You’ve seen the t-shirts – “Guns only have two enemies – politicians and rust.”
Protecting your firearms against corrosion, dust, and moisture is much easier now with the newest fancy CLP formulas (Clean, Lube, and Protect) and gun lubrication technologies. Proper gun care, lubrication, and a good cleaning kit will ensure that your firearms will serve you for a long time.
If you have trouble finding the right gun oil or solvent to clean, lube, and protect your guns without having to worry about price and quality, this guide is here to help.
I scoured the web, read all the praises and complaints about gun oils and lubrication products, and compiled this list of the most versatile and effective gun oils and cleaning solvents for you.
We’ll also go in-depth with their characteristics and qualities, types of gun oils and CLPs, chemicals, what to look for in gun oils, and hopefully, this will narrow down your choices when purchasing a suitable gun oil for your firearms.
The Importance of Gun Oils and Proper Lubrication
Gun oils and lubricants act as a smooth barrier and protect against rust, dust, grime, and debris. They work to decrease mechanical friction and they increase the longevity of your firearms. Oil does not mix with water, so it also protects against humidity.
Depending on the viscosity (we’ll talk about gun grease below), gun oil can go deeper into every nook and cranny and cover the hard-to-reach surfaces of the gun.
This is called “hydrodynamic lubrication” and it ensures that there’s no friction between the moving parts that might deteriorate the quality of the gun.
Know Your Gun Lubricant Ingredients (Chemicals and Additives)
When talking about gun care and maintenance, there’s nothing as perplexing as gun oil and lubricant recommendations. Every product just seems like a good idea.
You’ll come across all kinds of conflicting advice, and that may give you the impression that this is more complex than it actually is. Some gun enthusiasts swear by only using synthetic motor oil (do NOT do this), while others dismiss the CLP solvents.
The fact of the matter is that most of the popular gun oil and lubricant brands do their job, although some more than others.
However, the reason why gun enthusiasts are picky about lubricants is that some brand products tend to have various issues. They are either too smelly, too expensive, too gummy, or just cause more problems than they offer solutions.
There are some quality lubricants and solvents you can find on the internet that work like a charm, but you also run the risk of running into snake oil and blatant rip-off gun oil variants that do little to clean, lubricate, or protect your gun.
That’s why I highly recommend steering clear of ‘miracle solutions’ you may find on the web.
In rare cases, some can irreversibly damage the firearms because the gun owner didn’t exactly know about the chemicals and additives in them.
For example, you might have a Taurus G2C, which consists of polymer and plastic, and using an old solvent with an aggressive formula can easily eat away at the surface. That’s why going for a gun oil with a triple-checked formula and knowing the additives is very important.
You can also go for an eco-friendly version or an odorless type that doesn’t stink up the whole house. We’ll discuss more additives and chemicals below.
For now, let’s take a look at our top pick for gun oils that any responsible gun owner should have.
Best CLP, Gun Oils, And Solvents
Our Top Pick – Hoppe’s #9 Lubricating Oil
- Best value
- Can clean fishing rods and reels
- Odor might be unpleasant for some
You’ve definitely come across this one. Hoppe’s No. 9 Lubricating Oil Good (pronounced ‘hopp-ee’s’) has been a staple of gun cleaning lubricants since 1903 and it’s cemented its unwavering reputation in the gun world.
Used by both professionals and casual shooters, this high-viscosity lubricant has proven its worth time and time again. A seasoned veteran can tell its distinct smell anywhere.
Hoppe’s No. 9 comes in a 4 oz. bottle with a child-proof lid. It comes in a precision applicator that covers hard-to-reach places.
It doesn’t dry up easily, works in any environmental condition, covers every nook and cranny of your firearms, and coats and protects the gun surfaces for a very long time.
Not everyone knows this, but it works perfectly as a fishing reel lubricant as well.
