Best Gun Cleaning Kit for Handguns, Rifles, and Shotguns: Buyer’s Guide for 2020

Hand gun on table

Cleaning your gun properly is necessary in order to keep your gun in excellent firing condition. If your firearm is taken care of properly then it won’t show any signs of age and will work for decades. However, many people mistakenly believe that all a gun needs is some lubrication before it’s stored, when in fact you need to use the best gun cleaning kit in order to give your firearm a deep clean that will remove grime, dirt, carbon buildup, and gunpowder residue.

If you’re new to gun ownership, then you may not know what to look for in a cleaning kit, how to clean your firearm or the benefits that are linked to proper firearm care. I’ve created a buyer’s guide that will go over all of the components you need to look for in a firearm cleaning kit to ensure you don’t end up with a product that contains several extra accessories that you won’t even use. I’ve also tested many of the best-selling kits and have narrowed it down to the top six kits currently on the market. Below, you’ll see a comparison chart that I’ve created to showcase each kit’s important features, how it rated, and what each model has to offer.

Gun Cleaning Kit Comparison Chart

Product Pieces Firearm Type Solvent
Included
Rating
Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box


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60Universal Yes
GLORYFIRE Gun Cleaning Kit


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109Universal No
Allen Ultimate Gun Cleaning Kit


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65Universal No
Allen Handgun Cleaning Kit


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35Handgun No
Hoppe's BoreSnake Cleaning Kit


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5Shotgun Yes
Bear Armz Gun Cleaning Kit


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60Universal No

Otis Technology All Caliber Elite Range Box


Our Rating: (5/5)

This massive gun cleaning kit by Otis Technology can clean all types of inline muzzleloaders, shotguns, pistols, and rifles. This package contains sixty pieces, so you’ll get all the products you need to maintain and clean your firearms, including a large selection of cleaning tools and brushes.

This kit comes with:

  • One hundred percent cotton two and three-inch patches
  • Three slotted tips
  • Two patch savers
  • Four firearm specific rods: 9mm and 12 gauge, .308 caliber, .223 caliber, .22 caliber
  • FP10 All-Weather grease
  • Four two-ounce bottles of solvent
  • Cleaning tools
  • Sixteen bronze bore brushes

As you can see, this box is designed for the serious gun collector. This kit comes with everything you need to keep your guns in pristine firing condition.

Pros

  • Sixty-piece kit
  • Includes a variety of cleaning tools
  • Four bottles of solvent
  • All-weather grease
  • Universal kit will clean and maintain all types of shotguns, handguns, and more

Cons

  • Solvent doesn’t come with easy pour spout

Conclusion

This is an extensive gun cleaning kit that includes every essential tool and product you need to maintain your firearms. This includes protectants, lubricants, cleaners, and solvents, not to mention a wide range of cleaning tools that allow you to deep clean new and older firearms. These are high-quality tools that won’t bend or break or damage the interior or exterior of your firearms. If you’re looking for a kit that’s got it all, and one that’s available at a reasonable price, then hit that buy now button.

GLORYFIRE Universal Gun Cleaning Kit


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This is an all in one universal gun cleaning kit that’s designed to clean and maintain all types of pistols, rifles, and shotguns. The kit comes with everything you need to clean common-caliber guns. The case is designed to keep each of the pieces in the kit highly organized and easily accessible. The case also includes a couple of spaces that you can use to store solvent and lubricating oil. The included cleaning jags and slotted tips are made out of nylon and plastic.

Inside this case, you’ll find:

  • Six brass rods
  • Fourteen brushes
  • Nine mops
  • Jags-spear-pointed-12
  • Jag-black powder-1
  • Four slotted patch loops
  • Three utility brushes
  • Muzzle guards-3
  • Accessory adapters-3
  • Fifty-three by three cleaning patches
  • Four polished cloths

Pros

  • 109 piece kit
  • Universal
  • High-quality bronze brushes
  • Durable case

Cons

  • Does not include solvent or grease

Conclusion

This universal gun kit includes a variety of cleaning tools, patches, brushes, and includes a durable plastic carrying case that features individual compartments for each of the pieces, so you can keep all of your gun cleaning tools neatly organized. The kit doesn’t include any grease, cleaners, or solvents, which you’ll have to purchase separately. However, it does come with all the tools you’ll need to clean a wide range of firearm types, and all for a low price.

