When it comes to finding the best pistol cleaning kit you need to keep in mind the caliber and model of handgun you own. Most universal gun cleaning kits usually have the essential cleaning supplies required for a pistol or handgun. However, when you look for a pistol specific cleaning kit, you get everything required to clean your pistol correctly.
Therefore, we have broken down the best pistol cleaning kits to make it easier to find exactly the kit for your make, model, and caliber.
Most Popular Handgun Calibers –
When it comes to pistols and revolvers there are quite a few different makes and models. Usually, with each manufacturer making countless caliber sizes as well. Therefore, we comprised and polled the most popular calibers for our list of the best pistol cleaning kit for each of the following calibers.
- .40 S&W
- .45 ACP
If you’re interested in the learning the best pistol caliber size and the details around each one scroll to the lower section of this article.
Best Pistol Cleaning Kit For .22 Long Rifle –
Hoppe’s is known for their reputation for making some of the best solvents and gun cleaning products. Along with those products comes their line of gun cleaning kits, and their .22LR kit has the essentials. Thanks to Hoppe’s and their production team for putting together a simple yet comprehensive little 9mm gun cleaning kit. Many cleaning kits on the market offer either the cleaning products or the equipment to clean your gun. However, with this kit it comes with the best of both worlds, cleaning supplies and tools.
As one of the most affordable kits on the market for a .22LR it’s hard not to rank the Hoppe’s No. 9 kit as our best pistol cleaning kit for .22LR. Included in the kit you receive two solvents. First is the No. 9 gun bore cleaner, which is one of the best selling bore cleaners on the market. Hoppe’s has been around for over 100 years making the bore cleaner, they have the process down to a science. The second solvent is the No. 9 gun cleaner lubricant. As the number one pick for best gun cleaner lubricant. It features the best chemicals to make sure your .22LR handgun is properly oiled. Also included in the kit is Hoppe’s No. 9 aluminum cleaning rod and .22 caliber brush. Combined they give you the scrubbing power to deep clean your handgun, whether it’s a semi-auto or revolver. Lastly, included in the kit are patches to help clean out the core of your pistol. For such a low cost, you get everything needed to clean your pistol.
Top .22 LR Accessory – Real Avid Boresnake
- If you’re looking for an easy way to clean the inside bore of your .22LR grab the single pass cleaning solution from Real Avid. Made to scrub and brush the barrel of any size .22 LR pistol. The container serves as an ergonomic handle to help pull the bore snake through your barrel.
- The bore snake is compact and great for easy cleaning and it pairs well with Hoppe’s No. 9 pistol kit.
Best Pistol Cleaning Kit For .380 Caliber Pistol –
Real Avid manufactures an extensive variety of products. At Guns Cleaner we have used everything from their boresnakes to their cleaning mats. Real Avid creates some of the highest quality products we have ever used. They spend a lot of time manufacturing their products with high-quality materials. They also ensure their products have multiple uses, making them a great value. Also, every kit is designed with compact and organization in mind. Therefore, every tool and piece has a slot or spot to keep it organized. This helps to prevent every losing a tool or attachment.
Designed around a compact soft carrying case. The Real Avid .380 cleaning kit is designed to hold and secure everything needed to clean your .380 caliber pistol. all you need to grab is the best gun cleaning solvent. Therefore, as you unzip the carrying case you get a two-piece rod system. That has a swivel tip that combines to form a 9″ pistol cleaning rod. the T-handle is very comfortable to use and won’t break or crack when dropped. Unlike so many other cheap pistol cleaning kits. Next, you’ll see a Phosphor Bronze brush that is designed for .380 caliber pistols. We found the brush to be heavy duty and it durable enough to scrub out the barrel. Yet never too abrasive where it scratched the bore. Most kits stop there and don’t offer the jags and slotted jags to help clean the bore well. Not the Real Avid pistol kit. It includes .380 red nylon jags to help scrub your barrel with the included 50 gun cleaning patches. Looking at the kit it’s hard to believe they can fit the patches inside the kit. However, the carrying case has netted holders to carry them. Therefore, giving you a great range cleaning kit to take with you when target shooting. Overall the kit is well designed and was extremely durable as we cleaned .380 caliber pistols. If you’re looking for a kit that can do it all, this kit has the capabilities.
Top .380Caliber Accessory – Real Avid Boresnake
- If you’re looking for an easy way to clean the inside bore of your .380 pistol grab the single pass cleaning solution from Real Avid. Made to scrub and brush the barrel of any size .380 caliber pistol. The container serves as an ergonomic handle to help pull the bore snake through your barrel.
- The bore snake is compact and great for easy cleaning and it pairs well with the best pistol cleaning kit.
Best Pistol Cleaning Kit For 9mm Caliber Pistol –
When it comes to the best pistol cleaning kit for 9mm caliber handguns. There are plenty of cleaning kits, however, none of them stand out like the Hoppe’s No. 9 9mm cleaning kit. Since Hoppe’s is known for supplying some of the top rated solvents and cleaners. You can expect to have them included in this kit. So many 9mm cleaning kits just offer the tools to clean. Not the Hoppe’s kit, you’ll receive everything necessary to get your 9mm cleaned and oiled.