It can lubricate and protect any type of firearms without hardening or getting gummy, be it handguns, shotguns, or rifles. Here’s a guide on how to lube and clean a Remington 870 using Hoppe’s No. 9.
You can also check out Hoppe’s Synthetic Blend Lubricating Oil with an enhanced formula and synthetic compound as an odorless 2.25 oz. alternative that’s just as effective against corrosion and moisture and has an affordable price tag.
However, its downside is that it’s not a non-toxic gun oil and it can easily get gummy against too much buildup and gunk.
The chemistry behind Hoppe’s No. 9 Lubricating Oil is very straightforward. It’s mostly mineral oil with some of Hoppe’s top-secret blend formula additives, but it makes for the most flexible gun care product that money can buy.
Best Gun Cleaning Solvent – Hoppes No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner
- Perfect for most firearms
- Great value
- Childproof lid
- Brass and aluminum friendly
- Unpleasant smell
- Slightly runny
Here’s the same-name brand solvent that works well with Hoppe’s Gun Oil.
It’s universally hailed as one of the most popular rifle and shotgun cleaners. With over 100 years of experience in perfecting formulas and compounds, they know their stuff all too well – they’ve been in the gun cleaning business for quite a while.
If you own a Mossberg, check out this gun cleaning guide.
Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner removes carbon buildup and rust and deals with metal fouling without doing damage to the brass or aluminum surfaces of your firearm. It’s safe to clean rifles, pistols, and shotguns with this one.
It’s highly effective and effortlessly dissolves buildup and powder, so it won’t waste your cotton patches, swabs, and cleaning cloths. The special formula spreads fast and penetrates and covers every surface.
Most customers choose this solvent over the all-in-one CLPs when doing a monthly cleaning routine. A bore snake works perfectly with this one, and much like its oily counterpart, it can clean fishing rods and reels too. It comes with various bottle sizes, like 5 oz., 16 oz., and a jumbo-sized 32 oz. bottle.
It’s slightly runny, but this is not a problem with its precision applicator. However, the issue with this solvent is that some may find it foul-smelling. I personally have no problem with the smell, but there have been complaints that it’s too harsh on the nose, so it’s really up to you to give it a go.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one gun cleaning liquid kit, you can check out Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Elite Gun Cleaning Kit if you believe Hoppe’s No. 9 is a suitable brand for you.
I also highly recommend Hoppe’s Elite Cleaner Spray as a 4 oz., non-toxic, non-flammable, eco-friendly, and odorless alternative for your gun cleaning needs.
Best CLP – Break-Free CLP-4 Gun Cleaner Lubricant
- Works well in extreme weather condition
- Eco-friendly and biodegradable
The US military uses this all-in-one CLP for their guns, so why shouldn’t you? If you happen to own a tank, you can clean, lube, and protect your tank, too.
This is one of the most popular aerosol gun cleaning sprays on Amazon. Hoppe’s No. 9 may be the champion of gun lubes, but the Break-Free CLP-4 is the standard for all-in-ones.
It cleans, lubricates, and protects, and the medium viscosity makes things easier when you’re cleaning and lubing up your firearms. You can do everything with this one – clean and remove rust, carbon powder, and gunk, protect your gun surfaces, and lubricate the internal mechanisms and other crevices.
Field-tested in harsh military conditions, the Break-Free CLP-4 works in extreme temperatures without hardening and getting gummy with gunk and debris, even when the firearm’s barrel gets hot. It’s truly a versatile CLP formula and I’m pretty sure competitors want to get their hands on it.
The formula consists of corrosion inhibitors and film surfacing when dried up, which greatly increases gun longevity and protects from moisture. It’s gentle with polymers and plastics, blue steel, and other composite metal guns.
The downsides are that, while it’s a great cleaner, it makes for an okay lubricant and protector. The oil is thin enough to cover most surfaces and just viscous enough not to get all runny. However, the spray bottle could have done better if it had a smaller aerosol spray straw to cover those hard-to-reach places, for example, on muzzle brakes or rifle receivers.
