8 Best Gun Cleaning Kit [2024]: Universal & Caliber Specific Kits

by Dave Chesson

April 17, 2024

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If you want your firearms to perform well and last long, you need a good gun cleaning kit. It is what keeps your gun working smoothly, preventing buildup and ensuring the longevity of its parts. But with so many options out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But don’t worry, that’s why I put together this best gun cleaning kit guide to help you understand what a gun cleaning kit does, the types available, and which one suits your needs best.

Best Gun Cleaning Kits

Types of Gun Cleaning Kits

However, before we get into this, I’d like to discuss the different types of gun cleaning kits. Knowing how they work will help you understand why I ranked them the way I did.

Gun Cleaning kits can be broken down into two categories:

Complete Cleaning Kits: These gun cleaning kits usually include the basics needed for cleaning and come in their own case. These are a great place to start for new gun owners. Complete cleaning kits can either be universal cleaning kits (meant for most firearms) or they can be specific to certain firearm types like handguns or shotguns.

“Build Your Own” Cleaning Kits: Once you’re familiar with your firearms and know your preferred tools and solvents, it’s time to build your cleaning kit. Whether you started with a complete kit or not, you’ll likely want to customize it to suit your needs.

In addition to these options, there are compact/travel cleaning kits, bore snake kits (which use a tool called the bore snake to clean the barrel), and kits designed for each gun type like handguns, rifles, and shotguns. This guide covers a mix of these different types cleaning kits so you can make a pick.

How I Chose the Best Gun Cleaning Kit

As a former Navy officer with over a decade of shooting experience, I’ve had the opportunity to try out numerous gun cleaning kits. When compiling this list, I carefully considered factors such as components, function, quality, and value.

However, I wanted to present a well-rounded list, so I reached out to some industry experts for their insights. After all, I don’t own every gun cleaning kit out there. With their input, I’ve put together this comprehensive list of my top picks.

I know that choosing a gun cleaning kit is a personal decision, so I’ve categorized these kits based on their best uses to cater to everyone’s preferences. Additionally, I’ve included a buyer’s guide to help you navigate the options and find the perfect fit for your needs. Keep reading to discover the kit that’s just right for you.

What are the Best Gun Cleaning Kits?

Here is my list of the best gun cleaning kits on the market in order:

Best Gun Cleaning Kits

Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box
  • Room for expansion
  • Universal cleaning kit
  • Supports gun while cleaning
  • Lube and grease included
Buy on Amazon
GuardTech Gun Cleaning Kit
  • Great value kit
  • Comes with an organized case
  • Comprehensive collection of gun cleaning tools
Buy on Amazon
Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit
  • Affordable
  • Low profile and labeled case
  • 14 bore brushes, jags, and loops are solid brass
Buy on Amazon
Allen Company Universal Ultimate Kit
  • Great value
  • Room for expansion
  • Nice organized toolbox
  • Plenty of bore brushes
Buy on Amazon
Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Kit
  • Best for handguns
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Folds to hold your gun
Buy on Amazon
Gloryfire AR15 Cleaning Kit
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • A must-have for AR15s
Buy on Amazon
Spika Compact 12 GA Cleaning Kit
  • Comes with 4 stainless rods
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Durable
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Adjustable rod
Buy on Amazon
Hoppe's 34011 Boresnake Soft Sided Field Kit
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Lube and oil included
  • Super compact
Buy on Amazon

Specs Comparison For Gun Cleaning Supplies

Below are the specifications for all the different gun cleaning supplies within the different kits:

Reviews of the Different Gun Kits

Now that we’ve listed the kits by rank, let’s discuss each one. I’ll explain my rankings, and if you have any experience with any of these, please be sure to leave your grade. That way other readers can see what you think as well.

The best gun cleaning kits are:

  1. Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box with Universal Gun Cleaning Kit
  2. GuardTech Universal Gun Cleaning Kit
  3. Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit
  4. Allen Company Ultimate Universal Weapon Gun Cleaning Kit
  5. Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit
  6. Gloryfire AR15 Cleaning Kit
  7. SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Cleaning Kit
  8. Hoppe’s 34011 Boresnake Soft Sided Field Kit

You can click the links above to jump to my specific review on each or just scroll down below.

