As a gun owner, taking care of and maintaining your firearm is important. Gun oil should be used to protect your firearm from outside and inside elements, will make the components in your firearm function smoothly, and can prevent rust. The best gun oil can also prevent wear and tear and can keep your gun in excellent firing condition.
But considering how many different gun oils are on the market these days, finding the best gun oils that can perform the way the manufacturer claims they can, is a challenge.
That’s why I’ve put together this buying guide, to discuss the importance of using the right type of high-quality gun oils, how it can make a big difference in how your gun performs and what you need to look for to ensure you end up with gun oils that will treat your firearm right.
Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each of the gun oils that made it onto my list, how each oil rated, and other important information.
Gun Oil Comparison Chart
Best Gun Oil-Break Free CLP-4 Cleaner Lubricant Preservative
This CLP-4 all in one lubricant and cleaner by Break Free is designed to penetrate deep, spreading out along every crevice and pit in the metal surfaces to prevent contamination while lifting deep down dirt and grime. It can be used to clean all types of precision mechanisms for smoother operation. This is a long-lasting CLP that will have a big impact on firearm performance. The lubricant works by reducing the adhesion of grit and sand, and other types of abrasives that can cause failure or wear and tear on your firearm. The lubricant’s corrosion inhibitors will prevent rust from forming, while the oil’s boundary film is designed to provide protection against moisture and other types of contaminants.
- Cleaning solvent and lubricant
- Long lasting
- Safe to use
- Protects metal wood leather
- Preserves and protects metal
- Protects against moisture and corrosion
- Bottle leaks if stored sideways
This gun cleaning lubricant by Break Free is designed to to perform well in temperatures that range from 65-degrees up to 475-degrees. The specially formulated synthetic oil will not stiffen up, dry out, or lose viscosity in extreme conditions, including salt air and humidity. This CLP cleaner features a unique formula that protects, lubricates, and keeps your firearms in perfect firing condition.
Best Needle Applicator-HOPPE’S No. 9 Lubricating Oil
Too many poor lubricant bottle designs, spouts, and applicators leak or cause a mess during application. This lubricant can be applied precisely, in the exact areas you need it to go, without overdoing it. This is all due to its needle applicator that works perfectly for all types of firearms.
Hoppe’s no 9 viscosity gun lubricant can be used on more than just firearms. In fact, it can be used on fishing reels and other types of precision mechanisms. The gun oil is long lasting and will not become gummy, harden, or expire. The gun oil works by loosening grime and abrasive dirt, cleans fouling, and prevents gun wear and tear.
The gun lubricant is also a tough rust inhibitor that protects guns from costly damage due to corrosion. This gun lube is perfect for gun cleaning and will also keep the strikers and firing pins clean and moving freely. This can prevent or reduce weapon misfires and light strikes. It’s also free from strong smelling chemicals, offering the classic scent that all Hoppe’s lubricant users love.
- Can be used on fishing reels
- Protects firearms for inclement weather conditions
- Easy to use and apply
- Safe to use
- Needle applicator can become clogged if stored incorrectly
This gun cleaner is one of the best products on the market. Hoppe’s is a brand most gun enthusiasts are familiar with. This gun lubricant is easy to pour precisely, coating every moving component in a weapon to keep all of the parts moving smoothly to improve firearm performance. The precision applicator cuts down on mess, making it easier for new weapon owners to apply the lubricant without overdoing it.
Best CLP-Ballistol Multi Purpose Oil
This multi-purpose gun cleaning CLP by Ballistol can be used to clean metal wood leather, rubber, and plastics. As you know, this type of product contains compounds that are designed to work with each other to lubricate and clean a firearm. It can also be used on fishing reels, knives, tools, and pretty much anything else you can think of. This gun cleaner is also environmentally friendly. The biodegradable formula will not pollute water, air, and features a natural decomposition that won’t produce byproducts that are considered harmful.
- Non toxic
- Includes gun cleaning solvent
- Provides long term protection
- Will not degrade with long term storage
- Perfect for gun cleaning
- Strong chemical smell
Folks will love this CLP by Ballistol, which is slightly alkaline in nature and will neutralize the effects of skin oils and sweat. It can remove deep down grime, access all the metal surfaces in a firearm to clean, protect, and lube a gun. This Ballistol gun cleaner will not lose its ability to keep your weapon working smoothly, even when it’s mixed with water. This CLP is designed to get rid of black powder residue and is not petrochemical based. This means it will not have a negative impact on black powder cartridges or a seasoned muzzleloader.
