If you’re like us, you love to take your AR-15 to the range and compete against your buddies. But if you don’t keep your weapon clean, your friends will be outshooting your AR-15 and you’ll start to have trouble with its operation.
The truth is, maintaining a standard of cleanliness for your AR-15 is key to keeping it functional for a long time to come. The most convenient way to clean your firearm is with one of the best AR-15 cleaning kits.
Why is Cleaning Your AR-15 Important?
Keeping your AR-15 clean and well-maintained is critical if you want your weapon to fire accurately and work well. This is especially important if you use the weapon frequently. Each time you pull the trigger on your AR-15, you’ll leave behind certain particulates that can affect the next round issued from the chamber, worsening your accuracy.
As you might expect, well-cleaned AR-15s work a lot better during target practice. AR-15 that are cleaned frequently will also last a lot longer and you won’t need to buy replacement parts as often. Purchasing an excellent AR-15 cleaning kit will save you money in the long run.
What to Consider when Buying an AR-15 Cleaning Kit
There are a few major things to consider as you browse available AR-15 cleaning kits. Keep these in mind to determine the ideal kit for your needs.
What Does it Have?
Complete AR-15 cleaning kits will have all of the components you need to thoroughly maintain your weapon. A complete kit will include:
- A bore cleaning rod
- A bore snake and an attachment
- Rod adaptors
- A patch loop
- Cloth patches
- Cleaning liquids/lubricants
You may want to find a cleaning kit that contains a cleaner or solvent that you can use to scrub away excessive oil, grease, or ingrained dirt on the interior and exterior of your AR-15. Many of the best AR-15 cleaning kits will also have some helpful oils or lubricants.
Some AR-15 cleaning kits are smaller and are suitably sized for taking with you on the road or to the firing range. Others are much bulkier or come in packages that can’t easily be carried from place to place. Consider where you’ll be doing your cleaning most often before purchasing a kit.
We’d recommend that you go for a more portable cleaning kit if you are frequently on the road or if you’re taking your AR-15 with you on a long expedition or trip. On the other hand, you can pick up a heavier or stationary kit if you typically clean your AR-15 from the comfort of your own home. These kits can be advantageous if you build your own AR-15s or other weaponry frequently, as well.
The 5 Best AR-15 Cleaning Kits
1. Real Avid .223 Gun Boss Cleaning Kit
The Best AR-15 Cleaning Kit Overall
This AR-15 cleaning kit from Real Avid shows thoroughness and high-quality that we’ve come to expect from their products. The kit features a huge number of different tools and cleaning rods to ensure that you can clear out your AR-15 platform properly.
There are seven threaded and coated steel rod sections that combine to form a longer, 33” rod with a t-handle for easy manoeuvring. There’s also a bronze cleaning brush and five precision-cut chamber-cleaning pads.
Add to that a nylon slotted tip for the brush, 25 regular cleaning patches, several cleaning picks and a 3-in-1 bore illuminator/pin punch/safety flag, and you’ve got a comprehensive cleaning kit that can tackle any maintenance issues you might need to handle.
The last tool, in particular, highlights how Real Avid makes exceptional products to improve your experience. The illuminator makes it very easy to spot-clean your weapon’s fouling efficiently.
All of the equipment comes in a compact, weather-resistant travel case. Each tool has a designated slot inside the kit to allow for easy organization and you can quickly zip the case up as soon as you’re finished.
All in all, this AR-15 cleaning kit is both a thorough and portable option that’d we’d recommend for hobbyists, hunters, and gun range enthusiasts alike. You can even get everything for an affordable asking price.
What we like:
- Comes with lots of helpful tools
- Features a durable and portable case
- Includes illuminator for easy spotting of fouling
2. Otis Tactical Cleaning System- Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun
The Best AR-15 Kit for Cleaning Debris
The Otis Tactical Cleaning System is an exceptional kit that comes with several handy cleaning tools and, most importantly, a tube of cleaning liquid that can help you eliminate even the toughest fouling or marks on your AR-15 platform. This cleaning fluid also acts as a lubricant and protectant to help your AR-15 work more efficiently once reconstructed.
The kit features several memory-flex cables to let you properly perform a Breech-to-Muzzle cleaning, plus a smaller memory-flex cable that’s perfect for cleaning .17 calibre firearms. Both cables are made from aircraft-grade aluminium.
But the kit isn’t just good for getting rid of small stuff or streaks. It’s also perfect for getting rid of mud, snow, or various stuck casings thanks to the included small and large obstruction removers included with the kit.
There’s also a chamber flag and an instruction manual; this last inclusion makes this kit an ideal choice for beginners, as you can follow the instructions contained within to properly clean your AR-15.
Everything comes in a soft pack case that doesn’t take up a lot of space and has slots for easy organization. Overall, this is a phenomenal AR-15 cleaning kit ideally suited for firearm enthusiasts who regularly put their platforms through inclement weather.
What we like:
- Has obstruction removers for large and small debris
- Includes cleaning fluid/lubricant/protectant
- Has an instruction manual for beginners
3. BOOSTEADY Pro .223/5.56 Cleaning Kit
The Best AR-15 Kit for Long-Term Use
The Boosteady AR-15 cleaning kit is a perfect choice for .223 and 5.56 caliber AR-15 platforms. It has a neat and compact carrying case for all the included tools or devices.
Those tools are quite impressive. The kit includes several brass brushes, plus a miniature nylon brush to properly clean away fouling from the interior of your platform. There are also several cleaning patches and a patch holder so you can keep them organized instead of flying away from a stray breeze.
Several metal cleaning picks and rods are included, as well. Both the rods and picks are made of durable metal. In addition, the biggest brush has a threaded end. This secures right onto the end of the primary cleaning rod to secure it and let it reach deep into your AR-15.
