8 Best Gun Oils [2023]: Cleaners, Lubricants, and More

by Ryan Cleckner

September 24, 2023



If you’re going to maintain your guns properly and you want your firearms to achieve their best performance, you’re going to need a good gun oil.

But, if you’ve been shopping for gun oil lately, you’ve probably noticed that there are way too many options and they all promise different benefits for your firearms.

We get it. There are so many overpriced or ridiculous gimmicks out there and not all of them are worth it.

So, we decided to write this Best Gun Oil Guide to help you understand what gun oil is for, the different types of gun oil, and which gun lube is best for your needs.

Why You Need Gun Oil

“Guns only have two enemies, politicians and rust.”

There seems to be a misconception about gun oil in that most novices believe that oil for your gun is just to lubricate and nothing else (similar to motor oil in an engine).

Although gun oil is great for lubricating gun parts, and just about necessary to achieve reliable performance out of some types of firearms, it is also helpful when cleaning firearms after shooting and to protect them from corrosion/rust.

So, if you want to protect your firearms and you want your guns to function well, you need a good gun oil. But, which kind of gun oil do you need?

Different Types of Gun Oil

There are three types of gun oil (or gun lube) that you should know about:

Oils for function/lubricationThese oils are typically synthetic and they have the ability to withstand the high pressure and heat of shooting firearms while improving the function and reliability of your gun. If you’ve already got a good all-in-one oil (below) and are looking for the best performance, look here.

Oils that also clean/preserveThese oils help break down grime, dirt, and carbon build-up in your guns and help bring them back to mint condition after many rounds of firing. There are also all-in-one oils that may not give the absolute best performance for lubrication, but they have the added benefit of being suitable for protecting your firearm against corrosion and they can also be used to help you clean it. If you don’t own any gun oil yet, start here.

Greases: Although not “oil,” grease can be very handy with firearms – especially heavy-use guns or those where you’re looking for the lubrication to stay where you put it. Grease stays where you put it (it doesn’t run like oil can) but it should be avoided in really cold weather.

So, which one should you get? Well, for most shooters, an all-in-one oil developed for guns is your best option. It’s enough for lubrication, will help keep your guns from rusting, and also helps to clean your gun.

If you’d like to learn more on the topic, then you should check out my full guide on why you need gun oil and what type you need.

The Best Gun Oils for Each Type

Because there are three types, we figured it would be best to rank them based on their type and focus.

Best Gun Oils for Lubrication/Function

Best Overall

Gunfighter Oil

Gunfighter Oil
  • 100% synthetic
  • Non toxic
  • Protects from corrosion
Buy on Amazon
Editors Pick

Militec-1 Gun Oil

Militec-1 Gun Oil
  • Premium gun oil
  • For heavy use guns
  • Conditions metal
Buy on Amazon
Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil
  • Low price
  • Large quantity
Buy on Amazon
Best for all firearms

Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil

Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil
  • High volume shooting
  • High viscosity
  • Applicator bottle
Buy on Amazon

Best Gun Oils for Cleaning/Preserving Firearms

Best for bore cleaning

Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner

Hoppe's No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner
  • Just for cleaning
  • Long history of use
Buy on Amazon
Best all-purpose

Break Free CLP

Break Free CLP
  • Mil Spec
  • Multi-purpose usage
  • Low cost
Buy on Amazon
best for indoor and outdoor use

Gunzilla CLP

Gunzilla CLP
  • Non-toxic plant based
  • Low or no odor
Buy on Amazon

Best Gun Grease

Lucas Extreme Duty Grease
  • High wear resistance
  • Stays where you put it
Buy on Amazon

Secs Comparison Table of Best Gun Oils

NameLubrication TypeViscosityFreezing PointFlash Point
Gunfighter OilOilMedium-31°F485.6°F
Militec-1 Gun OilOilMedium-54.4°F478°F
Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor OilOilMedium-45°F446°F
Lucas Extreme Duty Gun OilOilMedium-38°F400°F
Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore CleanerOilMedium-173.56°F 55.0°F
Break-Free CLPOilMedium-65°F270°F
Gunzilla CLPOilThin-50°F
Lucas Extreme Duty GreaseGreaseThick-20°F540°F

Reviews of the Best Gun Oils for Lubrication/Function

For some applications, you might be looking for an oil to help the functioning or improving the performance of your gun. For these situations, an oil that excels as a lubricant is what you need. Oils that also help clean and protect against rust are covered next as those features aren’t needed here.

