Military small arms are subjected to the most harsh operating conditions… from humid tropical environments to super dry and 100+ degree deserts. Dust, dirt, fouling and moisture threaten the functional reliability of all war-time weapons. Reliability can never be sacrificed when human lives are at stake. Weapons must be maintained or casualties accrue and objectives become compromised. Weapons must be lubricated and protected. Clean is an option.
So how do military personnel maintain their weapons and what products are being used?
All combat personnel are issued a basic CLP that is supposed to clean, lubricate and protect the weapon. Is it the best? Possibly not.
This is LSA Lubricant from Sarco, Inc. It’s strictly a lubricating oil and very cheap. The price for a quart or 32 oz is $8.00. It was originally manufactured for the M16 rifle during the Vietnam war. LSA is a synthetic based semi-fluid grease with a lithium stearate thickener. It was a good lubricate and protectant for automatic weapons. The Mil Spec is MIL-L-46000. However it did not clean.
Some combat units issued different products and apparently there is no standard brand per say. I read one unit was issued G96 Synthetic CLP while another was issued Otis CLP. BreakFree CLP was another popular CLP used in Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. A National Guard soldier said he was getting Royco 634E through the supply chain. Apparently Royco was a standard issue to some of the military branches. It meets Mil Spec MIL-R-6346OD-AMD3. It’s made by Royal Lubricants.
There seems to be no standard with the exception of the Mil Spec. All seemed to work well but they are definitely not the best available. BreakFree CLP is most likely one of the more effective CLP’s but it is not “bio friendly”. In other words it contains some harmful chemicals. It’s probably not as harmful as “Agent Orange” though. Anyway it’s probably the least of worries in a war. BreakFree CLP does work well. It does keep M4’s in action…and M60’s
Simple Green has also been reported as being used in many military posts. It’s fairly easy to get, cleans anything without harm and is biodegradable. Simple Green is a cleaner only. It does not lubricate or protect metal. When in desperate situations, it’s a great product to have on hand.
There are some new firearm CLP’s on the market that are excellent cleaner, lubricant and protectants AND safer to use. A few of these products are FrogLube CLP, FireClean CLP, Archoil AR4200, M-Pro 7 LPX and Otis Bio CLP. These are high performing products that are “Green” or environment friendly. They feature the best lubricating properties, corrosion resistance and fouling removal. These products “treat” the metal surface to retard fouling and reduce friction. They all passed the “salt spray” torture test.
If you want to read more about the performance of these new CLP’s, visit this blog…www.guncleaningtips.com. You’ll find real CLP performance tests/reviews on various guns.
It’s a very difficult task of rolling out supplies to combat troops. The logistics are a nightmare. And then there are the politics involved in the supply contracts. It’s not always the best product that gets the contract. Politics and money determine the contract awards. Politicians are bought and sold like stocks and bonds. Suppliers wine and dine congressman in order to get lucrative military contracts worth millions of dollars.
Some soldiers buy his/her own CLP’s at the base but when in combat, they have no choice but to use whatever is available in the field. Anything is better than nothing, especially when your weapon is jamming and dirty. Hot water can be used to flush out fouling and dirt.
Canned air is a popular item that you will find in most combat outposts. It’s effective in clearing actions and barrels of dust and dirt or sand. You get real creative when in the field….because you have no choice.