The best gun cleaning mat can save you plenty of time and energy. If you’re dedicated to keeping your firearms in pristine condition, then a mat is one of those must-have pieces of gear you need to make your job much easier, thanks to its ability to contain grease, grime, and debris. If you’ve never used a gun cleaning mat before, and you’re looking for a way to keep your kitchen table or coffee table clean the next time you clean your firearms, then a mat is the perfect solution.
However, since the market is basically flooded with gun cleaning mats, it can be difficult to find one that actually works and is tough enough to contain spilled solvent and lubricant and keep grease and grime off your furniture. That’s where I come in. I’ve tried out several of the best-selling cleaning mats, narrowing it down to five that have what it takes to handle a mess and prevent spills, smudges, and marks on your floors and furniture. I’ve also put together a buyer’s guide that includes all of the information you need to know to pick out a mat that will meet all your cleaning needs. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes every model that made it onto my list, their top features, and how they rated.
Gun Cleaning Mat Comparison Chart
GLORYFIRE Gun Cleaning Mat
This gun cleaning mat measures in at twelve by thirty-six inches, and ¼ of an inch thick. It offers better than average resistance and is designed to protect the surface of a firearm and firearm accessories. The mat comes with a protective layer, which causes solvents and other types of liquids to bead up on the surface, making it easier to clean and maintain. The surface of the mat features a clear print of a gun diagram so you can arrange the components on the mat, when you’re disassembling your firearm, making assembling faster and easier for new gun owners.
- Oil resistant and waterproof surface
- Image of gun diagram on mat surface
- Low price
- Mat can warp
This mat is durable, with a waterproof and oil-resistant surface that prevents oil and other types of liquids from sinking into the surface, which would make it almost impossible to clean. This mat can easily handle heavy duty use and features a large durable surface that can hold all of your gun cleaning supplies and your firearm, so you can neatly arrange your cleaning supplies and gun components, for a more streamlined cleaning process.
Real Avid Universal Smart Mat
This large long gun cleaning mat will keep all of your gear and cleaning supplies well-organized. This model comes equipped with a tray, which is connected to the cleaning pad. The mat also comes with a magnetic strip that you can use to keep track of springs, pins, and other gun parts. The back of the cleaning mat is equipped with non-slip material, so it will securely grip the surface of a table, which will prevent the mat from moving around during use. The mat itself measures in at forty-three by sixteen inches. It can easily be rolled up and stored away when not in use.
- Built-in tray
- Magnetic strip
- Back is equipped of non-slip material
- Hangs onto odor
This mat is highly portable, large, and will keep all of your gun cleaning supplies neatly organized as you clean. The magnetic strip can be used to keep track of smaller parts after your gun has been disassembled. The built-in tray provides adequate storage space, so you can keep all of your cleaning supplies on hand and clean your firearm in your home, the garage, or even out in the field, for fast and easy gun maintenance.
BOOSTEADY Gun Cleaning Mat
This gun cleaning mat by Boosteady features a non-slip backing that prevents the mat from moving around as you work. The mat measures in at 12.1 inches by 35.5 inches, so the mat is big enough to hold a firearm and plenty of cleaning supplies and gun cleaning tools. The mat comes enclosed in a pouch, which you can use to store your cleaning supplies and the mat. The manufacturer recommends allowing the cleaning mat to air out for a period of forty-eight hours when you first buy it, since it has a strong chemical odor. Fortunately, the smell will dissipate when left out to air. The biggest issue with this mat is the lack of protection when it comes to solvents and other types of cleaning products and oils. If liquids are spilled on the surface of the mat, they will sink into the material, instead of beading up. This can make cleaning off the mat a hassle.
- Non-slip backing material
- Low price
- American flag image
- Mat creases easily
- Does not come with a waterproof or oil-resistant coating
This large gun cleaning mat is durable, highly portable, and big enough to lay out all of your gun cleaning supplies as you deep clean your firearm or perform other types of gun maintenance. However, if you notoriously spill oil or solvent when you’re working on your firearms, then you may want to pass this model by, due to the lack of an oil-resistant and waterproof coating.
TekMat Stealth Ultra Rifle Gun Cleaning Mat
This large gun cleaning mat measures in at fifteen inches by forty-four inches and is ¼ of an inch thick. It’s made out of thermoplastic fiber that’s designed to prevent damaging the delicate surface of your firearm. The back is equipped with a thick rubber backing that will prevent the mat from slipping during use. The size of the mat will give you plenty of room to work on your firearm, while keeping all of your gun cleaning supplies close at hand. The mat’s polyurethane surface will protect firearms from scratches during the cleaning process. This model is also equipped with an oil resistant, waterproof coating that will prevent oils and other types of liquids from sinking into the surface, which will make cleanup a breeze.