Best Gun Oils for Lubrication/Function

  1. Gunfighter Oil
  2. Militec-1 Gun Oil
  3. Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil
  4. Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil

1. Gunfighter Oil : Best Overall

Gunfighter Oil

Gunfighter Oil

Gunfighter Gun Oil was created to offer serious shooters a 100% synthetic, non-toxic, non-biodegradable lube that excels in a wide range of conditions and temperatures, on any gun.

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  • Performance A+
  • Usability A+
  • Application A+
  • Value A-

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Gunfighter Oil

  • Lubrication Type Oil
  • Viscosity Medium
  • Freezing Point -31°F
  • Flash Point 485.6°F
  • Travel Bottle Available Can be purchased separately
  • Cost Per Ounce $5

Gunfighter Oil Review

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for good products to clean and protect your guns. Gunfighter Oil is a great product that does both. It’s a gun cleaner and lubricant in one, and it’s very easy to use. Just apply it to a clean cloth and wipe down your gun. It will remove any dirt or grime, and it will also lubricate the moving parts of your gun, making it easier to operate. Not only is the oil non-toxic, it’s also odorless and colorless, so you can lube up your guns even indoors without worrying about the smell or spillage. Plus, it comes with a needle oiler bottle as well, meaning the application is pretty much hassle-free. 

I’ve used Gunfighter Oil on all my guns, and it works great. As Gunfighter is 100% synthetic, it doesn’t break down and can keep your firearms running smoothly even if you store them for a while.

Gunfighter Oil is super easy to use; it’s very slick but stays put without getting all tacky and making a mess all over your gun. Since Gunfighter doesn’t dry easily, there’ll be no dried-up oil to mess with how your gun functions. It’s also non-biodegradable so it can maintain the consistency and lubricating properties under extreme heat or cold. 

This is an all-rounder; it gives full-on heat protection for your tactical guns if you’re a rough user, protects your hunting guns from corrosion and weather conditions, and keeps your competition guns running smoothly by reducing friction. It’s also very affordable, so you can keep your guns clean and protected without breaking the bank. I highly recommend Gunfighter Oil to anyone who owns a gun.

There really isn’t a negative on this one. It’s one of the cheapest on the list, and is incredibly well-made. It’s my go-to cleaner and lube and the one I recommend the most.

To see my full review on this oil, be sure to check out our Gunfighter Oil Review.

Gunfighter Oil Pros and Cons

  • Great operating temp
  • 100% synthetic
  • Value for money

2. Militec-1 Gun Oil : Editor’s Pick

Editor's Choice

Militec-1 Gun Oil

Militec-1 is my go-to premium gun oil – if there’s a gourmet gun oil, this is it.

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  • Performance A+
  • Usability A+
  • Application A+
  • Value A

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Militec-1 Gun Oil Specs

  • Lubrication Type Oil
  • Viscosity Medium
  • Freezing Point -54.4 F
  • Flash Point 478 F
  • Travel Bottle Available? Yes
  • Cost per Ounce $2

Militec-1 Gun Oil Review

In late 2001 in Afghanistan, one of the guns I carried was a Knight’s Armament SR-25. I hated this gun for two reasons: it was inaccurate and wasn’t reliable.

Militec-1 solved one of these problems for me.

I was bunked with an armorer from an unnamed group in a mud-hut and I was explaining my issues.

He agreed and said that he was very used to the reliability problems of the SR-25 and that he had a fix: use only Okay Industries magazines (listed in our Best AR-15 Magazines) and Militec-1 gun oil.

He was right, something darn close to magic happened with switching the mags and gun oil. I quickly started using Militec-1 on all of my firearms and have been a major fan of it ever since.

Militec is made using synthetic base oil and an additive package that’s thick enough to lubricate moving parts. The synthetic quality seals metal surfaces to protect your guns from rust, corrosion, and wear. It can prevent your firearm from jamming, gives better muzzle velocity, and reduces the wear significantly. Plus, cleaning your firearms is a breeze with this oil. 

To me, there’s a noticeable difference in how great this oil works – I could take my AR-15 upper receiver and tilt it back and forth to watch the bolt carrier group slide back and forth like it was on ball bearings with only a couple drops of Militec-1.

Sometimes I treat my guns with Militec-1 and store them for months on end and when I take them out for a spin straightaway, they work just fine. Thanks to Millitec, my firearms only have minimal material build-up that I can easily wipe off no matter how long they’ve been in storage. Once you start using this, you might be like me and use it on your hair clippers, gate hinges, and everything else.

