The best gun cleaning mat protects the surface you lay your firearm and cleaning kit, and it keeps the weapon’s finish safe from scratches or any damage from the surrounding cleaning area.
An extra large mat will be spacious enough, soft but sturdy, and non-reactive to chemicals. Many companies recently came out with magnetic and neoprene gun cleaning mats that are large enough for the weapon and small parts container, along with supplies.
1. Glock Cleaning Bench Mats
Size does matter, especially for a mat. The 10.75” x 17” size of this Glock bench mat is designed for pistols, which limits it if you have long barrel rifles.
On the plus side, it’s constructed of rubberized nylon, which means it will work great at cushioning the gun being cleaned.
I find the list of all Glock offices worldwide unique and cool. That’s on the left hand side. To the right, an explanation of the Glock three-safety system is printed. While the middle shows the breakdown of the Glock’s listed parts. The printed exploded view and parts list are definitely very informative during gun disassembly and reassembly.
This is the value-added feature that no Glock enthusiast will ever want to miss. While most other mats are not machine-washable, Glock mats are.
It can be washed on the slowest cycle and air-dried. Since Glock designed these mats for their line of pistols and handguns, they are not extra long mats and are not useful for long-barreled firearms.
2. TekMat 12-Inch X 36-Inch Long Gun Cleaning Mat with AR15 Imprint
The TeKmat AR-15 gun cleaning mat is perfect for AR-15s and M-16s, with the imprinted exploded view of an AR-15. Its long and has enough room to set a vice on it,
The top of the mat is a soft polyester material, while the rubber backing protects the working area from any solvent or lube spills and drips.
Whether you’re cleaning guns on the floor or on the dining table at the moment, a machine-washable and chemical-resistant TekMat would be a highly functional upgrade not to mention save you from possible significant other issues. Beside, what bottle does not leak a little oil everywhere?
I know of gun owners who have a different Tekmat for every gun that they have. It definitely makes disassembly and reassembly quicker, especially for guns that you seldom use and clean.
Personally, though, I think that would be very bothersome, not to mention impractical and costly. Something can be said about its black color, too. Black often hides the small screws and dark-colored parts, but an organizer easily solves the little issue there.
3. Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Cleaning Patch
Hoppes gun cleaning pad is the same size as the TekMat (12” x 36”) but sold at almost a third of the latter’s price.
The top part is soft acrylic and very absorbent, and the bottom is non-slip and prevents liquid from soaking through the working table, floor or bench, according to reviews on Amazon.
The hunter green color of the material should make it easier to locate small parts and dark-colored objects. While the Hoppes product description states that it is machine-washable, a couple customer reviews on Amazon note that it may start to disintegrate after a couple washes.
For those with 2-3 handguns to clean at a time, the pad is long enough to hold 3 handguns assembly-line style. For most rifles, though, the barrel may protrude past the end of the mat.
The mat is almost as thin as the other mats in comparison (at 1/8”-inch thickness). Reviewers have noted that the flimsy material used doesn’t really offer much of a padding effect and makes the mat look thinner than the others.
Well, it’s cheap, probably the cheapest, so you can’t really expect it to be thick and long, or to last several washes.
4.Drymate Handgun/Shotgun Gun Cleaning Pad
Probably one of the bigger-sized mats available, the 16-inch x 54-inch Drymate cleaning pad is relatively cheap. It is also much thicker at 0.2-inch than the other brands.
It has an absorbent top surface, so the best gun grease wont leak through, and waterproofed at the bottom to prevent leaking through. The rubberized backing is anti-slip and the whole material is stain-resistant.
The material, according to reviewers, is not top notch in terms of durability, but will last a while if you don’t machine wash it. Nevertheless, it cleans off easily with soap and water. This large gun cleaning mats size is one of its plus points. And then, of course, you can’t beat its price.
Tips for buying the best gun cleaning mat
1. Buy large
The larger the cleaning mat, the better, and for two good reasons; it not only protects the surface you’re cleaning your gun on, but also safeguards the gun’s finish against scrapes or unwanted damage.
It should cover enough space to accommodate the weapon, its parts (when dismantled), along with replacement supplies and tools.
If you own a variety of guns, you should, at least, keep an extra pad handy (preferably 16-inch wide x 54-inch long, and 0.2-inch thick) that can cover both long and short arms.
2. Durable construction
Look for gun cleaning mats that are made of tough rubberized nylon with soft, absorbent top surface to cushion the weapon, and anti-slip, waterproofed bottom to protect the workspace from messy leaks or solvent and oil spills.
Try the latest magnetic and neoprene mats; these are made of synthetic rubber characterized by their superior resistance to oils and chemicals.
Stain- and chemical-resistant cleaning pads are, of course, an added bonus, which make for easy washing – whether machine- or hand-washed.
3. Light or bright Color
It may sound frivolous to even consider choosing a color, but the fact is black or dark-colored cleaning pads tend to obscure tiny screws and dark-colored minute parts of the gun, which makes reassembling all the more distressing.
Go for the bright-colored ones (preferably green) that will display dark-colored parts distinctively, to make reassembling easy and trouble-free.
4. Informative prints
Some mats provide printed information on the mat’s surface, such as gun parts and labels of specific guns and rifles.
These are great when reassembling, but may not be very relevant for those who use one mat for cleaning various guns.
It’s a great value-added feature for most buyers and gun-owners, though.