Overall, it’s a great and flexible three-in-one CLP that most gun owners can use with satisfaction.
The Thinnest Gun Oil – Slip 2000 EWL
- Long-term storage
- Protects against erosion
- Withstands extreme weather
- Plastic and wood friendly
- Slightly difficult to apply
- Messy and runny
It’s a common misconception to think that the Slip 2000 EWL is grease. It’s a non-petroleum gun oil, and a good one.
It’s regarded as one of the thinnest gun oils out there, carefully crafted to protect from corrosion and carbon buildup, and is able to stay wet for a long period. This means that it can shield the gun from any dust or sand, and it’s perfect for gunners who live in hot, humid, and dusty areas in the US.
What I like most about this gun oil is how light it is on wood, plastic, polymers, and some metal components, and can withstand heavy weather conditions, whether it’s hot or cold. The Slip 2000 EWL is also non-toxic and perfectly safe to use in your garage.
You can simply apply the grease to your gun after every shooting range visit, and you won’t have to worry about any friction, copper, lead, or dust buildup.
The Slip EWL (Extreme Weapons Lubricant) may be one of the best gun oils there are, and you should definitely try it out as a budget-friendly alternative. The above reasons are why you see so many youtubers making videos about it.
If it wasn’t so runny, it could have skyrocketed to the first place of this list. But, I would greatly recommend it to any gun owner for its other superb characteristics and great price.
- Excellent rust, gunk, and buildup prevention
- Cooling properties
- Easy application and near-perfect viscosity
- Strong odor
- Not very cost-effective
Here’s an expensive 4 oz. CLP, but it justifies the price with its quality anti-static, biodegradable, non-toxic formula which equally cleans, lubricates, and protects.
It comes in a very handy spray bottle. It protects from corrosion, prevents dust and gunk accumulation, and provides one of the best carbon buildup prevention all thanks to its anti-static properties. It also works great with bore snakes and bronze brushes.
The Sage & Braker CLP doesn’t have any toxic chemicals and it doesn’t leave an oily residue, unlike most CLPs. It cleans, lubricates, and protects against corrosion and dust with equal strength and won’t harm the environment or strip off your gun’s bluing.
It easily wipes and cleans those hard-to-reach parts, lubricates the moving parts, and leaves a coating with heat dissipation properties that cool the gun down. Some customers report better operation and accuracy after use.
The Sage & Braker CLP is expensive. It’s the Chanel No. 5 of gun oils, only it smells terrible. That being said, I personally think it’s worth all its special non-toxic, biodegradable, anti-static, and cooling characteristics, but the smell and the price land it lower on our list.
- Biodegradable and safe to use
- Can be used for multiple purposes
- Lubricates and protects
- Doesn’t contain carcinogens
- Harsh odor
The Ballistol Multi-Purpose Gun Oil Aerosol Spray shares similar qualities to the Break-Free CLP-4.
The German formula is more than 100 years old. It’s reliable, flexible, and regarded as a traditional gun oil that has served for generations.
What’s great about this option is that not only does it lubricate and protect firearms, but you can also use it to lubricate any other mechanical tools and equipment in your garage, from leather to wood, locks, fishing reels, wheels, knives, etc.
Here’s how to maintain and lubricate a handgun with the Ballistol aerosol can.
Ballistol’s formula has since been upgraded, but the core compound is still there. It’s eco-friendly, biodegradable, carcinogen-free, and easy on the eyes and skin.
It comes in a 6-ounce spray bottle – one of the biggest ones on this list, for a great price to boot. It lubricates, protects, and can prevent wear and tear.
It doesn’t clean as well as the Break-Free, but its Liquid molybdenum additive and PTFE prevent buildup and rust, and prolonged soaking makes cleaning easier. You just need to scrub a little bit more.
