In more than 45 years of shooting, I've tried just about every kind of lube and gun cleaner on the market. Some work a little better than others, and some don't work very well at all. Anyone who is serious about taking care of their firearms, for self-defense, combat, military missions or survival, had better take very good care of their firearms. If you don't properly care for your weapons, they will fail you, just when you need them the most. I couldn't tell you the number of students who have trained under me, who have had their firearms fail them during one of my courses. One of the biggest causes for weapon failure, was either poor quality aftermarket magazines, or poorly maintained firearms - meaning, they didn't lube their firearms at all. Inside of 50 rounds of firing, their firearms would start malfunctioning because of the heat and friction involved. Now, while this may be acceptable under range conditions - it is not acceptable under life and death conditions.
Many malfunctions were easily corrected by simply applying some lube on handguns in my classes. I always have a range box with me, as well as a first-aid kit. I've yet to use the first-aid, but I've used the range box with a variety of tools and cleaning equipment, to get guns up and running once again. It's almost like I've performed some type of "magic" on a student's firearms, when a little lube is applied, the guns start working again. I've had quite a few students tells me that they don't use any lube at all, because they don't want their firearms to attract dirt or lint, of they fear the lube will get on their clothes. Excuse me? You're worried about a little lube getting on your clothes - instead of worrying about your firearm failing you, when you need it most? Stupidity never ceases to amaze me in some people.
The days of using plain old "gun oil" have long passed, in my humble opinion. Sure, plain old gun oil is still on the market, and I guess it's ok to use on a hunting firearm, prior to going out to a hunt. However, in harsh conditions, plain old gun oil will still fail you, when you don't want it to. And, it still amazes me that people use WD-40 as a lube - you are only inviting trouble if you use WD-40 as a lube - it is not a "lube" per se - it is a penetrating oil. WD-40 does not provide very good lubrication on anything, especially firearms - it will wear-off in very short order.
There are a good many different types of CLP (Cleaner, Lube and Preservative) compounds on the market these days. One of my most often used is Break-Free, and while I use it more than any other type of CLP, it isn't perfect in my book. A new family of products have been introduced by Italian Gun Grease - a company that I had heard of, nor their products. A box of various sample Italian Gun Grease products showed in my post office box one day, and when I opened it, I thought to myself "Oh great, another CLP, just like so many other similar products...." I was wrong!
One of the biggest threats to your firearms is heat build-up, followed by deposits of carbon and unburned powder. And, I'm not sure which is the biggest threat to causing a malfunction, however with no scientific study under my belt, I'm going to say that friction is the bigger problem. Metal-on-metal, with high-heat, will cause your firearms to malfunction. I've taken a few firearms courses over the years myself, and I've seen what happens when firearms are not properly cleaned and lubed - in the course of shooting maybe 500 - 1,000 rounds in a day, firearms stop working. I have never had that problem, because I've always cleaned and maintained my firearms properly, but I've seen other students who had repeated failures, because their guns were dirty and not properly lubed.
I think many in the firearms industry have solved the problem of producing a good all 'round lube, with some of the CLP products on the market. However, they haven't solved the problem of the accumulation of carbon and particulate matter, that can also cause firearms to malfunction under extreme conditions - until now! Italian Gun Grease set out to solve the problem. I believe IGG has solved the problem not only by producing a great lube, but also came away with a game changer, that helps prevent the build-up of carbon and burnt powder on firearms.
IGG lubes are very different, they are not true lubes, they contain a proprietary metal conditioner that are actually heat-activated. Their so-called "Heat-Seeking Molecule" formula penetrates into and fills the microscopic gaps where points of friction exist. IGG doesn't burn-up in high heat, something that can't be said for other lubes on the market. What this does is, it actually produces a very hard, high, heat, high pressure resistant polished surface that can cut friction by as much as 85%. This isn't just a little better than the competition, it's a whole lot better than ordinary CLP products. IGG products may appear dry, but they are producing the protection you need from friction, and it doesn't allow carbon and other crud to build-up in the critical friction areas of firearms.
According to the IGG web site, their lube has an operating temperature range of between -45 degrees, all the way up to 430-degrees. Now, we couldn't last but a moment in 430 degree temps, but the inside and and high friction areas of firearms can reach 300-degrees in rapid or automatic fire. We can operate in -45 degree temps in some areas of the world, and this is where a lot of other lubes fail - they congeal, and don't provide proper lubrication, 'causing firearms to fail, just the same as if they had no lube at all. More information is posted on the IGG web site, and it is worth the time to read it.
I do a lot of shooting for my firearms articles. In some instances, I'll burn through 500 rounds of ammo in an AR-15 or AK-47 style rifle in an hour or less, when I'm doing function rather than accuracy testing. In handguns, I might burn through a couple hundred rounds of ammo in an hour. Then I'll continue testing over several days for accuracy, and testing different types of ammo. The thing is, during most of my firearms test, I don't routinely stop and clean and lube the firearms, unless there is a problem. I usually clean and lube a firearm prior to testing, and then after the testing give the firearms another good cleaning and lube. I know when testing semiauto rifles like ARs or AKs, the guns get very hot, and at the end of my testing, much of the lube is burned-off, and there is a lot of carbon and other crud built-up, that can cause problems and malfunctions.
Over a two month period, I only used IGG products in various firearms, and I will say, I was very impressed with the results. While there didn't appear to be any sort of lube or protection in high-friction areas, like slide rails or locking lugs, the protection was there, you could actually feel how much smoother a slide or bolt was moving both while firing the firearms and while working a slide or bolt.
Italian Gun Grease has several different products on the market, and I highly recommend their Tactical Formula 2 - which is designed for combat use. They also have Advanced Formula 2 for hunter applications, however, for my money, I'd just stick with the Tactical Formula 2 for all my needs, especially in a combat or survival situation - just seems like it would give better protection all the way around. They also have True Grease, and I recommend this for the locking lugs on semi-auto pistols, especially 1911-type pistols. You'd be surprised how many people don't bother to lube the locking lugs at all on a 1911 - and this is a very important area where friction can build-up. IGG also has cleaning kits, that can cover most of your handgun and rifle needs, all in one handy pouch. This is a great little kit to place in your BOB or range bag - just perfect for survival or combat scenarios, with a good supply of Tactical Formula 2 - their combat lube.
I gave some sample IGG grease to other shooters, and asked for their feedback, and each one came away with the impression that IGG lubes worked better than whatever other products they were using - they all said that their firearms seemed to operate smoother and there was less buildup of crud and carbon. Okay, IGG products made a believer out of me, and I highly recommend all their products to anyone who is serious about survival or who might be in a combat zone, where failure of your weapon is not an option you can afford. You'll find IGG products are competitively priced compared to some of the other CLP products on the market, so it's a small investment, that can return great dividends if you want some of the best lubes you can get for your weapons. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio