Experienced soldiers and firearm experts know there's more to owning a gun than simply bullets, gun safety, and good aim. For your firearm to protect you, it needs to be the protection you can rely on, and for a gun to be reliable, it needs to be correctly cared for. Every moving part needs to work seamlessly together to keep your firearm moving, so it's vital to understand and know how to clean your gun and what to clean a gun with.

While learning to clean a gun and the act of cleaning it is a simple chore and important, using the right equipment to clean it with is important too. Here's our quick list of everything we think you should have to keep your firearm, whether handgun, rifle, or shotgun, clean.

Cleaning Rod

Carbon fiber cleaning rods combine the best features of stainless steel and coated cleaning rods. Carbon fiber can't scratch your bore, unlike stainless steel cleaning rods, which tend to scratch or wear a barrel, and they won't embed like coated rods. Plus, carbon fiber rods can be bent to pretty extreme degrees and quickly return to their original shape. However, it's important to remember that if you don't know how to use a cleaning rod effectively, no matter what they're made of, they can impact the accuracy of a rifle or handgun.


A jag is a plunger-shaped object with a pointed tip made to hold a cleaning patch securely at the end of your cleaning rod. The cleaning rod is then pushed through the bore, and the jag keeps the cleaning patch in place. To use one, pierce the middle of a cleaning patch with the jag and push it through the barrel.

Cleaning Patches

A cleaning patch is a small one-time use cloth used to clean through the bore. It's important to have enough to replace the cleaning patch with every pass of the cleaning rod. They are inexpensive and available in bulk. It's crucial never to re-use a cleaning patch as it can redeposit all the dirt and particles right back into your barrel.

Cleaning Brush

These items are as simple as they sound. When picking a cleaning brush for your gun, choose one specifically designed not to damage the inside of the barrel. Bronze brushes tend to work well for stubborn carbon, and nylon is excellent for light cleaning.

Cleaning Chemicals

Gun cleaning treatments are available in many different combinations. You may wish to look for a bottle of gun cleaning chemicals that are a cleaner, lubricant, and protective coating all in one to make it easier.

Cleaning chemicals are critical to gun care as whenever you fire a gun; its internal parts deal with extreme heat, high-speed movement, and friction. These all create wear and residue, and the chemicals to clean these areas all have to withstand these conditions. Cleaning chemicals also have to be rugged enough to stay in place over long periods and keep protecting sensitive parts of your guns. The four basics of cleaning chemicals are:

  1. Solvent - removes carbon, lead, and other debris from fouling the bore.
  2. Degreaser - removes existing dirt and oil from moving parts of the gun.
  3. Lubricant - keeps parts lubricated and protects from rust.
  4. Protectant - repels water, further preventing rust and corrosion.
Gun Brush

While you could try and use your trusty toothbrush to clean your gun, a toothbrush will probably hit no more than 30% of the bore, while a bronze gun brush designed specifically for gun cleaning will hit 100%. Additionally, bore brushes aren't an expensive investment and will reach places that not even some toothbrushes can.

Bore Snake

Lightweight and portable, a bore snake is an excellent addition to your gun cleaning kit. Usually, a bore snake consists of a woven piece similar to a soft rope followed by a connected length of paracord and capped at the end with an aglet (exactly like the metal at the ends of shoelaces.) They are quick and easy to use on the field, used with or without solvents, or cleaning or barrels on a high-volume shooting range day or while hunting.

When you know what to clean a gun with, you know that you're ensuring the longevity and accuracy of your firearm so that you can rely on your sidearm for years to come.

Bold Commerce Collaborator