 / .35 / 9mm / .30 / .38 / .410 / .50 / 5.56mm / 12GA...
- The rods had underwent a lot of testing before starting production, we tried copper, iron, stainless...
This is the ultimate gun cleaning kit for calibers from .17 to 28 gauge to .50 caliber. This kit includes a variety of rods, several memory flex cables, brass jags, brass brushes, high-quality brushes, and cotton mops.
The soft-sided case makes it easy to pack away or use on-the-go. It’s also designed for shooters wth multiple caliber guns and packs everything you need to properly clean each firearm with the exception of oil or solvents, which aren’t included.
This deluxe gun cleaning kit includes a 3 piece brass rod, 4 slotted ends, 5 phosphor bronze brushes to fit .22 and .30 caliber rifles, .38 caliber pistols, and 20 and 12 gauge shotguns.
This kit also comes with Hoppes Guide to Gun Care booklet, Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner, and lubricating oil.
Key Pieces of the Kit
If one thing is true about gun cleaning kits it’s that not all kits are made equal. When considering a kit spend some time looking through what each one includes to ensure you’ve got all the essentials.
Before shopping for a kit, make note of the firearms you own. Is there a diversity of pistol calibers or just a 9mm pistol? Do you own shotguns and rifles as well? Do want to purchase a kit that has tools in every caliber or one that will form the foundation of a bigger kit for one specific gun — like a comprehensive AR-15 cleaning kit?
These choices will help you choose the right kit for your needs, and just as importantly eliminate the ones that won’t.
Correct caliber brush, cleaning jag, and brass slotted tip
Just like ammunition, the tools needed to clean your gun are specific to its caliber. If you use cleaning tools in a smaller caliber your gun will not be cleaned properly.
If you try and force larger caliber cleaning tools through a smaller barrel, those tools may get stuck or worse you can damage your gun trying to clear the jam.
The brush, jag, and slotted tip are three essential tools for clearing any barrel of carbon, copper, rust, and other deposits.
Cleaning rods and memory flex cables
A rod (or memory flex cable) is critical for effective barrel cleaning of rifles, shotguns, or pistols. Without one of these key pieces, there is simply no way to properly run your tools through a barrel.
Cleaning rods should naturally twist when pushing a brush through a barrel to properly clean the rifling. Ensure the rod or cable is longer than your barrel so your T-handle can pull brushes all the way through both ends of the barrel.
Cleaning rods should be either stainless steel or a solid brass rod. Either works, but an advantage to stainless steel is they’re more rigid than brass, which means they’re less likely to bend and rub against a barrel.
Whether or not your tool kit includes solvents and oils, these items need to be part of your cleaning kit at all times.
Without a hard-working solvent, the carbon will continue to build up and potentially cause issues later down the road as it continues to compound. Not to mention removing carbon will be considerably more difficult without the solvent to break it down.
Gun oil is the most essential item you should have on hand if you’re out shooting firearms. Guns need oil like humans need water. Use it liberally and often.
One cleaning solution many gun owners forget is important is a copper cleaner. Not all solvents include compounds that break down copper, so check your solvent and purchase a copper cleaner if needed.
A nylon brush is essentially a big toothbrush for scrubbing down gun components, the slides of handguns, or the action of a shotgun They should always be double-ended with a small brush opposite a larger brush.
The small end of the brush makes it easy to get to hard-to-reach places while the larger brush can be used to break up carbon, dirt, & dust on moving parts and larger components, making it easy to wipe off afterwards.
A jag is used to clean the barrel of a firearm after the brass brush has run through it. The cleaning jag keeps a cleaning patch in place as it is pushed through the barrel.
Make sure to use the correct sized jag for your gun’s caliber and always push the jag in the direction of the bullet trajectory so keep your rifling in top condition.
Just like brush size must match the caliber, so mush the cleaning patch. Do not use old rags, clothing scraps, or other materials to clean firearms. These items can leave behind grime, pieces of the material, and lint, which can cause build-up, malfunctions and even jams.
Any material which contains strings should be avoided as it will snag on metal parts and can become lodged in smaller spaces.
Cleaning patches get dirty quickly, so the easiest way to determine when your barrel is indeed clean is to keep running patches through it until you have a clean patch come out of your barrel.
Tips and Tricks
Let solvent sit
One of the most basic gun cleaning mistakes is to spray solvent on firearm parts and immediately start wiping it off.
If you let solvent sit or even soak components in a tray or container, it’s both an easier clean and much deeper.
Do not dip dirty brushes into solvent bottles
If the solvent you are using comes in a bottle, never dip a brush, jag, or anything into the clean bottle of solvent.
Buy an eyedropper to extract the liquid and pour it over the tool you are using. This preserves the quality of the solvent.
Always pull tools through in the direction of bullet travel
When cleaning barrels, always pull the memory flex cables with attachments on them from the chamber to the muzzle in the direction a bullet is fired. Rifling is critically important to a barrel’s life and function so this will help avoid any unintentional damage.
This will also prevent any residue from entering your trigger group or building up near your action.
Gun oil for cold or hot temperatures
Most people don’t know that gun oil is made for specific temperature environments. If you use the wrong oil in colder temperatures, for example, it can cause your gun to freeze due to the liquid’s ability to freeze.
Whether you keep both kinds of oil in your cleaning kit at all times or remember to switch it out for the different seasons, be sure to purchase gun oil for cold and hot temperatures.
Treat your guns with respect and clean them often and thoroughly. Cleaning is not where you want to cut corners, and guns will last you a lifetime only with proper maintenance and care.