The kit offers their solvent and lubrication oil. Giving you the essentials for cleaning your pistol. As for the tools included, Hoppe’s offers their Aluminum cleaning rod that is used as the main tool to clean, oil and lubricate your barrel. The rod is a common solid aluminum design where one side is threaded allowing for the three universal attachments to connect. Whereas the other side of the rod is a solid set handle, giving you something to grab on to as you clean your barrel. Since Hoppe’s offers such a nice kit I’ve used this one as my travel kit, everything that comes with the kit fits in their storage box. Therefore, preventing me from forgetting my solvents or cleaning tools. This makes the Hoppe’s gun cleaning kit a perfect kit to bring to the range.
Top 9mm Caliber Accessory – Hoppes Viper Boresnake
- One of the best and fastest ways to clean a 9mm barrel is to use a Viper Boresnake. The reusable and washable boresnake can quickly brush, oil, and lubricate the bore with a swift pull of the boresnake.
- With a built-in bore guide, you don’t have to worry about ruining your bore or damaging the rifling.
Best Pistol Cleaning Kit For .40 S&W Caliber Pistol –
Located in Pinehurst, North Carolina Tac Shield Proven Gear Cleaning kits makes the best pistol cleaning kit for .40 S&W caliber handguns. Even though .40 is a popular handgun caliber, it seems like the cleaning kits specifically designed for them are hard to find. .40 Caliber is commonly overlooked. However, thanks to Tac Shield, they have created a very affordable robust kit to help clean any .40 caliber handguns make or model.
As you can see the Tac Shield kit offers a fantastic carrying case. Lightweight and compact it’s easy to fit in your safe or range bag. Made of heavy duty plastic the case is designed to hold the following contents and keep them organized. First off the kit includes two brass rods. Most cleaning kits use aluminum cleaning rods as they are inexpensive and still a softer metal than steel. However, a brass rod is much less likely to scratch the bore of your gun when cleaning, it’s also higher quality when it comes to strength. The kit also includes one scrubbing brush to remove heavy metals and carbon build up. We found that the brush was made of top quality bristles and none fell off when we used it. Additionally, you’ll find a mop to help polish and clean out your .40 caliber bore. When most kits that we had stopped here for tools. The Tac Shield kept going and offered additional tools. As you can see in the image, the kit even included a brass jag. Most jags offered are usually plastic and have a high rate of breaking. With a brass jag, they are stronger, yet they won’t damage your barrel. The .40 Caliber kit also includes one plastic slotted jag for pushing the included 25 cleaning patches through. As you tell this kit has everything you need to clean your firearm.
Above The Rest –
Tac Shield goes above and beyond as it even includes a multi-function handle that can convert into a driver with the six included driver bits. From flat head to Phillips, to even a hex bit, you’ll have everything you need to disassemble your pistols as well. Overall, this is the best pistol cleaning kit for .40 caliber handguns. Nothing else had the number of tools, and nothing could match the price or even come close.
Top .40 Caliber Accessory – Real Avid Boresnake
- One of the best and fastest ways to clean a .40 caliber barrel is to use a Boresnake. The reusable and washable boresnake can quickly brush, oil, and lubricate the bore with a swift pull of the boresnake.
- With built-in bristles, you don’t have to worry about ruining your bore or damaging the rifling. Plus the carrying case serves as an ergonomic carrying case.
Best Pistol Cleaning Kit For .45 Caliber Pistol –
Since you are already familiar with the Real Avid Handgun gun cleaning kit. We don’t need to get into too much detail about Real Avid other than they create some high-quality products. The Real Avid Boss Pro goes above and beyond when it comes to the cleaning rod handle. Nothing on the market can compete or even has the same features. Making it a little easier when cleaning and swabbing with the Real Avid kit. The handle is non-slip and provides you with the capabilities to use it as a punch, take down tool, and cleaning rod handle. The boss pro is one of the best pistol cleaning kits for .45 caliber handguns.
The kit isn’t as small as their other one, but they still offer a polycarbonate case that’s shatter-resistant and waterproof. This kit really comes with a lot of tools and cleaning supplies considering the low cost of the kit. Included you’ll have a 12.5″ brass gun cleaning rod that is durable and a little longer than most. Therefore, giving you the ability to clean small compacts, all the way up to full-size handguns. The brass rod included is a two-piece design so in the event you are cleaning a compact you can keep the rod smaller. When it comes to the attachments Real Avid’s kit has the .45 caliber brush and plastic jag. The brush is made of a high-quality phosphor bronze material. This helps to scrub the heavy metals and carbon build up. However, it isn’t too abrasive where it scratches the inside of the barrel when cleaning. Also included is a slotted tip that you can use with the 25 included cleaning patches for bore cleaning and lubricating. Even though the case looks small everything fits into the well-organized plastic molded carrying case. The Boss Pro offers so much high-quality parts and tools to help get your pistol cleaned. This makes it the best pistol cleaning kit for .45 caliber handguns. The cost is affordable and it gives you the ability to perform a deep clean on any make or model. All you need is the best CLP or gun cleaning solvent to get the job done.