- Oversized design
- Waterproof, oil-resistant coating
- Rubberized backing
- Does not include a magnetic strip or storage compartment
This oversized cleaning mat may not come with many bells and whistles, like what you’ll get with higher priced cleaning mats, but it’s overall quality, durability, and waterproof coating is what makes this model one of TekMat’s biggest sellers. Built tough, designed to last, and the perfect size for the gun enthusiast who needs a larger cleaning surface, this mat is a great choice for the buyer looking for a basic, but durable cleaning mat.
Cerus Gear Reaper Handgun Promat
This twelve inch by seventeen inch cleaning mat features a textured, non-slip rubber base that’s designed to prevent the mat from moving as you’re cleaning or working on your firearm. The mat is made out of 1/8 of an inch thick vulcanized rubber with a surface made out of heat bonded polyester. The surface of the mat has been treated with a coating that’s oil and solvent resistant, so once you’re done cleaning your firearm, you can take a rag and wipe off the oil or solvent, for fast and easy clean up.
- Non-slip backing
- Oil and solvent resistant
- Made out of vulcanized rubber
- Easy to clean
- Does not include storage compartments
This mat is pretty basic in design and does not come with any storage compartments, or a magnetic strip, which would allow you to easily keep track of your firearm’s parts once disassembled. However, it features a decent size that allows you to easily disassemble and clean your firearm, in addition to a surface that’s oil and water resistant, and a durable design that can withstand heavy-duty use.
Gun Cleaning Mat Buyer’s Guide
How a gun cleaning mat works is pretty self-explanatory, but some gun enthusiasts may not know what benefits using one offers and how it can help to significantly cut down on mess when it’s time for a regular gun cleaning, so before I dive into what features to look for in your next gun cleaning mat, let’s learn about some of the benefits you’ll enjoy when you use one the next time you clean your firearms.
Gun Cleaning Mat Benefits
- These mats are basically leakproof and consist of non-absorbent materials that will prevent oils from leaking through onto a table.
- The material the mats are made out of are very easy to clean, simply wipe away any grease, allow it to dry, then roll it up and store it.
- You can choose from a wide range of sizes, based on how many guns you want to clean, gun type, and the many tools you’ll use to get the job done. You can choose from sizes that are designed for shotguns, rifles, and handguns.
- These mats are very affordable and can save you plenty of time and money, in the event you accidentally spill some solvent or lubricant.
Most mats are treated with a type of liquid-resistant coating that will prevent the mats from soaking up solvents, grease, and oils. This is especially important when it comes to oil since an old sheet or towel will only absorb the oil and then transfer it to other places around the home. While you can always use several paper towels in place of a mat, this is pretty wasteful, and it can also end up being extremely messy if you go too hard with the solvent. A good mat will not allow grease and oil to be absorbed. Instead, it will cause the liquid to bead up on the surface, so you can easily wipe it off before you roll it up and toss it in your range bag or gun cleaning kit.
When you’re shopping for a gun cleaning mat, you want to make sure it’s a high-quality model that can actually contain any mess, such as oil, grease, and grime. It should also remain securely in place and should not slide around as you’re cleaning a firearm.
Unfortunately, not all mats are created equal. The biggest problem people run into with a low-quality mat is leaking. This will usually occur when someone is putting the mat in their gun cleaning box. The oil will leak off the mat and get all of their supplies oily. A good cleaning mat is specifically designed to prevent this. When solvent touches a mat it shouldn’t seep into the mat’s surface. Instead, it should remain on the surface, so wiping down the mat and getting rid of the oil should be a cinch.
Many mats will also come with some type of graphic on the surface, whether it’s a graphic, a ruler, or an image of the inner components of a specific firearm. These diagrams are often labeled and can be a huge help when you’re detail-stripping a firearm, or you need a quick reminder of how to put a certain firearm back together.
A mat should be large enough to lay out all of the gun’s components and your cleaning tools and solvents, instead of placing them on the table. You’ll come across a wide range of sizes available, so you can choose one based on the type of firearms you have and how many cleaning tools you use during regular maintenance.
Easy Clean Surface
Some mats are prone to collecting dirt, lint, and dust. Look for a mat that earned a high rating for its easy to clean surface. A dirty mat will basically be useless.
