No matter how many firearms you own or how long you’ve owned them, one inescapable aspect of maintaining them is cleaning. Not cleaning your guns simply isn’t an option.
But how long can you keep using the same towel, dipped in solvent? Not only do towels quickly get dirty, but they also absorb and therefore waste cleaning solvents.
A cleaning mat is the answer to your problems. Made from non-absorbent, anti-leak materials, the best gun cleaning mats make the cleaning process so much easier.
To help you find the right one for yourself, today we’ll be reviewing five of the best ones. We’ve also included a buying guide and answers to your pressing questions about cleaning mats. Find them below!
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To be honest, there is an abundance of gun cleaning mats to be found on the market… we’ve taken the trouble of separating the good from the bad, so you don’t have to. Here are our top 5 picks for you!
With a range of reliable and functional products for every kind of gun owner out there, Real Avid is an American company that has quickly earned itself a good reputation. This cleaning mat is one of their most sought-after products, and it’s pretty easy to see why.
This mat is constructed from a non-absorbent material, which means that if or when you spill solvents or oil on it, they will just bead up instead of being sucked into the mat. This makes for very easy clean-up once you’re done.
Furthermore, the mat has an anti-slip bottom, which allows it to stay securely in place while you work. Given that gun-cleaning is a process that requires caution and concentration, the non-slip bottom can be a huge advantage.
What we love most, though, is arguably the magnetic parts holder built into the side of the mat. It’s an absolute nightmare having to keep track of small parts like screws and pins, and cleaning tools like a cleaning rod; the magnetized tray ensures that you’ll never lose those essential but tiny parts.
While the standard dimensions of this mat are 16”x19”, it’s also available in a few more different sizes. So whether you have a pistol, rifle, or shotgun, there’s a Real Avid Smart Mat for you.
One of the main complaints about this mat is that it does not stay flat. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, this happens because of the way the mat is shipped—in that case, the problem might be unavoidable. If not, we recommend keeping it away from heat sources to ensure it doesn’t roll up.
There are, undeniably, lots of great cleaning mats out there for ARs and handguns. When it comes to shotguns, though, it gets difficult to find a cleaning mat large enough. If that’s a predicament you’ve been suffering from, well, worry no more, because you’ve discovered Drymate!
Wondering why we’re saying that? Just ask the dimensions of this cleaning pad, because it measures 16″x54″! That’s enough space not just for your prized Benelli, Winchester, or what-have-you, but also your cleaning equipment and parts.
But enough talk about the size; how does it perform?
Well, like any gun cleaning mat worth buying, this one is made from a soft and absorbent fabric that soaks up CLP spills without letting them through to your work surface.
The best part is, even if you don’t own a shotgun, you can still avail of the many benefits of owning this cleaning pad because it comes in a 16″x20″ variation as well. Furthermore, it’s stain-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about cleaning it very often, either.
But when you do have to clean it, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to do so. Just scrub it down with some warm soapy water, then hose it off, and hang to dry. But remember, no washing machine!
Now, you deserve to know that some users do complain about the quality and long-term usability of this cleaning mat. However, consider the price: especially with its size and build, we think it’s a small tradeoff.
Calling all AR-15 owners out there (who also happen to be in need of a cleaning mat for their prized possession, of course)! Once you read our review about it, this functional, durable and stylish cleaning mat from UsefulThingy will probably become one of the newest additions to your gun cleaning kit.
And once it does, we promise you won’t be able to go without it. That’s a lot of big claims we’re making, but what proof do we have to back it up? Well, let’s find out, shall we?
Equipped with an absorbent and durable neoprene base, the surface of this mat is softly padded to protect both your gun and your work surface while you work. Its absorbent body quickly sucks up any solvent, oil, or protectant, which leaves you worry-free about clean-up.
But why is it that we recommend this product for AR-15 owners? Well, first of all, it measures 36″x12″x0.12″; this gives you more-than-enough surface space to lay out your precious AR-15.
What’s more, the entire mat is printed with both visual and textual information about the parts and make-up of an AR-15. The parts diagram allows you to get closely acquainted with the inside of your AR-15 and ensures that you’ll be able to keep track of all its parts when you assemble and disassemble it.
And to top it all off, this mat is intensely portable. It’s just thick enough that it’ll provide adequate cushioning for your gun and its parts, but thin enough that it can be rolled up and stowed away effortlessly.
Now, because this mat is absorbent, you will have to take time out to clean it periodically. However, this is super easy to do with only some rags dipped in some lukewarm water mixed with a mild detergent.
If you’re a patriotic American rifle owner, then our next pick is definitely going to appeal to you. If you’re wondering why we’re saying that, just ask the sexy black-and-white American flag printed on the surface of this cleaning mat. But that’s not even the best thing about it, so keep reading!
