During the SHOT Show journalists are bombarded with press releases and this year I noted there was a slew of cleaning products from the likes of Otis, Hoppe’s, Rand and a host of others. It really makes you wonder how different, in terms of efficacy, these products really are.
Even before I try to determine how effective a product is I won’t even consider using it unless I know it is non toxic from the get go. It’s no secret that in the bad old days, soldiers and civilian gun owners were often exposed to carcinogenic substances in the everyday maintenance of their guns. A good friend of mine, formerly an IDF paratrooper responsible for a FN MAG machine gun, suffered from a bout of cancer last year that he’s convinced came about from his daily encounter with cleaning solvents.
Enter Seal 1, which has an entire line of non toxic gun cleaning products.
Founded in Coronado, California (also home of the Naval Special Warfare Command, the outfit that provides oversight to all Navy SEALs) the family-owned company is managed by Dwight Settle, who served 20 years as a Navy Seal. Dwight’s job was M-60 gunner, and he became especially cognizant of the trials and tribulations of using toxic solvents to clean weapons.
The product line consists of three versions of their CLP PLUS product—a aerosol liquid, goopy orange liquid and a paste. There’s also the “SEAL Skinz” bore cleaning patches which are permeated with CLP their “E-Z Cloth”, a six inch square cleaning cloth saturated with CLP paste for wipe-downs.
Essentially you apply the liquid, paste or goop for several applications and in effect clean and season your hardware. Once your bore is “seasoned” it’s as if you have done the equivalent of a wax job on your car—any residue comes off much easier and the metal is actually protected. It works best when the metal is actually warm and some users will take a hair dryer to their parts to get them heated up a bit.
Scott Lee, a manager at the company, told me that all three products were virtually the same, although the past had slightly better lubricity. He’s preferred way to clean the bore was to swab it with the product, run a brush through it to loosen up the crud and then run your patch through until it’s clean.
Lee said that in addition to the product being nontoxic, it’s also more effective than the competition in removing carbon and other deposits from the barrel.
So, I decided to test it not only by cleaning a gun that needed immediate attention but by going into the safe and cleaning the bores of guns that I’d already cleaned.
I pulled out three different handguns, swabbing the barrels with the goopy CLP, letting them sit for a while and hitting them with the copper brush a couple of times. I waited a while before I swiped them with the jag. Despite the fact that they had already been cleaned, the patch came out blackened. I was pleasantly surprised and left scratching my head how well I really had cleaned my guns over the years.
Evidently I’m not the only one who is sold on this product. The product is available on Amazon and I was surprised by the uniformly five star reviews it got from end-users.
What’s more the stuff has a pleasant minty scent, kind of like Ben Gay, and doesn’t make your house smell like a toxic waste dump.
What I also like is that this is not a fly by night company. They’ve been around 30 years and they formulate and manufacture their own products rather than having a third party do the dirty work.
Although the company has a dedicated line of gun cleaning goods it also manufactures an array of lubricants and protectants for boats other marine industry applications. That kind of breadth inspires confidence.