Allen Company Ultimate Gun Cleaning Kit


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This kit is categorized as a pro-grade cleaning kit, complete with a toolbox style case for storage. This model is designed to handle all types of firearms, including shotguns, pistols, and handguns.

Inside this package, you’ll find:

  •  Several brushes made out of bronze
  • Jags-brass
  • Swabs
  • Slotted tips made out of brass
  • Muzzle guards
  • Rods for cleaning
  • Adapters made out of brass
  • Cleaning brushes
  • Patches

Each of the tools included in this kit has a dedicated compartment in the toolbox, so you can keep all of the tools and cleaning supplies neatly organized. This is a kit that’s perfect for the traditional shooter. The kit comes with components for .410 bore shotguns, twenty gauge, and twelve-gauge firearms, in addition to standard pistol and rifle calibers. The toolbox also features extra space for other supplies such as cleaners, solvents, and lubricating oils.

Pros

  • Large toolbox
  • Universal kit can be used on any type of firearm
  • Extra storage space in toolbox for cleaners and solvents

Cons

  • Does not include solvent, cleaners, or lubricating oil

Conclusion

This is a large gun cleaning kit that can be used for any type of firearm, which is a huge plus for the serious gun collector. The lack of solvents, cleaners, and lubricating oils is a drawback for some potential buyers, while others will be fine continuing to use their preferred cleaning supplies. Overall, this kit is a great buy, especially considering it contains many types of cleaning tools you won’t commonly find in most kits including picks and cotton swabs. If you have older firearms that are in need of a serious deep clean, then this kit comes with everything you need to get your firearms back into pristine firing condition.

Allen Company Handgun Cleaning Kit


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This gun cleaning kit is specifically designed to clean a variety of handguns and includes several tools and cleaning supplies that will allow you to clean out your handguns, for a more efficient, reliable firing performance.

Inside this kit, you’ll find:

  • Cleaning rods
  • Jags
  • Slotted tip and adapter
  • Bore brushes
  • Bore swabs
  • Muzzle guard
  • Fifteen cleaning pieces
  • Twenty cotton cleaning patches
  • Carry case, complete with a removable tray
  • Heavy-duty brass cleaning rod

This kit is specifically designed to clean and maintain the following firearms:

  • 10 millimeter
  • Nine millimeter
  • 38 special
  • .357 magnum
  • .380ACP
  • .45 ACP
  • .44 magnum
  • .40 caliber
  • .40 caliber

Pros

  • Designed specifically for handguns
  • Includes highly absorbent cotton patches in a variety of sizes
  • Low price
  • Durable carry case

Cons

  • Can only be used to clean handguns
  • Does not include solvent or liquid cleaners

Conclusion

This kit includes many of the tools you’ll need to maintain and clean your handguns, however, it doesn’t include any liquid cleaners including solvent, which is a drawback for some gun owners. The kit’s handgun specific cleaning brushes are durable and designed to easily reach every nook and cranny, for a thorough, deep clean every handgun needs after use.

Hoppe’s Bore Snake Shotgun Soft-Sided Cleaning Kit


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This is a shotgun specific cleaning kit that’s lightweight and highly portable. It includes a soft-sided carrying case that you can easily attach to your belt and take with you on your next shooting adventure. This kit includes the following:

  • Bore snake
  • Solvent
  • Lubricating oil
  • Weather guard cloths
  • Pulling tool

Pros

  • Carrying case can attach to your belt
  • Brass weights bore snake
  • Includes solvent and lubricating oil
  • Low price

Cons

  • Can only be used on twelve-gauge shotguns

Conclusion

This complete shotgun cleaning kit features a snake bore with an end that has a brass weight that makes it easier to drop the snake through the bore, for a more thorough cleaning. The ability to attach the carrying case to your belt will allow you to take this cleaning kit with you on your next hunting trip and efficiently clean out your shotgun after every few shots or at the end of the day, working to keep it in pristine firing condition.

Bear Armz Tactical Universal Gun Cleaning Kit


Our Rating: (4/5)

This is a universal, durable cleaning kit that will work for most shotguns, muzzle loaders, rifles, and pistols. This kit comes with all of the tools and accessories you need to maintain and clean your firearms, all of which are stored in a durable case.

This kit includes:

  • Jags
  • Loops
  • Accessory adapters
  • Brass cleaning rods
  • These tools are made out of high-quality brass, so you won’t have to worry about them bending or breaking during use.

