April 19th, 2018 by AmSJ Staff

Looking for a perfect all-in-one gun cleaning kit?

Bad news…there isn’t one.

All Gun Cleaning Kits
All Gun Cleaning Kits

But we’ll help you get the best one for your end-use…and suggest some standalone products to truly make your kit perfect.

I’ve used a bunch of cleaning kits throughout the years and this is only a snapshot of the ones I haven’t thrown away.

Follow me as I cover what’s needed for pistol and shotgun up to precision rifle shooting.  I’ll also cover my favorite cleaners/oils, cleaning rods, AR-15 specific tools, and more.

If you can’t wait for the results, here are our favorite gun cleaning kits:

Winchester 32 Piece Universal Cleaning Kit

The Winchester Kit is a good deal for a little over $20 since it is pretty universal…covering everything from .22 to 12 gauge shotgun.

The box looks good but keep in mind the whole thing is around $20 so there’s a distinct China feel to it.

Winchester Cleaning Kit Box
Winchester Cleaning Kit Box

There are two sets of brass rods that won’t scratch your barrel’s harder steel and all the copper brushes are actually pretty good quality and marked with the caliber.

Winchester 32 Piece Cleaning Kit
Winchester 32 Piece Cleaning Kit

There’s an ok amount of patches but you’ll need to add your own oil and gun cleaner (and there’s no room to fit it in the box).  My specific suggestions at the end…but hint…it’s M-Pro 7.

Winchester 32 Piece Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Winchester 32 Piece Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Prices accurate at time of writing

Real Avid Box Handgun Cleaning Kit

Only have a handgun for now…or want a super compact kit?

The Real Avid kit is great and covers everything from .22 to .45 caliber handguns.

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit
Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit

It’s tiny since the rods are long enough just for handgun length barrels.  Everything feels sturdy and the box can take a beating in your range bag or trunk.

The only fault I can find is that it doesn’t come with oil or cleaner…and you’ll be hard-pressed to fit anything in the box beside eye drop sized droppers.

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit

Prices accurate at time of writing

Green Canvas Gun Cleaning Kit

There’s a lot of this kind of kit being sold…probably one factory that makes it and a bunch of people brand it as a something else.

But it’s my go-to range kit if I don’t think I’ll actually need to clean.

Gun Cleaning Kit
Gun Cleaning Kit

It’s small, slim, and is supposed to have an empty bottle to put some cleaner or oil.

I’ve modified it through the years to have extra bronze brushes, a dental pick, Allen key, and Q-tips/patches.  And yes I’ve lost the bottle but I tend to keep my cleaner and oil separately.

It’s not my cleaning kit for home since the rods seem to be steel and could damage the barrel if used a lot.  But it’s great for getting things unstuck!  Can’t go wrong as a backup cleaning kit for around $10.

Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Prices accurate at time of writing

M-Pro 7 Soft Sided Tactical Gun Cleaning Kit

From my favorite gun cleaner comes their cleaning kit that has everything you need…including the oil and cleaner.

M-Pro 7 Cleaning Kit
M-Pro 7 Cleaning Kit

The kit rocks since it has individually packaged brushes and tips (.22 to 12 gauge) so you can keep everything tidy and the case has more pouches to add additional cleaning items.

Even comes with a silicone cloth to wipe down the surface of your guns.  Throw in some Q-Tips and this kit is ready for anything.

Editor’s Pick
M-Pro 7 Cleaning Kit

M-Pro 7 Cleaning Kit

Prices accurate at time of writing

Best Gun Cleaner, Oil, Grease, & Copper Solvent

Everyone and their mom have a favorite gun cleaner and oil.  Here’s a sample of what you’ll see if you try to find out more:

  • Hoppe’s No. 9…enough said.
  • They issued me _____ and I’ve been using it for _____ years.
  • I can eat my gun oil…can you?
  • I bought 1 gallon of (insert motor oil) and it will last me a lifetime.

I’ll admit…I started with Hoppe’s No. 9 and it’s an awesome cleaner.  Problem is that I like to clean indoors and though I really LOVE the smell…I’d get dizzy and also it started eating away at my nails (now I wear gloves no matter what).

Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Cleaner

Prices accurate at time of writing

I switched to M-Pro 7 cleaner and didn’t look back.  It’s nearly as good at cleaning but without the caustic effects.

M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner

M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner

Prices accurate at time of writing

For oil…I also like M-Pro 7, but I also like Militec 1 for the smell.

M-Pro 7 Gun Oil

M-Pro 7 Gun Oil

Prices accurate at time of writing

The following are also popular ones (including some combo CLP which stands for clean, lubricate, preservative):

I also like to use gun grease for rails since it stays on longer…and I go by the old adage “oil if it turns, grease if it slides.”

Now, how about copper cleaners (for when you start seeing some accuracy degradation).  I’ll admit…I almost never do this except for my precision rigs.

Additional Stuff

For my precision rifles, I like using a one-piece cleaning rod to make sure nothing scratches my lands & grooves.  I stick with the ole standard…Tipton.

Tipton Rifle Cleaning Rod

Tipton Rifle Cleaning Rod

Prices accurate at time of writing

Now some of you might be asking where are the bore snakes?  Frankly, I don’t really use them since I don’t like the idea of running something previously dirty back through my barrel.

But some swear by them…especially as the ultimate space-saving cleaning “kit” for a range bag.

Hoppe’s Bore Snake

Prices accurate at time of writing

And you’ll be sure to run out of patches sooner or later.  In a pinch some cut up t-shirts or boxers will work.  But I like going with Hoppe’s.

Hoppe’s Cleaning Patches

Prices accurate at time of writing

Lastly…for the hard to clean carbon-fouled parts of AR-15’s…there’s a scraper tool that’s been a godsend.  And also our AR-15 Cleaning & Maintenance Guide.

Real Avid MSR Scraper

Real Avid MSR Scraper

Prices accurate at time of writing

Conclusion

All Gun Cleaning Kits
All Gun Cleaning Kits

To sum it up, this is my Editor’s Pick for best cleaning kit:

Editor’s Pick
M-Pro 7 Cleaning Kit

M-Pro 7 Cleaning Kit

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you’re doing handgun only and want a super small kit:

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit

Prices accurate at time of writing

A nice backup:

Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Prices accurate at time of writing

And a good starter kit that will get you through everything from .22 to 12 gauge:

Winchester 32 Piece Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Winchester 32 Piece Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Prices accurate at time of writing

That’s it on my end…let me know if I missed some kits.  And if you must…your favorite oil and cleaner.  Lastly, be sure to check out our Editor’s Picks for more guns & gear that we love. 

The post Best Gun Cleaning Kits [2018]: Hands-On Tested appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

Posted in Gear, Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

April 15th, 2018 by AmSJ Staff

Need some protection for your hands from weekend shooting to busting down doors?

We bought a bunch of the most popular tactical shooting gloves out there and tested them with competitions, range trips, and even a house move or two.

All Tested Tactical Shooting Gloves
All Tested Tactical Shooting Gloves

While emphasis will be on what’s important to civilian shooters (price, fit, touch-screen capability, durability etc.), we also cover some tactical aspects as well.

By the end you’ll know the best glove for your end use.  Here’s a sneak peek of our results:

No Glove No Love

Why gloves?  Let me list a couple of reasons:

  • Things get HOT: Guns themselves in hot weather, barrels when you shoot a lot, and suppressors
  • Things get COLD: Sometimes you’re shooting cold weather and you would prefer to feel your fingers
  • Prevent hand damage: Cuts and scrapes might be meh for most shooters, but they still suck and if you’re out in the field…infections can become killer.

Fit

The most important thing to me…if you have the best glove out there and it fits like a grocery bag or a kid’s mitten…it’s not going to work out.

Here’s measurements of my hand so you can compare when I go over the sizing.  Overall I have skinny wrists, not that much of a palm swell, and long fingers.

My Glove Sizing
My Glove Sizing

Now let’s get to it…

4. Mechanix Fastfit Gloves

I’ve had a couple Mechanix original gloves for shop work but the few times I took them to the range I felt their fingers were a little too bulky for some firearm tasks.

