Not all pistol cleaning kits are created equal.

By David Link

I recently purchased a pistol I had my eye on for a while, the Heckler & Koch VP9. I wanted a full size 9mm I could train with regularly and work on trigger control. My end goal was to get to a place where my accuracy was dead-on reliable, just like my buddy Kip Staton has done with his daily range visits. It’s one thing to be a decent shot, but it’s another thing to have your shooting approach dialed in. Anyway, after waiting some time for the new edition VP9 to ship to my FFL, it finally arrived and I was excited to say the least. Of course, several follow up purchases come shortly after you get that new pistol. I quickly added snap caps, FMJ training rounds, hollow point defense rounds, and spare magazines (no joke for H&K VP9 platforms) among other things. I also wanted to start fresh with a quality cleaning kit, and immediately I thought of Otis Technology.

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Smart Gun Care

Otis has been ahead of the gun care game since they were founded in 1985. The concept is simple – complete gun care tools you can take anywhere. To take a step back, I grew up with my father’s approach to firearm maintenance. He had a large, bulky cleaning kit housed in a heavy plastic snap case. Inside there were heavy cleaning rods with brass brush attachments and the like. It was a nice kit, but how practical or versatile it was for field use was another matter. Needless to say, the kit never rode along to the range with us. Should a firearm need any emergency cleaning at the range, it simply was placed back into the case and we dealt with it at home. Today’s shooters demand something with greater flexibility and an eye for innovation, and Otis Technology has responded with their Breech-To-Muzzle cleaning solutions.

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Otis Defender .38cal/9mm Breech-To-Muzzle®

The Otis Defender series of Breech-To-Muzzle cleaning kits fill two cleaning scenarios in one kit. It can handle a quick passthrough at the range, or it contains all the tools for a breakdown cleaning when you get back home. Perhaps the biggest strength of these kits is the simplicity. Gone are the heavy carrying cases or unnecessary gadgets you never end up using. In its place comes a rugged nylon carrying case that is streamlined for quick field cleaning should you need it. There are even MOLLE attachment points so you can fit it on your range bag or pack for easy access. Inside is everything you need for your firearm maintenance needs. Otis even includes a small tube of its Bio CLP Lubricant and a pack of 100% cotton cleaning patches so you’ll have everything you need for your first few cleaning sessions. As you run out, you can easily restock on Otis Cleaning Patches and Bio CLP Lubricant as needed.

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What’s Included

  • 10″x4″x2″ Black Soft Case w/ MOLLE Attachment
  • Otis Ripcord®
  • Nylon Bore Brush
  • Bronze Bore Brush
  • Bronze Slotted Tip
  • Memory-Flex® Cable
  • Blue Nylon All Purpose Brush
  • 3″ Cotton Patches with insert for Slotted Tip (count
  • 8-32 Thread Solid Rod Set
  • Otis BIO CLP 0.5 Oz. Cleaning Solution

Otis Defender In Use

I tested three elements with the Otis Defender 9mm kit – the Otis Ripcord, Otis Mission Critical MC-10 Cleaner and Lubricant, and the Defender 9mm Breech-To-Muzzle Kit. To be clear, one appropriately-sized Ripcord is included in the Defender Kit. The MC-10 system is sold separately from the Defender kit. That said, I highly recommend all three items. Let’s take a quick look at each element separately.

Otis Defender 9mm Kit

The meat and bones of your cleaning approach, the Defender Kit is easy to use and easy to keep organized. Fully loaded, the Defender only weighs a few pounds. However, there is room to add some extra gear depending on your needs, which is a great bonus in my eyes. For example, I’ve packed the MC-10 spray bottles in my kit alongside the rest of the cleaning gear, and it fits no problem. Otis makes so many individual pieces, that should you need to add a couple items to customize the kit, you’ll have no issues adding them to the case (up to a certain point). You can also remove items you don’t need in the field to save weight and space. It’s easy to pack, even if you don’t mount it via MOLLE attachment, and it features a quality zipper with sizeable, easy to operate zipper pulls.

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As for using the kit, one key element to cover is the Breech-To-Muzzle Memory-Flex Cable with the slotted tip attachment. This item is meant to be used in tandem with the Otis Cotton Cleaning Patches. Otis has a special method for threading the cotton patches in the slotted tip. Each cotton patch has a pre-cut slot where you start the threading process. Once set, you draw a potion of the patch back through the slotted area based on your caliber. Otis has a diagram that likens the place to pinch the patch to a position on the clock. The idea is once threaded correctly, the patch creates a 360 degree cleaning tool you can pull through with the Memory-Flex Cable. The tough part is this process takes some time to complete properly. If you set the patch incorrectly, it will be too large for your barrel and may get stuck. In theory the process is a great idea, but I think it’s fair to note most users will need some time before they nail the approach. The good news is you have the Ripcord as a quick alternative while you practice your patch threading skills.

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The Otis Defender .38cal/9mm Cleaning Kit retails for $69.99.

Otis Ripcord

While using the Memory-Flex cable takes some getting used to, the Otis Ripcord is by far my favorite cleaning tool in the kit. This thing is so simple and easy to use, it’ll have you doing quick cleaning passthroughs in the field like it’s a side hobby. There’s really not much to cover here aside from the fact it works so easily. The Ripcord has a thinner diameter on the ends of the cord, and the middle is sized to snuggly pass through the barrel with just the right amount of friction. One quick pull with lubricant and you’re good to go! You can add attachments to the Ripcord ends when needed as well, and it’s 700 F temperature resistance ensures it won’t warp or melt during use.

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The Otis Ripcord retails for just over $10 depending on your model. The .38cal/9mm Otis Ripcord is available on 1800GunsAndAmmo for $10.29.

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Otis MC-10

As if there wasn’t enough to cover in the Defender Kit alone, now we enter a whole new realm of cleaning lubricant in the Mission Critical MC-10 Cleaner and Lubricant System. This lubricant system is a cut above your normal gun oil, and it originates from aerospace lubricant technology. The lubricant is safe for use in temperatures between -65 and 650 F degrees. It’s nice to know your lubricant won’t freeze or burn no matter the environment, especially at this price point. Better yet, the MC-10 lubricant pushes debris embedded deep within your gun out to create ultra-smooth performance. The two spray bottle system is a nice upgrade from normal gun oil tubes, and as I mentioned above, it will fit in your Defender kit no problem. I’m excited to see how my VP9 performs over time as the MC-10 Lubricant system is the only one I’ve used in it. I’m planning a follow up article once I’ve had more range time with it.

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The Otis MC-10 Cleaning And Lubricant System retails for $29.99.

Final Thoughts

As a closing thought, I always think it’s worth noting where your gear comes from. Otis products are Made In The USA, which is always good to hear. Better yet, Otis products are competitively priced (you can get all three items in this article for just around $90). Why would you go with that bulky, antiquated cleaning kit from a big box outdoor store when you can get a kit from a company that is pushing gun cleaning technology? Really it’s a no brainer in my opinion. This is why I started out with the Otis Defender Cleaning Kit and Otis MC-10 Cleaner and Lubricant System for my new H&K VP9. For your new or existing firearm setup, I recommend you do the same.