Pros

  • Durable carry case
  • Tools are made out of high-quality brass
  • Universal kit
  • Can clean most types of muzzle loaders

Cons

  • Does not include solvents and other types of cleaners
  • Rods are flimsy

Conclusion

This model includes many of the tools and brushes you need to clean any type of firearm. The included rods are somewhat flimsy, so you may want to upgrade them and purchase more durable rods, separately. Aside from the poor quality rods, this set does come with some great tools that are a steal for the price. However, for the serious gun collector, you’ll want to go with a cleaning kit that’s more heavy-duty.

Gun Cleaning Kit Buyer’s Guide

When selecting a gun kit, there are a number of things you’ll want to keep in mind. These cleaning kits are usually designed as general use, all-purpose kits, so they will come with a variety of brushes and tools designed to clean different types of firearms. This means that a general kit will have a little of everything, such as:

  • Oils
  • Chemical solvents
  • Cleaning tools
  • Cleaning materials

Kits will include:

Benefits of Cleaning Your Gun

disassembled revolver

  • Keeping a firearm in perfect working order is crucial, which is why it’s so important to keep your gun clean. When a gun is fired several times, it causes gases, grime, and gun powder residue to build-up on the barrel and action. Over a period of time, this will have a negative impact on the gun’s performance, making it unpredictable and unreliable.
  • Most people who buy firearms will do so for self-dense. Because of this, it’s crucial that the firearm operates at peak performance. Cleaning a gun immediately after firing can help to keep it firing like new.
  • Keeping a firearm clean will improve its lifespan and can make it last for years. A gun that isn’t cleaned can deteriorate over time.
  • A gun needs to be prepared for field conditions, which is why it should be cleaned each time after it’s used. Doing so will reward you with a gun that’s a solid performer and one that offers perfect accuracy. If you use your kit regularly, then you won’t have to worry about the effects of age.
  • Moisture is a major problem and one that can ruin a gun. If you allow condensation to collection on a firearm it can cause the gun to warp or rust. Always store your gun properly and wipe it down if you’re dealing with wet weather conditions.

Why You Need a Gun Kit

For pistols that are categorized as semi-automatics, the trigger group areas, feed ramp, slide rails, and chamber must be cleaned. These areas are usually very easy to clean, so you shouldn’t anticipate any scrubbing needed unless you’re guilty of not cleaning your gun for months. When you’re cleaning, you’ll find that the most carbon buildup tends to be in the chamber and feed ramp. You’ll need to use special brushes to remove any caked-on carbon.

A revolver is usually a lot easier to clean since you just have to wipe down the barrel, cylinder, and chamber. When cleaning, many gun experts recommend that you clean the barrel in the same direction that the bullet travels. This will cut down on damage to the muzzle and the crown. However, if you use a bore snake, then the direction won’t really matter.

For the barrel, you’ll need to use a barrel brush made for your caliber and a cleaning solution, passing it through the barrel several times, then you’ll take a cleaning rod and patch and go through the barrel until the patch comes out clean.

Other Features to Look For

A high-quality kit will come with lubricant, solvent, punch rods, chamber brushes or a bore brush, and patches. Some kits will also come with a bore snake tool. There are several kits that do not contain solvent, which is a nice plus if you don’t like cleaning your gun with this type of product since it can emit very strong fumes. If the type of firearm you own contains any type of plastic then you’ll want to go with a different type of cleaner.

Carrying Case

cleaning kit case

When you pay attention to the contents in each kit, you’ll run into many models that contain components that are cheaply made, or the kit may be the wrong caliber or gauge. The other issue is that many of these kits contain brushes that are cheaply made and tend to break or bend when you’re in the middle of cleaning your gun. Because of this, I spent a lot of time going over the components in each kit, to ensure that they work properly, feature a solid design, and provide the type of quality you’re looking for in a kit that’s reliable and designed to last.

Brushes and Cleaning Supplies

In this section, you’ll find the most common types of brushes and cleaning tools that are found in many of the leading gun cleaning kits.

Bronze Brush

This type of brush is one of the most commonly found brushes in a gun cleaning kit and it’s usually the brush you’ll use to make the first pass down the barrel in order to handle the carbon buildup. When you’re shopping for a kit, make sure you pay attention to what type of material the bronze brush is actually made out of. Bronze will be the best choice.

