July 13, 2022
Yes, one can always buy individual gun cleaning tools and equipment piece by piece, but there is something to be said for having everything you need in one place and ready to go. Pistol cleaning kits come in many different forms. Some are simpler and are optimized for fitting in a range bag, and they’re ideal for specific cleaning to prevents malfunctions on the range. Others are more elaborate and are designed to have everything you need for maintenance, preservation and even long-term storage. We’ve assembled five of our favorite kits with great track records of keeping your gun in its best shape and running smoothly.
Many don’t think of gun tool companies exploding onto a market the way a new firearm might, but Real Avid has done just that. In just a few short years, they’ve become one of the premier firearms tool companies with extensive product lines to fit any need. The Gun Boss line is huge, and it is composed of cleaning tools clearly designed by firearms owners. Here is the Pro Handgun Cleaning Kit, an excellent example of a well-thought-out pistol cleaning set.
The first thing to notice is the case that folds into a kickstand, which is a design that one will see across several Real Avid product lines. The Pro Handgun Cleaning Kit covers the primary pistol calibers (.22LR, 9mm, .38/.357, .40 S&W, .45 ACP), and it includes 13 pieces that lock into place inside the carry case. The handle features a tap hammer on the side for stubborn pins, and it has both fixed and rotating threaded brass receiver. The rotating receiver prevents the two brass cleaning rods from unscrewing inside the barrel while cleaning. The high-quality, brass brush and jag will last for years, and the nylon slotted tips are superior to a basic polymer.
The only negative is that this kit does not include any cleaning chemicals or lubricants. Real Avid only recently launched their chemical line, but they do offer several options to complete your kit.
The Otis Professional Pistol Cleaning Kit is especially well-suited for a range bag. The cleaning equipment fits into a small 4-inch by 4-inch, soft case, but it still packs in everything you need at the range. This kit uses cables instead of rods to pull the brass cleaning brushes through a barrel, but it does include one small brass rod to attach a brush, scraper, pin punch and a pick to go after the finer details.
The brass brushes and other tools fit into a hinged rubber insert, and there are straps on the upper and lower portion of the case to keep each piece. This kit does include a cleaning lubricant, which serves a dual purpose of cleaning carbon and lubricating a pistol for operation. There are 2-inch and 3-inch cleaning patches, and it also includes a chamber flag, which is always a good thing to have handy at public ranges. Considering the small size of the soft case, it's impressive how many tools Otis fits into it, and it’s one of the best options when saving space is important.
Winchester is, of course, one of the premier firearms and ammunition manufacturers in the country, but they also offer an extensive cleaning line. Here we have the 22 Piece Pistol Cleaning Kit. Everything fits into the custom-fitted, Winchester-branded soft case. The kit includes three brass rods, five bronze brushes, two breech brushes, a double-ended pick and two sets of 50 patches, among other cleaning tools. This kit is very simple, but it does have all the tools necessary to maintain a pistol. However, this kit does not include any cleaning solvents or chemicals, so don’t forget to grab some lubricant, too.
The Hoppe’s brand is arguably the most well-known cleaning brand, and it’s with good reason. They truly have everything one needs when it comes to cleaning guns, and the Hoppe’s Pistol Cleaning Kit with Storage Box is one of the most affordable options you’ll find.
This kit includes Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Cleaner and Hoppe’s Lubricating Oil, which are excellent additions to any pistol cleaning kit. The one-piece cleaning rod fits into a rotating handle, but the universal kit does not include brass cleaning brushes. Hoppe’s does offer them in caliber-specific kits or individually. There are plenty of patches, and everything fits into specific slots inside the hard case, making this kit ideal for a permanent spot on the workbench.
If you ever walk into a gun store, chances are you’ll see a Tipton gun vise somewhere, and there is a decent chance one can be found on your workbench, too. They're well-known for many different cleaning tools and accessories, too, and the Tipton Compact Pistol Cleaning Kit here is a great option for the range.
Everything fits into a semi-rigid soft case, which has enough give to sit compactly inside a range bag without getting completely crushed. Even though it’s a soft case, it uses a stainless-steel cleaning rod instead of a cable to run the bronze brushes through the barrel. Many kits combine the jag with a bronze brush, but Tipton uses dedicated nylon jags to run cleaning patches through barrels. The kit also includes a cleaning pick and brush, and each tool sits inside a plastic insert to keep the tools from spilling out.