Magnetic Parts Strip
Some manufacturers have incorporated a magnetic strip on the surface of the mat. This will save you from having to search for parts and tools and other types of hard to see gun parts.
Trays are also a great option, if you’re prone to losing parts when you clean. Some mats will come with a small built-in tray or parts holder which will help to contain all of the important springs and pins while you work.
Types of Gun Cleaning Mats
There are a few different types of mats to choose from.
- The first, and most common type is a basic neoprene backed mat that’s made out of foam and equipped with a cloth top that has been treated with a waterproof finish that’s designed to keep grease and oil from soaking into the mat.
- Solid plastic mats are basically just trays that are made with an injection-molded polymer that’s chemical-resistant. However, this type tends to trap carbon fouling, and some can even scratch the finish on a firearm.
- Last of all, you’ll come across self-healing mats, which are great at protecting tables and countertops and a great choice for detail stripping a firearm. These mats are very resistant to grease and oil and can easily be wiped down. They’re a great choice for the gun enthusiast who is looking for a general-purpose surface protection that can be used for more than just cleaning firearms.
How to Clean a Gun Mat
Just because a mat is designed to keep your table and floors clean, doesn’t mean you don’t ever have to clean it. It doesn’t matter if you purchase a top-of-the-line model, one that’s designed to actually contain a spill, you’ll still need to keep the mat clean to prevent any solvents or oils from getting all over your firearms, tools, or gun cleaning supplies the next time you clean.
Fortunately, a good mat is pretty easy to clean. All you need is some paper towels, or a rag. You can wash down a mat using soap and water. Some mats can even go in the washing machine. If you’re not sure how to clean your mat, take a look at the manufacturer’s care instructions. Once the mat is clean, allow it to dry flat and only store it once it’s completely dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need a Gun Cleaning Mat?
You can definitely clean a gun or rifle without using a mat, but you’ll miss out on the many benefits, including less mess, a faster clean up time, and a more efficient cleaning process. Mats are designed to make cleaning your gun faster and easier, while cutting down on cleanup time, especially in the event you spill some solvent or grease. Models that come with a built-in parts holder will help you find all the gun parts much faster, so you waste less time.
Is it Bad to Clean Your Gun After Every Use?
If you primarily use your gun just to shoot at the range, then it will be less exposed to the particles in the atmosphere. In most cases, a pro will recommend cleaning your weapon every 250 to 300 rounds. It will require a deep clean after around 3,000 rounds. However, when it comes to rifles and shotguns, this number is usually less.
Why is Cleaning Your Gun Important?
Keeping your firearm clean is crucial. When you fire a gun, this causes the powder residue, gases, and grime to build up on the barrel and in the action. Over several weeks or months, depending on how often you fire it, this will have a huge negative impact on your gun’s performance. The gun itself will not be as accurate and it can be very unpredictable and unreliable.
What Are Gun Cleaning Mats Made of?
Mats are available in a variety of materials including neoprene, waxed canvas, and plastic. The materials the mats are made out of are designed to prevent lubricants and oils from sinking into the mat or sinking through it and reaching the surface of a table. Instead, the liquid will bead up on the surface, so cleaning it before it’s time to store it is fast and simple.
What Happens if You Never Clean a Gun?
Your gun will not be very reliable and will not shoot as accurately. Additionally, fouling can cause erosion and rust. This usually begins at the barrel, then makes its way to the chamber, firing mechanism, and ejector. During fouling, the parts that have rusted can fuse together. Over time, your gun may misfire or may not be able to fire at all.
Should You Oil a Brand New Gun?
A good coat of gun oil and a cleaning can make a gun operate more smoothly. So yes, there’s no harm in oiling a brand new gun. Grease is used to prevent corrosion and can help to keep your firearm in pristine condition.
The best gun cleaning mat is designed to make life a lot easier. It’ll definitely be a lifesaver if you accidentally knock over the solvent, grease, or lubricant. A cleaning mat is an essential piece of gun cleaning gear that belongs in every gun enthusiast’s cleaning kit and it’s an affordable way to protect your floors and table from dirt, grease, and grime. This buyer’s guide and my product recommendations will help you find the right mat based on the types of firearms you own, how many cleaning tools and supplies you use, and your budget. The next time you clean your weapons and you use your new mat, you’ll be surprised and impressed by how fast and easy it is to clean up, and you’ll find that you will never clean your guns without one.