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These days, AR-15 rifles have gotten pretty reliable. They don’t require the constant scrubbing you may have heard the M16 needed during Vietnam.
However, it’s still wise to keep your AR-15 clean. It’ll push through quite a bit of carbon buildup. But it’s probably not a good idea to find out where the carbon buildup threshold is by letting it get dirty enough to fail.
So a good cleaning kit is a necessary piece of kit for AR-15 owners.
SPOILER—if you’re just here for the cleaning kits, not the wit, get the Real Avid Gun Boss AR-15 Cleaning Kit. It’s affordable. And it’s got a few goodies that make it easy to get in those tough nooks and crannies in the AR-15.
For those who’d like to check out some of the other options, we’ve got all the best AR-15 cleaning kits laid out. So you can see what you get and make a smart choice.
Top AR 15 Cleaning Kit on the Market Today
The Best AR 15 Cleaning Kit Reviews: Brushes, Pads, and Oil
The best AR-15 cleaning kit gets popped open first. The other best AR-15 cleaning kits—based on various aspects—are reviewed in order of price.
The least expensive AR-15 cleaning kits are opened up first.
The most expensive cleaning kits are last in line.
Check out the ones that fit your budget.
1. Real Avid Gun Boss AR-15 Cleaning Kit - Overall Best AR-15 Cleaning Kit
The Real Avid Gun Boss AR-15 Cleaning Kit is far from the most expensive cleaning kit on the market. And it comes with some AR-15 specific cleaning tools that you usually find in more expensive cleaning kits.
Those tools are things like the chamber cleaning pads, which are shaped exactly like your AR-15 chamber. So you can quickly and easily wipe your chamber out after you’ve scrubbed it.
And there are a couple of cleaning picks to get carbon out of those tricky corners. It’s also got plenty of cleaning rods to ensure that you can scrub the bore on barrels of any length.
The whole thing comes boxed up in a nice canvas, zippered case. The case has very efficient and clean organization inside.
Overall, this case is nothing super fancy. But it’s got all the essentials, plus a few of the nice-to-have cleaning tools. And it costs about the same as some simpler cleaning kits.
2. Hoppes Rifle Cleaning Kit - Budget AR-15 Cleaning Kit
The Hoppes Rifle Cleaning Kit is almost the definition of simple and effective. This kit doesn’t have a ton of creature comforts. But it gets the job done.
This kit is built around the bore and chamber brushes. The cleaning rod has a handle on one section. And you can use the bore and chamber brushes to scrub away on your rifle’s internals.
Then you use the included pads to wipe everything down. Again, simple and effective.
This kit also comes with some classic Hoppes No. 9 solvent and Hoppes gun oil. It’s not a lot. But it’s enough to get your rifle clean a few times.
The only thing that would really round out this Hoppes kit is a nylon all-purpose brush. There are some parts of your AR-15 that aren’t ideal for scrubbing with a brass brush.
But this kit is affordable enough that you could easily add a few other cleaning tools to your arsenal. Or pair it with some Hoppes Cleaning Tools to make things a little more convenient.
3. Shellback Tactical Warrior Weapon Cleaning Kit - Compact AR-15 Cleaning Kit
The Shellback Tactical Warrior Weapon Cleaning Kit is a simple and compact cleaning kit that works great as a cleaning kit for your range bag or to keep in your bug out bag or other tactical setup.
This kit is basically a set of cleaning rods, with the associated brushes. It has a chamber brush and 2 bore brushes—a .223 brush and a 9mm brush.
There are also some patches and the slotted ends for running patches through your bore. And you get some CLP.
Lastly, the handle on the end of the cleaning rods is a t-handle that folds up. So this kit could fit in a butt pack or a backpack pocket.
Although the main purpose of this kit is to be compact, an nylon all-purpose brush would be nice to have. And it would fit in the kit without adding any bulk.
But, even without the all-purpose brush, this Shellback Tactical kit will still get the job done if you put a bit of elbow grease into it. And this kit is a great option as a carry kit for quick cleanings while you’re out in the field or at the range.
4. Brownells AR-15/M16 Buttstock Cleaning Kit - Buttstock AR-15 Cleaning Kit
If you have an AR-15 with the classic M16 rifle buttstock, the Brownells AR-15/M16 Buttstock Cleaning Kit is for you.
Before we talk about the obvious thing, this kit is probably the most complete compact cleaning kit. It has all the standard things: cleaning rods, chamber brush, bore brush.
