1,2,3,4… I Declare a Gun Lube War


The Slip 2000 and Militec products do a fine job for Tom in his hot and humid environment.

Like all those “Housewives of Toad Suck, Arkansas” reality TV shows, capitalism is subject to the immutable and universal laws of unintended consequences.

Take the gun lube market, for instance. We all need it, and presumably, there’s always room for a better mouse grease trap. So, in theory, I have no real problem with the onslaught of miracle gun lube products.

Entrepreneurs everywhere have figured out you can package stuff auto repair shops purchase by pallet-loads of 55-gallon drums into teeny, tiny, plastic bottles with eyedropper attachments and charge a per-ounce price equivalent to platinum, and, these days, gasoline. It is not unusual for a container small enough to legally carry on an airplane to cost $15, $25 or even $40. If a container won’t cause anxiety and suffering among TSA agents, it’s small indeed.

Gunzilla seems to “dry” after application, so Tom has good luck with it for his safe queens.

Edible Oils?

Naturally, if you’re going to enter the crowded gun lube market, you need to differentiate your product. Some companies have accepted this challenge with a plethora of assorted colors. Others appear to be chasing the kindergarten arts supplies market by hawking various smells and flavors. Orange-flavored gun lube? Sure. Cotton Candy? Mango Tart with essence of Passion Fruit? Lime green bubble gum? We’ve seen it all. Some companies actually brag about the human-digestible attributes of their firearm ointments.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t much care for edible gun oil or lilac fragrance on my 1911s. There are better ways to sate my sugar cravings and make the house smell less like dogs.

The Evaluation Challenge

Here’s my theory on why some of this nonsense continues and thrives.

It’s logistically near impossible to evaluate gun lubes properly.

To know if a gun lube lives up to its marketing hype, you’ve got to use it for a long time under a wide variety of abusive but controlled conditions. You’ll want to slather it on a safe queen, let it sit for a year, then see if it gooped up on you. You’ll want to lube a pistol on day one of a Gunsite 250 class, run that sucker all week in 120-degree dry and sandy conditions, and make sure your gun works flawlessly for the Friday afternoon shoot-off. You’ll want to carry it in a holster all day in a 15-below ice storm, then try to shoot it before you pack it in for the evening. Oh, don’t forget to check rust preventative and preservative qualities. Leave a gun in your garage all summer to see what happens.

To know if a lube is worth its slick reputation, you’ve got to invest much energy and time. Most people slap some on their gun, head to the range a couple of times, and call it good should things run satisfactorily.

I’ll bet you a sammich I could secretly swap out most people’s gun lube with
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and they wouldn’t know the difference. This
Springfield Ronin EMP runs just fine with it. To be clear, this is not recommended.

Fabio’s Recommendation

Let’s get real. Many of us could successfully use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter as a gun lube. If you’re one of those who cleans and re-lubes after every range visit, Fabio might serve you reliably forever. Heck, you’ll even get the side benefit of making your range smell like fresh-toasted English muffins.

I ran a pistol on I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and it worked just fine, although everyone on the firing line asked for popcorn. Just in case it needs saying, this is not recommended.

Home Ec Solutions

We’ve heard all the buddy recommendations. “I’ve used 3-in-One forever, and it works just fine!” Or perhaps, “I’m not gonna spend my hard-earned money on expensive gun oils. I use Mobil 1.”

Then there’s the great canola oil controversy. Because the players involved went all lawsuit happy, we’re not mentioning any names. Still, a certain person or persons tested a certain gun lube in a lab and speculated it was made entirely or at least primarily from canola oil. Was (is) it? I have no idea; my expertise is limited to fake margarine products.

If you go the home ec route, just consider a couple of things. Non-gun oils like 3-in-One and WD-40 aren’t designed for the abusive, hot and fiery environment inside a gun. Check the flash and fire points of your creative solutions. A gun can easily reach 200 to 400 degrees inside and that’s not counting full-auto happy switch mode. If your home lube is burning up quickly, it’s creating fouling and not being very slippery.

Motor oil makes a great “keep those parts moving” lube solution, especially the newer synthetics. It also works pretty dandily in hot environments. What it doesn’t do so well is protect against rust and corrosion. Your gun might work just peachy until it rusts together.

My Go-Tos …

I use a variety of slippery stuff. For safe queens likely to sit for extended periods, I tend to grab the Gunzilla. It “dries” after application but retains protectant and lubricant qualities, so there is no goop after extended sitting.

For daily carry, when I’m gonna be cleaning and re-lubing on a somewhat regular basis, I often use either Militec (slipperier than Chuck Schumer) or the Slip 2000 EWL products. Both work wonderfully in my hot and humid conditions.

Always in my range bag is a container of Hoppes Gun Medic. This stuff is designed for “emergency use” when a gun stops working mid-outing due to filth. Just squirt it in the action and function resumes ’til you get home for a thorough cleaning.

There’s nothing wrong with loving your lube of choice and plenty of good ones are out there. Just remember, a frequently re-lubed gun will run on most anything — even margarine.

For more info: Slip2000.com, Militec-1.com, Hoppes.com, Superzilla.us

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