Luke Cuenco 04.01.21
Keeping your firearms and equipment clean can be a chore sometimes. Personally, it is one of the most dreaded tasks I have as a firearms enthusiast, but I know it must be done. Nothing is worse than going to the range or to a competition only to have your firearm malfunction because of a buildup of fouling, rust or even debris from the local environment.
Cleaning Kits can be a great way to at least make the experience of cleaning your firearms more organized. When I first started keeping my own collection of guns I had only a tackle box full of patches, various oils and nitro solvents and a few brushes here and there. Now I have cleaning kits for almost every bag imaginable and I still have that same tackle box at home – but its now full of bits and pieces of cleaning kits I’ve collected and broken/used over the years.
Here are best gun cleaning kits I’ve come across in my experience as a firearms owner and competitor. I’ll give you the good, the bad and the baseline for each so you can make a good decision about your next cleaning kit purchase.
Table of Contents
1. Brownells Extreme Duty Cleaning Kit – Editor’s Pick
This one is one that I’d like to consider to be the “bug out bag” of the cleaning kit world. I first learned about the Extreme Duty Cleaning kit from a fellow competitor who kept it in his truck box for use at the range. As competitors, we’re constantly tweaking and adjusting our guns to get the most performance out of them and sometimes what you need is a full house cleaning/maintenance kit right then and there.
The Extreme duty cleaning kit is on the large side but I think it earns space it takes up due to its 65 piece toolset as well as dedicated spots for oils, solvents and even canned air if you’d like to add any of these to your box. Since the kit isn’t designed specifically for rifles, pistols, or shotguns, it ends up being a lifesaver when you have it handy in your vehicle. The Brownells Extreme Duty Cleaning kit can be purchased from Brownells for 105.99 and comes with specialty tools for AR-15 rifles and Shotguns.
Pros/Has nearly everything you need to clean any type of gun, Space for More tools and equipment
Cons/Takes up a lot of space and is heavy
Bottom Line/Treat this kit like a set of jumper cables – you’ll be glad you have them in your car when you need them
2. Otis Elite Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun and Optics Cleaning Kit
This is like a slightly toned down, less space intensive kit when compared to the Brownell’s Extreme Duty Kit. This kit actually features another smaller dedicated pistol cleaning kit within it that can be tossed in a smaller range bag for days when you’re only looking to do pistol shooting. Beyond that the kit comes with everything you’d need to completely clean your 22 rifle all the way up to your 12 gauge shotgun.
Another great feature of the Otis cleaning kit is that it comes already equipped with two tubes of Otis O85 Ultra Bore Solvent as well as a lens cleaning solution for your optics – all conveniently and placed inside the case.
As a final note, the biggest benefit of this cleaning kit is that it can fit snugly inside of your range bag or a backpack meaning you can take it to the firing line with you or bring it along with you out to your hunting lodge or cabin without needed to lug along an entire suitcase worth of stuff. The Otis Elite Rifle, Pistol and Optics Cleaning kit retails for $149.99 but often goes on sale during peak seasons.
Pros/Full House Cleaning Kit which Includes basic solvents and lens cleaning Solution
Cons/ No Extra space for your own tools or chemicals
Bottom Line/Great to have in your Backpack or Everyday Range Bag
3. Real Avid Master Cleaning Station Kit – Basic Pick
This is for those who like to bring their guns over to a friend’s garage or must move his or hear cleaning station around the house often. The Real Avid cleaning kit is a self-contained pseudo workbench that features its own cleaning mat with an attached closeable toolkit. All of this is contained inside of a transportable pouch that can be thrown into a backpack or range bag easily.
There is also a smaller version of the Master Cleaning Station kit that is for pistols only and has brushes, patches, ram rods, wire brushes and a smaller gun cleaning mat that is more compact and could probably be laid out on the bed if your truck or in the trunk of your car if you wanted.
You’ll need to bring along your own cleaning solutions and oils with this kit but for the most part its got everything you’d need to take care of a quick field strip and clean or even a deep scrub for the dirtiest of your guns. The Real Avid sells their Master Cleaning Station Kit is very affordable at just $48.98.
Pros/ Comes with its own attached cleaning mat and enclosed tool case
Cons/Cleaning Mat Means you probably need a flat space to work with which is not always possible
Bottom Line/ Great all-around cleaning kit if you can only afford one
4. Otis Stock Rifle Cleaning Kit – Field Pick
This cleaning it isn’t going to cover all of your bases but it will definitely keep you from taking up extra space inside of your range bag for cleaning. The Otis Stock Rifle cleaning kit is designed in such a way that it fits right inside of an A2 style AR-15 stock and also comes with all of the tools you’ll need to clean your AR-15.
This is basically a turn-key solution that’ll keep you out of the weeds if your rifle starts to malfunction in the field and the best part is that you don’t have to worry about packing cleaning equipment in your range bag or backpack because the cleaning kit goes where the rifle goes!
The Otis Stock Rifle Cleaning kit for AR-15 Rifles is sold for $59.99 which makes it a sensible upgrade for your A2 Buttstock equipped AR-15 rifle and includes a small bottle of Ultra Bore cleaner, several brushes, ripcords, cleaning patches and comes with a convenient pouch for keeping all the tools together.
Pros/Doesn’t take up extra space in your range bag and goes wherever the rifle goes
Cons/Designed to work with a .223/5.56 AR-15 rifle equipped with a Hollow Buttstock like the A2
Bottom Line/Might make a great stocking stuffer or birthday gift for someone
5. Wild Shot Deluxe Cleaning Kit
This last one is a bit of a wild card, but I have it on here for one good reason. These make great gifts for new gun owners or friends that like these goofy gun shaped tools. The Wild Shot Deluxe cleaning kit comes equipped with almost every tool you will need to get to service any of your firearms from 12 gauge all the way down to 22lr pistols.
The neat bullet shaped case encases a three-tiered rotary style tool holder that keeps all of your tools (and your solvent bottle) neat and organized. These make for great gifts and will keep your wife or spouse off your back about leaving your gun cleaning tools laying about everywhere as it blends in perfectly on any desk or workbench.
The Wild Shot Deluxe Cleaning Kit with Bullet Shaped Case sells for $39.95 and works with any pistol, rifle, or shotgun.
Pros/Works with any rifle, pistol, or shotgun and is compact and organized.
Cons/Does not feature a lot of the specialized tools you’d find in other kits on this list
Bottom Line/Makes for a great gift for a new gun owner or someone you love that needs a little bit of décor for their gun bench
Gun cleaning tips
Cleaning guns can be both enjoyable and frustrating at the same time. Although I personally would rather be out shooting my guns than cleaning them – it must be done. Make sure you keep all your firearms clean and free of debris like dirt and lint. Lint can especially be a concern for your daily carry gun so its good to give that thing a solid once over on a regular basis.
For new gun owners, it can be tempting to slather your gun in a lot of oil, solvents, or CLP – try not to do this. Some solvents and oils can gum up the works once your firearm starts cycling by picking up bits of dust, unburnt powder or dirt that is in the air. It good to keep your firearm lubed but there should only be a thin layer of the stuff on the top of the gun.
Hopefully, you can teach your skills to someone else and help keep the gun community clean and safe for years to come with the help of these cleaning kits.
Do guns need to be cleaned after every use?
We know it’s a lot of extra work, but yes, all guns should be cleaned after you use them Does it always happen? Of course not, but remember to clean your gun routinely. A clean gun is a safe gun.
What happens if I don’t clean my gun?
Every time it is fired, the propellants as well as a the bullet itself leave residue inside the firearm. As this residue or fouling builds up, it can affect accuracy, performance and safety.
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