There are so many different cleaning kits available from all sorts of manufacturers. How do you choose the one right for you with everything you need for your firearms and still stay within the budget? I don’t know how many cleaning kits you personally have looked at, but after years of checking cleaning kits and maintaining my firearms I have found one major thing in common: most of the kits have the same exact basic features but contain a different amount of parts and container. This is slightly disappointing as I have always been on the look out for anything new that could make cleaning more efficient and keep my investments functioning properly and protected while stored.
When cleaning anything from a MK 19 to a Chipmunk 22LR for the kids I have found some essential tools for the task. When I list some of these items you may think to yourself “this guy is nuts” or conversely you may have seen these items in a kit. In either circumstance they are very cost efficient and all you need is preferably a plastic container to keep them in. You will have a basic cleaning kit completed and ready for almost any gun with the shirt still on your back.
- Barber brush: Excellent for applying cleaner everywhere quickly to allow time to break down carbons or for applying a light coat when completely cleaned for storing with just a gentle wipe-down after insuring no excessive oils are left behind (Wal-mart, Target)
- Q-tips: Probably the most important tool. You can use these to get into the small areas and pretty much every square inch of your gun (Wal-mart, Target)
- Socks and t-shirts: Putting a sock over you hand and using it to wipe down gun parts that have been disassembled is a very easy way to make sure you are cleaning everything. A t-shirt can make a good gun mat that’s soft and parts can easily be seen on it with the right color shirt. Putting a garbage bag under the shirt on your table will help keep your table nice after you clean your guns.
- Specific tools: Compact set of screwdrivers (smaller tip sizes), allen wrenches (all sizes), dental picks, small hammer and maybe a Gerber. These will help you treat your firearms with care but do all sorts of tasks like clean hard-to-reach places, tap pins out and move levers around. These will not cost you much if you have a local Harbor Freight which will have all these tools and more.
- Bore snake: This will be the most expensive item in your kit, costing from $10 to $25 per piece. You will want one specific for the caliber you are cleaning. Applying a little oil to the end of these will help you keep your barrel clean and protected. (Bass Pro Shop, other online stores)
- CLP (cleaner lubricant protectant) oil: You can pick up a cheap CLP at almost any major store. You do not have to search hard for CLPs. There are plenty of great products out there in a wide variety of prices. I have found the products by M-Pro 7 meet my personal standards and fit my budget. There are CLPs from a more liquid base to a thicker base, and there is also a spray form option.
- Create your own kit based on what is easy, safe and maintains your firearm functions and can be stored without damaging your weapon. Keep in mind that you do not have to buy the latest and greatest products. You just need to find what works best for you.
Thank you for taking the time to check my suggestions for a basic cleaning kit. I hope these tips are helpful to you or someone you know. If you have a suggestion or would like to add anything just drop me a note here, and I will be glad to look into it for you.