Solving the perennial problem of keeping firearms clean and functioning across a variety of conditions has resulted in dozens of new products and cleaning kits to hit the market in recent years. Of special concern was keeping autoloaders and semi-autos with rapid rates of fire cycling smoothly.
We had the opportunity to try two newer firearms cleaners over the past several months. Neither was tested on any automatic weapons or any semiautos to the point of malfunction, but both worked well in terms of basic cleaning and subsequent use of the firearms.
Talon Ordnance Eagle Shield CLP and Weapon Cleaner
Talon, a veteran-owned company based in Mississippi, makes firearms and ordnance. Co-founder and CEO Clay Baldwin explained that the company wanted to develop a product that cleaned weapons faster and kept them operating longer without malfunctions.
The nontoxic cleaner has some fine attributes. First, you don't need any metal brushes to clean away carbon and soft metal buildup. Cotton barrel mops, nylon brushes, paper towels or even cotton swabs do the job. Visual indicators tell you if copper or lead are present. The patch or rag turning blue shows copper. Simply clean until you don't see the blue. If the cleaner foams, lead is present. Company officials say to give the foaming action time to work before wiping away the solution.
Carbon adhesion and fouling causes malfunctions, especially in firearms with a high rate of fire. The CLP lubricant binds at the molecular level to the metal, preventing carbon from adhering, reducing friction and heat associated with some malfunctions. Even if the barrel appears dry after applying the lubricant, the protective benefit is still present.
The company has test data and videos, comparing its lubricant to five competitors in both hot and cold scenarios. The CLP lubricant was subjected to a solution that had a temperature of minus 70 degrees, simulating extreme cold weather. Extreme cold can gum up some lubricants, but Eagle Shield did not freeze up. In heat testing, the product was placed in an oven at 480 degrees for 4 hours, simulating conditions experienced over prolonged periods of firing live ammunition. The Eagle Shield seemed to show the least degradation of the products.
The cleaner and lubricant is designed primarily for AR-15/M4-type firearms but works with pistols, semiauto shotguns or other firearms where the action cycles often.
To see more, watch the comparison test videos.
$26.99 for a cleaner/CLP combo kit, plus $5.95 shipping Alpha CLPThe most interesting thing about the Alpha CLP cleaning kit is that it is all plant/vegetable-based. This certainly eases your mind when you’re working with the various components and wondering about absorption of chemicals through your skin or via inhalation.
"The CLP, light oil, and grease are all comprised of the same ingredients just in different formulations," said company owner and founder Greg Solt. "The stripper/cleaner is all naturally derived from common food-grade ingredients. Everything is 100 percent bio-based and nontoxic."
The stripper/cleaner product quickly removes any residual petroleum-based materials from metal surfaces, as well as carbon, dirt and light rust. This prepares it for the application of the CLP. The stripper/cleaner will also affect varnished surfaces and remove wax. A little of both the stripper/cleaner and CLP goes a long way. The stripper/cleaner shouldn’t be left on the firearm for a prolonged period before applying the CLP or light oil.
With the product being vegetable oil-based, I naturally wondered what made this CLP different. What it is that protects the metal afterward? Could I just use any old corn oil or canola oil, for example?
Solt said, "Vegetable oil suspends carbon and oxide salts from lead and copper and keeps carbon from sticking to metal and eliminates the use of solvents. All vegetable oils have compounds in them that causes them to oxidize. Some have so much it will cause combustion — linseed oil, for example.
"We use a combination of vegetable oils that have the lowest amounts of these compounds and use a multistep process that breaks the oxidation. It is a non-gumming, veg-base CLP."
The CLP is a 99 percent USDA certified bio-based product.
Among the other positives Alpha CLP touts are heat and cold resistance, prevention of oxidization and rust on shotguns left in trunks of vehicles due to humidity variances, a long shelf life, and no toxic fumes when the weapons are fired.
An Alpha CLP combo pack sells for $21 and includes a bottle of stripper/cleaner, 1-ounce jar of CLP, clothes, brushes and applicator. A larger kit includes the grease and light oil.
$34, free shipping
Ken Perrotte is a Military Times outdoors writer.