1 Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box W/ Universal Cleaning Kit : Editors’ Choice

Editor's Choice

Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box W/ Universal Cleaning Kit

Provides a quality range box to carry all cleaning supplies. The range box is also specially designed to support the gun while cleaning.

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  • Components A+
  • Function A+
  • Quality A+
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A+

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 2 Reviews

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Otis All Caliber Elite Specs

  • Case Hard Shell Range Box
  • Brushes Included 16 Bronze Bore Brushes
  • Bore Snakes 4 Included (.22/.223, .30-.308, 9mm/.38, 12 GA)
  • Oil and Lube Yes
  • Patches Yes

Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box Review 

If you’re in the market for an all-in-one universal cleaning kit and money isn’t an issue, consider this one. It covers most needs well, with quality parts and space to add extras like a general-purpose cleaning rag and extra gun cleaning solvent.

Its universal design makes it convenient for cleaning multiple guns at once, and the durable components last a long time. The included case provides good support during cleaning, and the Otis ripcord barrel cleaners are quite handy for quick maintenance.

While I’m not a fan of the pull cables for cleaning rods, I managed to find an adapter to make them work with other attachments. The firearm holder, though a nice addition, isn’t very sturdy and can lead to spillage risks during cleaning.

Despite some minor issues like these, this kit offers great value for those with growing gun collections. At over $200, it’s a worthwhile investment for owners of multiple firearms. For a detailed look at its 60+ components, check out my full review of the Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box Review.

Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box Pros and Cons

  • Room for expansion
  • Universal high-quality supplies
  • Supports gun while cleaning
  • Lube and grease included
  • Most expensive kit
  • Rods sold separately
  • Odd placement of firearm holder
  • Items shift out of place when you move it

2. GuardTech Universal Cleaning Kit : Best Value

GuardTech Universal Gun Cleaning Ki

GuardTech Universal Cleaning Kit

This set is a comprehensive collection of gun cleaning tools. It includes jags, slotted tips, adapters, utility brushes, patches, and more – even a bore rope cleaner and cleaning picks that aren’t widely available in cleaning kits.

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  • Components A-
  • Function A
  • Quality A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 6 Reviews

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GuardTech Specs

  • Case Plastic Carrying Case
  • Weight .17, .20, .22, .243, .270, .30, .357, .40, 410, .45, .50, .54, 20Ga, 12Ga Brushes, Utility Brushes
  • Bore Snakes .357, .38, 9mm Rope Snake Cleaner
  • Oil and Lube No
  • Patches Yes

GuardTech Universal Kit Review

After testing it out thoroughly, I can confidently say the GuardTech Universal Gun Cleaning Kit is my second favorite pick and the best kit for value.

This kit is a real workhorse for keeping firearms clean and well-maintained. It covers all the bases for pistols and rifles, effectively removing dirt, grime, and buildup.

GuardTech uses quality materials like brass and sturdy nylon plastics, ensuring durability. With 60 pieces and 130 total components, including brass jags, brushes, cotton mops, and patches, it’s comprehensive and beginner-friendly.

One downside is it lacks lube or oil, but it includes a needle oiler bottle for customization. If you want more on cleaning oils, I’ve got a blog covering the best gun oils. I also noticed an issue with the handle design—it’s not ideal for carrying as everything falls out when turned sideways. The bore snake isn’t the best either; it’s just a rope with brass ends.

While claiming to be universal, it lacks essentials like brass brushes and cotton mops for 9mms, requiring separate purchases. Plus, there’s limited room for adding extra items.

Overall, the GuardTech kit is a solid choice for straightforward gun cleaning. It’s affordable, effective, and won’t break the bank.

You can read the full review of GuardTech Universal Cleaning Kit here.

GuardTech Pros and Cons

  • Great value kit
  • Comes with an organized case
  • Comprehensive collection of gun cleaning tools
  • Leaves no room for expansion
  • No lube or oil
  • Items fall out of place when you carry it by the handle
  • Not actually universal

3. GLORYFIRE Universal Cleaning Kit : Best Heavy Duty

Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit

GLORYFIRE Universal Cleaning Kit

This all-around cleaning kit comes in a nice hard clamshell-style case that’s easy to organize and store.