All in all, this works very similar to Gunfighter Oil. Personally, I use the Militec-1 for heavy duty firearms and it’s also great to use in extreme weather conditions. Even in high heat, your guns can stay lubricated for longer because Militec-1 has a super low evaporation rate. This is also great at protecting your guns from dampness if you need to carry your firearms in the rain or on a boat. 

Militec sells the oil as a metal conditioner and they make claims to the metal is impregnated with protection that works when dry. It seems that it was originally intended as an additive to motor oil in engine applications. I can’t confirm the ability to work dry. I can, however, say that without a doubt it is my favorite gun-specific oil and I think it is the best gun oil available. It might not be the cheapest option out there, but I’d say it’s worth the price. However, if you’re already using Gunfighter, you would be just fine without switching to this unless you’re shooting in extreme heat, dust, or damp conditions. 

My only issue on this one and why it isn’t #1 is because I find it a bit on the expensive side and not noticeably more different than the Gunfighter. Therefore, you can save a little bit and still get a good oil with gunfighter.

You can see my full breakdown in our full review of the Militec-1 Gun Oil!

Militec-1 Pros and Cons

  • Ultra premium option
  • Noticeably better performance
  • Reduces wear and tear on heavy-use guns
  • Conditions metal and works dry
  • Not the most slick gun oil on this list
  • Isn’t the greatest option for cleaning

3. Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil : Best Budget

Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil

Mobil1 Synthetic motor oil is excellent for lubricating firearms for function – it almost made #1 on this list because it works so well and is so inexpensive.

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  • Performance A
  • Usability A
  • Application A
  • Value A+

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Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil Specs

  • Lubrication Type Oil
  • Viscosity Medium
  • Freezing Point -45 F
  • Flash Point 446 F
  • Travel Bottle Available? No
  • Cost per Ounce $0.15

Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil Review

Mobile 1 Synthetic Motor Oil is so great for lubricating firearms, especially things like AR-15s, that it almost made #1 on this list as the best option for lubricating gun oil.

Militec-1 (above) beat it out barely because it is such amazing stuff.

In fact, if you want to get really crazy, you can add some Militec-1 to this Mobil 1 motor oil (as Militec was designed to do) and you’ll have my super-(not so)-secret gun lube concoction.

However, as a great gun oil that will help all of your guns run well and protect their components against wear, just get Mobil 1. 

It may not be the ultra-premium metal conditioner that Militec-1 is, but it is hands-down one of the better gun oils I’ve ever used. As far as any other gun oil that makes big claims about how well it works, It’d be hard to convince me that a quart of Mobil 1 isn’t better and way cheaper.

Remember that this is to help your guns run. It isn’t good for cleaning or preserving firearms because it can’t create that protective polymeric film – you’ll need to get one of the oils in the next section for that.

It does smell a little of motor oil and can soak into your wood stocks though, so keep an eye out for that. It’s also worth remembering that this is not for long-term storage or extreme weather conditions, and it can leave a small build-up on your firearms. But if it’s for general lubrication and protection against friction and a little bit of heat, Mobil 1 is a dependable choice.

If simplicity and cost are just as important as performance, then just get a quart of Mobil 1 Synthetic, a few oil bottles, and use the extra money you saved on ammo.

You can see my complete breakdown in our full review of the Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil

Mobil 1 Pros and Cons

  • Stupid cheap
  • Big container
  • Excellent performance
  • Bottle not ideal for travel
  • Bottle not ideal for dispensing
  • You’ll have to have a conversation about why you use motor oil with everyone who thinks they know better.

4. Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil : Best for all firearms

Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil

Lucas Oil is known for their high-performance vehicle oils and additives – they brought their understanding of premium lubrication to their gun products.

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  • Performance A+
  • Usability A
  • Application A+
  • Value A-

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Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil Specs

  • Lubrication Type Oil
  • Viscosity Medium
  • Freezing Point -38 F
  • Flash Point 400 F
  • Travel Bottle Available? Yes
  • Cost Per Ounce $2.35

Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil Review

Lucas Oil makes a really great product for gun oil as it does an amazing job of lubricating and preserving while also being eco-friendly. In fact, it was difficult ranking each of these options for gun oil because they’ll all be great for your gun.

The oil is made for firearms that go through high volumes of shooting, friction, and heat. This means it works really well for semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, pistols, full-auto firearms, and even suppressors. 