Long Lasting-Prom Hoppe’s M-Pro 7 LPX Gun Oil
If you use your firearm often, then you’ll want to choose a product that’s long lasting and simple to apply. With this product, you’ll find that you don’t have to apply it nearly as often as competing lubricants. Pro 7 is another popular product by Hoppe’s, one that is described as perfect for long term storage. In fact, this lubricant was specifically developed for military firearms and works as a powerful CLP that will keep your handguns, machine guns, rifles, and other types of firearms in perfect working order. This Hoppe lubricant is designed for firearms that are used in extreme environments and is a great gun cleaning solvent that offers long lasting protection.
- Includes a combination of LPX additives and synthetic oil
- Long time protection
- Easy to use
- Use to clean, lube, and protect
- Perfect for any type of weather conditions
- Low quality applicator
The Hoppe’s Pro 7 cleaner lubricant can easily replace any type of standard oils, gun grease and gun cleaning solvent. It’s powerful, perfect for use on any type of weapon and will provide the highest level of protection against moisture, humidity, and wear. The long lasting film it leaves behind keeps guns in ready to fire condition as it repels dirt, dust, and grime.
Best Spray-WD-40 Specialist Protective White Lithium Grease Spray
Many gun enthusiasts swear by using good old WD 40 to clean their firearms. This White Lithium grease spray is one of their top-selling lubricants, and it provides metal to metal protection, and can be used to prevent corrosion and rust. The aerosol grease is perfect for any type of tools or firearms that require heavy-duty lubrication, such as guide rails, pulleys, latches, sprockets, gears, and more.
This lubricant is effective in temperatures that range from 0-300-degrees.
- Long time protection
- Can be used with a bore cleaner
- Can be used on most types of weapons
- Straw applicator pops off easily
Many gun enthusiasts argue that WD40 is the best gun oil and use it for gun cleaning regularly, in addition to use on other types of precision mechanisms. If you’re in need of a dependable, easy to apply lubricant, WD 40 has got you covered. One of the best things about this product is its versatility, and the ability to use it on so many different types of precision mechanisms. This lubricant is also VOC compliant in all 50 states.
Best Value-Slip EWL Lubricant
According to the manufacturer, this lubricant remains wet 5xs longer than competing products. The lubricant is designed to reduce wear and prevents friction. It also protects a firearm from corrosion, and unlike competing lubricants, it will not attract sand, dirt, or dust. It also works well in a variety of environments. Unlike petroleum products, it will not burn off and it’s safe for use on plastic, wood, and metal weapons.
- Lasts a long time
- Lubricant remains wet 5xs longer than competing oils
- Will not attract sand, dirt, or dust
- Low price
- Poor applicator design
- Nozzle cracks easily
This lubricant is specially formulated for use on machine guns, pistols, and rifles. It contains an exclusive type of metal treatment that’s designed to reduce heat, and control friction, eliminating excessive wear. In fact, it’s able to penetrate the micro-pores in metal surfaces to bond to the metal, which will allow lubrication from inside the metal. Many people will be surprised by just how powerful and effective this lubricant is.
Gun Oil Buyer’s Guide
Aside from a good cleaning, lubrication is the biggest part of good gun maintenance. Finding the best gun oil for your firearm may seem easy, just choose a product with a high rating and hit that buy now button. But the truth is, there is a shocking amount of low-quality products currently on the market. Many of the best gun lubricants that you’ll come across are very heavy. A thicker oil doesn’t make it better. A lubricant that’s relatively thin should still be used sparingly.
In terms of performance, most lubricants will work the same, just some are better than others. When it comes to low quality lubricants, these are the products that often fail in terms of protecting a weapon against corrosion and must be reapplied often.
This buying guide on shopping for the best gun oils will go over how to choose the right oil for your firearm, the different application methods available, and how to find a product that won’t let you down, and one that will keep your firearm working smoothly AND protect it from corrosion.
The Importance of Keeping Firearms Lubricated
As a gun owner, you already know the main reason lubrication is needed is to reduce friction between any moving parts. When you lubricate a weapon using the best gun lubricant, it reduces the friction coefficient between metal on metal components, providing a smoother operation, while helping to minimize wear. A firearm will use one or two types of lube: oil or grease. The type of lubricant you use will depend on the type of firearms you have. Always follow a manufacturer’s recommendations in terms of what type of lube will work the best for a specific firearm.
Types of Gun Oil
Lubricating firearms is one of the most important things you can do for routine gun maintenance. While it’s not exactly difficult to do, it can take a little practice before you learn how to apply the right amount. Keeping a weapon lubricated is so important because it ensures your firearm is able to perform at its highest level, while also protecting a firearm from wear and tear.
