Oil or Grease?
Everyone knows that proper firearm maintenance is a necessity. Without oil or lubrication a gun can get premature wearing of the components. Lubrication enables the parts to move around each other without damaging the important parts. What happens if this oil or grease gets dirty? Eventually you clean out the old oil or lubricant to remove the grit and grime and then add fresh oil or lube to protect your firearm until the next cleaning. As a gun owner who believes in proper care and maintenance – the cycle never ends.
But oil or grease? What is the difference in relation to weapons? The main difference between oil and grease is viscosity. Viscosity is a fancy way of saying thickness. Oil has a low viscosity or thickness and grease on the other hand a high viscosity. As it seems with all things gun related many disagree with which is better. Yes, grease stays in place better but oil is more desirable in most cases. A few even believe a “dry” gun works best.
Gun oil has many important uses. It protects the gun’s metal finish from water and rust. You may want to use grease for long term firearm preservation, but otherwise oil is your best bet.
Most people understand that a firearm needs lubrication to avoid friction of the metal parts rubbing against one another. One rule of thumb is oil the moving parts and grease where parts don’t move. The internal parts you choose to lubricate vary with each firearm. There are very few parts on a Glock for instance that need lubrication. Who would believe that gun lubrication would be such a widely debated and controversial topic with everyone having a personal opinion and preference? You may use oil only for your Glock 17 but use grease your Kimber 1911.
No matter what oil and grease manufacturers claim all types of lubricants attract debris and unburned powder and over time can cause a malfunction. In extreme weather conditions or terrains your lube of choice might be very different. Cold weather can affect grease and make it thicker. Sand tends to stick to oil and grease so you may want to use a dry silicone spray or graphite powder.
With so many options and opinions a little background information may help you in choosing the correct lubricant for your firearm. Oil has corrosion resistance and guns lubricated with oil operate faster since oil is thinner and has less resistance than grease. Oil however does not last as long as grease. Grease being thicker has a higher viscosity which can lead to slower cycling and operation. The staying power of grease can also dictate where you apply it on your weapon – for instance on the slide. Grease is preferred to smooth the movement of the slide during firing since oil can quickly be dispersed by the rapid movement of the slide.
A final point to consider is proper lubrication. Be careful not to use too much grease or not enough oil. Need to get into a tight spot? Consider a precision point oiler. Have your gun striped down completely? Consider a dab of grease on the trigger bar.
I just recently tried MPT Firearm Lubricant and Grease. MPT’s lubricant is a synthetic oil that is not made with conventional petroleum components that can leave behind solids that may “gunk up” your gun over time. I was very happy with the performance on my rifles as well as my hand guns. The MPT gun grease is waterproof and chemical resistant with a wide temperature range. After using the lubricant I noticed a nice smooth slide action with my hand gun as well as the bolt action on my rifle. And a lubricant that cleans and protects against rust is always welcome.
My best advice is no matter what - clean and lubricated guns work better. Find a lubricant you like to use and works well with your firearm. As they say nothing works better than a “well oiled machine” and a gun is no different.