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  • Components A-
  • Function A-
  • Quality B+
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 5 Reviews

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Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit Specs

  • Case Hard Clamshell Style Travel Case
  • Brushes Included 14 Bronze Wire Brushes
  • Bore Snakes None
  • Oil and Lube No
  • Patches Yes

Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Set Review

Coming in third on my list is the Gloryfire, which I consider the best for heavy-duty use. Now, you’ll probably notice its similarity to the GuardTech. However, I found differences that lean me towards the GuardTech.

It’s an affordable kit with some high-quality tools, all conveniently labeled for easy organization, which I appreciate. The solid brass cleaning rods in the Gloryfire kit are durable, which is a plus. While it’s not my main kit, it’s handy to have as a backup in my truck.

Compared to the GuardTech, the Gloryfire set lacks a few components, so you might need to add some extra tools. It’s got 159 pieces, but there’s no space to store solvents, oils, or other essentials. It also doesn’t come with a bore snake, which could be useful.

Gloryfire doesn’t include gun oil, but it provides two needle droppers for your oil, which is fine by me since I prefer my own brand. However, it does mean the kit isn’t complete.

While both GuardTech and Gloryfire have similarities, GuardTech’s American ownership and similar pricing make it my preferred choice. However, Gloryfire remains a decent alternative, compatible with multiple calibers.

If you’d like to learn more about the Gloryfire then check out my full review here.

Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit Pros and Cons

  • Affordable
  • Low profile and labeled case
  • 14 bore brushes, jags, and loops are solid brass
  • Leaves no room to expand the kit
  • No bore snakes included
  • No lube and oil included
  • Foreign-owned

4. Allen Company Ultimate Universal Cleaning Kit : Best for Storage

Allen Company Ultimate Universal Cleaning Kit

Great value for 65 different weapon cleaning tools for all calibers. Comes in a handy easy-to-organize toolbox.

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  • Components A-
  • Function A
  • Quality B-
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 2 Reviews

Your Grade

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Allen Company Ultimate Universal Kit Specs

  • Case Hard Shell Toolbox
  • Brushes Included 14 Bronze Bore Brushes
  • Bore Snakes None
  • Oil and Lube No
  • Patches Yes

Allen Company Ultimate Kit Review

If the Otis Kit above is too pricey and the others didn’t quite cut it, then the Allen Company Ultimate Universal Cleaning Kit is worth a look.

It’s essentially a larger box with better organization, but it’s reasonably priced. This kit has all the basics to get you started and stands out for its excellent storage capacity. Over time, I’ve accumulated a lot of cleaning supplies, and this kit stores them efficiently.

With two removable trays and extra space at the bottom, it’s versatile. Plus, the lid has extra compartments for storage.

However, there are downsides. The rods are only 30 inches long, limiting their reach in longer barrels, and the threading isn’t standard, so it’s not compatible with other rods. Additionally, a few rods snapped during use, though I replaced them easily.

Also, it doesn’t come with bore snakes or cleaning solvents, so you’ll need to buy those separately. Despite these drawbacks, if you want a kit with ample storage that can grow with your collection, the Allen Company Kit is worth considering.

Read the full Allen Company Ultimate Kit Review here.

Allen Company Ultimate Universal Cleaning kit Pros and Cons

  • Great value
  • Room for expansion
  • Nice organized toolbox
  • Plenty of bore brushes
  • No bore snakes included
  • No oil or lube included
  • Rods are short and break easily

5. Real Avid GUN BOSS Handgun Cleaning Kit : Best for Handguns

Real Avid GUN BOSS Handgun Cleaning Kit

An affordable handgun cleaning kit that’s easy to grab and go.

