Best Gun Cleaning Kits [AR-15, Pistol & Universal]

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A firearm is one of the few products that’s still built to last. A gun bought today can be passed on to your kids and grandkids. Maybe even your great-grandkids will have it in their collection. You can all have the same fun with the same gun… but only when it’s maintained well.

I’d like my guns to survive for a long, long time, and I think most other gun owners feel that way too. It’s the long-held belief where if you take care of them, then they will take care of you. Good thing cleaning kits have got an essential role in this effort. 

Below are the best gun cleaning kits on the market:

Otis Technology AR/MSR (.233/5.56) Cleaning Kit
  • B.O.N.E. tool
  • Mongoose G2 brushes
  • Memory-Flex cables
  • No solid cleaning rod
$50 Shop NowClick to read my review
Best Budget Buy
BooSteady Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit
  • Compact hard case
  • Comes with cleaning cloths
  • Cleans handguns of different calibers
  • No solvent or oil included
$14 Shop NowClick to read my review
Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit
  • Comes with cleaning patches and cloths
  • Includes two empty squeeze bottles
  • Mulitple rods, brushes, jags
  • No oil and cleaning solution
  • Large case
$43 Shop NowClick to read my review
Best Overall Pick
Otis Technology Elite Cleaning Kit
  • Includes lens/optics cleaning materials
  • Has a detachable minikit
  • Each bore brush has tubes
  • Pricey
  • Soft kit bag
$117 Shop NowClick to read my review

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Why Get a Gun Cleaning Kit?

In the short term, a gun that’s too dirty or too dry to function won’t do any good at the range or in a life-or-death situation. You might want to check out the best gun oils and greases for that.

Vietnam War-era soldier with an M16A1 rifle and an AN/PVS-2
A Vietnam War-era soldier with an M16A1 rifle and AN/PVS-2 Starlight scope for night vision.

The M16 was poorly received when it was first introduced. The design wasn’t bad. However, our troops didn’t have the means or instruction on how to maintain them properly.

Cleaning can also start to feel like a chore since the more guns you shoot, the more you have to clean them and the more time-consuming it can become.

That’s where a good cleaning kit comes in. They have all the tools to clean your firearms. When it comes to efficiency, these kits blow the old toothbrush and rag method out of the water.

The 4 Best Gun Cleaning Kits

Some kits are tailored for a specific type of gun, caliber, or model. Others are more universal and are worthwhile if you own many styles of guns.

To cover the full gamut, we put several gun cleaning kits to the test. We found the best AR-15 kit, the best pistol-specific kit, and the best universal cleaning kits. As serious gunners as we are, we want nothing but the best for firearms, so let’s get to it.

Otis Technology AR/MSR (.233/5.56) Cleaning Kit

AR-15s are designed to function with a fair amount of crud in them, but that doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way. The Otis original 5.56 cleaning kit was made with the harsh conditions of combat in mind. It contained a full set of M16/M4 cleaning tools. The United States military issued it following 9/11. Many government agencies and law enforcement offices have also adopted it.

Otis Technology AR/MSR (.233/5.56) Cleaning Kit

Otis AR/MSR kit is the civilian version that expands on that original kit. It incorporates the same tools, plus a few extras. It’s also cheaper, which is a big plus in my book. Beyond that, it has some unique tools that set it apart from other AR-15 cleaning kits like the B.O.N.E. tool.

It has several different kinds of scrapers, picks, and brushes. A chamber flag, cotton patches, and cleaning cloth are also included. A small bottle of its Bio CLP comes with it, and I’ve found it to work quite well. It has the best mix of cleaning, lubricating, and protecting among all the CLPs I’ve used.

Using It

The kit uses a unique flexible cable that acts like a cross between a bore rod and a bore snake. I find it preferable as bore snakes need frequent washing. Plus, they usually don’t provide as thorough a cleaning anyway.

Normal bore rods long enough for a rifle take up more room, even when segmented. What I like is that this kit is more compact. Still, if something serious is stuck in the barrel, it will be hard without a more solid rod.

B.O.N.E. tool - AR/MSR (.233/5.56)

The kit includes an 8-inch and 30-inch cable, so even extra-long barrels will be cleanable. You will find a T-handle by lifting the bottom tray, which can assist in pulling the cable through. I only found it necessary if I left the cotton patch folded a little too thick. In some cases, if my gloves were too slippery from the CLP. The kit does include two combo brass brushes and swabs if you prefer a bore snake-type cleaning. The company calls it Mongoose G2 brushes.

The gray metal tool with the knurled end is the B.O.N.E. tool. It is a quick and easy way to clean multiple parts of the gun. Also, it plays a big part in what sets this apart from other AR-15 cleaning kits. You can use it to clean the bolt, bolt carrier, and firing pin. 

The B.O.N.E. tool has internal and external grooves that break up carbon deposits. It saves some time and effort as a gentle twist is enough for it to work. I haven’t noticed any scratches from using it, but it is metal, so applying a ton of force probably isn’t advisable.

