Lube! How? What? When? What environments?

I used all the normal stuff for years- Rem-Oil, Break-free, etc.

Then I learned about Slip EWL, 'round about 2007, in a class. It's worked really well for me, ever since. I live and work in what could be called a "moderately dusty" place, with temperature fluctuations from 100+ in the summers, to -20 in the winters. My personal and duty pistols, rifles, and shotguns often have a fair amount of frost or condensation on them from temp. extremes. The Slip EWL seems to hold up well to that, without leaving any nasty residue.

Slip has also often been "the cure" for malfunctioning guns in high-round count training environments. A few drops on pistol slide rails or a squirt onto rifle locking lugs, and the student's gun magically came back to life.

If I have a complaint about the stuff, it would be the nozzle of the bottles it comes in. It's too big for precise gun application and will leak in gear bags if you don't put the red shipping plug back in.
It was about ten years ago or so I was introduced to Slip lube and never looked back. Prior to this I was like you in having used the usual suspects between Hoppes, Rem-Oil, CLP, etc. I won't call them "bad", but I prefer Slip's consistency and ability to stay wet for prolonged periods. Besides doing its job as a lubricate while shooting, it makes cleaning up easier.

Right there with you. That was my biggest complaint despite not having many/any to begin with about it, and it wasn't about the product but simply the container it comes in. Last year I visited the store after having not been to it to in awhile since I buy it in bulk and just refill my original containers. Try getting these for the 1oz and 4oz bottles, need point applicator. A great improvement over the standard nozzle that just bled too much lube. Kind of like tapping gently on the ketchup bottle and getting flooded.
Thanks for the tip! I like the looks of those applicators.

I've been pouring some Slip into a foreign (probably Eastern Bloc) rifle oil container I got for $1.99 at Idaho Army Surplus Warehouse (Matt L. should be familiar with this place). It's been doing the job for pinpoint applications but I like the idea of a screw-on to the original bottles.

I clean and lube after my range sessions.

I use Slip 2000 EWL on my duty Glock 19. I just put a small drop on each of the 4 slide rails, smear a little around the barrel, a tiny bit on the top of the inside area of the slide and a small drop for the connector. It doesn’t take much to get the job done.
I just stuck with Tetra oil and grease after I started using it. I've tried a few other things but kept going back to Tetra as it seemed to run smoother. I use a lot of it, especially on rifles. Some would call it "over lubing." I just found that keeping a rifle, pistol, or machine gun wet has worked better in any environment, temperate or subtropical rainforest, desert, snow, whatever, live rounds or blanks.
For many years used CLP-Break Free, and RemOil for work.

Was given a bag full of Slip 2000 Samples at SHOT 2009 and have been using it religiously ever since.

Never messed with Fireclean or Froglube.

I always took Pat Rogers words on lube as gospel, lube and lube generously. Cleaning of weapons takes a far back seat to lubing of weapons.

Though I am obsessive about cleaning guns and am the guy who scrubs an AK and a Glock 19 during lunchbreak during an AK Class, I admit that the only reason I do it is because I am a fully indoctrinated Jarhead and I honestly cannot help myself as the voice of my TBS Platoon Commander plays a continuous loop of "Weapon. Gear. Self. Weapon. Gear. Self." in my mind. I am guilty of over cleaning guns, but I have taken to heart Pat's saying that, "If you spend more than 10 minutes cleaning a gun, you're out of your mind."

So, lube early and often. Bolt Carrier Group and Charging Handle. As needed. Especially during high round count classes or training sessions.
I have used the Slip 2000 stuff for the past 5 years with good success. I use EWG (grease) for my Glocks, ARs and bolt rifles. I prefer grease when time allows to minimize migration and evaporation during storage. I also keep the EWL (lube) around for times when I need something quick like putting a drop on a Glock connector during a field strip. I have never had an problem that I could trace to a lube issue with the Slip 2000 Extreme line. I have also had good experience with TW-25B (what I used before Slip) but I prefer Slip since I use their non-toxic cleaner/degreaser and it compliments their lube so well.
slip 2000 and ballistol at the moment, ill use anything thats available though. used frog lube for a short while but felt like it was just rubbing off the high friction areas and collecting/ congealing in every deep dark corner of my rifles and pistols. other than that i have no negative experiences with any other lube so im not picky.