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  • Components B
  • Function A+
  • Quality A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 2 Reviews

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Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Kit Specs

  • Case Zippered Ballistic Nylon
  • Included Brushes 4 Phosphor Bronze Brushes
  • Bore Snakes None
  • Oil and Lube No
  • Patches Yes

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Set Review

With all of my recommendations so far being larger kits with room to expand, you might be surprised to find the Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Set on my list. But there’s a reason it’s the best for handguns—it’s compact and easy to carry around.

This kit is tailored for handgun barrel sizes, covering everything from .22 to .45 calibers with its 14 pieces, including rods, brass brushes, jags, and threaded brass receivers. It’s perfect for those who only need to clean one or two handguns and want something portable to toss in their range bag.

While the tools aren’t top-tier quality and there are some plastic parts, they get the job done for a quick clean. Keep in mind it doesn’t come with gun oil or solvent, and there’s no room to add any.

Consider this your basic travel cleaning kit, even if you have a full-sized one at home. It’s simple, well-organized, and durable, with a rugged zip case made of a weather-resistant ballistic nylon shell. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced shooter, this kit is a reliable companion in the field. 

If you’re still unsure about its components or effectiveness, read our full review on the Real Avid Handgun Cleaning Kit.

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit Pros and Cons

  • Best for handguns
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Folds to hold your gun
  • Handguns only
  • Need to empty out unneeded gear to make room for solvent and oil

6. GLORYFIRE AR15 Cleaning Kit : Best for Rifles

GLORYFIRE AR15 Cleaning Kit

A compact, lightweight carry option for cleaning your AR15 or rifle in the field.

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  • Components A-
  • Function A
  • Quality B
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 2 Reviews

Your Grade

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Gloryfire AR15 Cleaning Kit Specs

  • Case Lightweight Nylon
  • Included Brushes Brass Brush, Chamber Brush, Nylon Brush
  • Bore Snakes None
  • Oil and Lube No
  • Patches Yes

Gloryfire AR15 Cleaning Kit Review

On its face, the Gloryfire AR15 Cleaning Kit may seem basic, but for AR15-style rifles, it’s a must-have. As someone who owns an AR15, I find this kit indispensable. While it may not cover all gun types, it’s perfect for rifles.

The kit includes essential tools like cleaning rods, brushes, patches, and even elongated Q-tips for deep cleaning. I particularly appreciate the chamber brush for cleaning the star chamber effectively.

Compact and lightweight, the pouch is easy to carry whether in my bag or on my belt. It’s always there when I need it, especially in the field.

Sure, it doesn’t come with a jag or gun solvent/oil, but the empty bottle lets me add my own. Just a bit of Break-Free CLP and it’s good to go. Other than that, I have no complaints and I think it’s a good deal for a few bucks.

You can check out the full review on the Gloryfire AR15 Cleaning Kit here.

Gloryfire AR15 Cleaning Kit Pros and Cons

  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • A must-have for AR15s
  • Cannot expand the kit
  • No jag or cleaning solvent

7. SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Cleaning Kit : Best for Shotguns

SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Cleaning Kit

Super portable kit that makes cleaning your shotgun at the range or in the field easy

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  • Components A
  • Function A+
  • Quality A-
  • Value A

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 1 Reviews

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SPIKA Compact Shotgun Cleaning Kit Specs

  • Case Hard Plastic
  • Brushes Included Bronze Brush, Spring Brush, Utility Brush
  • Bore Snakes None
  • Oil and Lube No
  • Patches Yes

SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Kit Review

Using the SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Kit has made cleaning my .22 caliber and .177 caliber pellet guns a lot simpler. While it’s not exactly easy to toss into a range bag, it’s been my reliable choice for keeping my shotgun clean, especially when I’m out in rough conditions.

This kit has everything I need for shotgun cleaning and is easy enough for beginners to handle. I’m impressed by the durability of the cleaning rods and barrel mop, and the adjustable rod length makes things even easier.

Although it’s marketed as a 12 GA shotgun kit, I’ve found it works well with other firearms too. Despite a few minor drawbacks like the plastic jag and the case quality, it’s still a great value for the price.

It also doesn’t come with any gun solvent or oils, but there’s an empty bottle for you to fill in any oil you like. The rest is totally fine though.