Lucas Oil claims to offer superior burn-off resistance – I haven’t noticed this more than any of these other options. This oil is a premium oil with additives that give the metal in your gun a “polymeric film” that helps protect your firearm from excessive heat, moisture, wear, and rust. The high viscosity makes sure it stays on your firearm even if you are going to store your gun for a while. 

One of my favorite parts about Lucas Oil? They’re the only oil manufacturer that I’d recommend that sells their oil in the best container: a needle oiler bottle that is sturdy enough to withstand being tossed into a range bag. The bottle also makes the process of applying the oil comparatively painless. 

This one sits down here in the rankings though for two reasons. First, it is more expensive than it needs to be. Second, out of all the gun oils listed, this one has a considerably low temperature range out there. Therefore, even though it works great for all sorts of firearms in harsh weather conditions, this one is a pass and there is no reason why you should choose it over the ones listed above.

You can see my complete breakdown in our review of Lucas Extreme Gun Oil!

Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil Pros and Cons

  • Excellent gun oil
  • Premium ingredients
  • Great needle oiler bottle option
  • A bit expensive
  • Smallest temperature range of the recommended oils

Reviews of the Best Oils for Cleaning and Preserving Firearms

Every gun racks up dirt and carbon after many rounds of firing, and a good solvent can break down the residue and clean the gun. This is necessary for upkeep as well as performance because a dirt-stacked gun can throw off your accuracy in the long run. 

Additionally, there is a class of oils that are good enough for lubrication (they’re not the best) but they also have properties that allow them to clean and protect your firearms. These three-in-one oils are often called “CLP” (clean, lubricate, protect/preserve).

Before you start going for the performance oils above, make sure that you have at least one good CLP at home.

Best Cleaning + CLP Oils

  1. Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Cleaner
  2. Break-Free CLP
  3. Gunzilla CLP

1. Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Cleaner : Best for bore cleaning

Hoppe's No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner Featured Image

Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Cleaner

Hoppe’s No. 9 has been cleaning guns since the early 1900s for a reason – it’s effective and reliable.

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  • Performance A+
  • Usability A+
  • Application A+
  • Value A+

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Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Cleaner Specs

  • Lubrication Type Oil
  • Viscosity Medium
  • Freezing Point -173.5°F
  • Flash Point 55°F
  • Travel Bottle Available Yes
  • Cost Per Ounce $0.62

Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Cleaner Review

If I had to pick one cleaner for all my guns for the rest of my life, it would be the Hoppe’s No.9 Gun Bore Cleaner. 

There are a couple of reasons why I swear by this one. One is that this solvent can clean any firearm you can think of, including old-timey revolvers, modern sporting rifles, CCW pistols, deer rifles – literally anything. The second reason is that it’s extremely effective; the solvent can clean out any abrasive dirt from the gun while breaking down grime and residue. I’ve been using the Hoppe’s No. 9 for over 15 years now and I’ve had zero issues with corrosion. The reason could be the inhibiting properties in the solvent that prevents carbon and lead build-up and protects the guns from rusting and corroding.

The Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Cleaner is best at, you guessed it, cleaning the bores of the guns. I tend to pair it with my bore snake especially when I’m cleaning my rifles. You can either do a quick pass by simply adding the solvent and running it through the barrel, or you can take your time with doing a couple passes – which I recommend doing if you need a thorough cleanup of your gun’s bore. The first pass breaks down large particles and scrubs out the residue while the second pass swabs the bore spotless. I sometimes even do a third pass to make sure I didn’t miss a spot. 

This is my reliable go-to for cleaning, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The solvent is very strong, so it’s not the safest on skin. While Hoppe’s does claim that it’s safe to use, I recommend getting yourself a quality pair of gloves because taking extra safety steps never hurt anyone. The other thing to note is the smell; the Hoppe’s No. 9 has had a distinctive smell and it’s one of those smells where you either like it or hate it. If you hate it, I just hope you can bear it through a cleaning session because this is not a cleaner to miss out on. 

The Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Cleaner is also not an all-in-one, so you do need a lubricator to accompany it, but as far as cleaning goes, this one has my trust. 

I talk about the Hoppe’s No. 9 complete cleaning kit in my best gun cleaning kit article, so check it out if you’re interested. 

Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Cleaner Pros and Cons

  • Extremely effective
  • Widely available
  • Affordable
  • Strong on skin
  • Not all-in-one

2. Break Free CLP : Best all-purpose

Break Free CLP

Break-Free CLP might not be the absolute best at any one particular feature, but it is the best overall and the best all purpose gun oil. Don’t know where to start? Start here.