Finally, there’s a t-handle to screw on the other end that lets you easily pull the rod from the AR-15 without trouble. While it doesn’t have a cleaning liquid or lubricant, this AR-15 cleaning kit still holds a lot of value and is quite affordable.
It’s a phenomenal choice for firearm enthusiasts on a budget. The lifetime money-back guarantee that comes with the purchase makes it even better. Buy this kit, and you may never need to purchase a replacement in the future.
What we like:
- Comes with an organized, compact case
- Cleaning patches are contained in a holder
- Has a lifetime money-back guarantee
4. Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit
The Best Budget AR-15 Kit
Gloryfire makes a lot of quality firearm maintenance products, and this universal gun cleaning kit is no exception. You’ll notice right off the bat that this kit contains a belt attachment so you can easily attach it to your waist. Gunsmiths will love this feature, as it makes the kit easily accessible whenever they need to break out a tool for a quick fix.
The kit is small and lightweight and includes many excellent cleaning implements. There’s a 5-piece cleaning rod with a loop at the end, an adaptor for various firearm types, a brass brush, a dual-ended nylon brush, and an oil bottle.
The oil bottle is particularly valuable since it can assist with cleaning out fouling and lubricate your AR-15 to improve its performance even further. The oil bottle isn’t very large, but it can be refilled once you run dry.
But this kit is truly exceptional for its affordable asking price. There are few AR-15 cleaning kits you can get for as much of a bargain as this pick. We highly recommend it for any AR-15 owners who need a decent cleaning kit but can’t break a strict budget.
What we like:
- Very affordable for all
- Easy to attach to your belt
- Contains cleaning oil and several excellent tools
5. Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit
The Best AR-15 Kit for Gunsmiths
This Gloryfire kit maintains the high-quality that the company brings to all of its gun cleaning products. While it’s a little pricier than most other AR-15 kits, it contains a wealth of tools that simply aren’t matched anywhere else.
You’ll notice immediately that all the tools are contained in a small toolbox with open positions for each tool. This allows for easy organization and transportation. You can carry the toolbox from the pre-cut handle on the top.
The sheer variety of tools within this kit is staggering. It includes six solid brass rods for all types of weaponry, 14 brushes, nine mops, 13 spear point to jags, three utility brushes, three muzzle guards, and much, much more.
Simply put, there’s enough gear in this cleaning kit to handle cleaning any type of weapon or platform, not just AR-15s. It even includes empty bottles for lubricant or oil.
As a result, we recommend this kit for gunsmiths or firearm enthusiasts who are going to be maintaining and tinkering with multiple types of weapons in the future. It works just as well for AR-15s as it does for other weaponry.
Add a cleaning mat and you have all you need.
What we like:
- Contains a high number of tools and cleaning equipment
- Easy to carry case
- Very affordable when considering all that’s inside
What is Fouling?
Fouling is a term referring to the tendency of bullets to leave a residue behind in the barrel after being ejected from your weapon. The residue left behind by bullets can be made of carbon, lead, plastic, or copper depending on the type of ground you are firing. Over time, these particulates will build up and impact how reliably you can depend on your firearm’s accuracy.
Other types of ammunition might leave some salt behind, which comes from certain rounds’ primers. This is particularly bad since the salt will eventually cause corrosive damage to the interior of your weapon. Therefore, any AR-15 that fires salt-containing ammo should be cleaned after every session.
How Often Should I Clean my AR-15?
No matter which kind of ammunition you use, it’s always a great idea to clean your AR-15 after each time you shoot it. This will ensure peak performance no matter what you use your AR-15 for. However, many of us have busy schedules that can’t accommodate such a frequent cleaning routine.
Therefore, so long as you aren’t using salt-containing ammunition, you should probably clean your AR-15 after every two times you take it to the firing range. Of course, the more you use your AR-15, the more you should clean it. But overall, you don’t want to let residue build up too much in the chamber of your firearm.
You should also consider how dirty your AR-15 gets each time you take it to the range. Windy environments with lots of sand blowing around will necessitate a more frequent cleaning schedule. Calm air at the shooting range means that you can likely push back the next cleaning session until after you’ve hit the range again.
What Happens if You Don’t Clean your AR-15?
Failing to properly maintain your AR-15 can lead to several negative side effects. For starters, an unclean AR-15 will begin to rust much more quickly than a clean firearm. Rusting firearms are more susceptible to sustaining damage and may crack or chip at their edges.
Not only does this look bad, but it can lead to firearm instability. Extremely rusty weapons might even break when you shoot them. It’s rare for weapons to get this bad and still be used, however.
Residue or fouling that builds upon the interior of your AR-15 will eventually lower the weapon’s accuracy, both at a distance and at close range. Even worse, a dirty barrel will increase the chances that your AR-15 will experience a misfire, which can cause serious damage to the weapon or you.
Finally, some rounds leave copper particles behind in the barrel. This form of fouling will slow down bullets as they exit the weapon, which can change the interior of the barrel and lead to further accuracy problems and even more of a chance for misfires.
All in all, every aspect of your weapon needs to be properly cleaned to ensure safe and accurate performance.
Are AR-15 Cleaning Kits Missing Anything?
The vast majority of AR-15 cleaning kits do not contain AR-15 carbon scraper tools or some smaller brushes. These AR-15 cleaning tools are specifically designed to clean out the interior of the AR-15 platform’s bolt carrier group and related components. You’ll need to purchase an excellent AR-15 cleaning tool separately to truly clean every part of your firearm.
Concluding our AR-15 Cleaning Kits Guide
No matter which AR-15 cleaning kit you choose, be sure to pick one that has everything to need to keep your firearm working smoothly. Thanks for reading!
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