So, because of these practical features, I confidently consider the SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Kit as my best shotgun cleaning kit.

You can check out my full review on the SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Kit here.

SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Kit Pros and Cons

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Durable
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Adjustable rod
  • Plastic jag
  • The case could be of better quality

8. Hoppe’s BoreSnake Soft-Sided Rifle Cleaning Kit : Best on the Field

Hoppe's 34011 Boresnake Soft Sided Field Kit

Hoppe’s BoreSnake Soft-Sided Rifle Cleaning Kit

Portable Boresnake Cleaning Kit with everything you need.

Hoppe’s 34011 Boresnake Soft Sided Field Kit Specs

  • Case Rugged and Soft Sided Case
  • Brushes Included No
  • Bore Snakes .22/.30 Caliber Bore Snake
  • Oil and Lube Yes
  • Patches Yes

Hoppe’s 34011 Boresnake Soft Sided Field Kit Review

As someone always on the move, I’ve found Hoppe’s 34011 Boresnake Soft Sided Field Kit to be the best cleaning kit on the field. It’s compact and easy to carry, making it perfect for impromptu cleaning sessions whether at the range or out in the wild.

What I love most is its simplicity. With everything at my fingertips, from the bore snake to the cleaning solvent and lubricating oil, it guarantees a quick and effective clean.

The customized bore snakes for .22 or .30 firearms are a game-changer. They make the cleaning process easy, and with the brass weight and T-handle, pulling through is smooth and hassle-free.

Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner does wonders in removing carbon, powder, and lead fouling, making sure my firearm stays in top condition. After the clean-up, applying Hoppe’s traditional lubricating oil keeps everything running smoothly.

Sure, it’s not perfect. I do wish it came with a brush for deeper internal cleaning. But overall, it’s become my go-to for basic maintenance wherever I find myself. It’s reliable, efficient, and keeps my gun in great shape, even when the going gets tough.

Hoppe’s 34011 Boresnake Soft Sided Field Kit Pros and Cons

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Lube and oil included
  • Super compact
  • No brushes included

Why You Need to Have a Gun Cleaning Kit

A gun cleaning kit is not just an accessory; it’s a must-have tool for every gun owner. Here’s why:

  • Accuracy and durability of the guns: Just like any tool, your gun needs regular care to perform its best. Cleaning it often keeps it in top shape, removing dirt and buildup that can affect accuracy and wear it down over time.
  • Safety: Regularly inspecting and maintaining your firearm prevents malfunctions and accidents. A clean gun reduces the risk of jams and misfires, keeping you and others safe.
  • Smooth handling: Proper lubrication makes handling your firearm smoother and improves accuracy, making shooting more enjoyable for you.
  • Cost saving on repairs: Regularly maintaining your gun not only saves you money on repairs but also allows you to catch any potential issues early, preventing them from escalating into major problems.

Now that we know why every gun owner must have a gun cleaning kit, let’s discuss what to look for when buying one.

Best Gun Cleaning Kit – Buyer’s Guide

If you’re in the market for a gun cleaning kit, there are several factors to consider to make sure you choose the best option for your needs. Here’s a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you make an informed decision.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Gun Cleaning Kit

Number and type of guns: Consider how many guns you intend to service and their types. Are you dealing with pistols, rifles, shotguns, or a mix? Some kits cover multiple firearm types (universal kits), while others are more specialized.

Use: Think about where you’ll use the cleaning kit. Will it be for field use or home use? Portable kits are great for those on the move, while a full-blown kit is ideal for home cleaning.

Weight and size: This depends on how you’ll use the kit. Carrying a heavy, bulky kit to the field isn’t practical. For kids or someone with limited strength, a compact, lightweight option works best, even if it doesn’t have all the fancy tools.

Cleaning methods: Consider your preferred cleaning method. Do you like traditional rod-based cleaning or the efficiency of bore snakes? Bore snakes can be quicker, especially for smaller calibers, but your guns still need occasional thorough cleaning.

Upgrading and customizing: Think ahead about future upgrades. You might want to add more tools later, so choose a kit with room for customization.