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The included brush head attachment is the right size. It has the right stiffness to clean harder-to-reach places. I put a drop of its Bio-CLP on the bristles before using it and found that to be effective. Since it’s just the brush head and not the entire brush, you can vary the length as needed.

Verdict

Overall, the Otis Technology .233/5.56 cleaning kit is a great tool for new AR-15 owners. It has enough tools to be a good supplement to any other cleaning kit you may already have. It all comes in a convenient travel-sized pack too, which is great for tossing it in your range bag.

Pros
  • Easy to carry compact kit
  • B.O.N.E. tool
  • Many inclusions
  • Memory-Flex cables
  • Mongoose G2 brushes
Cons
  • No solid cleaning rod

BooSteady Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit

The BooSteady Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit is your go-to handgun cleaning kit. What I like is that it’s compact yet inexpensive. It comes in a small but sturdy zippered hard case for easy transportation or storage.

The kit contains all the essentials: bore brushes (ranging from .22 to .45), spear-pointed jags, and cloth loops. There is also a rotating T-handle, which has two extra sections to extend its length if needed. They should be more than enough for any pistol you own.

The brush head screws into the brass rod too and is thin enough to fit into most spots. The bristles are stiff enough to get the job done. Although, not so stiff that they launch mini droplets of solvent into the air while brushing. Two large packs of cleaning cloths and a metal pick are also included.

Using It

The spear-pointed jags ensure that the cloth stays in full contact with the barrel. It’s just the right size that it didn’t feel like scraping against the sides of the barrel. The tip is also long enough for the cloth to be folded over and used again.

best gun cleaning kit

The jags also help prevent the rod itself from contacting the sides of the barrel. This is a good thing since it has the potential to cause some wear if done repeatedly over time.

Post barrel brush carbon removal

If you don’t like using jags, there’s also a loop included in the kit. As for me, I like to use the loops for the initial solvent application. After that, I use the jags for the post barrel brush carbon removal.

gun cleaning

Since the handle allows it to rotate, you’ll need to hold the rod itself when using the brush attachment. The brush does a good job of removing stubborn or hard-to-reach carbon deposits. A little solvent or CLP can be applied if need be.

Verdict

The BooSteady cleaning kit is ideal for those who own multiple handguns. The case has enough room for you to keep a small bottle of CLP in there too, so you can have everything you need in one place. Plus, you get all that for only $14.

Pros
  • Compact hard case
  • Comes with cleaning cloths
  • Cleans handguns of different calibers
  • Very affordable
Cons
  • No solvent or oil included

Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

For gun owners with several different types of guns, one all-inclusive kit is a good way to go.

GloryFire Closed Kit with Acc.

Gloryfire’s Universal gun cleaning kit is a great budget-friendly multi-gun choice. It’s a bit bare-bones when compared to the Otis universal kit. However, for the price, it fits squarely in the bang for your buck category.

The kit is made in the United States, so the tools are of higher quality than the price may suggest. It comes in a thin hard plastic case that should do a good job of protecting its contents. Since it has more content, this case is considerably larger than other kits, so it’s not as easy to bring anywhere. 

The bore brushes cover the full range of pistol, rifle, and shotgun calibers. There’s a mop set too. I noticed some complaints about the tools not having any labels on them, but the company must’ve fixed that. Mine has caliber labels on the kit below the tool, and on the brushes themselves.

Using It

The included picks have enough variety to be a good toolset, and the cotton tip applicators are a nice touch. They don’t fit in the case, however, so you need to keep them in a separate place.

This kit uses solid rods instead of flexible cables. There are two sizes for the different thread diameters of the brass brushes. So, there should be enough extensions to fit any barrel length. 

The kit includes two needle tip squeeze bottles. You can fill them up with your lubricant and solvent of choice. These bottles are stored sideways in the case, but that shouldn’t be a problem if the cap is on snuggly.

The jags and eyes are plastic, which normally is a concern for me, but not for this kit. I’ve used plastic tools from other kits in the past that have broken, but these have proven to be durable. The spear tips on the smaller jags are tougher than they look. Also, the eyelets are flexible and bend well before cracking. Trust me, I sacrificed one to test them.

Over time, enough flexing can cause anything to break. It would still be best to try and match up the eyelets as close to the barrel diameter as possible.

Gloryfire Gun Cleaning Kit

The cotton mops match each barrel size, which you can use to swab or coat the barrel with oil. I prefer to send one through with a light oil coating if it’s a gun I don’t shoot very often.

The included brushes are nylon, brass, and steel which will cover any spot in need of scrubbing. The steel brush may be too hard for some surfaces, so it’s probably a good idea to check before you go to town with it. They’re big enough for you to get a firm grasp on it but still thin enough to fit in most spots.

Verdict

Gloryfire’s universal cleaning kit is the best budget universal cleaning kit available. It stands by its name as it does the job of cleaning shotguns, rifles, and pistol cleaning. This kit is also great for replenishing an existing toolset. You get several bore brushes and jags for a lower price than buying them individually.

