7 Best Gun Cleaning Kits for 2024 – Tried and Tested

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We compared numerous universal, dedicated, and portable options to discover the best gun cleaning kit. Real Avid kits stood out as the best value for the price.

They have all three types of kits that we look for, and each has some unique features that most other kits do not have. They are affordable, and their quality is top-notch.

Best Gun Cleaning Kit
Jason showing all of the gun cleaning kits that he has used
Some of the Gun Cleaning Kits that I have used

We have over 50 years of combined experience cleaning handguns, rifles, and shotguns. With our military and competition experience, we have cleaned some dirty guns, so we know the tools that work the best.

Although the traditional gun cleaning kit in the nice wooden boxes are no longer available, there are now innovative alternatives.

Keep reading to find out what they are.


Quick Comparison of Our Favorite Gun Cleaning Kits

BEST UNIVERSAL KIT
Real Avid Gun Boss Universal

Real Avid Gun Boss Pro Universal Cleaning Kit

Multiple Calibers

Jags and Brushes

Kickstand Case

MSRP: $34.99

BEST DEDICATED KIT
Real Avid Gun Boss Pro Multi Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss Pro Multi Kit

Dedicated Caliber

Bore Boss Snake

Jag and Mop

MSRP: $29.99-$34.99

BEST PREMIUM KIT
Otis Technology Universal Gun Care System

Otis Technology Universal Gun Care System

Universal Kit

16 Calibers

+ Portable Kit

MSRP: $159.99

BEST AR15 KIT
Real Avid Gun Boss Pro AR15 Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss Pro AR15 Kit

Special AR15 Tools

.223/5.56mm

Kickstand Case

MSRP: $29.99

BEST PORTABLE KIT
Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit

Handgun/Rifle/Shotgun

Compact

Durable Case

MSRP: $19.99


Best Gun Cleaning Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss Universal – Best Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss Universal
  • Calibers: .22, .243, .270, .280, .30, .357, 9mm, .40, .45, 20Ga, 12Ga
  • Tools: 24 plus 50 patches
  • MSRP: $34.99

The Real Avid Gun Boss Universal gun cleaning kit is one of the best I have used.

It includes all the basics for the major calibers that I have. I like the fact that it includes jags for all of the pistol and rifle calibers, something that many kits leave out.

I prefer to use jags to run a cleaning patch through the barrels of my pistols and rifles. It finds it is quicker and does a better job than the slotted tips.

Jason shoeing the Real Avid Universal Kit
Everything I need, nothing I don’t

This kit has three brass rods that I can thread together to make a 32” rod. This is plenty, even for my long-barreled hunting shotguns.

The case is really what sets this kit apart from the others. It has two locking slides on the cover, and it hinges open to form a kickstand that holds the case off of my table at an angle. This makes it easy for me to see everything and easily access the tools.

Jason showing the Real Avid Universal kit from the side
The kickstand case is a great idea

It is also compact when closed and takes up very little space. It even has peg board holes, so I can hang it up if I want. I can turn the case upside down and shake it and all the tools stay in place.

I like the price of this kit even more than the case. At only around $35, it is very affordable and much better than some kits twice the price.

Jason showing the cleaning jag that is included with the universal kit
I like that this kit comes with jags

The only real negative is that this kit is not for a quick cleaning session when I like to use a bore snake. To keep the price down, they did not include any, so this is understandable. You can buy bore snakes to go with it, though. Real Avid’s version is call the Bore Boss and it is included in our next kit.

Recommended for:

The Real Avid Gun Boss Universal gun cleaning kit is for anyone looking for a gun cleaning kit that will cover most firearms. The price makes it a great value.

PROS

Affordable

Covers Major Calibers

Includes Jags

Kickstand Case

CONS

No Bore Snake


Real Avid Gun Boss Multi Kit – Best Dedicated Gun Cleaning Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss Multi Kit
  • Calibers: Individual per caliber, available in .22, .223, .243, .270, .30, 9mm
  • Tools: 11 plus 25 patches (Rifle kits have 15)
  • MSRP: $29.99 – $34.99

The Real Avid Gun Boss Multi Kit is one of my favorite cleaning kits for my concealed-carry handgun.

It has more caliber-specific items than the universal kit above, so if you mainly shoot a specific caliber, get this one.

Jason showing the Real Avid multi kit
My Real Avid Multi kit in 9mm

This kit comes in 6 different calibers. Along with handgun calibers, but there are also kits for rifles from .22 up to .308.

What makes this kit stand out is it includes a bore snake. Real Avid calls it their “Bore Boss” since “Boresnake” is trademarked by Hoppe’s. But it is essentially the same, only better.

