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Which pistol cleaning kits are best?

If you want to keep your pistol in top shape, it needs to be cleaned regularly. Otherwise, a buildup of carbon inside the barrel and residue on the firing mechanism can eventually interfere with its operation.

Although handguns may seem rugged and durable, they can be easily damaged if not cleaned properly. This means using purpose-made tools such as those found in the Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit. This particular model is a smart choice for people who own several firearms in different calibers because you can use it on both handguns and rifles, and it features all high-quality components.

What to know before you buy a pistol cleaning kit


Not all pistol cleaning kits can be used on every handgun. This is because they come with brushes and other tools designed for specific calibers. If you try to use a cleaning brush that is too big, it won’t fit properly inside of the barrel and could potentially damage it. If it is too small, it won’t provide an effective cleaning. Every gun cleaning kit should list what caliber brushes they include, which will help you determine whether or not you can use it.

Tool quality

Any metal tools should be made from either brass or bronze. Both of these are softer than the metals used in guns, so they aren’t likely to scratch the interior of the barrel like iron or steel brushes can. The swabs should be made from soft cotton, and the patches should be thick and made from a highly absorbent material so they can effectively soak up the excess solvent and oil.

What to look for in a quality pistol cleaning kit

Cleaning rods

The cleaning rod is one of the most important parts of a gun cleaning kit because it is what most of the other accessories are attached to. Cleaning rods should be sturdy so they don’t bend when pushed into the barrel, and feature a comfortable handle.


Gun cleaning kits may come with metal brushes, nylon brushes or, ideally, both. The best metal brushes are made from brass or bronze, and be used in the first step of the cleaning process to remove heavy carbon deposits. Afterward, you can move on to the nylon brushes to clear out remaining residue and for more sensitive parts of the gun.


Swabs are used to coat the sides of the barrel with solvent or oil. These should be made from a soft, absorbent cotton that can hold a lot of liquid and thick enough that you can feel them rubbing along the sides as you move them in and out of the barrel.


Jags hold cotton cleaning patches so you can push them in and out the barrel to remove leftover fouling, excess solvent after scrubbing with the brushes and excess oil.

Patch holder

In place of a traditional jag, which has a pointed tip on which you impale the patches, some kits include a slotted patch holder. These serve the same purpose as pointed jags, but some users find them easier to use, because patches are less likely to come off of them during the cleaning process.

Squeeze bottle

When cleaning your pistol, you’ll need solvent and oil. Choose a gun cleaning kit that includes two small squeeze bottles so you don’t have to purchase them separately. Ideally, there should be space inside of the case to store them.

Additional cleaning tools

Several other tools and accessories may be included in a cleaning kit. Some common items you may see include patches, handled scrubbing brushes, a bore snake and various adapters.


When looking at the case, consider how easily portable it is and how well it protects the components. Hard cases offer better protection, but soft cases are more portable. If the case is large, it should have a handle for easier carrying. No matter whether you purchase a kit with a hard or soft case, it is important it holds onto the various cleaning tools and accessories tightly.

How much you can expect to spend on a pistol cleaning kit

Small pistol cleaning kits cost $10-$25. If looking for a larger, universal kit you can use on any type of gun, expect to spend $25-$100.

Pistol cleaning kit FAQ

How often should you clean your pistol?

A. It is best to get into the habit of performing a basic cleaning of your pistol after every trip to the shooting range. Do a deeper cleaning at least once a month if you use your gun regularly. If you have a defensive handgun that isn’t used, inspect and clean it at least once every six months.

How long does it take to clean a pistol?

A. Cleaning a handgun generally takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Practiced individuals may be able to perform a thorough cleaning in as little as 10 or 15 minutes.

What are the best pistol cleaning kits to buy?

Top pistol cleaning kit

Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

What you need to know: A high-quality option you can use to clean nearly every type of rifle and pistol, this kit is a smart choice for any gun owner.

What you’ll love: Its brass rods are reinforced to ensure they won’t bend during the cleaning process. Along with the barrel brushes, it includes three types of handled brushes for cleaning crevices on the exterior of your weapon.

What you should consider: The high number of components and large size of the case means it isn’t the most portable option.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top pistol cleaning kit for the money

Klola Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit

Klola Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit

What you need to know: Although compact and affordable, this handgun cleaning kit includes tools for a wide variety of calibers.

What you’ll love: Conveniently, all the tools are labeled with caliber sizes, as are their storage slots in the case for easy reorganization. It comes with both jags and slotted patch holders.

What you should consider: Some buyers have complained of receiving kits that are missing a component.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Bear Armz Tactical Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit

Bear Armz Tactical Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit

What you need to know: This portable kit is a good choice for those who like to do their cleaning at the range and don’t have a wide variety of different caliber weapons.

What you’ll love: The hard plastic case does a good job of keeping the components organized and features a secure latch that keeps it reliably closed during transport. It includes a pick tool along with the various brushes to remove stubborn gunk from small crevices.

What you should consider: The jags and slotted patch holders are plastic rather than metal.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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