We all have to regularly clean our favourite firearms to make sure they are functioning properly. But we also all know that it’s not as simple as plopping down in your garage and wiping your gun down with a rag.
The fact is, cleaning and maintaining your firearm can be a pain without one of the best gun vises to help you along. To properly scrape away residue or install replacement parts, you need a steady platform on which to mount your weapon. Vises do just that, so it pays to pick a great one that will make your maintenance much easier.
What to Look for in the Perfect Gun Vise
You should keep these major factors in mind while you look for the perfect gun vise for your needs.
What Guns Can It Hold?
This matters much more if you have multiple kinds of firearms and want to use the same vise for them all. Certain vises are only sized to properly grip a single type of firearm, while others can be used with weapons of varying sizes or models.
Most gun vises are long enough to fit rifles and shotguns of most varieties. They usually have a few segments or parts that can be adjusted to grip the buttstock of these weapons reliably.
Other gun vises are adaptable enough to be used for rifles, shotguns, and smaller pistols or handguns alike. These are especially versatile and have great value for money for gun hobbyists or gunsmiths. Keep in mind that these types of vises have more moving parts, so they are more likely to break after frequent use and may not be constructed from as durable a material as the other kind.
Vises come in a few different types depending on their ideal use.
These vises grip the mounted firearm tightly and hold the weapon steady to allow you to clean it or maintain it without worrying about the firearm moving. You can put significant pressure on the weapon’s internal or external components, which can be advantageous when working with tight parts or trying to seriously clean something.
These vises usually have rubber legs that will reduce slippage on counters or workbenches. Others can be physically screwed into your workbench, though they may be very heavy, as well.
Rotating vises aren’t as common as fixed ones. These vises allow you to adjust the weapon’s angle relative to your own, meaning you don’t have to always walk around the workbench or table to clean or maintain different parts. These vises are oftentimes more expensive than fixed ones, but they are very convenient if you have to do work on the entirety of a gun.
These vises can also be helpful for precision work or for making precise adjustments, as you’ll be able to maneuver the firearm into a comfortable position for your maintenance. Keep in mind that these vises also have more moving parts and aren’t as stable as fixed vises. You can’t put as much pressure on the firearm you are working on without risking movement or damaging the vise.
Vises can be constructed out of several types of materials.
These vises are extremely affordable since plastic doesn’t take much time or money to create. Just because plastic is affordable doesn’t mean it’s fragile. Plastic vises can withstand significant punishment and are oftentimes lighter than vises made of metal or another material.
Many plastic vises are also adjustable and can be used with most types of firearms or weapon platforms. However, when compared directly to metal vises, plastic vises aren’t quite as durable and can’t handle as much pressure when cleaning or maintaining a firearm.
You get what you pay for when it comes to vises, so we’d recommend that serious firearm tinkerers or gunsmiths purchase a sturdier vise for their needs.
These vises are a little more expensive than plastic ones, but they are much more durable and will last a longer time. They can handle much more significant pressure from your cleaning or maintenance efforts.
Furthermore, there are a few gun vises that can be transformed into shooting rests as a feature. These vises/rests are usually made from metal, as this material can distribute vibrations from recoil much more efficiently. Therefore, metal vises/rests are a clear choice if you want to use a vise when sighting your firearm or testing it out.
Does it Have Padding?
The best gun vises will have arms or clamps that incorporate padding to prevent the clamps from scratching the surface of your firearm. This only really matters if you care about the aesthetics of your firearm, but most of us take pride in the looks of our weapons. It won’t do to spend time cleaning and polishing the exterior of your weapon only to have scratch marks appear when you use your vise for further maintenance.
The 6 Best Gun Vises
1. Tipton Best Gun Vise for Cleaning, Gunsmithing and Gun Maintenance
The Best Overall Gun Vise
Tipton is one of the most well-known names in gun maintenance and repair products, and nothing showcases their expertise better than this vise. It’s designed from the ground up for exceptional maintenance and repair work.
This vise has an L-shaped center that can hold bolt-action rifles, break-open shotguns, several kinds of handguns, and even extendable magazine rifles. Basically, if you own the firearm, you can use it with this vise.