Pros
  • Cleans pistols, rifles, and shotguns
  • Comes with cleaning patches and cloths
  • Includes nine mops
  • Mulitple rods, brushes, jags
  • Includes two empty squeeze bottles
  • Made in the U.S.
Cons
  • No oil and cleaning solution
  • Large case

Otis Technology Elite Cleaning Kit

The Otis Technology Elite Cleaning Kit is the best choice for every 3-gunner. It has everything you need to clean pistols, rifles, and shotguns of any caliber. 

This is a very well-thought-out kit. It packs an assortment of brushes, patches, and an expansive toolset. I would consider it as being a larger version of its gun-specific cleaning kits, with a few extras. I would have liked the kit to be a hard case rather than a soft kit bag.

Cleaning Kit

Compared to other universal cleaning kits, it includes a few items that help it stand out above the rest. It includes lens cleaning supplies, chamber brushes, and a detachable minikit. I also like that it comes with multiple CLP bottles, so it does have everything you need.

The kit included signatures from the staff, which was a nice, unexpected touch. It has several pockets that are stuffed to the brim with more supplies.

bore brush comes with tube

Each bore brush comes in its own separate tube. It keeps the kit clean and allows the brush to dry properly after use. There are labels on the tube and brush itself for the caliber it’s used for. The brush fits snuggly in the rubber grommet, so you can stand the brush up on the table.

Using It

Like the MSR/AR kit, the Elite kit also uses a flexible cable design. It’s ideal for guns that normally require using a bore snake, like my CZ Scorpion.

It comes with many eyelet sizes and an assortment of different cleaning patches. The patches have directions on how to attach them to the eyelet, and how big to fold them. Varying the size lets you choose how snug you want the cloth to fit.

You can feed the cable through the upper receiver or ejection port, and into the barrel. Since there’s no room for a solid rod on the Scorpion, it’s a terrific solution. Then, you just pull on the cable to pull it through the barrel.

Gloryfire Gun Cleaning Kit

It does take a little bit of force like a regular rod or bore snake. Still, you can just adjust by reducing the size of the patch. Since it’s folded, you can flip it over and reuse it. 

Everyone has their own preferred method, but I usually run one patch through dry and then one with solvent on it. I let it sit for a few minutes and then pulled a brass brush through a few times to remove the more stubborn buildup. After that, I run dry patches through until it’s clean and dry. The optic lens cleaning brush, solution, cloth, and tissues are a nice addition to the kit.

lens brush and gun cleaning spay

The lens brush is great for removing any dust that may have gotten on the lens. On top of that, the cleaning spray is safe on all lens coatings. If you don’t have time to spray and wipe it, the included lens cleaning cloth works well too.

Verdict

The Otis Technology Elite Cleaning Kit is like a one-stop-shop for gun cleaning. It has a lot to offer, which also reflects on the price.

This is ideal for gun owners with a large collection or those that eventually plan to have one. Whichever you are, this is a great kit that should last you a very long time.

Pros
  • A complete kit
  • Cleans all gun types
  • Includes lens/optics cleaning materials
  • Has a detachable minikit
  • Each bore brush has tubes
  • American-made
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Soft kit bag

Runner-ups

Aside from the four best gun cleaning kits mentioned above, it’s also good to look at other good options we have on the market.

One of which is Hoppe’s No. 9 Deluxe Gun Cleaning Kit. It comes with Hoppe’s No. 9 bore cleaner and lubricating oil, plus some rods, slotted ends, and brushes. All of which are enclosed in a classic wooden box.

If you’re looking for a handy kit for your handguns, then you can never go wrong with the Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit. This is a multicaliber kit that you can bring with you on the go easily.

When talking about big guns, the Allen Company Universal Gun Cleaning Kit has what you need. It brings the “universal” cleaning kit category to the next level with the 65 tools and supplies it has. This tool-box style kit has all things gun-cleaning related.

If the toolbox kit is too much for you, then check out the iunio Universal Gun Cleaning Kit. This is a mid-level kit that provides the type of cleaning you’re seeking. It comes with a cleaning mat, rods, brush, mops, and everything you need for all gun types.

Conclusion

A clean gun is a happy gun. Whether you clean your gun after every range trip, or only when you notice a decrease in performance, a good cleaning kit will make a big difference. We like the Otis Elite Cleaning Kit because it cleans just about everything. If you’re after a more affordable option, then go for the BooSteady Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit.

What cleaning kit do you like to use? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. Good coverage on Gun Cleaning Kits Ken. There has been a newer Kit released by Gloryfire which is the Gloryfire Elite and it rivals the Otis Elite with the addition of brass jags, mops for all calibers and flex cables that are coated for protection of your barrels. It does not have cleaning solvents or lube and it does not have Q-Tips – so those will need to be added to your kit. A Chamber Flag has been added and lens cleaning provisions. It has retained the Cleaning Rod approach should you prefer using that method for your bores, but like I said, the Flex Cables are a very cool addition and makes this Kit very competitive with the Otis Elite System. The Otis Elite does not have Mops for each caliber but it does have the Tactical Kit included which is very nice for quick portability runs to the Range. Considering the price is about $30 cheaper for the Gloryfire Elite, this may be the better option as of this writing. You might want to check it out and give us a review. Thanks for your time.

    Stan

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