To accomplish this, the moving parts in a firearm must not directly rub against one another.
A thin layer of the best gun oils will grease the inner workings of a gun, allowing them to function properly, using minimal friction. This helps to significantly reduce wear and tear. It will also keep your gun working at the optimal level of performance and can extend the gun’s lifespan.
When you’re shopping for gun oils, you’ll come across the term anti-wear/extreme pressure, frequently. A good oil will come with plenty of these additives, which can help keep your gun in top condition. These additives are mixed with straight oil to add additional properties and to thicken the lubricant itself. There is a wide range of different mixtures to choose from, each of which is designed for particular needs. In fact, there are literally hundreds of different compound mixtures that are used to give a lubricant the desired thickness level, in addition to other special properties.
Clean, lube, and protect products, or CLP for short, is considered an all in one product with compounds that work with each other to lubricate and clean a firearm. Some people recommend avoiding them since these products are made with chemicals that have to remain in the same can together for several years at a time. This means that the manufacturer must use a weaker cleaning solvent and a lighter oil. These products also don’t have a reputation for working for a long time like dedicated oils. When it comes to dissolving leading, copper fouling, or powder residue, these CLP products can’t do much. Some people recommend purchasing a dedicated gun cleaning solvent and a dedicated oil for a better performance and longer acting protection. However, other people argue that many of the top CLPs have come a long way and offer protection and cleaning power that’s comparable to a dedicated product. In the end, it can be a matter of personal preference.
Other Important Features
Choosing the right lubricant can be a matter of personal preference, since some lubes can be easier to apply than others. Additionally, you’ll find that some need to be reapplied more often.
Each type of firearm will have its own lubrication needs, depending on their function and design. The best gun oils can be used after a bore cleaning to lubricate every surface and keep your firearm working smoothly and firing efficiently.
Using a type of catch-all lube will not meet a firearm’s operational needs. Because of this, it’s important that you apply the right type of lubricant in the correct areas, as recommended by the manufacturer.
These days, a gun owner can choose from three to four different application methods. Some are easier and less messy to use than others. All types are designed to reach every part of a gun for fast and efficient lubrication.
Some people find that sprays are the easiest application method to use. Sprays are pressurized cans of oil that can give you more control over where the oil goes and how much you want to use. However, spray oil is not recommended if you want to apply oil to the inner parts of a firearm.
If you’re looking for the most precise application method, then make sure you purchase a lubricant with a needle applicator. Oil that comes equipped with a needle applicator is designed for precision application. The long needle-like tool will allow you to apply oil exactly where you want it, and nowhere else.
Wipes are pre-soaked in oil, so all you have to do is take a wipe and run it over the surface of different parts of a gun. This allows for even application of the lubricant, but wipes can be difficult to use in hard to access areas. Wipes can also be one of the best things to bring with you in the field, if you need a fast, efficient way to lubricate your gun.
Some products will not come with any type of applicator, spout, or tool that will aid you in applying in the oil. Most gun enthusiasts will just use a clean cloth and dip it in the oil to apply it. This method may not be the best choice for the beginner, since it can be very easy to overapply a product.
Grease has a higher viscosity than oil. Lower viscosity means that it offers little impedance on moving parts and flows easily. Oil is usually the go-to lubricant for use between components that have a close operational tolerance, such as firing pins, slides, bolt internals, and fine trigger assemblies.
With its higher viscosity, grease can stick to a metal part longer than oil, so it offers a type of self-dispersing lubing function.
The majority of seasoned gun owners will consider an oil’s viscosity when shopping for a good product. A product should have a high viscosity index if you’re looking for an oil to use on a modern firearm. Viscosity refers to how thick a gun oil is. Because of the different types of additives used in gun oil, the oil can be thick like syrup, runny like water, or somewhere in between. The best viscosity is debatable. Most new gun owners believe that a thicker oil is the better choice. However, most parts of a weapon require a product with an oil-like consistency, not a thick grease-like consistency. Most of the parts of a firearm that need oil will benefit more from using a thinner oil.
When you’re shopping online, make sure you pay close attention to a lubricant’s reputation for keeping rust at bay. Rust is one of those things that can be a death sentence for a firearm. Depending on whether you’re oiling your gun before you store it, or you plan on using your firearm often, the type of oil that will work the best can vary. Firearms that are kept in pristine condition, with frequent gun cleaning will fire properly each time they’re used. If you live in a humid environment, rust will be a major concern, so you’ll want to focus on a product that contains additives that are specifically designed for rust prevention.