Corey Barnes

Network Support I
I took the good word of Pat Rogers years and years ago about trying Slip 2k. I've used it ever since then and have not had any issues. It does what I need it to do, doesn't get gummy or anything. Only thing I've noticed, is it evaporates a little faster than I would like on the rifles I don't use as often but I haven't gotten rust or anything so not that big of a complaint.
I was wondering if any of the experts could weigh in on their thoughts on ultrasonic cleaners? Our agency has one, but I’m curious as to if they have negative effects?
I was wondering if any of the experts could weigh in on their thoughts on ultrasonic cleaners? Our agency has one, but I’m curious as to if they have negative effects?
I don't consider myself an expert on anything, but I will give my $.02 worth. I am viewing it from an Armorer / Gunsmith level. If you haven't had a good Armorer Course on each weapon system you use, then I would suggest seeking one out. Knowing how a gun runs, how to give it a thorough break down and cleaning, troubleshoot and repair it, is very important, especially when lives depend upon it as it has to run 100% in all field conditions.

When teaching Armorer Courses, this discussion usually comes up of what are my thoughts on Ultrasonic cleaners.

First, I will say that they work. Second, I will say that if you use them wrong, you are possibly creating issues. Third, I will say that if you use them correctly, then they can be a great asset.

I see many Law Enforcement Agencies that get them, tend to treat them as a dishwasher, where they just want to throw the gun in the cleaning tank, walk away, come back 20-minutes later and pull the gun out, and out the gun back into service. This is NOT GOOD, and you are creating issues, which could be major if the gun doesn't work when it needs to (Reliability), and you can also create problems of longevity of parts. Think of it like this, if you take dirty dishes from the dinner table and throw them into the dishwasher, run it, then upon removing the supposed clean dishes from the washer, how many of them are actually clean, and how many of them still have food remnants stuck to them?

If you put a complete firearm, or sub assemblies into the ultrasonic tank, then it will clean, but how do you get the fouling out of the assembled parts. An example would be if you field stripped a Glock into an assembled frame, assembled slide, barrel, action spring, and inserted them into the ultrasonic tank, and ran it through a cleaning cycle. The cleaning cycle would remove the fouling, but how do you get the fouling and cleaning solvent out of the assembled parts (ie: Slide assembly that has the firing pin assembly, extractor assembly)? Then you also have liquid solvent inside the firing pin and extractor assembly, where fluids are not supposed to be as it is meant to run dry.

For a shotgun like a Remington 870, Mossberg 500/590, Benelli, Winchester etc, if you drop the entire shotgun into the tank, it will clean, but how to do you get the crud out of the gun. If you pull the barrel off, it would clean the barrel. But it you through the assembled receiver, it would clean, but how do you get the crud out of the bolt assembly, trigger group assembly, or stock assembly.

If you were to drop an AR15 upper receiver assembly (Upper receiver, barrel, gas tube, gas block/front sight base, barrel nut assembly, front & rear sight assemblies, forward assist, ejection port cover assembly, into the ultrasonic tank and run it through a cleaning cycle. It would most likely loosen the fouling. But how do you get the fouling and solvent out of the gas tube, gas block/front sight base, gas port, barrel, underneath the barrel on the threads, etc? The same thing is true on other guns like Piston AR15's, M14/M1A, M1 Garands, Mini-14s, Remington 1100/1187, etc.

Then once the ultrasonic cleaning cycle and solvent as cleaned everything, all the lubricant has been removed from the pores in the metal, leaving it bone dry, and that lubricant is there to protect it from corrosion (rust), and reduce friction. The usual answer to this is to simply drop the gun or assemblies into a lube tank, which by dunking everything into a lube tank it allows the lube to go back inside the gun and lubricate everything that needs it. In reality the lube tank will allow all parts that lube can flow into and onto get lubed, but what about sub assemblies that are threaded like the barrel nut threads, sight parts (threads, pins, springs, ball bearings, detents, etc. Also you are then introducing lube into areas that are meant to run dry (Gas port, gas tube, gas block/front sight base).

The lube bath on a handgun like a Glock, would allow lube to get into areas like the firing pin assembly, extractor assembly, where it is designed to run bone dry. If you get lube into the internal parts of a slide assembly on guns like Glocks, it will cause issues.

Now for the best way (IMHO) on how to use an ultrasonic cleaner, is to disassemble the entire firearm into small parts parts, like a Glock breaks down into 30-something parts depending upon model and generation, and then if you want to ultrasonic clean it, you will get all the parts clean. Then inspect all the parts as you reassemble, making sure all fouling is removed, inspect for erosion and stress (replace parts when necessary), then reassemble the parts dry that are meant to run dry, and lube the parts that need to be lubed.