Enter…their newish Fastfit Gloves.

Mechanix Fastfit Gloves
Mechanix Fastfit Gloves

I wore mediums and using their sizing chart I re-confirmed I was indeed medium.

Mechanix Size Chart
Mechanix Size Chart

Here’s some other useful stats:

  • $14
  • Synthetic leather and spandex
  • Touch-screen enabled
  • Fast-drying
  • Elastic cuff

For me they didn’t fit quite right because of my palm size.  You can see there’s a lot of gap in there.

Mechanix Fastfit Gloves, Palm
Mechanix Fastfit Gloves, Palm

And the cut between the index finger and thumb is a little restricting for handgun shooting.  Rifles are fine.

Also very thin so great for dexterity but not very warm or heat resistant if that’s your thing.

Mechanix Fastfit Gloves, Fit
Mechanix Fastfit Gloves, Fit

But for $14 and pretty good durability from what I’ve seen from friends…you can’t go wrong for a first pair of shooting gloves.  Especially if you have slightly meatier hands.

Mechanix Fastfit Gloves

Mechanix Fastfit Gloves

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Magpul Technical Gloves

My main recommendation for affordable shooting gloves are Magpul Technical Gloves.

Magpul Technical Gloves
Magpul Technical Gloves

I went with medium and they fit a lot more snugly one me…especially at the cuff.  The Mechanix ones were just too loose and flared for my tastes.  However…with the smaller cuff you’re going to have a lot harder time taking these off.

Some stats:

  • $20
  • Synthetic suede palm
  • Elastic wrist closure
  • Touch-screen enabled
Magpul Technical Gloves, Palm
Magpul Technical Gloves, Palm

You can see it fits a lot better and the cut of the thumb and index finger is much more conducive for shooting.  There’s also extra material on three fingers that enables touch-screen access.

At first I thought it would disrupt precision shooting but it’s at the tip of the finger enough that I had no problems.

Magpul Technical Gloves, Fit
Magpul Technical Gloves, Fit

Thicker material than the Mechanix and what I think is a good Goldilocks zone of dexterity and protection.  Also some terrycloth material on the back of the thumb for sniffles or cleaning optics.  Awesome for $20.

Best Bang-for-the-Buck Shooting Glove
Magpul Technical Gloves

Magpul Technical Gloves

2. SKD Tactical PIG FDT Delta Gloves

SKD FDT Delta Gloves
SKD FDT Delta Gloves

The FDT stands for full dexterity tactical and they live up to their name.  The Delta Glove version is the thinnest version.

Simpsons Nothing At All
Simpsons Nothing At All

If you want full dexterity at the expense of some protection…these are the best on the market.

I’m a large for SKD gloves and I fit very snugly even though I sized up.

SKD Glove Sizing
SKD Glove Sizing

No complaints in the finger or palm swell area.

SKD FDT Delta Gloves, Palm
SKD FDT Delta Gloves, Palm

But note that the words “PIG” are rubberized textures that work well but will eventually fall off.  However the tips of the gloves are still touch-screen enabled.

Some more stats:

  • $30
  • Single layer palm
  • Elastic cuff
  • Touch-screen enabled index/thumb
SKD FDT Delta Gloves, Fit
SKD FDT Delta Gloves, Fit

They look great too and you can see how thin they are even in the back.  If you need knuckle protection look elsewhere.  The design is cool but I have a feeling it’s going to start peeling when I wear it more.

A little more at $30 but currently my favorite when dexterity is the primary focus.

Most Dexterous Glove
SKD PIG FDT Delta Gloves

SKD PIG FDT Delta Gloves

Prices accurate at time of writing

1. SKD Tactical PIG FDT Alpha Gloves

My current favorite shooting glove…the Alpha version of the PIG FDTs.

SKD FDT Alpha, Gloves
SKD FDT Alpha, Gloves

The thicker OG version…I think this glove checks all the boxes.  Still super dexterous while having some additional protection…all the while fitting like…a glove.

SKD Glove Sizing
SKD Glove Sizing

I went with large on this like the Delta version.