What I like most about this gun oil spray are its carcinogen-free properties and its longevity in protection. You can leave the oil on your gun for a week and the oil evaporates, leaving a protective residue.
The only bad thing about this multi-purpose gun lubricant is that it’s smelly. But, I believe you’ll get used to the odor. After all, it’s not detrimental to your health.
- Practical needle oiler
- Withstands extreme weather conditions and temperatures
- Environmentally friendly and biodegradable
- Expensive for its size
This medium viscosity gun oil is great if you’re looking at harsh weather conditions and can easily penetrate through the gun’s crevices, remaining wet and applying a long-lasting coating.
It offers great moisture and rust prevention, as well as solid burn-off resistance, so you won’t have to worry about any fuming at the firing range.
Lucas Oil’s formula is great for easily-heatable guns and is flexible for easy application, as well as lubrication for other household items like fishing rods. It’s odorless, eco-friendly, biodegradable, and withstands extreme climate and weather conditions.
You can also go for a more extreme approach with the Lucas Oil Set, which has the Lucas Extreme Duty version that specializes in heat-resistance polymeric lubrication and heavy-duty friction firearms like AK-47 or other assault rifles.
The needle oiler bottle that comes with the purchase is underrated and very practical for lubing those hard-to-reach metal surfaces.
The downside is that although you only need a few drops of this special formula at a time, it’s still not enough to cover its high price.
It’s still a great overall option that offers odorless lubrication and protection and is perfect if you worry about overheating your guns.
- Great long-term storage
- Can be regarded as a CLP
- Long-lasting and doesn’t evaporate
- Withstands extreme weather
- Can cause a reaction with other solvents
- Leaking issues during shipping
Here’s the M-Pro 7 LPX Gun Oil for those of you who are looking for a multi-purpose CLP. It’s not exactly a CLP as a general definition, but it really feels that way.
The M-Pro 7 LPX comes in a 4 oz. bottle and is able to clean and maintain multiple gun types with various heat characteristics and calibers.
It serves as a protectant, lubricant, and cleaner, but its most-praised characteristic is the long-lasting glossy film finish.
The M-Pro 7 LPX prevents rust and corrosion and doesn’t evaporate easily while under extreme heat conditions. I would highly recommend this to those of you who like to keep their lubricated handguns in gun safes.
As a great all-around formula, it effortlessly protects, cleans, and lubricates, and is specialized for military use. That’s why it’s designed for long-term use and extreme weather conditions.
I’ve seen multiple complaints about damaged bottles and incomplete shipping. This can really tarnish a manufacturer’s reputation. There have also been some complaints about the flimsy bottles that may leak before they even reach the customer’s doorstep.
Other than that, it’s still a solid option if you’re looking for a gun oil manufacturer that values longevity.
- Rubber, plastic, metal, and polymer-friendly
- Durable in freezing temperatures
- Wide temperature range
- Thick and viscous
- Really strong odor
Here’s a gun grease for a change.
The Tetra Gun Grease is great if you’re looking for a gun grease that can withstand freezing temperatures. It’s designed to be applied to firearms that you’re planning to store in a gun safe for a long time.
The Tetra Gun boasts a nice little formula with a Teflon base that doesn’t eat away at rubber or plastics like polymer grips. It’s one of the thickest, slickest, and most viscous gun greases, but you don’t have to worry about spilling or pooling, for that matter.
Just follow the specific instructions on how to use it, and you’ll be fine.
It gives your firearms a glossy and tacky finish, but it may be thick for some gun owners. It works all right with assault rifles like the AR-15 and protects against dust and carbon buildup with ease.
Gun oils have a problem with temperature and evaporation. Since the Tetra is grease, it won’t evaporate as easily. It’s not a cleaner, but you can still wipe it down and use a CLP afterwards. It doesn’t react at all with other solvents.
The problem is that the odor is too strong and it’ll take a lot of time to get used to it. But, if you’re looking for a nice, thick grease that isn’t runny and doesn’t gum up easily, check out the Tetra Gun Grease.