If ultrasonic cleaning an gas gun like that AR15 system (Gas impingement or piston) then you can disassemble the lower receiver into parts. This would mean removing the trigger system, bolt catch, magazine catch, front pivot pin, rear takedown pin, stock assembly, grip and safety assembly, then clean the lower receiver. Once clean, then reassemble the parts, making sure to lube all the springs, detents, detent tracks of the safety selector and takedown/pivot pins, threads of the grip screw and stock assembly, buffer retaining detent spring & detent, etc. I would not recommend or suggest cleaning the upper receiver assembly of an AR15 in a ultrasonic tank, as you are introducing solvents & lubes into the gas system, where you cannot get the loosened fouling out, and you should not put lube into, as it will cause problems.

II know an Officer who treated his Agency's ultrasonic tank as a dishwasher, and dropped an assembled M16 rifle, complete with Leupold CQT optic on top, into an ultrasonic tank, and left it there overnight. It did get things clean, left everying bone dry, destroyed the optic, and all the assembly parts in the gun still had the loosened fouling stuck under them, and all hidden parts (threads, springs, detents, etc) were bone dry and had no lube to reduce friction or protect from corrosion. This Officer was treating the ultrasonic tank as a dishwasher.

IMHO the best way to clean an AR15 upper receiver is to scrub the receiver with a tooth brush and solvent, then rinse or wipe the loosened fouling out. Clean the inside of the barrel, which includes the chamber, bore, and lug recess where the bolt locks into battery. Cleaning the chamber and lug recess is done with a chamber brush and solvent. Cleaning a bore should be done using a bore guide, bore brush, cleaning rod, solvent, jag with patches, and I like to use denatured alcohol as a rinse to remove the cleaning solvent. Then when necessary to remove copper fouling, I recommend using a copper solvent with a jag, cleaning patches, and follow up with denatured alcohol to remove any copper solvent. Imho, NEVER PUT ANYTHING INTO THE GAS TUBE, this includes solvents, pipe cleaners, cotton swabs, etc, as there is about 14,000-PSI gas pressure that goes through the gas tube, which basically keeps it as self cleaning, and any introduction of solvents/lube into this area is going to cause issues, and it makes no sense to be squirting solvent or using pipe cleaners to push things from the back end of the gas tube towards the gas block/front sight base and gas port (In the opposite direction as gas flows). In Armorer Courses we show several examples of plugged gas systems, and when lives depend upon that firearm running 100% it cannot be plugged, so don't do things that would cause it to get plugged.

For cleaning shotguns, break the down into a barrel, bolt assembly, trigger group removed from the receiver), and you can scrub and clean these easily enough by hand. Making sure that you use a chamber brush and bore brush on the barrel (Yes a shotgun has a chamber, and they make chamber brushes for them). Remove the magazine spring and follower, then scrub the inside of the magazine tube using a magazine tube brush (yes they make a magazine tube brush). If a bolt assembly can be field stripped (like a Benelli, Beretta, Franchi), do so, or in bolts like the Remington 870, Mossberg 500/590, then it is open and loose enough to scrub and flush fouling out, but at Armorer Level it should be broken down into small parts and cleaned/inspected then lubed where needed. Trigger groups can be scubbed and flushed at user level, where at Armorer Level they should be disassembled where necessary, cleaned & inspected, then lubed and reassembled. Receiver can be scrubbed with a tooth brush and solvent. Don't submerge stocks into a solvent tank, as you don't want wood soaking up solvents, and you don't want hollow areas inside wood or synthetic stocks filling up with fluids.

Do we have ultrasonic and solvent tanks in our workshop, the answer is yes. Do we use them, yes. But how we use them is to clean small parts. We do not use them to clean assembled parts, and we do not ever use them inside of guns where there are gas systems. I much prefer to scrub things by hand, especially looking at it from an Armorer or Gunsmith level of being able to remove fouling, inspect parts, and properly lube with the proper lubricants where it needs it (Keeping in mind that we lubricant for several different reasons, to protect from corrosion (rust), to reduce friction, and we also lube where we have different types of metals touching each other where we need to protect from electrolysis (Shotgun choke tubes, AR15 barrel nuts, etc).

Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
(763) 712-0123
Thanks Greg

Our team has been a little reluctant to use the Ultrasonic and it sounds like it is being used improperly most of the time (especially on the AR-15’s). I think we will stick to how we’ve been doing it. Armorers strips occasionally to inspect and clean parts, lubricating and reassembling.

One of these days when you’re up in the northeast I’ll have to see if we can get a couple guys into your classes.


Regular Member
Been through a lot of lubes over time, partly because I didn't know, partly because I was given stuff to use on guns I am issued, etc.

Agree fully with the concept of there being no one lube good for all applications. I have a whole shelf of greases and oils, right above the whole damned shelf of glues. Wife and kids still come down and say "do you have any glue?" Duh, yeah. For what exact application?

Anyway, cleaners are something else entirely. Firearms lube now is:
  • TW25 for precision parts like most of the bolt rifle, and some other trigger assemblies, small parts. Applicator is nice. Never leaves home. Only for stripped down bench use, less than annually. Works well, doesn't go away fast, doesn't gum up, etc.
  • Ballistol for everything else. It's government-tested with clear requirements and limits on what it does; it's a mineral oil so safer to use, and works on wood, doesn't attack any plastics, isn't a particular fire hazard, etc. The MSDS is awful boring.
Other lubes have had, for me, evaporation problems, stickiness problems, inconsistent formulations, and also are hard to observe; "if dry, reapply works well" and the Ballistol is a bit shiny when it's on enough to lube stuff. Flat surface: dry. Also comes in many forms, so I have liquid, pump sprayer, and aerosol at the workbench, and 3oz sprays in the range bags.

And, accessories get different liquids:
  • Plastic sliding things, like AR buttstocks, tend to get some silicone spray in them every year or two. Have some good stuff that sticks around. It helps.
  • Rubber gaskets get lithium grease, applied with a Q-tip. Ideally, pull the o-ring / gasket, put it on both sides. Gaskets can dry but more so they can bind up and tear. Need to be able to slide INSIDE their groove.
    • I would like to lube elastomeric buffers the same way, but have not found anything that will stick to them acceptably.
  • O-rings on electrical conductivity paths (battery caps) get dielectric grease, also ideally applied by removing the O-ring to get under it. Also a thin coat on the threads.
  • Electrical contact pads (battery contacts, light/laser remote plugs...) that seem worn or not really snazzy (copper vs gold) get DeOxIt.
  • Anti-seize on some fasteners, especially things like dovetail plates on mid-century style scope mounts, interference fit items that seem like they might not come out again (STANAG rails).
  • Blue Loctite from the stick for pretty much all fasteners. Then, torque to spec. Red loctite almost never is used on guns.

My only question mark now is a good anti-seize for the suppessor. It's working on the mount, but it's a modular can and on the internal threads it melts and drips out. I don't care how ugly the suppressor gets, but it seems like that is both ineffective and I am at risk of getting dripping hot anti-seize on me.


Network Support I
One of the Armorers that we have trained sent me these pics of a gun he was stumbled across. It's owner was tasked with cleaning out all the Frog Lube, then reeducated to use Slip2000 "EWL" Extreme Weapons Lube.

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Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
(763) 712-0123
I was a froglube supporter for a while before moving on to Slip. This is blatant ignorance by the user. There are instructions from the mfg about application. Nowhere did it say try to make your gun an 80% lower again by filling it with FrogLube.
This thread has been super informative! I have been using Breakfree CLP but plan on trying out Slip2000 EWL once I run out due to all the great recommendations here.

I’d like to pose an extra lubricant based question as most of the where responses have been rifle or pistol based. Where do you all apply lubricant for pistol caliber carbines, and sub machine guns with straight blowback, delayed blowback, or other mechanisms?


Regular Member
Specifically, depends on the gun.

Generally, same as for any mechanical thing:
  • Friction and mechanical interface points.
  • Avoid it on hot areas which also move, where it may gum up the works (gas systems, mostly... less likely on pistol calibers)

Knowing your system is good for this, and it is a key reason that regular cleaning and inspection is important, at least when you get a new gun. You see what rubs on what and how long the lube lasts in those areas. I can generally quickly spray some into any gun locked back, then closed, quick enough to keep it running without stripping, because I know what I am aiming to get lubed. 80% solution may be better than the time down stripping.

One I do a lot that is suggested but many fail to: springs. Each spring itself, and wherever the spring will ride. For AR15-ish guns, that means pulling the spring/buffer out, and spraying some down in the receiver extension periodically. Why? The spring is going to be guided on (read: rub against) a guide rod or channel, or both. Lots of friction, and odd behaviors come from irregular friction on part of a spring, plus wear on the highest-wear item. Torsion springs (e.g. hammer on most rifles) the spring rubs against itself, so... oil all the springs a bit.