If the city you live in experiences harsh winters, then you’ll need an oil that’s designed specifically for those conditions.
Using a type of non toxic synthetic oil can result in improved heat dissipation and temperature control. This can include both high and low temperature performance. Most types of synthetic oils feature colder pouring points. Many people claim this results in a faster lubricating process. Additionally, this allows a gun to perform better in colder temperatures. Synthetics have a higher viscosity index that allows for more consistent viscosity. All of this works to make a gun function in extreme conditions.
Some oils are thinner than others. If you live in a colder climate, one that includes freezing temperatures and plenty of snow, make sure you choose an oil that’s thinner, since it tends to flow better in colder conditions.
In a hotter climate, you’ll want to go with an oil that’s thicker, so you don’t have to worry about the oil running and being a magnet for dirt.
Gun Grease or Oil?
The biggest difference between grease and oil is the consistency. The best gun oil is much thinner, while grease is thicker and contains a type of sediment that can help reduce friction. You can find oil available in a variety of consistencies and weights and it’s used for parts that need protection against rust and oxygen.
Oil is used for components that reciprocate and rotate. Grease is meant for parts that slide. For example, the slide rails on a semi-auto pistol should be greased. These parts must slide without binding, with friction kept at a minimum. While grease can protect the surface of a firearm from rust, oil is a much better option. Oil doesn’t hold onto grim and dust and isn’t quite as gooey.
Gun Oils Versus Gun Solvents
People who are new to gun ownership may not know the difference between oil and gun solvents, but they actually have two very different jobs. Gun solvents are designed to clean dirty firearms, and can be used as a bore cleaner to improve a firearm’s shooting accuracy and overall performance. Solvents are something all gun owners should use since it can get rid of fouling, dirt, sand, and grim. Cleaning your firearm with solvents ensures that your guns will fire predictably. Solvents are definitely an essential part of firearm maintenance. People who are shopping for a new lubricant for their firearm should also look for a good gun solvent. The solvent should be used prior to lubrication. After you’ve used a gun solvent, you can apply the lubricant.
Mineral Oil- A Non Toxic Option
This type of non toxic lubricant has been used for generations and it’s something most people will store in their kitchen or garage as a natural lubricant that’s free from that harsh chemical smell.
Non toxic, many people swear by using mineral oil to keep their gun lubricated. Unfortunately, if you use mineral oil for your firearm, you’ll find that you have to reapply it more often, compared to gun oil.
The Great WD40 Debate
WD40 has been the go-to lubricant for many gun enthusiasts over the years. However, as a lube this product is not the right alternative to a dedicated oil, which is petroleum-based. It’s also not a good substitute if the manufacturer recommends using a grease. In terms of protection, WD40 contains a large variety of chemicals that may potentially cause damage to wood and metal finishes, so you should avoid using it for firearm protection.
WD40 does a great job of lifting moisture from certain metals and between tight metal components. If you’ve accidentally dropped your firearm in water or it’s been exposed to rain, then using WD40 is a great way to get all of the moisture out before rust has a chance to take over. However, once this step is done, you’ll need to clean your gun as usual, after which you should apply a coat of oil.
Don’t Buy into the Hype
When you’re shopping for the best gun oil, you’ll come across plenty of products that claim to be this year’s miracle product. Unfortunately, there’s really no miracle gun lubes out there. While today’s oil technology is more advanced than what it was years ago, thanks to new additives, most of these new miracle products are nothing more than a different combination of additives that are only slightly different from what you’ve probably already used. You’ll also find that some are overpriced and total garbage. So, if you happen to stumble across the next big thing in gun oil, if it’s overpriced, keep on looking. You’re sure to find a similar product that works just as well or better, for a price that won’t hit your wallet too hard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use Motor Oil to Clean a Gun?
You can use motor oil, but motor oil will not work to prevent rust, which is one of the biggest reasons why gun owners purchase dedicated gun oil.
What is Special About Gun Oil?
The best gun oils are petroleum based and designed to protect a firearm from wear and tear by reducing friction. It’s also used to prevent rust.
How Often Should You Oil a Gun?
You should lube and clean your firearm after every range session or after firing it. This will keep your firearm in perfect working order.
The best gun oil will protect your firearm, and will ensure your gun fires smoothly each and every time. The best gun oils that made it onto my list each earned top marks for ease of application and overall quality. With this buyer’s guide and my list of products, you should have no trouble finding the right gun lubricant, one that’s perfect for your environment and the firearms in your gun collection.