Now that you know what to look for when buying a gun cleaning kit, let’s check out the components that you need when building a gun cleaning kit.

Components for Building Your Firearm Cleaning Kit

For beginners, starting with a kit ensures you have all the necessary gun-cleaning parts. As you gain experience, you may discover preferences or enjoy building your kit. Below, I’ll list essential cleaning components and offer specific recommendations.

Gun Cleaning Kit Buyer’s Guide

Choosing the best gun cleaning kit can be difficult. What tools do you need? What kind of kit best suits you? In the above article, I tried to make it easy by listing our favorite handgun cleaning kits, and heavy-duty cleaning kits. However, if you’d like to learn a bit more and need help deciding or even learning what the different parts are for, then check out the below buyer’s guide.

Components for Building Your Own Firearm Cleaning Kit

If you’re just beginning, I still recommend that you just start with a kit. This way, you’ll ensure you have all the necessary gun cleaning parts.

Cleaning Kit Components:

Cleaning Rods are a tool for cleaning the barrel of your firearm. It can be used to scrub the barrel with a brush or apply solvent.

Jags are attached to the end of a cleaning rod and carry cleaning patches through the barrel.

Cleaning patches are used for cleaning the barrel and other small parts of a firearm.

Bore brushes are attached to cleaning rods to scrub the inside of a barrel. They come in popular styles made from brass or nylon. Some worry that brass brushes may damage barrels, but I disagree. The heat and pressure from a bullet exert more stress on a barrel than brass bristles. My simple theory is that good bore brushes are inexpensive, but the cheap ones are junk.

Bore snake/Ripcord are handy tools for a quick scrub and wipe clean of a barrel. While they don’t substitute for a thorough cleaning, I rely on them almost exclusively for my pistols.

Gun solvent or Gun Cleaner is a chemical that helps clean residue from fired ammo and it can help to remove copper buildup in the barrel.

Gun oil can clean your gun, prevent rust, and keep it lubricated for smooth operation. If you’d like to see our full breakdown of gun oils, check out our Best Gun Oil Guide.

General-purpose brushes should be included in a proper gun cleaning kit. Having even one general-purpose brush does the job.

Container to hold all the components of your kit.

Gun cleaning extras are optional, but they’re nice to have.

  • Chamber brushes are specifically to clean the chamber of a firearm.
  • Cleaning mats give you a clean and padded surface to work on while disassembling and cleaning your firearm. Mine has markings to help keep track of parts so I don’t lose any.
  • Benchrests and vises help stabilize the firearm in multiple situations. A benchrest gives a stable shooting platform for bore sighting, and vises hold the firearm for detailed cleaning.
  • Bore guides help align cleaning rods with the bore to prevent rod or brush damage while cleaning.
  • Gunsmithing screwdriver sets include a variety of tools designed to fit firearm screws precisely, so you don’t damage screws or gun finishes while disassembling or reassembling.
  • Silicone gun cloths are for wiping down firearms after cleaning and these provide rust protection.
  • LED bore lights are small, powerful lights that can be inserted into the bore to inspect for fouling, debris, or bore obstructions.

Now that we’ve discussed the kit components, let’s focus on how to clean your firearm using a gun kit.

How to Clean Your Gun Using a Cleaning Kit

When cleaning your gun, it’s important to reach every corner for a thorough clean. Here are some step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process.

  • Step 1: Kit compatibility

Before you begin, make sure your cleaning kit is designed for the correct caliber of your gun. Check for bore cleaning tools, including bore brushes, nylon brushes, bore mops, slotted tips, rods, and cleaning patches. Using the wrong caliber tools can make cleaning a hassle and potentially damage your firearm.

  • Step 2: Unload and disassemble

Always make sure your gun is unloaded before cleaning. Take it apart completely and remove the barrel. Cleaning each part separately is easier and ensures you don’t miss any spots.

  • Step 3: Barrel cleaning

Begin with the barrel by attaching a cleaning patch soaked in a bore cleaning solution to your rod. Insert the rod into the barrel chamber end and push it through in the same direction as the bullet travels. Repeat a few times to remove dirt, fouling, and residue.

