For a new shooter, buying a complete gun cleaning kit makes a lot of sense. Assembled into one package are all of the components he or she might need to clean and maintain that new firearm.
Long-time shooters will often assemble larger kits filled with specialized tools, jags and brushes. But for someone starting out, all of the extras can be a little overwhelming. So, I decided to do a pistol cleaning kit review to see exactly what a new shooter might find, and if the kits are complete.
I went to an Academy Sports + Outdoors store near my father’s home to pick up a kit. This Academy had a nice selection of cleaning supplies, including several different pistol, shotgun and rifle kits. A fan of Hoppe’s solvents, I selected a Hoppe’s pistol cleaning kit.
The kit did not come with a bore brush, so I grabbed one of those as well.
After getting home, I examined the contents and here is what I found…
This is a single piece rod made of inexpensive aluminum with a black plastic T-style grip. The rod did not smoothly rotate in the grip, and the rod felt very cheap. The end of the rod was threaded for the adding of tips or extension rods. Since this is a pistol kit, no extension rods were included. I imagine a rifle or shotgun kit would have extensions included.
Rod End Accessories
Four end accessories are included: a slotted end and three different sized jags. The jags are made of plastic. Relatively large sprue pieces were left on these accessories.
A small quantity of cloth patches are included in the kit, but not very many. The kit included two sizes: tiny and average. Depending on how you clean your guns, a shooter probably has enough patches for three or four cleanings.
The Hoppe’s pistol cleaning kit includes a small bottle of the famous No. 9 bore solvent. The bottle holds two fluid ounces of the solvent. As far as I could tell, this is the exact same solvent as the bore cleaner I buy in the jumbo 32 ounce bottle. There are probably more aggressive cleaners on the market, but I have always found No. 9 to work fine for me.
A 2.25 fluid ounce bottle of Hoppe’s lubricating oil is also included in the kit. I’ve never used the Hoppe’s oil extensively, but it seems to work fine. It seems a little thinner than some other oils, but that doesn’t mean that it is bad. The American Gun Oil I reviewed also seemed thin, but my guns ran fine using it.
The pistol cleaning kit comes in a black plastic storage box. It is designed to hold all of the contents, and there is a little more room for a few other small things such as the bore brush I purchased. The box is made of relatively thin plastic and has a cheap feel to it. The insert that holds all of the kit pieces is very thin and would not likely stand up to any abuse.
Fortunately, the kit is pretty complete. My kit did not come with a bore brush, but that was marked on the exterior of the package. Other kits on display included brushes, so this was not a problem.
I would suggest a nylon brush to go with any cleaning kit to help scrub various parts of the gun that have a build up of grime. While this is not an absolute “must have,” I’ve always found them to be helpful.
There are a variety of other tools I like to have, but for a basic cleaning kit, the Hoppe’s pistol cleaning kit is pretty much ready as-is.
My thought was that this Hoppe’s cleaning kit was a restricted budget item, and the quality of the contents tends to support that thinking. The essentials are included, but they are not fancy. A shooter will need to pick up more cloth patches in short order, but the amount of solvent and oil should last for at least 20 cleanings. Heck, the oil should last even longer than that.
If you are just starting out with shooting, this isn’t a bad place to start for a cleaning kit. If you have the money and want to buy a kit rather than assemble your own, I’d suggest looking at one of Hoppe’s more expensive kits. Also consider the Remington Squeeg-E cleaning kit that we previously reviewed, or one of the very nice and American made J Dewey cleaning kits.