These days gun cleaning kits are a dime a dozen, but there is no doubt every gun owner needs a few reliable kits in his or her safe. The real question is which brand do you trust and how much should you spend on a cleaning kit? After all, you can spend quite a lot on some of the more extensive kits, and you’ll end with plenty of gear that you’ll probably never use. Really you need to ask yourself a couple questions before you decide:
- Do you need an at-home or portable range cleaning kit?
- Will a caliber-specific or universal kit be better for your needs?
- Do you prefer hard case or soft case?
With these three answers in mind, you can start to narrow down your choices. Today we’re going to look at a simple but versatile cleaning kit that could meet all your needs at a friendly price point – the NCSTAR Universal Gun Cleaning Kit.
NCSTAR Universal Gun Cleaning Kit Basics
Since 1997, NCSTAR has produced quality firearm accessories for nearly every platform out there. It only follows that they could create a no-nonsense cleaning kit that will cover 90% of discerning shooters out there. The kit itself is lightweight, compact and easy to use either at the range or around the house. It’s dimensions are about a foot by 7 inches and the case is about 2 inches thick. The case itself is made of aluminum and weighs about a pound and a half. Each bore brush and mop is housed in its own slot just like a ratchet set, and there are two different sets of rods depending on the caliber you’re cleaning.
- Fits .22 caliber to 12 gauge firearms.
- Size – 12in. x 7in. x 2in.
- Two different size rods to accommodate different calibers.
- 10 bore brushes included.
- 5 mop tips included.
- 2 rod adaptors included.
- One pack cloth push patches included.
I tested the NCSTAR Universal Cleaning Kit with two different firearms in my collection – the HK VP9 Pistol and an antique 30-06 lever action. The former is my go-to full sized striker-fired pistol, and the later is a classic cowboy lever-action rifle commemorating the State Of Illinois Sesquicentennial. This provided me the opportunity to switch out different accessories and get a full sense of the universality of the kit.
First and foremost, the organization of the NCSTAR Universal Cleaning Kit is excellent. Everything is tightly arranged, but at the same time everything is easily accessible. You will want to hang onto the included diagram as you learn the location of each attachment. There are two different sized push rods, and depending on your chosen caliber, you may also need to thread the attachment to the rod with an adaptor.
There are three key cleaning elements to this kit, and there’s an attachment for the majority of popular calibers. Let’s touch on each element briefly.
Gun Cleaning Patches
The NCSTAR gun cleaning patches perhaps leave a little bit to be desired, but they get the job done. I’ve used patches with better absorption qualities, but this said, these patches are easy to push so you won’t end up with a patch clogged in the barrel. You can always double up the thin cleaning patches after a substantial period of operation. As expected, your patches will run out well before you stop using this kit.
The bore brushes are well built and stand up to multiple cleanings through each barrel I tested. The screw-on attachment points are easy to use and you’ll get plenty of life out of each brush. Naturally you’ll end up using some attachments more than others, but they perform great for the price point.
The NCSTAR Universal Cleaning Kit mop attachments work great for the final step of barrel cleaning, and I’m surprised at how well they hold up. NCSTAR has designed a simple yet durable option for barrel lubrication, and while they may not last forever, they are easily replaced.
The NCSTAR Universal Cleaning Kit is extensive for its size, but at the same time it is lightweight and easy to pack. It’s certainly not the most extensive kit you’ll see on the market, but for the $19.99 price point, you get a lot of value out of this collection. The NCSTAR kit is well suited for casual to intermediate shooters, and while you can’t fix it to a pack like some MOLLE capable kits, you can certainly slip it into a larger range bag. Those searching for a dedicated range kit may want to add a smaller soft case to match the NCSTAR hard case to cover all their bases.
All the basics are right here, and the hard case will be preferred option for many users. The backbone of the kit, the cleaning rods, are sturdy and easy to use, and I imagine I’ll be turning to this kit for basic cleaning needs for years to come. Pick up one or more of this must-have essential at 1800GunsAndAmmo today.