Measuring 11″x17, this cleaning mat is the ideal pick for you if you’re looking for a mat big enough to set your rifle down on as you clean it. And because it has stitched borders, they help to ensure your stuff won’t roll away from you as you work, as well.
Furthermore, with its polyester top and waterproof coating, this cleaning mat promises to catch all of your spilled cleaning solvents/oils while also protecting your work surface. Its backing is made from natural rubber, which helps to keep the mat grounded firmly in place while you work. And of course, it keeps your work surface safe, as well!
One disadvantage of this mat, though, is that it does not come with an absorbent surface. And as it collects CLP spills, it can be somewhat difficult to clean; however, as long as you have some mild detergent, water, and some rags, you should be good to go.
Our next pick has been carefully selected for the high-maintenance and conscientious gun man with good taste. You might think that’s a lot of fancy words to describe that this cleaning mat is expensive, and it is. However, when you read about it, you’ll forgive us for being so over-the-top.
Hand-crafted from 12 ounces of waxed canvas, premium leather, and heavy wool, the high quality of this gun cleaning mat is instantly evident when you lay eyes on it. In fact, the manufacturers aren’t scared to say that you’ll be handing this one down through generations.
But beyond its construction, how does it perform? Just as you would expect. It measures 69 inches in length and 16 inches in width, which means there’s ample space for you to work on any of your firearms, no matter the make and model. And because it’s a half-inch thick, your guns will be adequately protected from the cleaning surface.
This mat was made for functionality, and it shows. There are four separate pockets on its body, which can easily store your cleaning gear and gun parts, be it your lubricants, rags, cleaning solutions, pins, springs, or rods.
And once you’re done cleaning? Well, you’ll be able to go ahead and roll it right up, then secure it with the included leather buckle straps. And on that note, we can’t account for anyone’s taste, but we think the aesthetic appeal of this mat is undeniable.
Now, there are some concerns as to the mat’s durability, especially in relation to its high price tag. However, it seems that this is mostly a question of the reseller; so before you make your purchase, check the credentials carefully.
There are undoubtedly many great brands selling great gun cleaning mats on the market. However, there are also some that aren’t worth your money. Keeping the following factors in mind will help you differentiate between the two.
And of course, when you’re picking out the right gun mat for yourself, it’s important to ensure that it’s made from a sturdy material that promises longevity.
But more importantly, remember that the best mats are made from non-absorbent material that won’t soak up the CLPs (cleaners, lubricants, protectants) you are using on your guns, but rather absorb them safely. It wouldn’t really be a cleaning mat otherwise.
The material used in making the mat also determines how easy/difficult it will be to clean. If it has a leak-proof surface, cleaning could be as easy as wiping the grease away.
It goes without saying that your gun cleaning mat must be big enough to accommodate the full size of your firearm. Not only that, but the mat should also be able to hold your CLPs, along with your cleaning tools.
Some cleaning mats are made to be used with handguns, while others might be specifically for use with shotguns or rifles. So the right size depends entirely on the firearm models that you own.
Many gun cleaning mats are innovatively built with on-board storage capabilities. They come with in-built holders for tools and parts, which allow you to keep everything at arm’s length. This can be especially useful if you’re paranoid about losing those tiny pins and screws.
Storing the mat itself is another concern: it should be easy to stow away after use. To this effect, many cleaning mats are made to be rolled up for easy, compact storage. This also allows them to be carried inside a gun kit bag.
Another thing that you should keep in mind while making the purchase is the price of the cleaning mat. Make sure that the product isn’t overpriced. However, it shouldn’t be very cheap either. Otherwise, you will find yourself on the market soon again.
Here, we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions regarding gun cleaning mats. Read on to learn their answers.
You can keep the cleaning operation confined to the dimensions of the cleaning mat, preventing dangerous/difficult spills. Furthermore, your gun will be protected from abrasions and scratches. Plus, cleaning mats are easier to clean.
The best gun cleaning mats are easy to clean. The majority of these can be cleaned using only a towel or rag and some warm soapy water. Some people like using mild detergent.
Unless the manufacturers’ instructions say that you can, you should never put your cleaning mat in the washing machine. You might end up irretrievably damaging the mat.
Some people like to use their gun cleaning mats to clean their knives. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with this; in practice, however, it can be dangerous: the knife might rip the mat. So it’s best not to.
Cleaning mats are made to be leak-proof and non-absorbent, which allows you to keep your surroundings clean while cleaning your gun. Materials such as neoprene are typically used.
So as we’ve seen, the best gun cleaning mats come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. We’ve, of course, specified the best use for each one, but whichever you choose, remember to keep the construction material, size, and durability in mind. Or, if you’re still confused, why not refer back to our buying guide?
May your guns always be sparkling clean! Good luck, and use your gun responsibly.