The 10 Best Gun Cleaning Kits
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Competitive shooters and conscientious hobbyists know that it's essential to keep your firearms in pristine condition if you want them to perform flawlessly when called upon. This selection of gun cleaning kits includes something for every type of common weapon, including rifles, pistols, shotguns, and muzzleloaders. The only downside? Now you won't be able to blame a miss on a dirty barrel. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 07, 2021:
For the most part, we kept the majority of our previous recommendations, as we didn't find any models that were more worthy of inclusion. However, there were a couple we had to remove due to availability issues, these being the Remington Hunting Kit and Ohuhu 28-Piece. Since both of these were relatively large and versatile kits, we chose to replace them with similar options.
The first new addition is the DAC Winchester Super Deluxe, which is about as universal as they come. It contains equipment to clean nearly every common barrel size, as well as a multiple utility brushes for working on the exterior. Though not cheap, when you consider the shear amount of accessories it comes with, it is actually a pretty good value.
The second new addition is the Hoppe's Elite EGCOTG. This one is a good choice for taking on the go, as it isn't too heavy or bulky, and the case latches securely closed, so you don't have to worry about it accidentally opening and spilling the components all over the ground. Plus, in addition to the bottles of lubricant and cleaning solvent, it also includes some single-use packets. It is a bit less versatile than the DAC Winchester Super Deluxe, however the five bore brushes of varying sizes should be enough for most people.
The Wild Shot Deluxe and Outers 70084 are our favorites for people who plan on keeping their kits at home at all times. They both include a nice variety of implements and can double as decorative pieces, the former because it looks like a giant bullet, and the latter because it can act as a display stand for your weapon.
June 27, 2019:
You might think the Sage and Braker Mercantile is a little basic to be ranked as highly as it is, but it's one of the quickest and easiest ways to clean out a long gun. Each one is designed for a specific caliber of gun, so it's ideal for the hobbyist who only has a few rifles, whereas the collector may be better off going with one of the more comprehensive models listed here.
If you do end up going with a universal kit, storage is an important consideration. Many, such as the Allen Company 70540 or the Wild Shot Deluxe, give you durable carrying cases that make it easy to keep the components organized. This is fantastic if you're only planning on cleaning at home, but if you want to work in the field as well, something small enough to stick in a backpack is a better choice. The Otis Tactical toes the line between compactness and comprehensiveness well.
Negrini IntelCase If you have a few shotguns you need to maintain, this elegant option should help get the job done. It's capable of cleaning barrels up to 30" long, and stores everything in a beautiful leather satchel. negrinicases.com
Gerber Cleaning Kit If keeping your sidearm clean is a matter of life and death, this model belongs on your shelf. It comes with a black multi-tool with carbide cutter inserts and a red LED flashlight, all wrapped up in a MOLLE-compatible bag. gerbergear.com
Knight's Armament SR-25 Cleaning Kit You'll never need to cut a hunting trip short if you carry this unit in your bag. Filled with brushes, jags, and patches, it also includes a .30-caliber bore snake and multiple wrenches, allowing you to repair damage as well as perform basic maintenance. opticsplanet.com
A Few Words On Responsible Fire Arm Ownership
The first firearms to see practical use were developed in China in the 13th century.
Few if any inventions have had the same impact on the course of human history as has the firearm. Few items cause the same heated levels of debate, either. While guns come in all shapes and sizes, and while different varieties are designed for different applications, they all utilize the same basic elements, namely an explosive reaction propelling an aimed projectile at a target intended to suffer injury or death, or to serve as a stand in for such.
The first firearms to see practical use were developed in China in the 13th century. They consisted of tubes made of metal or of reinforced bamboo into which a charge of black powder (aka gunpowder) was loaded behind a projectile such as chunks of rock or scrap metal. Firearms reached Europe in the following century, and for the first few hundred years of their existence they were largely seen in the form of cannons.
By the early 1500s, however, weapons had been developed that were small enough to be used by a single soldier. During the course of that century, firearms became the weapon of choice of most major armies around the globe. Firearm technology developed slowly during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, but rapid innovation took place in the 19th Century. During that period, developments including breech loading, repeat firing, and self-contained ammunition all worked in concert to usher in the era of the modern firearm.
Today, almost anyone in the United States can obtain a firearm. Firearm popularity has led to widespread ownership, and experts estimate that there are nearly 300 million guns in America, almost enough to put a weapon in the hand of every citizen. Approximately one in three American households has a gun.
Owning a gun is a right in many countries, but it should also be seen as a privilege that comes with immense responsibility. A gun owner should have a gun safe in which they store their weapons. Firearms should be kept unloaded except when personal safety is at stake, and even then the weapons should be kept in a quick-access locked case.
If you keep guns in your home, proper firearm education is imperative for yourself and your family members. The more a person knows about guns, the less likely they are to become a victim of an accident. Safe and proper gun ownership covers everything from marksmanship practice to the ability to disassemble and assemble a firearm for cleaning and maintenance.
Why Proper Gun Cleaning Is Essential
Firing a gun can be a dirty business. The residue left behind by gunpowder (often called smokeless powder) can build up over time, impairing proper firearm function and reducing the accuracy of your aim as well. The more often you use a gun, the more often you need to clean it.
But improper cleaning can impair proper firearm function just as much as too little cleaning.
But improper cleaning can impair proper firearm function just as much as too little cleaning. Make sure to do some thorough reading or else to consult with a firearm expert before you begin to work with any weapon. This is important to do even if you think you have sufficient knowledge about the firearm at hand.
The process of cleaning a gun starts with double and triple checking to make sure the weapon is not loaded. Remove the clip or magazine, cycle the action at least once, and check the weapon from the chamber, not the barrel. Once you have concluded beyond a shadow of a doubt that your weapon is not loaded, you can move on to a careful inspection.
Always clean your gun from the breech toward the muzzle. If you clean it in the other direction, you might push dirt and built up residue down into the chamber, rather than pushing it out of the barrel. Also make sure never to scratch the inside of the barrel with a metal rod; only cleaning cloths should touch the weapon anywhere, lest its rifling or its mechanical components become damaged.
The more time you spend cleaning your weapon, the better you will come to understand its function and the more respect you will have for it as a powerful and potentially lethal tool. And the cleaner a weapon, the better it will function, thus the safer it will be for its operator and for anyone nearby.
Choosing The Right Gun Cleaning Kit
First to state the obvious: if you only shoot long arms (aka rifles and shotguns), then you don't need a kit that can clean hand guns. The reverse is also of course true. If, however, like most gun owners, you shoot rifles and pistols, then there are plenty of gun cleaning kits available that will suit your needs just fine.
The smaller the gun cleaning kit, the more assembly time the tools will likely require, so there is a definite trade off between convenience of use and ease of transport.
If you use a sport rifle extensively, the chances are that a good amount of copper and lead debris will make its way into the barrel. You should consider a kit that features long, rope-like strips of cloth (sometimes called "snakes") that can be pulled all the way through the barrel, catching this unwanted debris along the way. These can also be used for shotguns.
Also, make sure to consider the physical size of the kit you're considering. If you are a hunter who may need to clean and service a weapon in the field, there are several compact gun cleaning kits worth your consideration. Some smaller kits may be less comprehensive than their larger counterparts, but many are compact enough to be tucked into a hiking pack.
The smaller the gun cleaning kit, the more assembly time the tools will likely require, so there is a definite trade off between convenience of use and ease of transport. The thoughtful shooter might consider purchasing one barebones compact kit for use at the range or in the field, and then treat himself or herself to a more comprehensive cleaning kit for those more involved cleaning sessions back at home.