- Stays on for a long time
- Easy to clean
- Great protection
- Really expensive
The Mil-Comm TW25B is another gun grease with a practical tip for easy application on the narrow areas of any firearm.
Its formula offers great protection, works well with extreme firearm temperatures, and has no problem dealing with dusty weather and harsh climate. It’s famous for being used by the Navy and US/NATO forces, as it protects your gun from moisture and corrosion resulting from salty air.
Its thickness and consistency may remind you of applying sunscreen. It doesn’t run and won’t cause any health detriments.
The Mil-Comm TW25B grease can only lube and protect; it can’t be used as a cleaning solvent, so it’s not exactly a CLP. It’s a nice protector against carbon buildup and rust.
It also costs about $20 an ounce, and that’s why I placed it on the bottom of the list. What’s more, it can’t clean your gun, as it just acts as a lubricant and protects against rust and corrosion.
It’s still a great lubricating tool, but it’s not exactly targeted at everyday folk.
Buyer’s Guide (What to Look for When Buying Gun Oil)
In order to be of one mind when looking for a suitable gun oil and solvent, you need to consider several important issues, characteristics, and situations.
There are too many categories and options, but once you see the main characteristics and compare them with what you need, it’s so much easier to choose.
Here’s a brief buyer’s guide for gun cleaning solvents and oils, as well as some stuff to look out for.
Some gun oils and solvents have chemicals that can easily eat away at plastics and polymers, and some may even damage the metal compounds!
You should always read the instructions of both the gun oils and solvents and the construction of your firearms.
Being absolutely sure about the health recommendations of a gun oil manufacturer, as well as choosing environmentally friendly options is a very important factor when choosing a gun oil.
It’s advised you use non-toxic gun oil products to protect yourself and your family.
The odor and fumes are another thing. You should always clean your guns in ventilated areas.
Temperature Resistance and Humidity
Southerners, depending on the specific region, really have a hard time with those dusty and humid climates. Weather conditions like this absolutely invite rust to eat away at their guns.
Having proper gun oil with a wide temperature range and oxidation prevention is very important.
Take a good look at the additives and characteristics of the gun oil of your choosing.
The same goes for cold climates where the gun oil can easily pick up gunk and get gummed up in the cold weather.
Thickness and Viscosity
You don’t want thin oils to run down your firearms and pool on your floor. Thicker oils can stick easily and won’t evaporate in hot temperatures.
Look for medium thickness and viscosity; gun oils that are thick enough to stay on your firearm, and thin enough to cover every nook and cranny of the firearm’s surface.
Three Types of Gun Cleaning Lubricants and Solvents
There are three main gun care chemicals that are available on the market today:
- Gun Oils
- Gun Solvents
- CLP (three-in-one Cleaning, Lubrication, and Protection liquids)
Gun grease is slightly different from oil, but we place them both under the same category for future reference.
Let’s take a look at their characteristics.
1 – Gun Solvents
Gun solvents like bore cleaners differ from other cleaning products in that they prevent fouling.
They are usually applied to the bore and are pretty expensive, but get the job done with ease and won’t damage the metallic surfaces of your guns.
2 – Gun Oils and Lubricants
They are here to lubricate and apply a glossy finish to your guns in order to protect them from dust, corrosion, and debris, and to lube up the internal moving parts of the handgun to prevent heating.
They are usually petroleum-based, as that works better than mineral oils.
Greases, on the other hand, are better at preventing friction and corrosion and are usually much thicker than gun oils.
However, they can easily attract grime, as the grease is just polymer or silicone-based, and dust and dirt easily stick to them. So, keep this in mind.
3 – CLP (Cleaning, Lubrication, and Protection)
The Three Graces of the gun world. These are usually very expensive, and most gun owners avoid them, but in reality, they are very good.