It’s durable, too, being constructed of a solvent-resistant polymer. It can withstand up to ten years of hard use, making this an excellent long-term vise product for anyone. The polymer is even non-marring, so it’ll look good as new in a few years.
The vise additionally contains several flat and round bottom compartments. You can use these compartments to store screws, parts, or bottles of lubricant. Naturally, we expect that serious gunsmiths will appreciate this functionality.
With a customized patch storage compartment, you can further keep cleaning pads close at hand when you need them.
But what of the clamping mechanisms? This vise uses two adjustable and offset clamps to let you customize their hold on your current firearm. Despite this, the vise is stable and steady enough to withstand significant pressure during cleaning or repairs.
All in all, few vises can compare to this product’s versatility and ease of use. It’s neither the most expensive nor the cheapest vise on the market, but it’s still affordable enough to be a great choice for most.
What we like:
- Comes with compartments for storage
- Can be configured to handle most firearms
- Durable, marring-resistant polymer construction
- Very easy to use
2. MTM GV-30 Gun Vise Cleaning Maintenance Center
The Best Budget Gun Vise
This quick-clamp vise is one of the most affordable and easy to use picks we’ve found on the market. You can activate the simple lever integrated into the vise’s design to ensure that the vise will grip your firearm without marring its surface. As a result, it’s great for showpieces or firearms with shiny finishes.
The vise is mounted on four rubber feet that don’t skid easily on workbenches or tables. Additionally, you can choose to let this vise remain freestanding or bolt it down onto your workbench for added stability.
We’d recommend the latter since the vise is made of a durable plastic rather than a heavy metal. Without being bolted, it’s liable to skid this way and that. However, the low weight of the plastic helps to drive the price down and makes this a great choice for gunsmiths or firearm enthusiasts on a tight budget.
There are several compartments at the bottom of the vise to increase its value for money and make it easy to keep your parts are cleaning materials organized. Overall, we’d recommend this for hobbyists or occasional tinkerers rather than professional gunsmiths.
What We Like:
- Very affordable for all
- Can be bolted down or free-standing
- Has storage compartments for materials
- Skid-resistant feet
3. Tipton Ultra Gun Vise with Heavy Duty Construction
The Most Adjustable Gun Vise
Tipton returns again with another excellent heavy-duty gun vise. It also uses four feet that are skid-resistant and can be independently adjusted. This allows you to alter the angle at which you view your firearm and operate on your weapon.
The vise includes several accessory trays that can be removed at your leisure. It’s handy to have the trays nearby when you need to store your equipment or parts, but it’s doubly useful to be able to remove them and give yourself more working space when needed.
The vise uses ball-and-socket articulating clamps and pads. This helps the arms to adjust to the surface of any firearm. You can modify the front or rear clamps to accommodate most weapons, including handguns.
What’s it made of? This vise is mostly made with glass-filled nylon, although a steel tube frame structure is included to bolster its durability. While it’s not quite as durable as pure steel, it’s much tougher than regular plastic and is a lot lighter overall. As a result, this is a great vise for gunsmiths who dislike vises that have to be mounted on a workbench due to their weight.
It would be perfect for AR-15 cleaning.
What We Like:
- Trays for parts or supplies can be removed
- Easy to adjust clamps for multiple gun types
- Not as heavy as pure metal vises
- Feet are slip-resistant and can be independently adjusted
4. CTK Precision P3 Ultimate Gun Vise
The Best Gun Vise for Gunsmiths
Professional gunsmiths will love the heavy-duty steel construction of this gun vise. It’s built to last and withstand significant pressure or wear and tear without moving an inch, so it’s great for those of you who like to clean with vigor or perform hardcore maintenance. The vise boasts a durable e-coat finish on the inside and outside of the frame to keep it looking sleek and stylish even after heavy use.
The vise can be adjusted to accommodate firearms of both rifle or pistol varieties. But perhaps most importantly, this vise can be transformed into a shooting rest in just seconds. This gives it some added functionality and makes it a perfect tool for bore sighting and other adjustments.