Nylon

This brush is often found in larger kits and is designed for the more sensitive parts on a gun where a standard bronze brush will not be able to reach.

Cleaning Swabs

A swab is used the same way you’d use one of these brushes. Swabs are designed to remove any remaining residue left in a barrel. Once any buildup has been removed, a cleaning swap will be perfect for removing any type of excess oil from the barrel of a gun.

Jag

A jag is used in conjunction with a cleaning patch. The patch is placed in the center of the jag, so you’ll be able to get a full three hundred and sixty degree clean on the bore. Most jags are made out of nickel-plated brass, which reduces the chances of scratching the inner barrel.

Slotted Patch Holder

This tools is used in place of a cleaning jag and is found in many kits. It performs the same function as a jag and works to remove any excess oil.

Cleaning Patches

These patches can be dipped in solvent and placed at the end of a slotted patch holder or jag. You’ll then push it slowly through the bore or through the chambers. These patches care made out of a variety of materials.

Swabs

Swabs are a perfect choice if you want to detail your gun. Equipped with a long handle made out of wood, it’s very easy to push a swab down the gun’s barrel.

Double-Ended Brushes

These brushes feature a toothbrush style design and can be used to detail the exterior of a gun. They’re often made out of brass, nylon, or stainless steel.

Carbon Fiber Rod

This type of cleaning rod is very important and is what you’ll use to attach many of the cleaning components to. These rods are available in a variety of materials, sizes, and shapes.

Solvent

Solvents are used to protect, lubricate, and clean a gun. These solvents come in a variety of different types, so you’ll want to do a little research and learn more about the different options available. They do have a strong odor, which is why some gun enthusiasts will opt for a different type of cleaner, although, the solvent does have a reputation for offering better cleaning power.

Bore Snake

Most people mistakenly believe that all you need to clean a gun is some solvent and a bore snack. But in reality, a bore snake will only come in handy after you’ve fired your gun and you need a quick clean. Bore snakes are available based on a gun caliber.

Caliber

The caliber is one essential thing you should take into consideration when you’re shopping for a cleaning kit, otherwise, you may end up buying a model that’s only compatible with a few different types of guns. As a gun owner, you already know that not all guns come in the same size. Each type of gun will come with a different sized barrel. As an example, a twelve-millimeter pistol has a barrel size that’s significantly smaller than a forty-five magnum. Just like guns are sized differently, the cleaning kits will come with brushes and other tools that are sized differently as well. Some models of cleaning kits will include components that are designed to accommodate guns of all sizes, while others will only work for a certain size. This is why it’s so important that you pay close attention to the types of guns that are compatible with the kit you’re interested in.

Kit Size

Kits will come with as little as five pieces or as many as one hundred. These larger kits will include rods and brushes designed to work with gun barrels of different lengths and widths. Obviously, a larger kit will come with a higher price tag. You may not even need many of the tools found in larger kits, or you may prefer to have many options available.

Ease of Use

If you’re a beginner, then you’ll need a model that includes clearly written instructions and a detailed list that will go over what each piece in the kit is intended for.

Utility Brushes

A set of good utility brushes are as important as any other type of cleaning tool you’ll find in a standard cleaning tool. These tools will have different head styles and will be made out of different materials. The basic materials include steel, nylon, and bronze. Stainless steel utility brushes should be used carefully in order to avoid scratching the gun. Bronze utility brushes are a better option and designed to remove stubborn, stuck-on grime. The nylon utility brush is a good choice for light grime removable from finished components or sensitive material.

Pick

The pick allows you to reach deep down into the firearm’s crevices in order to remove any fouling that you’ve been unable to access using the other tools in a kit. Unfortunately, not many kits come with picks, so you may need to purchase one separately. Picks are usually available in metal or plastic. Most types of metal picks are two-sided. One side is straight and flattened, while the other side is sharp and bent. The bent side of a pick can be used to easily retrieve and hook any small parts that may have fallen in places that are hard to reach.

Rags

Swabs are great for cleaning, but rags are a better choice for bigger jobs. You don’t want to end up going through your entire pile of swabs for one job, which is where the rags come in. Some kits will come with a large set of rags, especially if it’s a kit that offers a higher piece count. These rags are very absorbent and will be a better choice if you’re dealing with a gun that has not been cleaned in a long time, those with caked-on grime, and other types of big jobs.

