Best AR-15 Gun Lube – Buyer’s Guide [2020]

by

Your gun is a highly-specialized piece of equipment. It’s a tool you’ve invested in and no doubt a tool that brings you joy.

 Just like any other highly-specialized tool, there are proper maintenance routines to follow. And almost all maintenance routines include cleaning and once your tool is clean, you want to keep it that way.

For an AR-15, this is where lubricant comes in. But everyone has a different theory on AR-15 lubricant. So we will take a look at everything from home-brew to the most popular products on the market.

Comparison Chart of the Best AR-15 Lubes

PRODUCTDETAILS
gm2-table__image

M-Pro7 070-1453 4oz 7 Lpx Gun Oil

  • 4 Ounces in size
  • Specifically designed for AR-15 rifles
  • Leaves a protective film to prevent dust build-up
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Grizzly Grease

  • Non-toxic materials
  • Designed to prevent rust and corrosion
  • Cleans lubricates and protects your firearms
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Hoppe’s No. 9

  • Sold in different sizes
  • Designed for various firearms
  • Available in a squeeze bottle or aerosol spray
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

FrogLube CLP Liquid 8 oz Spray Bottle

  • 8 ounces in size
  • Designed to lubricate all points of your rifle
  • Made from food-based biodegradable materials
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Ballistol Multi-Purpose Aerosol Can Lubricant Cleaner Protectant

  • Biodegradable ingredients
  • Available in aerosol and liquid
  • Protects against rust and gum up
View Latest Price

The Importance of Lube

When it comes to guns and rifles, generally a weapon prefers to run either “wet” or “dry,” i.e. lubed or unlubed. AR-15s function best when they’re well-lubricated. There are plenty of moving parts that need to be friction-free and the semi-open construction means it’s somewhat prone to fouling particles getting into sensitive spots.

Generally, lubrication happens after the process of cleaning the AR-15 is finished, which means it performs the triple duty of: actually lubricating the moving parts within the AR-15, performing a final “clean-out” of any leftover particles, and finally, leaving a nice, clean seal that keeps out future nuisances.

So, to put it simply, lubing an AR-15 is really important if you want your gun to keep working! Of course, everyone has their own methods and all have their ups and downs. But largely, “wetter is better” is a good philosophy to stick by.

Some people worry that excessive lubricant will ultimately attract more fouling particles and gum up the gun. Others argue that even an AR-15 that’s practically dripping with lube will still fire perfectly. While I wouldn’t want to go to the latter extreme, I’m definitely inclined to lean more in that general direction.

Can I Make My Own Lube?

As with any home hobby, sometimes the DIY principle is more like “do-or-die.” There are those out there who swear by home-brewed lubricants, both because of the cost and the effectiveness of their respective methods. And, honestly, many of these work pretty well. Some of the most common secret ingredients are things like motor oil and automatic transmission fluid, mixed to make what is lovingly referred to as “red juice.” And, having tried my hand at it in the past… It works pretty well.

My biggest complaint with home-brew gun lubes is that they’re a real pain. It takes a ton of tinkering to get it just right. And the wrong proportions can risk doing damage to sensitive parts of the AR-15, even if it’s not extensive.

Ultimately, I find the convenience of store-bought lubes outweigh the supposed benefits of homemade lubes. And often the store-bought lubes come with extra cleaning agents that will foster the longevity of your rifle much more than a few tablespoons of your concoction.

How to Choose AR-15 Lubricant

While there are a lot of lubricants available on the market, it is important to find one that will be best for your rifle. You need to distinguish a good lubricant from those that are not considered effective for the purpose of cleaning and preserving the quality of your rifle. Here’s what you need to look for in a lubricant:

Price

If you’re on a budget, you need to find the best lube that will be affordable in terms of quality. Rather than finding one that is considered cheap and ineffective, find the best lube to preserve the quality of your rifle, even if it means spending a little higher on your budget scale. 

Ingredients

The ingredients found in lubricants are important. Some of them may be designed not just to provide long-lasting protection, but can also be designed to preserve or harden the metal of your rifle’s barrel. The harder and more durable it can get, the better the chance the rifle will last. 

Spray or Liquid

Your decision on this will be based on personal preference. You should use whichever is easier for you, in terms of cleaning. Sprays and liquids can easily gain access to your barrel and the inner workings of your rifle. But liquids will have less viscosity and might be a bit messy for some who want to clean their rifle without making such a mess. 