Despite its steel construction, this vise isn’t too heavy, as it only weighs about 9 pounds. You can easily move it from place to place and independently adjust its three rubberized feet. The resulting setup will prevent the vise from moving even under decent recoil. It’s an ideal vise/rest combination tool that can be set up inside your garage or outside in mere moments.
All in all, this heavy-duty vise tool is a great pick for gunsmiths who like to modify all aspects of their firearms. We’d recommend it for those of you who also want a gun rest and don’t want to have to purchase two separate products.
What We Like:
- Can turn into a gun rest in seconds
- Features non-slip feet
- Can accommodate pistols and rifles
- Very durable steel construction
5. Tipton Gun Vise
The Best Hobbyist Gun Vise
Once more, Tipton impresses with another high-quality gun vise, although this vise is built for different needs than their previous two offerings. It’s made of a solvent-resistant polymer that’s a little cheaper and lighter than many other materials. This gives it decent durability without driving the cost up too high. As a result, this vise is another solid choice for firearm enthusiasts on a budget.
The vise comes pre-constructed, as everything is part of the same piece of material. It features an articulating rear clamp that can let you adjust your maintenance angle whenever you need. However, this vise is sized for rifles and break-open shotguns alone rather than handguns.
The vise also features several internal compartments perfectly sized for storing parts or other materials. These are fairly deep, so you can store several parts before they start to overflow. Finally, the vise has non-marring contact points, so you should feel free to use this vise on regular tables or surfaces other than a machine workbench.
Overall, it’s a great budget option and is perfect for hobbyist gunsmiths rather than serious professionals.
What we like:
- Very affordable for most
- Has deep internal compartments for storage
- Contact points won’t scratch surfaces
- Fairly durable polymer construction
6. Hyskore Cleaning and Sighting Vise
The Best Gun Vise for Sighting
Hyskore’s Cleaning and Sighting Vise gives many other manufacturers a run for their money. For starters, it can easily adjust to any gun length necessary, so it’s perfect for rifles and handguns alike. The vise is made with welded tubular steel that keeps the overall weight down while ensuring durability for a long time to come.
The modular design of the vise makes it a particularly good choice for moving from workbenches to other surfaces, as you can easily grip it from any number of contact points. The vise has four non-slip feet that can be adjusted as you like.
Most importantly, this vise doubles as a three-shot sighting system. This excellent functionality will make it a great choice for gunsmiths or for regular firearm users who like to fine-tune their weapon’s performance. Best of all, the vise comes with easy to follow instructions so you can learn how to do this if you don’t already know.
With precision elevation adjustment, it’s easier than ever to adjust your sights with this vise. There’s a plastic utility tray included with your purchase; it contains particularly deep compartments for parts and materials.
All in all, we’d recommend this for anyone who needs a decent sighting assistant or for those who frequently install or remove scopes from their favorite weapons. Given the asking price, it should be within reach for most.
What we like:
- Can double as a 3-shot sighting system
- Has a deep-capacity storage tray
- Can adjust to the length of any gun
- Has a durable steel construction without being too heavy
Are Gun Vises Needed for Cleaning?
Most serious gunsmiths or firearm enthusiasts will own a personal vise for cleaning. Being able to properly clean or maintain your firearm without having to hold it with one hand is essential. A vise makes the cleaning process much easier and can let you perform more precise maintenance than you could otherwise.
Can a Gun Vise be Used as a Shooting Rest?
Only a handful of gun vises are designed to be used as shooting rests. They will usually have removable clamps are arms to transform the vise cradle into a shooting rest, and they’re usually made of metal or similarly durable material.
However, only vises that can transform this way should be used as shooting rests. Trying to use a non-transforming vise as a rest can lead to you breaking the vise as your weapon recoils. It’s not only dangerous but also destructive. Be sure to pick a combination vise if this functionality is important to you.
The best gun vise for your needs will fit your chosen weapon. Keep in mind which vises are great for which kinds of firearms and you’ll be able to complete your maintenance or cleaning much faster than before. Good hunting out there!
You can also see which are the most useful AR-15 tools.
Robb Maning is the founder and writer of Smartguncleaning.com He has been a gun enthusiast for more than 20 years. Knowing how important gun cleaning is, he decided to to help others with his knowledge. You can learn more about Robb here