Top .45 Caliber Accessory – Hoppe’s Boresnake
- One of the best and fastest ways to clean a .45 barrel is to use a Boresnake. It won’t clean as deep as a cleaning rod. However, if you’re in the field or at the range a bore snake is the perfect tool for pistols. I tend to use one as a quick clean when I know I’ll be shooting my gun in the next week.
- The best thing is that you don’t have to disassemble your handgun to clean out the barrel as it can flex and make its way into your barrel with no takedown.
5 Of The Most Common Calibers –
When we refer to caliber, we are referring to the diameter of the bullet in either inches or millimeters (mm). If mm doesn’t follow the caliber of the bullet, then it’s measured in inches. To help understand the claiber size and what it means we first need to go over a few common definitions.
- Velocity – The speed in feet/sec a bullet exists a pistol’s barrel.
- Energy – Measured in Joules (j), this is the ballistics damage or stopping power of a bullet.
- Bullet Weight – The weight of a bullet is measured in grams (gr)
Now that we have an understanding of those common definitions it will help to learn the differences between the top 5 most common pistol caliber sizes. Once you know the caliber size and specifics around it. It can help you determine the caliber handgun to buy. Some handguns are used for occupation, self-defense, target shooting, competition, or predator control. Therefore, the various caliber sizes can you select your top application for it.
.22 LR (Long Rifle )
- .22LR is one of the most common rounds on the market. It’s also one of the smallest, at about the size of a quarter it’s very tiny. However, it still has a lot of stopping power, and it’s one of the most affordable rounds to target shoot.
- Unlike most pistol caliber bullets. The .22LR is a rimfire round instead of a centerfire. What that means is instead of the gun’s firing pin hitting the center of the back of the bullet. It hits the side of it igniting the primer and gun powder.
- .22LR have very low recoil for handguns and rifles. Therefore, they are used for light target practice and varmint control. They are even used in the Olympics by biathletes.
- Even though the caliber is one of the smallest. It’s still very deadly and is still used for concealed carry weapons.
- Velocity – 1200-1600 ft/s
- Energy – 140-160 J
- Bullet Weight – 30-40 gr
- Another small round is the .380 or “three-eight” (auto colt pistol). It was introduced in the early 1900’s by Colt for their hammerless semi-auto. It quickly became a popular self-defense round. Reason being is that the round was small, but packed a lot more energy than the .22LR.
- There has been some debate about the effectiveness of the caliber round. However, it’s easily one of the most common rounds for handguns and pistols.
- Velocity – 1000 ft/s
- Energy – 275 J
- Bullet Weight – 90-95 gr
- The next most common round is the 9mm. When it comes to police forces and even the military. The 9mm is one of the most common rounds issued and carried. The largest reason behind the 9mm’s use is the magazine capacity in a full-size handgun and the stopping power.
- 9mm’s are one of the most carried self-defense caliber weapons as they rounds are compact, and have high energy stopping power.
- The rounds are very affordable, therefore, nearly every manufacturer has a 9mm chambered handgun in various sizes. From full size to compacts, 9mm’s are a very popular caliber.
- Velocity – 1000-1300 ft/s
- Energy – 500-600 J
- Bullet Weight – 115-147 gr
.40 S&W Caliber
- Once the caliber size gets above 9mm, you get into larger caliber handgun bullets. The most popular is the .40 S&W (Smith & Wesson) which has more recoil than the 9mm. However, a little less energy than a 10mm. The .40 S&W round was originally designed for local and federal law enforcement agencies. The idea was to offer the performance of the 10mm with a reduced velocity.
- The .40 S&W round is a fairly newer round making its debut in 1990. Some of the first guns manufacture for the round were Glock and Smith & Wesson.
- The caliber is a popular concealed carry round as it packs a punch. However, since the rounds are larger than the 9mm. Magazine sizes tend to be a bullet or two less when carrying.
- Velocity – 1000-1200 ft/s
- Energy – 575-650 J
- Bullet Weight – 155-180 gr
.45 ACP Caliber
- The last most common round and the largest is the .45. The .45 is most commonly associated with the historic 1911 pistol. The “forty-five” (Auto Colt Pistol) has some of the best stopping power when it comes to energy and ballistics damage.
- The largest drawback is the recoil a .45 as compared to a 9mm. However, with a solid 1911 pistol, you’ll be surprised that with bullet technology recoils have decreased. Since the bullet caliber is much heavier it actually has a slower velocity than a 9mm or .40 S&W. Which is another reason why at times it can feel like it has a lower recoil.
- .45 caliber compact handguns are still very popular for self-defense purposes. Some people want the added stopping power. However, the largest drawback is the number of rounds you can put in one magazine.
- Velocity – 900-1000 ft/s
- Energy – 500-700 J
- Bullet Weight – 230 gr