It's a common thing for people to ask me, via email on the YouTube channel or while attending classes with me, about different cleaning products for their firearms. Typically the way this question is phrased is "what's the best product out there for cleaning my gun?"...to put it simply, I don't know of the best product, but I do have a few that shine above others. Recently two of the "shining" products that have found a home in my range bag are Breakthrough Cleaning Solvent and Snake Oil Prime lube...and here's why.
Usually the cleaning process for my weapons is not only a rare occurance, but also one that I like to do quickly and move on. I live by the rule that if a gun can't function reliably when it's dirty (sand, snow, mud, or residue from shooting) I don't want to trust my life to it as a self defense tool. I'd rather find out on the training range that my gun won't cycle than find out the hard way - when I need it. Along with this, I'd rather be training with my weapon than spending long periods of time cleaning it. That being said, these guns, no matter what the price range, are investments that most people want to protect and preserve. Living on this philosophy has always led me towards one-step cleaner/lubricants and that has never been an issue. But the fact of the matter is, an all-in-one cleaner/lubricant is trying to do the best of each solvent, and there is typically some sacrifices. Although these sacrifices are not a deterrent for me, I wanted to look around for stand-alone cleaner and lube and see if I was missing out on anything. It was ironically around this time that two companies asked me if I'd test and review their products; Breakthough's cleaning solvent and Allstar Tactical's Snake Oil Prime lube...I happily agreed to test both.
Breakthrough Military Grade Weapon Cleaning Solvent
Some of my initial impressions of Breakthrough's solvent were very good and I actually had high expectations for it's performance. Some of the selling points of the cleaner, for me, were it is non-flammable, does not freeze, pH neutral, and almost entirely odorless. Having a cleaning solvent that does not freeze is particularly important in my here in my area, Wisconsin, for several months of the year. Also, the fact that there is no odor to Breakthrough solvent is nice, not only for myself, but I'm sure plenty of gun owners out there don't want their cologne of choice to be RemOil, Hoppe's 9, etc.
Breakthrough Weapon Cleaner is new to the civilian market, coming over from military use as a cleaning product for their full auto SAWs, 240 Bravos, and the like. My expectations were high and I thought "if this stuff can clean a full auto, tore-up-from-the-floor-up military gun that's subject to every harsh condition on the planet, it sure better do wonders to my Sig P229." It's safe to say that the Breakthrough solvent did just that, wonders, to not only my P229, but my Sig P226 TacOps and my AR-15 pistol as well...all of which were dirty enough to make most gun owners cringe.
After cleaning the gunk out of my P229, I inspected every inch of the gun that had been cleaned and found it to be spotless. I though "ok, so this stuff can clean a dirty gun, is it actually that great though?". This thought led me to a test on the next two guns. The combined round count since the previous cleanings to my 226 TacOps and AR pistol was around 2,000 - they were pretty dirty. I decided to try another cleaning product on the second Sig first, and then run Breakthrough's cleaner over it, just to see if it could pick up more sludge left behind. I began a very thorough cleaning job on the gun, making sure I could get as much residue off the TacOps as possible, making it more difficult (so I thought) for the Breakthrough to be able to perform. After completeing the first wave of cleaning with the first brand of cleaner, I grabbed the Breakthrough bottle and went to town. The results were incredible! More black sludge, gun powder residue, and gunk came out of that gun than I could imagine. And when I say "it came out", it RAN out of the gun like black water, or oil, that drips freely and easily from the metal surfaces. Very impressive!
Allstar Tactical Snake Oil Prime Lube
To compliment my freshly cleaned weapons with a quality, long lasting lubricant, I grabbed my bottle of Snake Oil Prime lube. Allstar Tactical sent this to me asking for my opinion and possibly to help spread the word on it's performance. Mind you, Tactiholics™ is not a marketing/advertising company for manufacturers, we are an honest, real-world testing and reviewing company. That being said, if I hadn't liked Allstar's Snake Oil Prime, I wouldn't have promoted it, nor would I have made an article or video bashing it. I simply would have left it alone and given my feedback to Mike Centola, the company's owner.
I dropped the grey, runny liquid of Snake Oil Prime onto the frame rails of the P229, and put a small drop onto the guide rod before reassembling the gun. One thing I noticed right away about Allstar Tactical's lube is that it's very runny compared to what I'm used to. This was surprising at first, but thinking back to the all-in-one cleaner/lubes I have typically used, they feel more like a paste. Once the slide was back on the frame, I cycled it a few times and rolled the weapon from side to side to help move the lube around inside the gun. As I did this, I got a bit of "leaking" from the frame rails, as some excess Snake Oil Prime seeped out from under the slide. This is normal, and quite possible I put too much lube on the gun, so I simply wiped it off, loaded and holstered the gun, and headed for the range.
As I was setting up my target stands at the range I began to wonder how messy the gun, or I, might get as I shot. This thought was prompted from my previous mentioning of lube seeping around on the rails of the gun. Granted, I had wiped off all the excess lube (and I am not one to over-apply cleaning products), but in the back of my head I could still invision my arms and face speckled with grey gun lube - great visual - that may fly around as I shoot. After taking a few shots, I inspected the exterior of the gun as well as myself - no mess to speak of, so I continued to shoot.
Examining the Aftermath
By the end of my shooting that day, I had shot around 150 rounds; this is not a high round count but it was still bullets through the gun, and part of my overall test. I was shooting a relatively dirty, 115 grain, FMJ 9mm, a brand I typically shoot, and expected to see some residue on the gun even after such a humble round count. I opened the Sig P229 and examined the internals...it looked like I had just finished cleaning it. Once again, impressive. The only sign that the gun had been shot since it's cleaning was powder residue on the outside of the slide, near the muzzle, where I did not clean. I wipe down the exterior of the guns when cleaning, but I do not like putting oils or lubes on the outside, as they attract dust and dirt faster than a dry surface. Using this same theory inside the gun, however, I expected the lubed surfaces to have caught some powder, dust particles, something, yet I found nothing.
Since this test began, I have yet to reapply or clean any of these weapons. All of them are still running flawlessly, and still seem to have a good, "lubricated" feel to them (not dried up, scraping metal sounds, etc). Each gun mentioned in this artice has approximately 750-1,000 rounds through it, and there is obviously some dirty building up inside the barrels, slides, bolt carrier, and so forth. I can easily say that none of them are dirty enough to clean again yet, by my standards, and when that time comes, I will be using Breakthrough Cleaning Solvent and Allstar Tactical Snake Oil Prime. These are quite possibly the best stand-alone cleaners and lubricants I have used. I will not discount, or entirely stop using, my preferred all-in-one cleaner/lubes either, but I have switched to keeping that product in my range bag as a "spur of the moment" cleaner, or an option for when time is more critical. The combination of Breakthrough cleaner and Snake Oil Prime will most likely be my go-to for the rare, yet very thorough, cleaning process when time is limitless and the guns really need to be scrubbed.
I recommend you check these options out, and treat your weapons with some outstanding, high performance cleaning products.
Breakthrough Weapon Cleaning Solvent and Allstar Tactical Snake Oil Prime are a perfect compliment to each other. You might even say they go together like peanut butter and jelly.
...we never quit!