“Cleanliness is next to godliness,” goeth the 17th-century proverb. Firearms collectors might go by a more secular quote that’s more in line with the actual subject matter of this article: “Because a clean firearm is a more accurate firearm.” Not to mention a more reliable firearm.
Indeed, in light of all the 5 Best Firearms we’ve covered, it’s time to discuss my five favorite gun care products that help ensure the accuracy, reliability, and longevity of your arsenal.
Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner
As my friend “Rodger S.” at Belleville Shooting Range (now known as Metro Shooting Supplies) said to me way back in 2003, “Nothing sells guns faster than the smell of Hoppe’s No. 9 in the air.”
A lot of my shooting buddies share Rodger’s sentiments about the smell of Hoppe’s No. 9. Although being a solvent, you don’t want to purposely snort it, lest you end up like Beavis & Butthead after snorting paint thinner. In any event, as the manufacturer proudly proclaims, “Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner remains the most widely used remover of powder, lead, metal fouling, and rust.” It was indeed the very first gun cleaner I used for my very first firearms purchase, way back in 1991.
As noted by the Product Description on Amazon.com, “When the United States Military issued PD-48, a purchase description of properties for a single, multi-purpose product to maintain their weaponry, it became known as the ‘impossible specification’ because of its severe requirements. The first product to meet the challenge – Break-Free CLP. Break-Free’s flagship product, CLP is a unique formulation of synthetic oils and individual proprietary ingredients which synergize in combination to do three important tasks simultaneously: Effectively Clean, Lubricate and Protect metal. Break-Free CLP is now recognized around the world as the standard by which maximum metal performance and protection is ensured.”
Indeed, it was during my own time in the military that I first used Break-Free CLP, back in 1999 subsequent to my M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol quals. However, I actually first learned about it from Chuck Taylor in his classic book “The Complete Book of Combat Handgunning,” wherein Chuck – a former U.S. Army Special Forces officer in the Vietnam War and winner of multiple firefights – was effusive in his praise for Break-Free as his own personal choice of gun care product, and if you’re familiar with Chuck’s writing style, you know he was the sort of guy who didn’t dole out praise lightly!
Indeed, it was Chuck’s writings along with my experiences with Break-Free in the first two years of my Air Force career that convinced me to make it my own preferred choice for gun maintenance for personally-owned firearms for most of the first decade of the 21st century.
There are some downsides to it, however. You know the label “jack of all trades, master of none?” Well, that descriptor certainly applies to any all-in-one product like CLP. It’s somewhat analogous to using 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, wherein you mix two products that work on opposite principles. More specifically, the viscosity required to perform the lube and preservative functions means that it doesn’t break up gunk as quickly and efficiently as either Hoppe’s or the next product on this list.
You also have to use it sparingly, lest you start attracting sand, dust, and whatnot with it. Indeed, the only jams I ever experienced with my Springfield Mil-Spec M1911 (other than with a batch of really crappy Russian steel-case ammo) were when I way over-gooped the slide rails with CLP.
That said, it’s hard to beat for convenience. And IMHO, it smells even better than Hoppe’s.
So, it was this product that made me switch loyalties away from Break-Free CLP as my primary gun cleaner. For that, I’ve got my friend Nolan Avery – a veteran of both the U.S. Marine Corps and the L.A. Sheriff’s Department – to thank. Nolan turned me onto M-Pro 7 back in 2007 when he was the manager at LAX Firing Range and I was a rookie CBP Officer; when I asked him if his shop had any CLP available, he specifically told me “This is better than CLP. This is the best stuff on the market. Our boys downrange are paying out-of-pocket for it for their deployments!”
So, I took Nolan’s word for it, and I’m glad I did, as I became a true believer; not only does M-Pro 7 clean more efficiently than either Hoppe’s or Break-Free, but it also has the added benefit of being non-toxic … though I still wouldn’t advise snorting or eating it.
Once I started using M-Pro 7 more often in place of CLP for cleaning purposes, that meant it was time to go back to a separate lubricant, and Rem Oil definitely fit the bill, and I’ve stuck with it ever since. Brought to you by the fine folks at Remington, who definitely know what they’re doing.
The first time I saw a BoreSnake product demonstration, it was courtesy of my aforementioned friend “Rodger S,” and my instant thought was “Boy oh boy, why the [bleep] didn’t they invent one of these 20 years earlier?!?!” When used with any of the aforementioned cleaning products, it does in mere seconds what the old-school method of cleaning rod + bore brush + cleaning patches repeated ad nauseam take multiple minutes and much proverbial elbow grease to accomplish. IMHO, BoreSnake is the ultimate embodiment of the proverb “Work smarter, not harder.”
Christian D. Orr is a Senior Defense Editor for 19FortyFive. He has 34 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.
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