CLP cleaners use a special formula that works well with its combined additives and can clean debris and buildup, lubricate the surfaces, and protect against corrosion and fouling.
The CLP invention dates back to 1904, and Ballistol is regarded as one of the first to patent this. They usually have a synthetic base, instead of natural. That’s why they’re so expensive.
What Is the Best Gun Oil to Use?
There’s no ‘best gun oil’ because every product offers something another gun oil doesn’t have, and some gun oils are best suited for specific types of firearms.
But, one of the most versatile gun oils that you can find on the market is Hoppe’s No. 9 Lubricating Oil.
Who Makes the Best Gun Oil?
One of the best gun oil manufacturers has to be Break-Free CLP, and maybe Sage & Braker.
Another great manufacturer is Ballistol that offers multi-purpose quality gun oil aerosol sprays for a great price.
Is It Ok to Use WD40 on a Gun?
You can, but prolonged WD40 use is definitely not recommended.
WD40 doesn’t lubricate your gun as well as special gun lubricants and evaporates more easily, so you’d be wasting your WD40 this way. It attracts dust and might also cause your firearms some damage, so it’s not advised to use WD40 on your firearms.
Why Do You Need Gun Oil?
You need gun oil to protect your gun against carbon buildup, dust, gunk, and corrosion, and to lubricate its moving parts to decrease friction. It simply prolongs your firearm’s lifespan.
Do Gun Oils Have Additives?
Yes. Gun oil formulas consist of certain additives like detergents, Zinc, Phosphor, Boron, Polytetrafluoroethylene, etc.
They work together to add specific characteristics like anti-static properties, non-flammability, increased protection, anti-corrosive properties, longevity, temperature management, among other things.
Some gun oils might be toxic, so it’s advised to clean your gun in ventilated areas.
Do I Need to Disassemble My Gun Before Using Gun Oil?
Yes, it’s recommended that you completely take apart your gun and apply solvents and lubricants to the desired areas.
When the moving parts are in question, it’s obligatory to take the gun apart and lubricate the metal parts on the inside to prevent friction when using the gun.
Does Gun Oil Fix Wear and Tear?
It doesn’t, but it can prevent any further damage. With regular gun care and maintenance, you can make sure additional wear and tear doesn’t occur.
Do Miracle Gun Oils Work?
Miracle Gun Oils do little to clean, lubricate, and protect in contrast to standard gun oils and their proven formulas. They are usually low quality and the miracle gun oil manufacturers tend to claim that they can be regularly used as cleaning tools. This is untrue.
Should I Oil My Gun Before Shooting?
Yes, it’s advised to clean and lube your firearms before shooting.
How Often Should I Use Gun Oil?
Guidelines may vary from gun to gun, but you can lubricate your guns once every 500 rounds. Some may require more, some less. Consult your owner’s manual.
Is Gun Oil Toxic?
Yes, some gun oils contain chemicals that are harmful and carcinogenic. I recommend you go for the Ballistol Multi-Purpose Gun Oil if you’re looking for a gun oil that isn’t harmful to your health.
It goes without saying but you don’t really need to go for more popular brand name products to find satisfaction with your gun cleaning tools.
There are many other small brands that work hard to perfect newer gun protection and cleaning formulas, and all that’s left for you is to try them.
Keep in mind, there is no ‘perfect formula’ for every gun imaginable; you just need to try out different compounds with different guns and surfaces. I’m pretty sure most manufacturers will try to go for a more non-toxic, non-flammable, odorless, eco-friendly alternative in the future as a universal gun oil formula, but who knows.
You can always stick to one that suits you best, but it really doesn’t hurt to try another one if you’re feeling adventurous. That’s the spirit of scientific experimentation with different oil formulas, and you get to share your results with your fellow shooters.
I hope this guide narrowed down your gun oil options in a vast sea of choices. Proper gun care is no joke and regularly cleaning your gun ensures safety and longevity.
Stay safe and aim true.