SKD FDT Alpha Gloves, Palm
SKD FDT Alpha Gloves, Palm

I’ve used these gloves the most and they shoot pistols, ARs, reload magazines, and move couches perfectly.  A little slower to dry since it’s thicker and has some synthetic suede.

Some stats:

  • Touch-screen enabled index/thumb
  • Isolated trigger finger material
  • Dual-joint trigger finger

You can see a lot of it is giving dexterity for the trigger finger and it shows in those knuckle breaks.  It’s almost the same as the Delta but with more warmth and protection.  Plus I like having the ability to tighten the wrist strap.

SKD FDT Alpha Gloves
SKD FDT Alpha Gloves

Lastly, it has a nice soft material behind the thumb…again great for your nose or cleaning lenses.

The most expensive on the list but if you shoot a lot or value protection/dexterity…I highly recommend the Alpha gloves.

Side-note: I had a defect with my Alphas where the ring finger on one hand was twisted so a seam was on my finger pad.  Not a deal breaker but annoying.  I emailed SKD and they took care of the problem in less than an hour and two emails.

Editor’s Choice Shooting Glove
SKD PIG FDT Alpha Gloves

SKD PIG FDT Alpha Gloves

Prices accurate at time of writing

Honorable Mentions

There’s a lot of tactical shooting gloves out there…and I couldn’t buy & test them all.  But here are some of my honorable mentions that I’ve used or know are popular.

  • Outdoor Research Ironsight ($45): I’ve worn through these gloves for hiking and they have a bit more protection than the SKD gloves.  Also has grip attachments that eventually wear off.  Haven’t had the chance to shoot with them but they were great for hiking.
OR Ironsight Gloves
OR Ironsight Gloves
Magpul Breach Gloves
Magpul Breach Gloves
OR Suppressor Gloves
OR Suppressor Gloves

Conclusion

After a good amount of testing…here are my final recommendations.

For the best overall glove…

Editor’s Choice Shooting Glove
SKD PIG FDT Alpha Gloves

SKD PIG FDT Alpha Gloves

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you want the glove with the most dexterity:

Most Dexterous Shooting Glove
SKD PIG FDT Delta Gloves

SKD PIG FDT Delta Gloves

Prices accurate at time of writing

And if you want the most affordable but still very capable:

Best Bang-for-the-Buck Shooting Glove
Magpul Technical Gloves

Magpul Technical Gloves

How’d I do…any I miss that I should test out next?  Let me know if the comments below.  And be sure to see more of our favorite gear in Editor’s Picks.

The post Best Shooting Gloves [2018 Hands-On Test] appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

Posted in Gear, Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

April 13th, 2018 by AmSJ Staff

So you’re ready to build your own AR-15 upper but aren’t sure of the upper receiver?

We’ve got you covered with our personal go-to mil-spec receiver and also a couple of unique options that will turn heads.

F1 UDR-15-3G Upper Receiver
F1 UDR-15-3G Upper Receiver

If you haven’t read my AR-15 Guide that goes over all the components of an AR, I’d suggest starting there first.  Otherwise, I’ll suppose that you’re well-versed in everything AR and ready to just see what’s the best upper receiver.

*Updated 2018*: More lightweight uppers.

Here’s a sneak peek of our best uppers list if you can’t wait:

  1. Best Mil-Spec: Aero Stripped Mil-Spec
  2. Mil-Spec Upgrade: Aero M4E1
  3. Best Slick Upper: Aero Slick
  4. More Accurate: VLTOR MUR
  5. Light & Reliable: Battle Arms Development Lighweight
  6. Lightest: F1 Firearms UDR-15-3G

Best AR-15 Upper Receivers

I’ve built almost a dozen AR-15 uppers for myself and friends and have almost exclusively gone with Aero Precision.  They got their start manufacturing for the aerospace industry (name checks out) and moved into AR-15 parts.  Now they are really gunning with complete AR-15’s and even barrels too.

Upper Receiver Forge Marks

AR-15 Upper Receive Forge Mark
AR-15 Upper Receive Forge Mark

You might have heard about forge marks, which are above the forward assist.  This just designates which metal forging company created the upper blank.  The end company (such as Aero) is the one that actually machines the upper.

