Stuff That Works: Break Free Cleaner, Lubricant, and Preservative (CLP)

We all shop for reliable items, balancing features against cost. What follows is a series, examining firearms and related equipment that has proven reliable during constant use in adverse conditions. These are things readily available that you’ll be able to buy for a reasonable price.

When my firearms training operation isn’t burning powder it’s because we’ve probably stopped to clean guns. One thing we buy by the gallon is Break-Free CLP; as in “cleaner, lubricant and preservative”. That acronym about sums the stuff up. I read a test of firearms-related rust inhibitors during which common nails were coated and exposed to salt water. Break Free was right up there, explaining why the military uses it.

Actually, we don’t rely exclusively on CLP. Solvents designed to remove copper, plastic and heavy bore fouling are on hand as well. But, before reassembly, rails, bolts and other moving parts are carefully lubricated with Break Free. I’ll often use a moistened patch to wipe down the external surfaces of my personal firearms. A friend from Florida summed things up in a recent e-mail….

“I bought one of the first Kimber Solo’s available. The maker advises that it must be broken in before carrying, which takes 150 rounds. Further, they claim it will not function reliably with 115 grain 9 mm bullets; you must use 124 grain or 147 grain. Sure enough the first box of 147 grain jammed 47 times out of 50 with a failure to feed and the next round always stopped on the ramp. I took it home, cleaned it, and made sure I swiped the rails with a patch damp with Break Free. All I had left were the non- recommended 115 grain FMJ bullets. It functioned flawlessly and has continued to do so through boxes of 124 grain and 147. It hasn’t had a failure since. Not one. From years of experience with Break Free, I’m confident it was what made the difference.”

“As a retired police officer I started my career carrying the iconic Smith & Wesson Model 19 .357 Magnum with the beautiful royal blue finish that Smith made back then. We carried them in the Bill Jordan River Holster. Great holster for getting your gun into play but it did nothing to protect the gun so I eventually switched to the stainless Model 65. During the years I carried the blued gun it was subjected to rain, snow, and everything nature could throw at it. When you police on Cape Cod, which is barely six miles across, you’re never more than three from the ocean, which means all that wind carries a lot of salt water. I cleaned it regularly with Break Free and normally at the end of every shift it got a quick wipe down with an old T-shirt with remnants of Break Free on it. But there are so many shifts that between stress and fatigue, you just don’t worry about the gun when you get home. Like so many guns we can’t imagine why we sold them. Alas, I sold my 19, but when I did the finish, other than normal holster wear, was like the day I bought it. I’ve used Break Free on every gun I’ve owned and the city owned issued police guns up to the Sig-Sauer I carried to the day I left the job. And I always will.”

Enough said.

The Graduate Shootist.