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  • Performance A+
  • Usability A+
  • Application A+
  • Value A

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Break-Free CLP Specs

  • Lubrication Type Oil
  • Viscosity Medium
  • Freezing Point -65 F
  • Flash Point 270 F
  • Travel Bottle Available? Yes
  • Cost Per Ounce $1.75

Break-Free CLP Review

Break-Free CLP is the standard for gun oils. It helps you clean your firearm, it lubricates your gun, and it helps to protect it from rust. It is in use by militaries and police departments all over the world.

The oil doesn’t break down easily under extreme heat or pressure because it’s made out of high-quality synthetic oils. It excels within an ideal temperature range for shooters, so you can use it on guns that tend to heat up a bit. I also recommend this to anyone who lives in places with cold weather because it doesn’t gum up easily and can prevent any new build-up on your gun for a decent time period.

Now, even though it is the best do-all oil for your gun, it isn’t the highest-performance oil for lubricating your gun. If you’re looking for the best-performance lubrication, look at the list of best oils for lubrication.

However, if you’re looking for your first gun oil, or the one gun oil that absolutely every gun owner should have, this is it. While it might not be as good as our oils for lubrication/function, it still helps reduce friction and keeps corrosion away from your gun.

I’ve slapped this on some of my guns that were covered in gunk and it was impressive how the oil got them to start running again. Once you apply it to parts like the lever and bolt carrier and let it sit for a while, cleaning off the burnt powder residue should be easy.

I especially like to use this oil with needle oiler bottles and the barber’s shave brush that I recommend in the buyers guide. I like the consistency of Break-Free CLP because it’s got that perfect balance of being thin enough to reach the inner metal parts and being thick enough so it doesn’t spread all over. However, it’s worth noting that it can thin out and spread a little bit, so you need to be super careful when applying the Break-Free CLP. 

So, this is the best all-purpose gun oil. It does a decent job of cleaning and lubricating and I love to use it for rust protection. It’s just not the best at any one of those things.

You can see my complete breakdown in our full review of the Break-Free CLP!

Break-Free CLP Pros and Cons

  • Best all-around gun oil
  • Protects, performs, and cleans
  • Inexpensive
  • Not the best at any particular task

2. Gunzilla CLP : best for indoor and outrood use

Gunzilla CLP

Gunzilla is the oil product that I didn’t want to like – but I do.

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  • Performance B+
  • Usability B
  • Application A-
  • Value A-

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Gunzilla CLP Specs

  • Lubrication Type Oil
  • Viscosity Thin
  • Freezing Point -50 F
  • Travel Bottle Available? Yes
  • Cost Per Ounce $2.10

Gunzilla CLP Review

Gunzilla is a non-toxic CLP (cleaner, lubricant, and preservative) oil that works surprisingly well to clean and protect your firearms without a harsh chemical smell.

If you’re looking for a solvent and oil that you can use on your kitchen table that won’t have a strong smell, this stuff is it. Since it’s non-toxic, it doesn’t irritate your skin or eyes either. 

Gunzilla is a good choice if you’re looking for an all-in-one (cleaning, lubricating, and preserving) gun oil for all sorts of firearms like handguns, shotguns, rifles, and more. This plant-based cleaner works well at light cleaning tasks and the thin/light film it leaves behind is a good rust preventative. 

If you shoot cheap bulk ammo and have to clean your firearms after each use, this is your best bet. Gunzilla makes cleaning easy; you can just wipe off any residue without worrying about excess oil because this doesn’t flow around and create a mess. It also does a lot of cleaning with a little bit of product, so you’re saving some bucks there. 

However, be warned that if left on for a long time, it can get a bit gummy. Also, I’ve seen it hurt some plastics when you store it for a long-time.

You can see my complete breakdown in our full review on Gunzilla CLP Gun Oil!

Gunzilla CLP Pros and Cons

  • Low odor/Non-toxic
  • Works well at cleaning
  • Can get gummy
  • Can damage some finishes

Reviews of the Best Gun Grease

In very heavy-use applications, or in high-heat environments, oils can run off or break down too quickly. In these cases, grease is a great option. When I lived in Phoenix, AZ, I used a small amount of grease on my CCW pistol and I love a light coat of grease on my bolt action rifle lugs. Grease is also the best corrosion protection (but it’s messy).

However, do not use grease in very cold environments as it can easily get so hard that it can prevent your firearm from working.

1. Lucas Extreme Duty Grease : best heavy-duty

Lucas Extreme Duty Grease Featured Image

Lucas Extreme Duty Grease

Lucas Oil’s gun grease is a great grease for heavy use and high heat applications when shooting.

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  • Performance A+
  • Usability B
  • Application B
  • Value A-

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Lucas Extreme Duty Grease Specs

  • Lubrication Type Grease
  • Viscosity Thick
  • Freezing Point -20 F
  • Flash Point 540 F
  • Travel Bottle Available? Yes
  • Cost Per Ounce $12.00

Lucas Extreme Duty Grease Review

There are many shooters who dislike grease – I get it. It can be a bit messy and oil seems like a better solution.

However, when it comes to heavy-duty uses, a good grease is hard to beat. Compared to gun oil, grease requires less product when you apply and you can trust that it clings to the metal of your firearm quite well since it’s not as runny as gun oils. 

If you’re looking for wear resistance, heat tolerance, and you need your lubrication to stay where you put it, grease is the way to go and this is our favorite. Lucas Extreme Duty Grease comes in a small tube and it’s very easy to apply exactly where you need it, so you don’t need a whole lot of product to get the job done. It’s also super slick and doesn’t easily gum up compared to other grease options you get. 

Just be warned though that this is an expensive option and that it doesn’t do well in the cold. So, my friends up north, you might want to pass on this. However, it can hold up really well in extreme heat thanks to its high melting point. A couple friends who bought this specifically for their AR-15s said the action parts (which heat up a lot) have never worked smoother. 

While grease can seem inconvenient for regular oil users, if you live somewhere hot and use high temperature guns, it just might be what you need.

Lucas Extreme Duty Grease Pros and Cons

  • Super slick stuff
  • Stays where you put it
  • Great for high heat and heavy use
  • Expensive
  • Not for very cold weather

Gun Oil Buyer’s Guide

There are a lot of important things you need to know about Gun Oil. Hopefully in the sections above I covered most of it. However, if you’d like to learn more about them and the differences between certain types, then check out the below gun oil buyer’s guide.

What to Consider When Buying Gun Oil

Here are a few things to think about when you’re looking for a good gun oil. 

Purpose – The right gun oil for you depends on what you want to use it for. If you are looking to prevent rust build-up when you store away your guns, something like the Break-Free CLP is your best bet. But if all you want is an oil that can maintain your day-to-day rifle, you can go with almost any gun oil out there. It’s also important to remember that you cannot rely only on your gun oil for cleaning your gun as they are meant to be protectants and lubricants. I recommend adding a gun solvent to your gun oil along with a gun cleaning kit to get better results.    

Temperature – The gun oil or grease you need for high temperature situations is very different from the lube to use for cold environments. For example, if you are handling high temperature guns in hot climates, you can always go with a grease but never choose grease in a cold climate because it can easily harden and block your gun from functioning. 

Environment – In addition to the temperature, also think about the general environment you’ll be using your gun in. If you are taking it out hunting in sandy places and using a very thin lubricant, the dust can really get into your gun and stop it from working properly. Opt for more viscous oils or grease during these situations.  

Composition – I’ve talked about it in detail below but since most gun oils are made from refined petroleum, they tend to be irritants. If you have sensitive skin or irritants are an absolute no go for you, you can opt for a plant or animal-based non-toxic oil. 

Now that you know what you should be looking at when buying a gun oil, let’s take a look at what a gun oil can do to help your firearms.

The Role of Gun Oil

If you are new to shooting and you are still learning how to maintain your firearms, you’re likely wondering why gun oil is such a big deal. If you are a responsible gun owner, maintaining your guns is not a choice, it’s a responsibility. Plus, if you want them to still be well-functioning even after years of use, you’ve got to keep them safe and sound. Read along to find out how gun oils can help your firearms stay in good shape. 

Corrosion resistance – Firearms are often made using materials like aluminum, stainless steel, and alloys that are corrosion-resistant. Even so, your guns need protection from moisture, heat, residue, and other factors while in use. A reliable gun oil can build a protective barrier to shield your firearms from such environmental factors and prevent rust and corrosion.

Preserving wooden construction – Wooden and wood-finished firearm parts sure are nice, but they need proper care to prevent drying, shrinking, and cracking–especially if they don’t have a modern polymer finish. Gun oil can help keep the wooden parts as good as new with regular application and polish.

Long-term storage – Gun oil creates a polymer cover over the surfaces of your firearms to protect them from corrosion if you’re keeping them in storage for a long time. If you’re using a high-quality oil and lube up your firearms properly, you might even be able to shoot well right out of storage with no additional oiling. 