So the forge mark by itself means nothing since the quality really comes from the final company (and there are differences).  As far as I know, Aero uses several forges but mostly the “broken A” which comes from Anchor Harvey Aluminum.

1. Aero Stripped Upper Receiver

Mil-Spec Goodness
Aero Stripped Upper Receiver

Aero Stripped Upper Receiver

The gold standard ($80) in my mind that lets you choose your own forward assist and port door.  Comes with M4 feedramps, laser engraved T-marks for the rails, and also available in several colors for a little bit more.

Stripped Upper Receiver and Forward Assist
Stripped Upper Receiver and Forward Assist

I’ve had no problems with any of my builds and if you do any searches you’ll see that it’s almost exclusively positive comments.  Remember to finish out your stripped upper with an upper parts kit ($17)

2. Aero M4E1 Stripped Upper Receiver

Editor’s Choice
Aero M4E1 Stripped Upper Receiver

Aero M4E1 Stripped Upper Receiver

The upgraded version of the mil-spec that gives a billet look without the doubling in price.  My personal favorite now for my builds and what lives on my home defense gun (full review).

Aero Precision M4E1 16 Midlength Pencil
Aero Precision M4E1 16 Midlength Pencil

Remember to finish out your stripped upper with an upper parts kit ($17) or simply look at assembled uppers which are basically the same price with the upper parts installed.

Aero Assembled Uppers

Aero Assembled Uppers

Prices accurate at time of writing

No need to scrape anything when installing…or go nuts on the port door.

Ejection Port Spring
Ejection Port Spring, SnareMan

3. Blemished Aero Uppers

And if you’re balling on a budget, you can get a “blemished” version (~25% off) of the stripped or assembled upper (depending on their stock).  “Blemished” just means there’s some cosmetic abnormalities that will not affect actual function.

The last two builds I’ve done have been with Aero blem uppers and I had to really look to find the cosmetic problem.  And of course they’ve all worked fine.

Here’s the latest one…looks like there’s a scuff & a dimple.  I put more scuffs on mine during a match!  If you want to save a couple bucks I’d go this route.

Aero Blemished Upper
Aero Blemished Upper

Bad thing is that they are usually snatched up as soon as they become available.

4. Aero Slick (No Forward Assist) Upper

Aero No Forward Assist Upper

Aero No Forward Assist Upper

If you have never used the forward assist and want to shave some weight off…you can get a no forward assist upper ($84).  This type of upper is also known as a “slick” upper.

In my opinion I just like the look of the forward assist and I go by the mantra that I’d rather have it and not use it, than need it and not have it.  Especially on a more duty rifle build.

5. VLTOR MUR Upper Receiver

VLTOR MUR Upper Receiver

VLTOR MUR Upper Receiver

The MUR upper receiver ($200) has thicker walls to make it a more rigid shooting platform which should translate to more accuracy.  Plus it looks different and cool enough to get some envious looks.

6. Battle Arms Development

Best Lightweight Upper
Battle Arms Development Lightweight Upper

Battle Arms Development Lightweight Upper

If you want to go light…but not at the expense of extreme lightening cuts and possible reduced reliability.

Plus…I dig the Tron-esque design.

7. F1 Firearms UDR-15-3G Upper Receiver

Lightest Upper Receiver
F1 Firearms UDR-15-3G Upper Receiver

F1 Firearms UDR-15-3G Upper Receiver

Prices accurate at time of writing

My newest muse…

Probably as light as you can go…and geared towards turning heads at rifle competitions (not home-defense).  If you’re in a dusty environment I’d keep it covered…but otherwise initial reports say that the large cuts don’t affect function even with tons of rounds downrange.

I have one on the way for my new competition gun so I’ll report back soon.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve seen our suggestions for the best AR-15 upper receiver (both stripped and assembled), you’re one step closer to your build.  Check out the rest of our AR- 15 Guides to continue your parts selection and overall education.  And if you’re ready to build…here’s our AR-15 Upper Assembly Visual Guide.

The post 7 Best AR-15 Stripped Upper Receivers [Hands-On 2018] appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

Posted in Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , , ,