Cleaning your gun is a necessity. Whenever you fire your weapon powder residue and debris lodge themselves into the nooks, crannies, chambers and barrel of the gun. Left alone, debris can cause lower performance and even breakdowns. Your gun won’t last as long, and you’ll be a disappointed owner, not getting the full return on your investment. Nobody disputes the fact that if you want longevity from your gun, you’ll need to look at the best gun cleaning kits.  

Take a look at the basics of gun maintenance in this video.

Despite the fact that cleaning a gun is regarded as essential and indispensable by any self-respecting gun nut, many people have surprisingly polarizing takes about the best way to do it. Some prefer to take the DIY route and buy an assortment of items, and others prefer the convenience of a pre-made kit.

Today, we’ll be catering to that second group, taking a look at some of the best modern gun cleaning kits on the market. Though this list is by no means comprehensive, it offers the “greatest hits” of the most accessible (read: available on Amazon or a similar site) kits out there. If you know that you’re in the market for one of the best gun cleaning kits but don’t know where to begin, start here.

Otis Tactical Cleaning System

The Lowdown: Otis is an extremely respected name among gun nuts, and for good reason. In addition to making specific gun cleaning systems (check out their AR-15/M16 kit if you’ve got one of those), their universal tactical cleaning system is an excellent option for most firearms. This kit includes flex cables, 6 bore brushes corresponding to different types of guns, and gadgets for removing obstructions, all packed into a belt loop-ready, surprisingly tiny zip-up pouch making it definitely the most convenient of all the cases we review here. It’s about the size of two hockey pucks stacked on top of each other, but still holds everything you need.

Ranking as one of the best gun cleaning kits out there, the Otis Tactical Cleaning System will patch clean any gun ranging from .17 to .50 caliber, providing solid versatility. Based on brushes instead of rods, this kit also affords you some finesse in your cleaning. Unfortunately, the one knock on the kit is that not all brushes are included, as you may need to buy extra brushes for some of your weapons. This is unfortunate, as it goes against the “all-inclusive” quality that gun kits are supposed to provide, but everything else about the Tactical Cleaning System is outstanding.

Outers Universal Wood Gun Cleaning Chest

The Lowdown: Outers truly makes you feel like a craftsman or an artist with this wooden chest which adds some aesthetic appeal to the typical gun cleaning kit, making it one of the best gun cleaning kits in terms of style. As opposed to the Otis Tactical Cleaning System’s brush-heavy set, Outers provides a rod-based kit, boasting a variety of rods that fit a variety of different firearms. The chest comes with 25 pieces – mostly rods, entirely contained in the slide out drawer – and the idea is that you’ll add more items to the collection in the spacious top loading drawer.

Although the rods themselves are useful, the selling point is the chest itself, which is meant as a container for the pieces you’ll add to the starter kit Outers has provided. Unfortunately, some reviewers saw the material and finish as cheap-looking. So while this kit definitely has some nice pieces, if you don’t like the look of the wood, you may want to steer elsewhere.

Hoppe’s Universal Gun Cleaning Accessory Kit

The Lowdown: Unlike the previous two kits, the Hoppe’s Universal Gun Cleaning Kit offers a hybrid of rods and brushes, offering three-piece universal cleaning rods and nine different phosphor bronze brushes for all sorts of guns. The kit also comes with a caliber swab and is rifle, shotgun, and pistol adaptable, making it as versatile as anything.

All of this gear comes in an all-business silver briefcase, which isn’t the best-crafted carrying case in the game; however, the rods and brushes inside are of good quality, and that’s what really matters. Many reviewers have labeled this Hoppe’s model a good “entry-level” or “starter” gun kit, as it provides versatility without a whole lot of adornment or bells and whistles.

Grip Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

The Lowdown: With 78 pieces fitting with all sorts of shotguns, rifles, and pistols, you can’t accuse Grip’s Universal Gun Cleaning Kit of not being thorough. Fitting into a no-nonsense silver aluminum case, this Grip’s kit features two universal t-handles, two pc patch holders, two pc brass adapters, five wool swabs, six cleaning rods, ten brass brushes, and fifty cleaning cloths. As such, whether you prefer rods or brushes, you’ll have the opportunity to explore both, and you’ll have plenty of cloths and swabs as well.

Relatively easy to store and travel, and with a great breadth of cleaning options, this Grip’s model is also a price performer. Though you won’t find the pure quality of an Otis kit, you’ll also pay significantly less for tools that can perform basic cleaning tasks pretty well. Though the tools look cheap at first, they work and they are varied and versatile. When it comes to the best gun cleaning kits, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better suited for all situations.

Skyline Center, Inc. Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

The Lowdown: Skyline Center, Inc. offers a simple, high-quality cleaning kit with the capability of cleaning all guns – it’ll work just as well on your AR-15 or M16 as your pistol or shotgun. Packaged in a durable, lightweight, easily transportable case, this Universal model offers a small number of tools that you can use in a number of situations, including a military style double ended cleaning brush, cotton flannel patches, a cleaning rod with four pieces, and five additional bore brushes.

The whole thing weighs less than two pounds and you’ll be able to take it anywhere without a second thought. Though in rare cases the cotton patches and brushes can leave something to be desired, overall it’s a well made, reasonably priced and undeniably versatile cleaning kit for all of your firearms.

So which ones are the best gun cleaning kits?

Ultimately, most of these kits are portable and little separates them in that regard. If you have a less “mainstream” firearm, then the best gun cleaning kits for you are the ones with a greater variety and quantity of pieces. However, if you have something basic – like an AR-15 or an M16, for example – Otis is seen as one of the names in the gun cleaning business and you can’t go wrong with their Tactical Cleaning System if you’re willing to spend a little bit extra. Take a look at this article called Best AR-15 Cleaning Kit for more info on cleaning assault rifles.

Otherwise, Grip, Hoppe’s, and Skyline provide cheaper options, and Outers provides a wooden chest aesthetic that could be the move if you want lots of storage space and if you hope to continue diversifying the items in your cleaning kit collection.