How many of you’ve gone through a phase where maintaining a gun is more tiresome than shooting with it?
I know, I have. This is perfectly normal when we don’t have the right tools for the trade.
At this point, many would point to a gun cleaning oil or a cleaning rod. Make no mistake, these things ARE necessary.
That’s why people have cleaning kits as well.
However, most of us forget about one tiny part of the maintenance army. That is, a mat we need to rest our beloved firearm(s) on.
While shopping for one, I always look into the fact whether my mat accumulates less dust, gun powder residue, cleaning agents such as: oils, lubricants, and myriad solvents than others.
Case and Point: The maintenance of these products should be easy. Last thing you want to be doing is to spend more time on these than the gun itself.
As luck would have it for you… this little article of mine gives people a sneak peak into the best gun cleaning mats available right now.
I’ve dipped into my experience of using these products and gave you short reviews. These reviews will give you a taste of what you’re in for once you buy these things.
I’ve also tagged a buying guide at the end. The guide will help people who want to do their own thing and find a product that suits their needs rather than going for one out of this article.
- 1 Why Would You Need A Mat for Your Guns?
- 2 Top 5 Gun Cleaning Mat That You’ll Find Useful
- 3 Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Gun Cleaning Mat
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions That You May Have in Your Mind
- 5 Let’s End it Right Here!
Why Would You Need A Mat for Your Guns?
I’d not say gun mats are necessary all day long. I don’t need a mat to clean my gun during summer time. But when it gets to winter, bare wooden surfaces get soggy and laced with chemicals from guns and gun oils. Using a mat in these situations can save your furniture and the guns from slowly rotting away.
How do the mats accomplish that? Well, these mats soak up the liquid and help them bead up. The spilt liquids stay on top. People can wipe these with soft tissue.
Also, these mats are super handy when you’re looking to protect your firearms from scratches or jams when dismantling or putting them together after cleaning. You’ll be able to keep track of every screw or lock nut that your piece has.
If you’re worried about the cost, don’t be. A quality gun mat won’t cost you the world. At best, the mat would cost around $50 at its highest. This is a cheap change when you consider the fact that the products help you in cleaning weapons worth thousands of dollars without any scratch.
Top 5 Gun Cleaning Mat That You’ll Find Useful
Let’s focus on what types of gun mats you’re gonna get that are absolutely best at their job. These are some of the products that are at the pinnacle in terms of quality and are quite affordable.
Hopefully, you’ll find these short reviews quite informative and these will lead you into making a good choice.
1. Real Avid Smart Gun Cleaning Mat
If you own a gun then you already know that there’s a lot more to it than just pointing and shooting.
Practically any gun that you use will require proper maintenance. Cleaning tools apart, gun cleaning mats are an essential part of any sharp shooter’s cleanup routine.
Real Avid recognizes the need of all you gunslingers out there and they don’t falter when it comes to providing quality above all else.
They proudly boast that their mats are the most capable, user-friendly, and smartest ones available. Let’s see if the Real Avid Smart Mat is an exception in any case.
Well, basically this one is a pistol cleaning mat that makes cleaning and maintenance a lot more organized.
The mat has a dedicated parts tray that comes in real handy. To my great surprise, this tray was actually magnetized. Which means, there’s no actual chance of losing small springs and pins.
Spilling oil and other liquids on gun cleaning mats are pretty common. The bit that gets really annoying is when the oil soaks out. But that really won’t be an issue here as the mat is lightly padded. This ensures that oil, liquids, and other solvents bead up instead of causing a mess.
The purpose of a gun cleaning mat isn’t really well-served if the mat moves around from here to there every other moment. That definitely won’t happen with the Real Avid Smart Mat.
It’s well equipped with non-slip backings that help the mat to stay in place.
If you don’t find that convenient then hold your horses, this baby still has a lot more to offer. Working with different types of guns is really easy with this one. The material is durable and can withstand an ample amount of shock. So yeah, it “Can” take on quite a lot of bashing.
You really won’t have any issues cleaning pistols of any kind. With the proper dimensions of 19 by 16-inch, this product is well of with whatever you throw at it.
Plus, rolling it up is really easy. The best bit is that unlike other mats, it gets unrolled flatly on the surface without causing any kind of trouble.
These are the small things that I learned to appreciate with time. Still, if you want a bit of variety, this product is available as 1911 Smart Mat, for Glock Platform, for S&W M&P Platform, and so on. This thing offers top-notch stability without sacrificing flexibility. A great buy no matter how you think of it!
|The mat is great for pistols due to the compact size. It takes up very little space as well.||Screen paint would have been a good implication here as it makes the smudges on the mat non-existent.|
|The magnetic part bin makes life a lot easier. It helps to keep your cleaning parts organized||Although this thing is liquid-proof. Using too much gun oil on the surface could spoil the mat.|
|This cleaning mat is liquid resistant to quite some extent. It works just fine even it gets a bit soggy.|
|You’ll find that Real Avid Smart Mat is made with good materials. Non-slip materials make for a strong grip as well.|
|The overall construction feels flexible when I’m working with it. It’s durable as well.|
2. Sage & Braker Gun Cleaning Mat
From a mini-sized gun cleaning mat, let’s move on to something more “Full-Fledged.”
I’m all about quality when it comes to the equipment used to clean firearms. Sage and Braker take their craft seriously and it shows in each of their products.
The first thing I noticed was the materials these guys used in this mat. I mean, you can’t go wrong with 12 oz. waxed canvas, heavy wool, and thick leather. These elements sum up to make for a cleaning mat that can go on for decades.
Even the proportions of the mat are just right. It’s basically 69” long X 16 “wide and ½” thick. Which means it’ll be really easy to roll out.
Even if you deal with the biggest of guns, have no fear, this one here is capable enough to handle it all.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your guns against some rough surface, you’ll be glad to know that the mat itself is quite thick. It can easily cushion light thrusts that come along with regular cleaning sessions.
I really liked the pouches included in the mat. These come in real handy when you need to carry all the cleaning utensils you can possibly need. There are four pouches to be exact. These are great for keeping brushes, picks, CLP, bore cleaning tools, and so on.
This might seem a bit too much at first, but carrying this mat is really convenient. Just roll it up, buckle down the leather straps and you’re good to go. It can even fit inside a travel bag just in case you want to take your complete gun maintenance kit along with you on an adventure.
This thing here is a rugged as they come and don’t allow any oils, lubricants, or cleaners to spill out. You get all this and a classic look which compliments all shooters and hunters alike.
So, let’s look at what we get here, longevity, versatility, efficiency, and convenience all wrapped in a single well-designed product. Oh, and I should also mention that the color texture is dark enough to not easily get stained. If you are picky about appearances just like me, then you’re looking at the right stuff.
|The impressive 69×16″ size is great for those who own larger guns like rifles with longer bore holes.||I didn’t find any negatives with this product whatsoever.|
|The product is aesthetically pleasing and offers a classic look. It’d be a good addition to your gun maintenance arsenal.|
|The multiple storage compartments can be real lifesavers for those who tend to misplace their tools while cleaning.|
|With this Sage and Baker mat, portability is an option as it rolls up easily despite the size.|
|The canvas, wool and leather construction are really nice to see in a product of this price range.|
3. UsefulThingy Gun Cleaning Mat
Just as the brand name suggests, this product really is useful in every way. I was a bit concerned about the build at first, but I was wowed by how sturdy the product actually is.
IF you’re looking for something rugged and stylish at the same time, then you’re reading about the right product.
To start things off this mat just looks fantastic on the workbench. It made a strong impression on me with it’s strong, sturdy, thick, durable, and high build quality.
You’ll find a lot of mats out there that aren’t very portable and too thick for no good reason. But this one nails it in both aspects.
The thickness is just right on this mat by UsefulThingy and it rolls up with ease. Wanna take it to your nearest camping site? Rolling it and putting it in your backpack is totally hassle-free.
With the dimensions of 36″x12″x0.12″ (915*305*3mm), the gun cleaning mat proves itself to be useful in a variety of ways. Whether you’re dealing with a shotgun, rifle, or even small handguns, you’ll be able to get the job done perfectly.
About the protection features, this one here is prepared and well-built to protect both your firearms and work surfaces. You’ll have a tough time scratching it or doing damage to it in any way. Not to mention, it has a nylon feeling material finish. Just holding it with your hands gives off a premium feel.
With all that aside, let’s talk about aesthetics a bit. The cleaning mat is printed with graphic ink that really pops out on the neoprene base. They were smart enough not to raise the print or have it screen printed. It’s embedded and hardly has any extra texture to it.
It’s not just colors and style, the printing is actually informative. It has an exploded part design of an AR-type rifle. Just in case you’re curious to know what goes where. The part names are actually listed. So, even if you’re a new gun owner, you won’t be facing any problems at all.
Just like all the good ones, this too is made of absorbent material. The pad makes sure cleaner solvent and oils stay off of your workbench. It absorbs all liquids while keeping the AR-15 printing intact. The bottom layer is oil resistant and helps to keep the gun and the surface clean and dry.
There’s really no need to be picky with this one. With a bundle of awesome features and pleasing aesthetics, the mat here is a great pick for both enthusiasts and newbies.
|I love the fact that the price is pretty affordable considering the features that it provides.||I must be honest with you; no additional pouches or cleaning bins make the mat seem pretty basic. I couldn’t store my cleaning equipment anywhere.|
|The mat is quite capable of absorbing oil, lubricant, and solvent spills when cleaning guns.|
|I found it pretty easy to roll up once the cleaning is done. This speaks volumes about the flexibility of this gun cleaning mat.|
|The non-slip base is really easy to work with. The gun parts will stay where they are when cleaning.|
|It has no possibilities of putting a scratch on your guns and the attachments remain in top shape even after a thorough cleaning session.|
4. Ultimate Rifle Build Distressed Flag Gun Cleaning Mat
Let’s take a break from full-sized gun cleaning mats and revert back to a pistol cleaning compact-sized mat.
This one here is from Ultimate Rifle Build and it’s easy to see that they don’t mess around with their craft. Why am I praising this one this much? Let’s find out!
Premium quality is defined by premium materials. That’s why these guys used a black polyester top.
Now, this actually has a variety of uses. Not only does it offer great texture, but it also offers waterproof to great extents. Plus, the white heat transfer printing prevents smearing.
If you’re still not convinced with the material choice, then you’ll be glad to know that it has a non-slip natural tree rubber backing too. I personally think it’s pretty awesome as it’ll definitely be a great addition for both gunsmiths and hobbyists. Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself!
If you’re from the US and have that patriot spirit in you, then you’ll love this bit. There’s a distressed US flag printed on top of the cleaning mat. The exclusive URB design speaks of quality and a fine finish at that. Don’t take my national spirit remarks too seriously, it’ll work fine even if you’re not a native.
Jokes aside, the mat is actually quite well made. Even the proportions are accurate. The thickness of the mat is 5mm to be exact. Which is quite enough to absorb shock and extra pressure. The dimensions are handgun specific. The mat is 11″ wide and 17″ long. Not too big or small in my opinion.
I’ve seen many people struggle with maintenance a lot. Getting your mat squeaky clean isn’t an easy task. Well, at least not with the regular ones. I was surprised to see that this particular one is really easy to clean. How easy? Just wipe it off with a clean cloth and you’re done.
For something compact and simplistic, the amount of thought that’s been put on this one can clearly be seen. The mat is user friendly, hassle-free, and easy to maintain too. I give this one two thumbs up. Definitely worth looking into if you want something of quality to work around with your pistol.
|The exploded part print is quite informative. You can get an idea about different parts of the gun.||The ⅛-inch thickness isn’t always enough when cleaning large caliber guns as they are heavy.|
|The “Ultimate Rifle Build” gun cleaning kit is made of neoprene. It absorbs shocks and water with the same kind of efficiency.||The product is foreign-made which might be an issue for people looking for an American product.|
|The mat is pretty much shock absorbent and helps to protect the gun and the working surface.|
|The waterproof polyester top is a handy addition for those who use gun cleaning oils and solvents.|
|The mat is pretty well constructed to ensure flexibility and durability at the same time.|
5. Drymate Handgun/Shotgun Gun Cleaning Mat
It seems we’re at the end of our list, so let’s finish off with something rather interesting. Introducing the Drymate Handgun/Shotgun Gun Cleaning Mat.
This might look simple but it has all the right features in place and it gets the job done pretty well.
The materials used to manufacture this cleaning mat are quite durable. The whole thing is pretty much stain resistant.
So, you really don’t need to worry too much about a messy appearance. Most products from Drymate are built to last and this one is no exception. It can really outlive the test of time.
As for the color and design. The mat looks pretty basic. Its exterior texture is green which looks “Okay” to be frank. It has the dimensions of 16″ x 20″. This size makes it ideal for cleaning handguns and shotguns.
The product is shock absorbent and is quite capable of protecting the workbench and the firearms at the same time. This makes it ideal for cleaning sensitive parts. You really don’t have to worry about unwanted scratches or sudden damage due to accidental thrusts.
If you hold the mat, you’ll see that it’s pretty soft and offers a rather premium feel. Not only that, it actually has the capacity to absorb oil and other solvents. These liquids have zero possibilities of soaking through the fabric. This means you can focus on cleaning without worrying about making a mess.
If you notice the back material of the mat, you’ll find that it’s made of the Zorb-Tech layer. It’s a firm rubbery texture that protects work surfaces from liquids. Plus, it offers a firm grip. Despite the edges being pretty neat, they can be trimmed with a razor or knife to get a perfect size.
I found that the mat is rather big and bulky. You might actually face some problems to store it or carry it around. But remember, I did say that it can be cut down to size. The awesome features and benefits that this mat offer does suffice for this tiny little shortcoming.
If you remember the dimensions, you’ve probably noticed that this mat is very much capable of keeping all the parts in place. The green color is well chosen so that pins and springs can easily be found even if they’re not placed in a very organized way.
This mat from Drymate might have been our last product, but after discussing the details, I’m pretty sure you’ve got the idea of how impressive it actually is. Even if you don’t take my word for it, you’ll be convinced by your own firsthand experience.
|This mat comes in multiple sizes for various kinds of users and their diverse weapons like rifles & pistols.||This thing could have been more reasonably priced considering all the features and benefits.|
|The large size is great for large caliber rifle owners be it assault, marksman or sniper.|
|Don’t worry about the maintenance of this thing. This product can be washed in a washing machine.|
|The fibrous soft topping was really nice to see. It’d be easy on the hands with a nice grip.|
|The simplistic design is very much appreciated. Even the beginners in gun cleaning would be able to get a hang of it easily.|
Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Gun Cleaning Mat
Let’s say, you want to do your own research and want to find a cleaning mat on your own. What factors would you look into? Thankfully, this segment of the article deals with the facets of a mat that make it into a “Good” choice for all us “Gunholics.”
Size Does Matter
When you look into gun cleaning mats, the first thing you need to keep in mind is the size. A gun mat’s size is very much dependent on the guns that you’re willing to clean. There really is no point in getting a full-fledged mat to deal with handguns.
But, keep note. If your mat isn’t large enough to fit the size of your shotgun with a 30-inch barrel, then you’ll have to expect some damage (Or spilled solvents) on your workbench. That’s why knowing the accurate size of your gun is extremely important for choosing a gun cleaning mat.
By this, I don’t mean to say buy your mat just the same size as your gun. It’s very necessary to leave some headroom. Once disassembled, you’ll need to place different parts in the right places. Keep these small tips in mind and you’ll be less prone to be misled.
The Material Is Crucial
Now that we’ve discussed the size issue, let’s look into the materials a bit. The quality of a gun cleaning mat is basically the quality of the materials and components that have been used to craft it. The quality of materials depends on the price range a lot.
You pay more, you get more. Simple as that.