Quick Take - The Best Lubes for the AR-15

These are our recommendations for the best lubes for the AR-15:

  1. M-Pro7 070-1453 4oz 7 Lpx Gun Oil
  2. Grizzly Grease
  3. Hoppe’s No. 9

Reviews of the Best AR-15 Lubricants

The following is a list of the five best AR-15 lubes currently on the market. As you look through each one, it is important to note the features and characteristics of each. If you have a good idea of what you are looking for in a lubricant, you can find one that will be the best match for you, based on your needs.

Now, let’s start off with the first AR-15 lube on our list:

Prom Hoppe's M-Pro 7 LPX Gun Oil, 4 Ounce Bottle

Pros

  • Prevents rust
  • Easy application
  • Long-lasting lubricant

Cons

  • Slightly runnier than other lubricants
  • Bottle is difficult to use for applications

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new users were pretty happy with the lubricant. They said it was easy to apply and does a good job protecting your rifle from any dust, dirt, and debris. One user said it keeps his rifle nice and clean for the long term and also does a good job protecting the rifle from any scuffing and scratching.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This lubricant is a good-sized bottle that will last you a good while. So, it may be a good long-term lubricant you can use if you want something to keep your rifle clean and free from any environmental elements like dust and debris. So if you intend to clean your gun with a lubricant that will do its best to keep it clean, this might be exactly what you’re looking for. 

The M-Pro7 LPX Gun Oil is another lubricate, clean, & protect oil like FrogLube. Unlike FrogLube, there’s no complicated application process.

The LPX is an improvement on M-Pro7’s basic gun oil, requiring a smaller amount for effective application. LPX gets deep into the metal’s pores for a long-lasting lubricant and is an excellent barrier against rust.

In my opinion this product is really hard to beat. It combines the affordability of more basic oils with the features of a much more expensive gun lubricant. Plus, it smells much less toxic than other products I’ve used, so no headache when I’m trying to work on my gun!

Who Will Use This Most 

This will certainly be a good lube for those who want something that will give your rifle extra protection even after cleaning. Don’t be surprised if a single bottle of this will last you quite a while. This might be your first line of defense against dust and debris that would otherwise make your rifle a little less reliable. 

Bottom Line

The Prom Hoppe’s M-Pro 7 LPX Gun Oil might be exactly what you’re looking for if you want superior protection for your rifle. After cleaning your rifle, this might just be the lube you need for the long-term.

Runner-up:
Grizzly Grease

Grizzly Grease Non-Toxic CLP | All-in-One Gun Cleaner, Lubricant, Protectant | USDA Certified Bio-Based Gun Oil Alternative | Exceeds 5 MIL-SPEC Technical Standards | 4 Oz. Leak-Proof Container

Pros

  • Non-toxic
  • Easy to apply
  • Very effective

Cons

  • Wintergreen scent may not be suitable for hunting conditions
  • Temperature changes the quality of the lubricant when applying - can be too thick or too runny

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new users were pretty satisfied with the lubricant. They were even more impressed with knowing that it could clean and lubricate their rifle. Most said it does a good job of protecting their rifles long after a cleaning session. One user said he doesn’t use it often since it does a good job giving him long-lasting protection from dust, debris, and even gunk buildup. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This lubricant is made from bio-ingredients. This makes it non-toxic and environmentally friendly. So you won’t have to work with any chemicals that might be considered hazardous to health. If you want a lubricant that will be safe to use and won’t be harmful to your health (and is usable in an indoor setting), this could just be the kind of lube for cleaning your favorite AR-15. 

Grizzly Grease is another great three-in-one lubricant. It offers a thick layer of protection, easy application, and long-lasting lubrication. Where Grizzly Grease separates from the pack is their mission to create safe, non-toxic lubricants.

I’m not a chemist and can’t really speak to what makes this product less toxic than the other lubes on this list. But, it’s very apparent from using it that there’s less of an off-putting smell and the feel is a bit different from FrogLube or M-Pro7.

Most importantly, though, Grizzly Grease does not compromise on effectiveness at all. It runs with the big guns and keeps up with ease. It also works well in all temperatures, won’t gum up too soon, and creates a great protective layer.

Who Will Use This Most 

This lubricant might be what you need if you want something to give you the best cleaning and protection possible. Cleaning your rifle is important and protecting it from gunk buildup should be one of your goals. So, if you need a lubricant that will extend the life of your rifle, you may be hard-pressed to find anything else quite like this. 

Bottom Line

Grizzly Grease might be tough like a grizzly bear when it comes to protecting your rifle. On top of that, it’s made from the best ingredients that are not dangerous to the environment or the user’s health. If you want a lube that will make cleaning and protecting your rifle a cinch, this might be it. 

Best for the Money:
Hoppe’s No. 9

Pros

  • Simple
  • Reliable
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No detergent
  • Minimal protection
  • Must be reapplied often

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a lot of recent buyers were happy with this lubricant. They quickly applied this to their rifles and managed to use it for the purpose of cleaning and protecting their rifle’s barrels. One user said it got rid of a lot of gunk and debris, especially with the use of some pretty good bore brushes and cleaning pads. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Hoppe’s No. 9 is considered to be one of the most trusted brands in cleaning solutions and lubricants. The orange bottle might just be one of the most recognized objects of gun owners everywhere. So if you are looking for a brand that will stand for reliability and exceeding standards, Hoppes No. 9 might be the kind of lubricant you can depend on to ensure your rifle cleans up really well and stays that way for a while. 

Hoppe’s No. 9 is a classic gun lubricant that’s been around just about as long as modern guns have–and for a good reason! This lubricant is a classic, no-frills, reliable lubricant available for about ¼ of the price of most contemporary gun lubes. It may not have any detergents or special additives, but it gets the job done.

The lubricant itself is petroleum-based – normally something to avoid, since petroleum tends to become gummy or tacky and foul up moving parts. But Hoppe’s has got their blend down to perfection and it creates a reliable, protective layer of lubricant that will last for a long time. The No. 9 Lubricant is available in a small squeeze-bottle or as an adhesive spray depending on your preference.

Who Will Use This Most 

This lubricant will be affordable for those on a budget. Even better, it is one of the most trusted lubes among gun owners (and has been for many years). So, if you want something that has long been the go-to lube for many gun owners for a long time, this is the one to go with. 

Bottom Line

If you want a lube you can trust, the orange bottle of Hoppe’s No. 9 might be what you’ll need. And since it’s affordable, it might be the best investment you can make when it comes to quality and performance. 

Pros

  • Long-lasting
  • Works well in cold weather
  • Maximum protection from moisture & dust

Cons

  • Mixed effectiveness
  • Complicated process
  • Can’t be mixed with other lubes & may require additional products

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a lot of new users were quite happy with this lube. They were impressed with the non-toxic ingredients that made using this safe for them. One user said he typically uses lubricants that were made from chemicals that caused him to have to clean his rifle outdoors, risking him to face other elements that triggered his allergies. However, this lube was able to be used indoors, making it easier for him. 

Why It Stands Out To Us

One of the most intriguing things about this lubricant is that it’s made from ingredients that we typically eat. But it provides considerable protection for your rifle. Not only will it protect your barrel, but it will also protect the inner workings of your rifle from the inside and out. So, if you want your rifle to stand out like a literal well-oiled machine, this might be exactly what you’re looking for. 

FrogLube is kind of the epitome of modern gun lubes. It has detergent elements and advertises both lubricant and protective qualities.

Unlike most “set and forget” lubes, applying FrogLube can be a bit of a task. The instructions say you need to use FrogLube solvent to completely clean and degrease any factory lubricant. Then, apply thin coats of FrogLube to the heated metal, then allow it to cure. The result of this process is that, in theory, you should have a weapon so protected that carbon powder brushes right off.

FrogLube compares it to a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. Actual results may vary – those who get it right, swear by it. Those who aren’t fans claim it’s prone to gumming up weapons and that claims about its protective qualities are overblown. It may come down to user error and, in my experience, this is a worthwhile lubricant even in colder conditions.

Who Would Use This Most?

This lubricant will be used by those who want a completely clean AR-15 from the inside and out. Remember, this isn’t just for barrels. If you want something that will give your parts a good clean and protective layer, this might be the lubricant that will make it happen.