Jason using the Bore Boss cleaner
The Bore Boss makes cleaning barrels quick and easy

Instead of just being thrown in the box, it comes with a handy circular case that doubles as a pull handle. When I use a bore snake, I have to wrap it around my hand to pull it through the bore. With the Bore Boss, I just hook the case on and have something to grip.

I like that this kit also includes a jag, bore mop, and a slotted tip, so I can clean the bore of my handgun in multiple ways. It also has two brushes and a plastic pick that I use to remove carbon from around the inside of my handgun slide.

Jason showing the tools that come with the Real Avid Multi Kit
The brushes, mop, jag, and slotted kit that come with the kit

The case holds all the tools in place when it is closed. To open it, I just slide a tab at the top, and the entire case unfolds. It does seem kind of big when it unfolds, but I usually just prop it up on the shelves of my table. It would be nice if it had a kickstand or something to hold it up.

Overall, it really has everything that I need to do a quick clean or a full teardown.

Recommended for:

The Real Avid Gun Boss Multi Kit is for anyone who shoots a specific caliber and needs a comprehensive kit.

PROS

Affordable

Includes Bore Boss

Includes Jag and Mop

Secure Case

CONS

No Kickstand on Case


Otis Technology Universal Gun Care System – Best Premium Gun Cleaning Kit

Otis Technology Universal Gun Care System
  • Calibers: 16 (pretty much everything)
  • Tools: Over 60 plus various patches
  • MSRP: $159.99

The Otis Technology Universal Gun Care System is one of the most complete kits we have found.

It includes everything I need to clean almost every firearm known to man, from .17 to .50 caliber.

Instead of the traditional cleaning rods, it has flexible cables. These cables thread together to form a pull cable so I can clean my rifles and in the proper breach to muzzle direction.

This kit also includes all the special tools I need to clean my AR15s. It has a special chamber brush and three different picks and scrapers.

The items in the Otis universal gun cleaning kit
The items in the Otis universal cleaning kit

I like the fact that it also includes a portable tactical cleaning kit. It includes brushes, cables, and a bottle of CLP. With this, I don’t need to buy a separate kit for my range bag.

Everything is in a nylon bag that is easy to just throw in my truck, and I don’t have to worry about taking something for a specific gun since it is all in there.

This kit is bulky, though, and the bag does not really organize everything like the other kits. It ends up all at the bottom over time.

And then there is the price. It is pretty high for what you get. Consider that you can buy all of the other kits on this list for the price of this one, and it is hard to justify unless you just want a big comprehensive kit.

Recommended for:

The Otis Technology Universal Gun Care System is for anyone looking for one kit that will do it all, and budget is not an issue.

PROS

Cover 16 Calibers

Includes Tactical Kit

Lots of Extras

CONS

Price

Bulky Bag


Real Avid Gun Boss Pro AR15 Cleaning Kit– Best AR15 Cleaning Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss Pro AR15 Cleaning Kit
  • Calibers: .223/5.56mm
  • Tools: 12 plus 6 chamber pads and 25 patches
  • MSRP: $29.99

The Real Avid Gun Boss Pro AR15 cleaning kit is my favorite kit to use to clean my AR15s.

This kit is made specifically for the AR15 and has some special tools made specifically for the platform. Most other kits do not include these, and they make cleaning quicker and easier.

Jason showing the Real Avid AR15 Cleaning Kit
My Real Avid AR15 Cleaning Kit

Some examples are the wool star chamber cleaning pads. These are shaped just like the chamber in my AR, making cleaning the grooves much easier.

It also has a specialized bolt carrier brush and a star chamber brush. Instead of using a regular brass or nylon brush that won’t exactly fit, these work perfectly.

The brass scraper makes scraping carbon easier since I don’t have to worry about scratching the metal on my receiver or BCG. The steel cleaning pick is also nice for scraping carbon out of corners.

Jason using the chamber brush on the AR15 kit
The Real Avid chamber brush on one of my AR15s

I really like the case this kit comes in. All the tools snap securely, and the lid folds down to make a kickstand. It sits at the perfect angle on my table, making everything easy to get to.

My only negative is it doesn’t include a jag or a mop. While I can do without it, it is just my personal preference to use a jag when I really want to clean my barrels.

Recommended for:

The Real Avid Gun Boss Pro AR15 cleaning kit is for anyone with an AR15. The specialty tools are great, and the price is even better.

PROS

Affordable

Special AR15 Tools

Kickstand Case

CONS

No Jags or Mop


Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit – Best Portable Gun Cleaning Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit
  • Calibers: .22 to .45 (also comes in Rifle and Shotgun versions)
  • Tools: 13 plus 50 patches
  • MSRP: $19.99

The Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Kit is my favorite kit to keep in my range bag.