But it also comes with a nylon all-purpose brush, which is sadly absent from many compact cleaning kits. And it also comes with a nylon chamber brush and cleaning patches.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with any oil or solvent. But that might not fit in a buttstock storage compartment, anyway.
And that brings us to the fun thing about this cleaning kit: it fits in the storage compartment of an M16 buttstock.
If you don’t have an M16 buttstock, that just means that this kit is really compact when you’ve got it all packed up. You could easily fit this in your range bag or even in your tactical kit, if you’re really into keeping your rifle clean.
There’s nothing fancy about this kit. But it’s got everything you need to get your AR-15 clean. And it packs up into a really small package.
5. Real Avid Gun Boss Pro AR-15 Cleaning Kit - Value AR-15 Cleaning Kit
The Real Avid Gun Boss Pro AR-15 Cleaning Kit is affordable. But it offers quite a few more creature comforts than most budget cleaning kits.
This cleaning kit has all the standard equipment like cleaning rods, bore brush, chamber brush and so on. And it includes a nylon all-purpose brush, which makes it more complete than some other kits.
But it also has some AR-15 specific cleaning tools like chamber cleaning pads and cleaning picks for cleaning those spots that are virtually impossible to get with your standard cleaning tools.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t include any solvent or oil. But those are consumable cleaning materials, anyway.
The handle can also be used to punch pins, which makes disassembling your AR-15 super quick and easy.
The case keeps all your cleaning tools nicely organized. However, the case feels a bit bulky. It’s not that big. But it’s just kind of blocky and can be awkward to fit in your range bag.
That’s a very small gripe, though.
Overall, this is an outstanding cleaning kit that makes it easy to get your AR-15 spic and span, inside and out.
6. Otis 610 Cleaning System - Pistol and Rifle Caliber AR-15 Cleaning Kit
The Otis 610 Cleaning System was one of the “upgraded cleaning kits” that we used when I was in the Marines back in the day. It’s a solid cleaning kit. And it’s easy to carry.
The big difference between this cleaning kit and the buttstock cleaning kit that we were issued is the bore cleaning cable. The cable is faster and easier to use than cleaning rods because it doesn’t need to be assembled. And the cable can be coiled up for super compact storage.
The only downside to the cable is that you can’t use it to punch anything out of the bore. If you have a squib load, this cleaning kit won’t help you much.
However, it does come with a whole bunch of bore cleaning attachments, including bore brushes, slotted attachments for running patches, and obstruction removers which can be used in conjunction with bore cleaning pads.
This kit also comes with some Otis CLP.
I’ve used the bore brushes for cleaning other parts of an AR-15. But this kit would be much more complete if it came with some sort of nylon cleaning brush.
But, as it stands, this kit is a very compact and easy-to-carry cleaning kit that works as a good field cleaning kit or as a supplement to your collection of brushes and rags.
7. Otis Technology MSR/AR Rifle Cleaning System - AR-15 Specific Cleaning Kit
The Otis Technology MSR/AR Rifle Cleaning System is a much more complete kit than the Otis 610 kit. But it’s just as compact.
This kit comes with all sorts of bore cleaning tools: bore brush, slotted pad puller attachment, obstruction clearing tool, bore swabs. You can get the bore of your rifle ridiculously clean with this cleaning kit.
But it also comes with some cleaning picks, very small brushes, and a nylon all-purpose brush. The all purpose brush uses some short cleaning rod sections as the handle. Not quite as nice as a standard cleaning brush. But it works.
The whole kit is built around the cleaning cable. So pretty much all the tools either attach to the cleaning cable or one of the short cleaning rod sections.
Lastly, this kit includes some Otis CLP and cleaning patches.
It may not have the utility of a cleaning rod. But this Otis Technology kit is totally complete. And it still packs up into a pouch about the size of a hockey puck, that can be easily carried on a belt or kit.
Scrubbing the Carbon Off
Keeping your AR-15 clean keeps it reliable and extends the service life. So a cleaning kit will save you time and money, in the long run.
If you need to get your rifle clean as simply and efficiently as possible, get the Real Avid Gun Boss AR-15 Cleaning Kit. It’s affordable and has everything to need to clean every nook and cranny on your AR-15.
Now you’re out of excuses. If your rifle is dirty, get a cleaning kit and make sure it runs like a champ next time you take it out.