Different materials have different levels of hydrophobia or the capacity of repelling liquids. Personally, I’d suggest the ones with high levels of hydrophobia. In this case, plastic or silicone is the right way to go. These don’t offer much cushioning, but they definitely make maintenance a lot easier.
If you prefer the opposite kind of materials (better absorbing and less hydrophobia), then you might think about waxed canvas or leather. These will definitely prevent liquids from running off the mat to the table and messing things up.
The most popular material in this case is neoprene. This is often used to make mouse pads or waders. This is the middle ground of components. Basically, you get the best of both worlds. This offers great cushioning and considerable resistance to solvent absorption.
So, if you want a good place to start, then neoprene probably will be the best option. Otherwise, I personally prefer silicone mats. But the choice is your own entirely.
You Need A Place for The Tools
A cleaning mat can be pretty basic. By basic I mean, nothing more than a single mat made of fabric and other materials. However, some brands actually go the extra mile to offer more convenience for their users. Yes, I’m talking about a parts bin or additional pouches for a similar purpose.
The magnetic tool bin on the first product in my list can be pretty handy to clean pistols that have tiny components like screws, pins, and springs. There’s no chance of you losing them as long as the bin stays in place. But keep in mind, these accessories can be problematic when rolling the mat.
A much convenient or rather “Simplistic” alternative is the tool pouch. These pouches can be rolled along with the cleaning mat even if they are loaded with tools. But, keep in mind that you won’t get the convenience of magnetic bins and as they keep each component in place.
So, if you have the budget and space, these types of mats are really convenient. At least when comparing to other simplistic designs.
Prints Put the Finishing Touch
Prints are mostly aesthetics, but hey, looking a bit better than usual doesn’t hurt now does it? Most quality cleaning mats can have prints on them. Some actually prefer going custom on them. Exploding rifle images are helpful too as they give a visual representation of the location of the parts.
Some gun cleaning mats are printed with high-quality materials and they don’t lose texture even when they get stained. So, if you prefer a bit of finesse in your gun cleaning mat, you can actually choose the design that you prefer.
Frequently Asked Questions That You May Have in Your Mind
I believe you have a thousand questions regarding the quality and use of a mat such as these. While I can’t answer them all, I’ll be trying to go through with some of the popular inquiries that the users have about these products. So, here we go!
When Do I Need to Change A Gun Mat?
To put it easily, these products don’t have a lifespan set on stone. You’ll have to guess the age and replacing time based on the appearance. I’d advise people to change a mat after seven or eight sessions of gun maintenance. This becomes easier if you buy the mat alone instead of a gun cleaning kit.
How to Clean up A Cleaning Mat?
Since this is a mat, people often use washing machine or even a tumble drier to get the job done. I know, I did. To be honest with you, it ruins the quality of said mat. Instead, I use warm water with soap mixed in. I use sponge to wipe off the dirt. The next thing to do is hang in the sun to dry out.
What You Shouldn’t Go for When Buying A Gun Cleaning Mat?
Almost all of the reputed brands provide reliable products for people like us. Yet, you’ll find cheap products or unpopular brands. These mats use cheap felt for the surface. It gets soggy and tears up in quick time. This renders our investments useless. Whatever you do, don’t go for thin cotton material.
Let’s End it Right Here!
If you’ve made it this far into the article, you have my thanks! Believe it or not, I’ve had it tough coming up with these recommendations. Finding the best gun cleaning mat wasn’t an easy task with all the cleaning kits and complementary accessories around.
I had to go through more than 30 potential candidates before I could get a fix on these products. As far as my favorite one goes, Sage & Baker is a brand I trust. Be it the material or the efficiency, nothing can top the attention to detail these guys provide to a product of their own.
If you want something a bit more “In Your Grasp,” go for UsefulThingy Mat. This is more “Within the Budget” and requires no extra mumbo-jumbo when it comes to maintenance. Just be sure to not spill the chemicals too much. Otherwise, you’re in for a ride my friend.
Of course, you can cause your own havoc on the internet to find out your poison (err… gun mat). The buying guide will be of great help in the right hands. Are you one who solo queues all the way through? Tell me about your experience of gun mat hunting in the comment section.