Go Bag Goodness: Gun lubricants reviewed/ high desert use

“This one time when I was pinned down behind my desk while filing papers for the chief of deans of my political science program; I was quickly made aware of the shortcomings of civilian firearms because I didnt use CLP, man.”


I am not going to argue the benefit of lubrication, cleaning and firearms care. I am well aware that there are literally hundreds of thousands of firearms owners who rarely if ever clean their firearms. In fact there are many currently popular “bloggers” who I know from experience that cannot even field strip an AR or Glock handgun let alone clean it. But, this article is not a tell all regarding these idiots who have so many hooked with their lies, it is to help you the realist find lubricants/cleaners that work best in the environments you find yourself in. The following review is a direct result of tests completed or engaged in by the author.

Because weight is essential in a go bag or survival situation the object of the testing which led to this review was to find a working lubricant/cleaner that functions well in hot, dry, cold and even occasionally wet environments. (More frequently in hot, dry and dusty environments) Several brands and types were tested and disposed of following issues experienced.

  1. CLP products – tested Frog Lube and Break Free
  2. Rem Oil – aerosol and non
  3. Ballistol – non aerosol
  4. Slip 2000
  5. Tri-Flow

All were tested over the course of three years, 2009- 2012.

The test beds were selected from several common firearms, Glock 19 (3 different ones), Keltec/ Ruger/ Mak style micro pistols, Several varieties of the AR platform, two different bolt guns and an SKS.

Between applications of said lubricant to necessary points of contact on the firearms tested they were cleaned completely dry with no residuals showing up on contact with white cotton cloth.

Regular use during windy conditions in high desert environments along with no wind, dry, excess heat (triple digit days and shooting extended amounts) and cold as well as rain and snow were tested in.


  1. CLP products – worked well until faced with a somewhat dirty action after which they tended to gum up the works and collect dirt in spades versus repelling it, they also did not work very well in hot runs, eg., over a hundred rounds expended quickly in an already hot environment
  2. Rem Oil was similar to CLP, a decent product, however, it became stiffer the hotter it got and eventually evaporated completely causing the need for additional application during drills.
  3. Ballistol – so far it is the best with no issues with excess loss due to heat and friction. It works well during cold weather AND acts as a solvent to continually free powder residue and even dust from where other lubes tended to hold it in.
  4. Slip 2000, honestly this one is simply too expensive to continue using regularly. Especially considering it tended to become thicker during colder weather versus the far less expensive Ballistol or Tri-Flow.
  5. Tri-Flow, a really solid lubricant that withstood extremely high temperatures and long term shooting without evaporating completely. Sadly, it is only a lubricant and does not also include a truly solid solvent in the mix.

My opinion is that you are better off purchasing Ballistol in large containers as a non-aerosol. Empty out the previous lubes and refill containers with this. It works well as a cleaner, lubricant and even a fire promoter in an emergency. It functions when it is cold, hot and regardless cleanliness of the firearm.

As an aside, if you live where snow is up too your neck and temperatures are sub zero several months out of the year, a simple axle grease will work quite well! (Or bear grease if you plan on being attacked by them and are forced to use your building collapsing handguns.)

You have probably gathered I do not enjoy snow, there are several reasons and none of them you need to know.

Free the mind and the body will follow




About Jesse Mathewson

Jesse Mathewson is the author of the popular blog, jessetalksback.com and provides commentary to many varied places based on a background that includes education in criminal justice, history, religion and even insurgency tactics and tactical training. His current role in his community is as an organizer of sorts and a preacher of community solidarity and agorism. He also runs Liberty Practical Training, a self defense school specializing in the practical applications of defensive approaches versus the theoretical. As an agorist, voluntaryist and atheist his life is seen as crazy and wild by many, though once they get to know him most realize he is a bluntly honest individual who will give you the shirt off his back if he believes it is necessary to help you. Very simple, "That which is voluntary between all individuals involved is always right, if it is not voluntary, it is always wrong."
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5 Responses to Go Bag Goodness: Gun lubricants reviewed/ high desert use

  1. Pingback: F.E.G. pa63 handgun in 9×18: A review | Individuals Talking Back

  2. Good info overall. But the comment about using ‘axle grease’ in subzero winter conditions may not work as well as you think. Having done lubricant experiments in such temperature ranges as part of my job, testing products for that particular environment, there are distinct and very obvious differences in lubricants at that degree of cold. If you want a simple experiment to verify what characteristics change with a particular lube at a low temp, take some simple bathroom cups, a few bolts, your grease samples. Now, put enough of each lube sample in the bottom of a bathroom cup to cover the head of the bolt when placed into the lube and put the bolt into it, head down. Label all your samples on the cups, and put them into your home freezer. You may find that a typical lube that works fine at 60° F may turn into a solid lump around zero (if your freezer goes that low), and is now so dense (my experiment was at -20°F) that you have a real pull to get the bolt out of the cup. Lube with high silicone content seems to work better in this situation, the ‘molykoat’ product line comes to mind just for that.


  3. cavpatriot says:

    Good review Jesse! I need to go get me some Ballistol!


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