Withstanding the elements: Your field and weather conditions can wear your guns out faster than you’d expect. This is why it’s important to pick a gun oil that suits the functionality of your gun. For example, heavy shooting with hot barrels or dusty conditions call for viscous oils that withstand frequent use and heat. 

Functionality: Properly cleaning and lubricating your firearms can help them work smoothly, improving the accuracy and reliability of your guns. When used effectively, gun oils can help extend the lifespan of your firearms and have them functioning well for years to come.  

So how does gun oil manage to do all these? Let’s look at what gun oils contain and how they work.

The Composition of Gun Oil

Historically, plant or animal oils and fats like olive oil and whale oil were used to lubricate and preserve firearms. At present, modern gun oils are mostly made from highly refined petroleum or synthetic formulations for advanced performance and protection. These oils are designed to penetrate metal surfaces, forming a protective polymeric film that guards against corrosion and wear. They usually contain ingredients like isopropanol, heptane or petroleum distillates, viscosity modifiers, antioxidants, and reducing agents. 

Most gun oils are toxic, so skin and eye irritation are common concerns. If that’s a definite no for you, non-toxic options are also available.

Types of Gun Lubes and Cleaning Products

There are many ways one could categorize different gun lubes and firearm cleaning products.

We’ll take a stab at a few categories that might help show the different types available:

Natural vs. Synthetic: Just like with motor oil, you can find natural or synthetic gun oils. Natural oil is generally cheaper but synthetic oil typically has better qualities to help it protect as a lubricant.

Single Purpose vs. Three-In-One: Most gun-specific oils are focused on lubrication whereas three-in-one oils like Break-Free CLP are focused on lubricating as well as cleaning and protecting against corrosion.

Gun Oils vs. Gun Solvents: Yes, some gun oils can be used to clean firearms (poorly) but typically, oils are for lubrication and protection whereas solvents are designed to help break down carbon and fowling to help clean a firearm.

Toxic vs. Non-Toxic: There are some gun oils that are clearly toxic and others that our are marketed as “non-toxic” like Gunzilla CLP, although we don’t think we’d try drinking any of them.

Expensive vs. Affordable: Unless you really want a “premium” gun oil for a particular purpose (maybe you geek out about that stuff like I sometimes do), do yourself a favor when it comes to oil for lubrication: JUST GET A QUART OF MOBIL 1.

Now that you know the types of gun oil out there, you’ll have questions on what you should be choosing. Let’s take a look at that next. 

Three-In-One vs. Gun Grease vs. Gun Oil

If you’re this far into this article and are unsure about what to get for your gun, I’ve failed you.

I have tried to give you options and pros and cons for different types of gun oils but I hope that I haven’t made your decision more difficult.

Remember this: If you’re looking for the best do-all gun oil, just get Break-Free CLP and enjoy shooting! If you’re looking for a premium synthetic for lubrication because you’re doing a lot of shooting, just get Mobil 1.

It’s that easy.

There are really only three types of products to consider:

The three-in-one oil is the jack-of-all-trades and master of none. Most CLPs usually have a synthetic oil base and a solvent to break down carbon deposits. The ratio of these is what decides how effectively it does each of the tasks – cleaning, lubricating, and preserving. If you only have one gun oil, it should be a three-in-one like Break-Free CLP.

Gun oil is excellent for lubricating heavy-duty parts and reaching those inaccessible action parts of firearms. It keeps your guns running smoothly and might require more frequent application, but the frequency depends on the quality of the gun oil. If you’re getting more into shooting and want something a bit higher performance for lubrication, get a performance oil like Mobil 1 Synthetic or Militec-1.

And, if you want lubrication that stays where you put it or for VERY heavy use/high-pressure situations (belt-fed machine guns, a Barrett M107, or similar), then get some gun grease like Lucas Gun Grease. Gun grease can give you longer-lasting protection due to its thicker nature and superior adherence to metal, but it also hardens faster in cold conditions.

There’s one more area where gun grease shines – remember the bolt-action rifle example from above? A thin coat of grease on the bolt body and bolt lugs makes running the bolt on a bolt action rifle MUCH smoother.

Gun Oil Accessories

If you were on the fence about using gun oil, hopefully now you’ve made up your mind. When it comes to oiling your guns, there are three oil accessories I recommend to anyone who’s willing to listen: 

  1. A small bottle that travels with your gun gear, 
  2. A needle oil bottle for precise application, and 
  3. A barber’s shave brush.