Bottom Line

The Froglube CLP Liquid might be your lube of choice if you want something that is non-toxic but does a dang good job providing all-over protection for your rifle. Who says biodegradable materials can't do that? On top of that, it’s pretty affordable for most budgets. So this is another affordable option you can choose. 

Pros

  • Reliable
  • Spray-on
  • Non-toxic
  • Affordable
  • Good cleaning properties

Cons

  • Highly-scented product
  • Lubrication leaves something to be desire, maybe combine with another lubricant

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new buyers were pretty happy with this lubricant. They said it was safe to use and does a good job keeping the gun and all the major parts clean for the long term. One user said a few drops of this does a good job cleaning off all kinds of residue and gunk. He said all of that tends to come off easily and leaves nothing behind. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This is another lubricant made from biodegradable materials. So it will definitely stand out as one of your best options if you intend to find something protective for both your health and the environment, in general. The last thing you want to do is damage either. So if you want a lubricant that will certainly stand out as a great option in keeping every moving part of your rifle clean, this might be exactly what you need. 

Ballistol is another historic gun lube, originally developed for the military. It is slightly fancier than Hoppe’s No. 9 and has the same 3-in-1 features of the other lubes on this list. Ballistol is specifically an aerosol spray for easy application. It claims to be biodegradable with natural components similar to Grizzly Grease.

The main draw of Ballistol is its cleaning properties. The detergents used in this product are a bit stronger than many of the others listed and it creates a great protective layer. This biggest issue I’ve found is that sometimes it doesn’t lubricate quite as well as I’d like. That’s easily solved with a little dab of Hoppe’s or LPX, but is a drawback for someone looking for a one-stop lube.

Who Will Use This Most

This might be the perfect lubricant if you want something that will give your rifle overall protection. This can even make the in-between periods of cleaning a bit more extensive, since it will protect your rifle from all kinds of buildup and dust. If you care about your health and the environment, this lube might be one of your best options. 

Bottom Line

The Ballistol Multi-Purpose Oil not only protects your barrel from dust and gunk buildup, but it will also keep every single major part in good running shape without rusting or corroding. You’ll get the ultimate in protection for your AR-15, and with the best and safest ingredients possible. 

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

While there are characteristics and features that are important in choosing a lube for your rifle, you should also consider other aspects that will be key in your final decision. You should not ignore these additional aspects, as they may be vital in finding your preferred lube. Here’s what you need to consider:

How Often Should You Use It?

One of the things you need to consider is how often you need to add lubrication to your rifle. You should use your lube of choice as often as you clean your rifle. So, using it on a regular basis is ideal. 

Do You Need Other Cleaning Tools?

If you are purchasing lube, one of the other things you might be considering is purchasing cleaning materials or kits. If you already have cleaning materials like bore brushes and cleaning pads, you should be good-to-go. If you need the tools, consider purchasing a cleaning kit. 

How Large of a Bottle Do You Need?

A lot of lubricants come in differently-sized bottles. So if you are looking for a lubricant that will last you a good part of the year, you may want to consider a six-ounce bottle or larger. Keep in mind how often you clean your rifle. Even a small-sized bottle of lube can last you quite a while. 

Conclusion

Keeping a clean, serviceable weapon is an important part of gun maintenance and there are plenty of tools at your disposal. Whether you opt for a home-grown recipe or choose one of these excellent products, you’ll end up with a smooth-running weapon that will keep your rifle working optimally.

Remember that AR-15s prefer to be wet and you need to work toward finding that good balance between saturated enough and not too saturated. Your AR-15 will be thanking you for years to come!

People Also Ask

These frequently asked questions should serve as an additional guide in helping you make a decision on your lube of choice. These should also give you a better understanding of how these products function.

What is Gun Grease Used For?

Gun grease can be used for the purpose of cleaning your rifle. Texture-wise, gun grease will be a bit thicker in viscosity compared to various lubes. 

Is Mineral Oil Bad for Guns?

Yes. It is highly recommended that you don’t use mineral oil for the purpose of cleaning your gun. Not because it’s unsafe, it just doesn’t provide any added value that might be beneficial.

Can You Use WD-40 on a Gun?

You can use WD-40 for a gun. However, you shouldn’t excessively use it for cleaning purposes. A couple of pumps should be enough to clean your gun and prevent any fouling. 

Leave a Comment