Like most gun owners, I enjoy taking firearms to the range, the woods, or even taking an occasional pot shot at a coyote in the back yard. And, like most gun owners, I’m always looking for tools to make caring for my firearms easier. Call me crazy, but sometimes I actually like cleaning my guns. It’s relaxing, it requires focus, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I’m done — not to mention an added sense of confidence that my carry piece is far more likely to function properly in the event it’s ever needed.

Lately, I’ve been on a quest to simplify the cleaning and lubrication routines I use on my firearms. Because my collection covers a wide range of gun types (shotguns, ARs, revolvers, rifles, semi-auto pistols) and calibers (from a Ruger 10/22 and Ruger Mark I to a HK91 and Desert Eagle .50), I amassed a wide variety of brushes, rods, solvents, patches,  small screwdrivers, lubricants, nozzle straws, and other gadgets. But this week, my standard cleaning routines got a lot easier thanks to the Otis Elite Cleaning System.

MSRP on the Otis Elite kit is $149.99, but I bought it from Amazon for $100.86. The kit is designed for all types of gun owners, from hunters to competitive shooters to collectors. The kit contains tools for cleaning and lubricating .17 to .50 cal. rifles and pistols, .410 to 12/10 ga. shotguns, and all in-line muzzleloaders. Otis’ official marketing blurb says the kit contains:

  • Over 40 firearm-specific cleaning components in a nylon case
  • Six (6) Memory-Flex Cables of varying length for effective and correct Breech-to-Muzzle cleaning
  • Twenty-three (23) bronze bore brushes remove copper deposits and other fouling
  • Obstruction removal tools for jammed cases and other blockages
  • Specialized precision tools for complete breakdown and fine cleaning of all critical and hard to reach areas of your firearm
  • Optics cleaning gear for care and maintenance of scopes, rangefinders and more
  • Otis Removable Tactical Cleaning System for convenient carrying in the field
  • Dimensions: 15 1/4″ x 8 3/4″ x 4 1/2″

Otis Elite Cleaning System

The kit comes in a black nylon dual-zipper case, which includes a tiny padlock for securing it (which I doubt I’ll ever use, so I gave the padlock to my wife because she thought it was “cute”). The case was a nice touch because even though I don’t clean my guns at the range, I do like to set up a folding table on the back patio and clean my guns outside, so having everything in a case allowed me to set up my outdoor cleaning station quickly.

Along with all the cleaning gear was some printed instructions and a DVD with short videos that apply to a wide range of specific gun types. All the video clips are also available on Otis’ YouTube channel, which is where I ended up watching them. Here’s a quick example of an Otis video (this is the one I watched before cleaning two of my Glocks with this kit):

My current cleaning procedure has a few additional steps from the Otis approach, but I have to admit that apart from the chemical products I use, everything else I needed to clean every gun I own was in the Otis kit. Their “360 degree” patch system is unique, requiring you to poke the patch loop through the patch, then pinch, thread, and pull the patch up over itself to create a wad that touches all parts of the barrel at once, as opposed to a traditional rod and patch method that Otis argues is less effective. Using the Otis patches was a bit awkward at first, but after a few “pinch and pokes” I got the hang of it, and now I actually like it — and am convinced it does work better than my old way. Otis’ approach does require the use of their proprietary patches, but I can buy a batch of 100 of them online for under $9, so that’s worth it to me.

What I really like about this kit is the Memory-Flex cables and the wide selection of bronze bore brushes that comes in the kit. They work great. The Memory-Flex cables are threaded on both ends, so you can attach patch loops and/or bore brushes to either end. The cables then feed into the barrel (always in the direction a bullet would travel) and then you pull them out from the end of the barrel. I found it easier to use than a bore-snake, and actually more effective. I used them on a number of removed barrels, but because they bend they could also be used for quick cleanings simply by locking open the slide of a pistol or bolt of a rifle and feeding the cable into the barrel through the action.

I also got a chance to use the Otis nylon brush, and a number of the scraper and detail tools. No surprises here – they worked as expected and made it easy for me to get into all the nooks and crannies of my weapons.

A silicone cloth is the finishing touch on this kit, and it’s also the last thing I use on my guns after cleaning them. After using the one in the kit, I plan on ordering a couple more just to have them handy. They work well, and don’t leave any lint behind.

For a street price of $100, this kit is a no-brainer. If you only have one gun, get it — because chances are you’ll probably own more than one gun eventually. And if you have multiple guns, get it — because it keeps everything you need organized and available in a compact, easy-to-transport unit. There was even room enough in the case for me to add the screwdrivers and other small tools I like to have handy when cleaning my guns, as well as a small bag of cotton rags.

Otis has a positive reputation among serious gun owners and professional operators, and in the case of their Elite Cleaning System, it’s well earned. I welcome your comments below, whether you use this kit or some other system.