Travel Oil Bottle

The first gun oil accessory; a good travel bottle that allows you to keep your gun oil with you on trips to the range or out in the woods, may be what your oil comes in – if so, you’re set.

In fact, if you’re just starting out, purchasing your gun oil in a travel size may be the best solution here. For example, my favorite gun-specific oil comes in perfect travel containers (that can be refilled).

Once you’re getting enough gear that you’d like a few oil bottles and you’re buying your gun oil in bigger containers, it’s time to get your own travel-size oil bottles to fill.

Needle Oil Bottle

Although these bottles can be fragile and likely not suitable as travel bottles (above) with rough handling, they are darn near priceless when it comes to maintaining your firearms.

These bottles allow you to get the drop of oil exactly where you want it – this saves oil, saves a sloppy/oily mess on your firearm/bench/clothes, and can keep oil out of places you don’t want it on the gun.

Seriously, once you start using these, you won’t want anything else.

Barber’s Shave Brush

If you’re following along here, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’d recommend such an accessory for gun oil.

Well, one of the uses of gun oil is to preserve and protect your firearm. In order to keep rust away, a light coat of oil on metal surfaces is recommended. Here’s the problem: It’s difficult to get a light coat of oil instead of so much oil that the gun is “oily” or has oil running or dripping off the gun.

Here’s my favorite trick: I keep a barber’s shave brush on the top shelf of my gun safe next to a bottle of Break-Free CLP. When I go to put a gun away (or whenever it’s needed), I apply a few drops of oil to the top of the brush, then I use the brush to dab and wipe oil all over the gun. It works perfectly!

Not only does it apply a light coat of oil like a paint brush, it can also be used to jab the bristles into tight corners to apply oil. The bristles are great at holding onto the oil – it’s always slightly oily and a great accessory for years of applying oil to your guns.

More Things to Consider when Buying Gun Oil

Of course, the first thing to consider when making any purchase and deciding between multiple options is to ask yourself why you need something.

If you just need your first bottle of all-around oil, get Break-Free CLP. If you are shooting a lot and need some oil that is a bit better for performance/lubrication, get Mobil 1 or Militec-1.

But, you should also consider something else….

How are you going to transport and apply the oil?

Get a bottle for your workbench at home for maintaining your guns but make sure that you either also purchase a small bottle of the gun oil you like for your range bag OR purchase a travel bottle for your range bag that you can refill on your own.

Also, get some needle oiler bottles (the best method of applying gun oil in my opinion) and a barber’s shave brush, and thank me later for both ideas. (If the shave brush doesn’t make sense, we explain it above).


Maintaining firearms in mint condition isn’t always easy with so many things to keep in mind; you need to lubricate them for good functionality, clean them post-use, and protect them from the elements. Gun oil can help you with all of these greasy tasks – you just need to spend some effort and time. 

Whether you want to improve the performance or the longevity of the firearm, you can find a gun oil (or a grease) that works. Have you tried any of the oils/grease from our list? Share your experience with us below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gun Oil

Is gun oil toxic?

Yes, some gun oils are toxic due to the ingredients they’re made out of. If this is a significant concern for you, we recommend our favorite non-toxic gun oil above.

What is the best oil for firearms? 

The best oil for your firearms depends on your specific situation. Here’s a breakdown based on the categories. 
·         Best oil for lubrication – Gunfighter Oil  
·         Best oil for cleaning – Break-Free CLP 
·         Best gun grease – Lucas Extreme Duty Grease

What is the best oil for guns in the winter?

I recommend using the Militec-1 Gun Oil for winter because it works really well in extreme weather conditions and is smooth enough that it will keep your guns lubricated without hardening. 

Who makes the best gun oil?

It’s too tough to pick who makes the best gun oil without knowing your needs. The best all-round gun oil is made by Break-Free CLP. The best premium gun oil for lubrication is made by Militec-1.

Should you oil your gun before shooting?

Yes, you should ensure that your guns are properly oiled before using them to ensure a smooth shooting experience. I recommend oiling your guns regularly so your firearms can stay in good shape for a long time.

Is it OK to use WD40 on a gun?

Yes, you can use WD-40 on a gun. In fact, for firearms like 22 rimfires, it’s a great option for lube and cleanup.

What gun oil does the military use?

The military uses Break-Free CLP gun oil.


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About Ryan Cleckner

Ryan is a former special operations sniper (1/75 Ranger) and current firearms attorney, firearms industry executive, university lecturer, and bestselling author of the Long Range Shooting Handbook.

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