  • Step 4: Bore brush for deep cleaning

For a deeper clean, use a bore brush attached to your cleaning rod. Scrub the barrel with it to remove tough deposits, making sure to reach all the nooks and crannies inside for a thorough cleaning.

  • Step 5: Exterior barrel cleaning

As for the outside, use a nylon brush and cleaning solution to scrub off dirt and fouling. This keeps your firearm clean and looking good.

  • Step 6: Reassemble and repeat

You can reassemble your gun after the barrel cleaning. Repeat the same steps for other components like the slide, frame, and magazine.

  • Step 7: Lubrication

Apply a thin layer of your preferred lubricant to the moving parts of your firearm. Make sure not to over-lubricate because excess oil can attract dust and debris.

  • Step 8: Final wipe down

After cleaning and lubricating, wipe down your firearm with an oil-free cloth. I go for an absorbent, lint-free, and tightly woven cloth like an old cotton t-shirt.

Regularly cleaning your firearm is important for maintaining its condition, but how often should you do it? It depends on factors like the type of gun and your shooting conditions. I typically clean mine every 400-500 rounds, but you can also follow the manufacturer’s recommendations or clean it more frequently if you use it in rough conditions.

Remember, cleaning your guns too often can damage the bore and use up solvents and oils, but not cleaning them at all can affect accuracy and reliability.

The NSSF is recommending that any shooting classes look into offering cleaning classes as well. However, to this day, most shooting classes don’t cover this topic. Therefore, another source to help would be video.

As shown in the video, this is an overview of gun cleaning. For detailed instructions, we recommend searching YouTube for specific guides. For example, if you own a Ruger Security 9, search “how to clean a Ruger Security 9” and select the following video.

Conclusion

Regularly cleaning your gun is important to keep it functioning smoothly, which is why it’s a good idea for all gun owners to maintain a cleaning kit. You can either put together your kit or go for a pre-made one, whichever suits you best. Just make sure it has all the tools you need and fits your firearms. Also, don’t forget to check what’s included before you buy. whichever one you start with, you’re bound to customize it with your supplies to suit your needs. Happy cleaning!

Best Gun Cleaning Kit – FAQs

What is a good quality gun cleaning kit?

A good quality gun cleaning kit should include high-quality components and not cheap plastic. We recommend the Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box and the Guardtech Universal Cleaning Kit. If you’re a heavy-duty user, your best bet is the Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit.

What should a gun cleaning kit include?

The essentials for a gun cleaning kit are cleaning rods, jags, cleaning patches, a bore brush, a bore snake, gun solvent, gun oil, and a general-purpose brush. It could also have extras like a cleaning mat, bench rests, chamber brushes, and bore guides.

What is a good gun oil to use?

Our favorite gun oil is Gun Fighter Oil. If you want more recommendations, check out our Best Gun Oil guide.

What happens if you don’t oil your gun?

If you fail to re-apply oil and allow the solvent residue to remain, your weapon’s parts may corrode. It’s possible that it’s already too late when rusting occurs; nevertheless, proper lubrication and storage can prevent it from happening.

What does the military use to clean guns?

The military uses Break-Free CLP to clean their guns. It’s a three-in-one cleaner, lubricant, and preservative featured in our Best Gun Oil article. You can read our Break-Free CLP review here. 

Should I clean my gun every time?

While I recommend you inspect your firearms before use every time, there’s no need to give them a full cleanup daily. I found a good balance of cleaning my firearms every 400-500 rounds. Your guns in storage also need a good clean once or twice a year.

What happens if you clean your gun too much?

Cleaning your guns too often can wear out the moving parts because of the gun solvent/oil you use and this can decrease its lifespan and performance. Plus, you’re adding to the wear and tear of your firearm every time you disassemble and reassemble it.

What happens if you never clean your gun?

If your guns have been running for ages with no cleanups, you can’t guarantee their accuracy or performance are at their best. The more you shoot, the more buildup you can expect inside the barrel, which can eventually cause jams, misfires, or other issues. 

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About Dave Chesson

Dave Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATF and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.

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