All of the tools are secured in a zippered nylon case. It looks like a pouch, but the sides are stiff, making it feel more like a case than a pouch. I like that it is not a hard plastic because it can get pretty rough at the range during a match. I don’t want to worry about cracking a plastic case.

Jason Showing the Real Avid Portable Gun Cleaning Kit
My Real Avid portable handgun cleaning kit

It includes jags and brushes for .22, .357/.38/9mm, .40, and .45. So, no matter what caliber I am shooting at the range that day, I have what I need.

When I am at the range, I like to have a cleaning kit with rods instead of just a bore snake. This is in case I or someone else has a suspected squib. We can use the rod to quickly check the barrel and sometimes remove it if we are lucky. This case has two rods that can screw together to form a nine-inch rod.

Jason Cleaning the barrel of his handgun
Using the jag on my handgun barrel

The case also has a netted section for patches and a small bottle of CLP.  I do have to arrange everything a certain way, though, and I like to keep my bottles in a plastic bag in case they leak.

My only negative is the nylon strap that holds the handle and jags. It is a pain to get them back in after I use them.

Jason showing the inside of the portable case
Getting the jags back in the nylon strip can be tricky

Real Avid also makes this kit for AR15s and Shotguns, so check them out if you need a portable kit for those.

Recommended for:

The Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Kit is for everyone who goes to the range to train. This is an essential item for your range bag.

PROS

Affordable

Durable Case

Multiple Handgun Calibers

Compact

CONS

Nylon Organizer in Case


Gunmaster Pistol Cleaning Kit

Gunmaster Pistol Cleaning Kit
  • Calibers: Dedicated (reviewed 9mm)
  • Tools: 14 plus 25 patches
  • MSRP: $16.50

The Gunmaster pistol cleaning kit is a small, portable, surprisingly affordable kit.

This little kit is the smallest on our list and includes tools many other kits in the same price range do not have.

Jason showing the gunmaster portable cleaning kit
My Gunmaster portable pistol cleaning kit

It is made for a particular caliber. I have the 9mm kit, but there are a lot of other calibers available as well.

It includes a jag, slotted tip, brush, and a bore mop. Most other kits leave one of these out.

It also has a two-piece brass rod and a multi-function handle. The handle has a slot in the center, so I can use it as a pull handle for a bore snake (although a bore snake is not included with this kit.)

What sets it apart is it also has six driver bits. There are two slotted, two Phillips, a hex, and a Torx bit. The handle also doubles as a screwdriver handle.

Jason showing the gun master driver
The driver is unique in this kit

I really like this kit for my range bag or even as one of my bug out bag items. It is compact, multi-functional, and affordable as well.

Jason showing the gunmaster handle with a bore snake
I can use this handle with a bore snake

The only real negative is the plastic case. It is not very durable and could be cracked easily. It does have a rubber base and a decent latch, though, which is nice.

Recommended for:

The Gunmaster pistol cleaning kit is for anyone looking for a compact, caliber-specific gun cleaning kit that is also affordable.

PROS

Compact

Multi-function

Affordable

Includes Jag

CONS

Plastic Case


Hoppe’s Bore Snake

Hoppe’s Bore Snake
  • Calibers: Dedicated (reviewed 9mm)
  • Tools: 1
  • MSRP: $17.95

The Hoppe’s Bore Snake is one of those inventions where you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

If you are not familiar with them, they are basically nylon cords of various thicknesses with an integrated brass brush.

Jason showing his bore snakes
Two of the Bore Snakes that I use

You thread the thin end through your barrel and pull it through. The brass brush is on the front end of the snake, and it loosens up carbon deposits. The rest of the snake is a textured nylon that cleans the bore as I pull it through.

I find that it is the fastest way to clean the bore of my handguns if I clean them at least every 500 rounds.

Bore snakes are also reusable, so you aren’t throwing away a bunch of patches. Eventually, they have to be cleaned, but I find that I can go for quite a while without needing to clean mine.

I would guess I have over 50 cleanings on mine currently, and it still doesn’t look bad.

The only real negative is the price. For a little more, I can get the full real avid multi kit above that includes a similar snake and many other tools. I find that I still need patches and brushes to clean the other parts of my guns anyway, so by the time I buy them it is about the same as the full kit.

Recommended for:

The Hoppe’s Bore Snake is for someone looking for a quick and easy way to clean the bore of their firearms. This is a good add-on to a universal kit.

PROS

Quick and Easy to Use

Cleans Bores Well

Reusable

CONS

Dedicated Calibers

No Other Items Included


Tips for Choosing the Best Gun Cleaning Kit

I have purchased many different gun cleaning kits over the years. In my experience, there are some key things to remember when buying a gun cleaning kit.

I will start with tips on deciding which type pf gun cleaning kit to get.

Types of Gun Cleaning Kits

There are three types of kits: universal, dedicated, and portable. The tips below are when you should consider each.

Jason showing the three types of gun cleaning kits
A universal, dedicated, and two portable kits
  • Firearms that you use: Which type of guns do you use the most? Notice that I said use and not own. I shoot 9mm a lot and find that a dedicated 9mm cleaning kit is what I reach for most of the time.
  • How often you shoot: If you only shoot occasionally and it varies what gun you shoot, then a universal cleaning kit may be all you need.
  • Where you shoot: If you train at a range or shoot competitions, keeping a compact kit in your range bag is a must. While you may not need to clean your gun at the range, you could have a malfunction that a cleaning kit could help with.
  • Emergency Prep: If your emergency preparedness plan includes firearms, a small, dedicated cleaning kit should be a part of your gear.

For me, I find that I need all three types since I shoot a lot.

The universal kit covers all of the guns I have. There are some that I do not shoot very often, but I want to be able to occasionally clean them.

I have dedicated kits for my 9mm and my AR15. I shoot these more than anything else, and a dedicated kit has more tools specific for those guns than my universal kit.

I sometimes train at a range away from home and travel to other ranges for matches and classes, so I keep a dedicated cleaning kit in my range bag.

I also keep a bug-out bag ready to go and have an extra reliable concealed carry gun in it. I have a small dedicated 9mm kit with it as well.

Must-Have Items for My Gun Cleaning Kit

While most kits have cleaning rods, brushes, and slotted tips, there are some items that I prefer to have in my kits.

  • Jags: These tips go on the end of the cleaning rods so that I can push a patch through the barrel. They are sized for each caliber and keep the patch against the inside of the barrel. I like to use these after a brush to push out all the dislodged carbon, lead, and copper. A slotted tip doesn’t do a good job of cleaning and is really just for spreading solvent or gun oil in the barrel.
Jason showing two gun cleaning jags
Jags are a useful part of a gun cleaning kit
  • Flat Brush: Most kits come with bore brushes, but many do not come with flat brushes to clean other areas. I find these are handy around the breach of my handguns where power residue accumulates.
Jason showing gun cleaning brushes
The flat brushes that are included in the Real Avid Multi kit
  • Bore Snake: These are handy for quickly cleaning my barrels, as I mentioned in my review. The one in the Real Avid Multi Kit is my favorite.
Jason showing the Real Avid Bore Boss
My Real Avid Bore Boss
  • Chamber Brush: For my AR15s, cleaning the chamber is a pain, literally. Trying to use a patch with my fingers is no fun. Chamber brushes make it much easier.
Jason showing an AR15 chamber brush
One of my chamber brushes

My Favorite Gun Cleaning Accessories

In addition to my gun cleaning kit, there are a few items that I like to keep on hand.

Jason showing his favorite gun cleaning patches
My favorite gun cleaning patches
  • Brushes: Some kits come with brushes, but a bigger brush is sometimes nice. My favorite is the Champs Double-Ended Gun Cleaning Brushes, and they have lasted me a long time. They have nylon, brass, and copper bristles with a large brush on one end and a small one on the other.
Jason showing his favorite gun cleaning brushes
My favorite brushes
  • Cleaning Mat: While just a towel will do, I really like the Real Avid Smart Mat. It has a magnetic tray on the side for screws or other small parts. It is really helpful when I do a full teardown.
Jason's favorite gun cleaning mat
My favorite gun cleaning mat

Of course, you will need some type of gun-cleaning solvent and oil. For our favorites, see our full review on the Best Gun Cleaner and Lube.


What is the Best Gun Cleaning Kit for You?

If you have a lot of different calibers and don’t shoot very often, the Real Avid Gun Boss Universal Gun Cleaning kit is the best choice.

If you mostly shoot a particular caliber, go with the Real Avid Gun Boss Multi Kit or the Real Avid Gun Boss Pro AR15.

If you train at a range away from home, go for the Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Kit or one of their portable rifle kits.

That is a lot of Real Avid kits, but I have found them to be the best value. They are priced right, and the quality is just as good as higher-priced kits.

Next, be sure to check out our guide on how often to clean a gun to see our recommendations on when to do a quick clean versus a teardown. If you are not following our concealed carry guide, be sure to check it out!

Go Back: Concealed Carry Guide

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Jason has an engineering and problem solving background. He is an avid outdoorsman, survivalist, and competitive shooter. He enjoys researching the best and most practical solutions for the problem at hand, studying stoicism, and finding innovative ways to be prepared.