Do you have a gun cleaning ritual? Do you look forward to cleaning your guns after you go to the shooting range? For most gun owners, the cleaning part can be half the fun! We almost universally have fond memories of our dads teaching us the proper way to clean and care for guns. The little cleaning brushes and swabs, the smells of Hoppe’s and Ballistol. The classic rock playing in the background. It’s the kind of thing I can’t wait to teach my daughters when they’re old enough.
But what if you don’t have the time for that ritual? What if shooting and cleaning guns is part of your business? What if you need to train people to clean guns quickly and thoroughly? Or maybe you just don’t find cleaning guns to be enjoyable. Well maybe I can help you out, because when things become a chore for me, I do my best to find a solution.
If you’ve read my other blog posts, you’re probably confused. Why do I now seem to be so concerned with cleaning guns? Didn’t I say I fire thousands of rounds in between cleanings? Yep, that’s what I used to do. I didn’t have any of the fondness for cleaning Bullet Bouquets’ Glocks as I do for my non-business guns. There was no ritual and no fun. It was just work. My Glocks are simple business tools, and repetitive cleaning tasks just irritate my personality type.
So I started experimenting with different techniques and chemicals. I needed something that was easy, fast, effective, affordable, and non-toxic. Chemicals like Ballistol and Hoppe’s are decent cleaners, but they’re very expensive. Other chemicals like denatured alcohol or acetone either have trouble removing certain types of deposits, or they destroy plastic parts or parkerized/blued parts. After quite a bit of searching online, I decided to try a few different products, from Simple Green, to household cleaners. After a bunch of testing, there was a very clear and exceptional winner: CRC Brakleen Non-Chlorinated, the one in the green can.
And boy, does Brakleen Green ever get the job done. It checks every single box. It comes in an aerosol can, with the red extender tube, so it easily gets into the tiniest spots just as competently as the widest areas. It cleans faster and more thoroughly than Hoppe’s, powering through caked-on deposits with very little scrubbing. It’s cheap, costing just a few dollars per can. It’s available at Walmart and every automotive store. Most importantly, it doesn’t damage Glock plastic parts like triggers and frames. And finally, it evaporates quickly, leaves little to no residue, and is safe enough that occasional skin contact isn’t an issue (although I wouldn’t make a habit of it).
I was surprised that much of the carbon deposits don’t even need to be scrubbed to be removed. Simply the spray and a little rubbing with a paper towel renders parts squeaky clean. Post-shooting cleanup sessions have become a quick disassembly, spray down, wipe off, reassembly process that takes only a fraction of the time.
Now for the disclaimers. Brakleen green does a remarkable job of degreasing and cleaning carbon deposits, but it can leave a hazy residue on parts. If you’re concerned about that, you can wipe it off, but it may mean further disassembly to get to tight areas. Also, I wouldn’t trust Brakleen Green on any sensitive finishes (like bluing, rubber parts, or wooden parts) unless I had first carefully tested it on a hidden area.
For me and my business, Brakleen Green has changed things. What used to be a real chore has become a quick process. It’s also become a serious alternative cleaning method for my more rugged, dirtier guns (AR-15 lowers and BCGs come to mind). It doesn’t smell as wonderful as Hoppe’s or Ballistol, and it probably won’t be the method I teach to my daughters (at least not at first), but it’s definitely a valid shortcut that I love sharing with friends. Happy shooting!