Price

The cost of a gun kit is relatively affordable. You may need to purchase additional oils or a different type of solvent if the kit doesn’t come with the type you prefer, which will cost you more, but overall, most high-end kits will include everything you need to keep your firearm clean and in excellent firing condition, and all for a price that’s reasonable, ranging from twenty dollars over one hundred. The number of tools in a kit will have the biggest impact on cost, as will the size and type of gun oils and solvents included in the package.

Using Your New Gun Cleaning Kit

gunsmith

Once you’ve purchased a kit, it’s time to clean your gun. Cleaning a firearm isn’t difficult to do. Once you become familiar with the basic steps needed to clean a gun and you’ve cleaned one a few times, cleaning any type of firearm will begin to feel like second nature. The first time around, it can feel a little intimidating to see all of those bottles, brushes, and other tools. Many people think wiping down a gun and using an oil is enough, but for guns, you need to use a little more elbow grease to ensure it remains in proper firing condition.

Step One

The first step is to disassemble the firearm. When you’re cleaning a handgun, you’ll need to disassemble it to an extent, in order to be able to clean each of the parts. This will be done based on the type of gun you’re cleaning. Before you get started, make sure you know how to disassemble it correctly first.

Step Two

Some of the cleaners that come in a gun kit are pretty harsh, which is why you should always clean your gun in a location or room that has decent ventilation. The fumes from these cleaners can be potentially dangerous and are toxic.

Step Three

Next, you’ll focus on cleaning the barrel. The barrel is where you’ll find the gunpowder residue, in addition to other types of grime and dirt. To clean out the barrel, you’ll need to attach the right size bore brush and the cleaning rod. A solvent will then be applied. Run the brush through the barrel a few times in order to remove any residue. You may need to do this a couple of times if it’s been several months since you’ve cleaned your firearm.

Step Four

Once the barrel has been cleaned out, you’ll use a patch and a small amount of gun oil. Run the oiled patch through the barrel. Doing so will create a thick protective barrier.

If you’re cleaning a revolver, then you’ll need to clean out each chamber. Many types of revolvers will have a long barrel, just like most firearms, in addition to six short barrels that create the chamber. These will be cleaned in the same manner as the barrel.

Step Five

Now it’s time to clean the exterior of the firearm. To do, you’ll use more solvent and some clean patches and carefully wipe down all the parts of the gun. Use an additional patch to remove any remaining solvent. The outside of the gun can be conditioned using a preservative or a thin layer of oil.

Step Six

Your gun should be cleaned after each use or before you decide to place it in long-term storage. It’s important to get into the habit of cleaning your firearms routinely, in order to maintain their pristine condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

cleaning the gun on a wooden table

Do You Need to Clean Your Gun After Every Use?

Many gun experts recommend cleaning the barrels of a gun after each time you fire it. A gun should always be cleaned within a few days of use, thoroughly, to keep it in good working order and ensure it continues to offer the type of firing accuracy you’ve come to expect.

Should You Oil the Inside of a Gun Barrel?

The inside of the barrel should have a light coat of oil when you store it away after a good cleaning. If you plan on shooting the gun I recommend using a dry patch and running it through the barrel in order to remove any remaining oil, before you shoot it.

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Gun?

After shooting several rounds, gunpowder residue can start to buildup. Additionally, sweat and moisture can cause corrosive rust, which will damage the firearm’s metal parts. This type of dirt and grime buildup can impact a gun’s firing performance and reliability.

Can I Use Motor Oil on My Gun?

Yes. Motor oil possesses all of the protective lubrication and anti-corrosion properties that gun oil has to offer. Motor oil has a high combustion tolerance and can handle high temperatures, which is why it can be used on guns.

Do Guns Last Forever?

As long as a gun is well-maintained against moisture and corrosion guns can last for a century or more and will remain highly functional. In some cases, proper care can allow a firearm to last centuries in a fully functional form.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your firearms clean and protected by using a gun cleaning kit ensures that your guns function properly each time you shoot them. Over time, guns can acquire debris and residue that can have a negative impact on how well they work, which can lead to a potentially dangerous problem. It can also add plenty of wear and tear to your weapon via friction, which is a result of caked-on grime and dirt. With the information included in this guide, you can purchase the best gun cleaning kit and use the included tools to ensure your guns are always ready to use when you need them.

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