By: Tom Claycomb III
Luckily for me, I passed the Swab-Its booth at the SHOT Show nearly 10 years ago. If I remember correctly, Cathy Desorcy, the head marketing gal for Swab-Its, was handing out sample packages. I took the sample and scurried off to my next meeting. After getting home, I looked over what she had given me. Wow, she had a unique product. It was like an ear swab but made of foam to use for cleaning weapons. They come in varying sizes and are awesome for cleaning hard-to-reach spots on your AR or in the chamber of your rifles and the cylinders of your pistols.
Fast forward to today: I use these swabs all the time now, not only in the above scenarios, but also to clean my pistols. I got a new BRG9 Elite 9mm the other day. With new guns, I always dissemble them and make sure there is no heavy factory packing grease in them. (I’m paranoid from 60 years ago when the NRA packed their surplus guns in heavy grease.) So, true to my nature, when I got my new pistol, I disassembled it and cleaned it thoroughly. As always, the swabs worked great.
Swab-Its also makes screw-on swabs that screw onto your cleaning rods to clean your barrels and/or the cylinders on your revolvers. In these situations, use them like a cleaning rag. When using a rag, you screw in a tip, insert your rag and proceed, right? Using a Swab-Its Bore-tip is much simpler and easier. You just screw in the bore-tip and you’re good to go. I put a few drops of solvent on the foam pad and run it down the barrel, then let it set for 15 minutes.
Next, I run a brass brush down the barrel to break lose any fouling. Then, I run a clean Bore-tip down the barrel to remove any loose fouling. If necessary, I run more solvent, brush the barrel, and repeat until it is clean. Then, I run a clean swab down the barrel to remove any fouling; I repeat until a Bore-tip comes out clean. Once I get a clean Bore-tip, I run an oiled swab down the barrel until it is clean. Basically, I use the Bore-tips just like I used to use a cleaning rag.
But here is the good deal about using the Bore-tips: they are caliber specific, so you don’t have to worry about cutting a cloth patch to fit. My wife says that I’m the eternal tight wad because I save my old flannel shirts to cut into cleaning patches. I no longer have to do that now that I’ve met the Swab-It crew. Since the swabs are foam formed into circular shapes, the swabs touch all sides/surfaces of your barrel. So, they apply solvents and gun oils to the surfaces and internal grooves of your rifling more evenly than a cloth patch.
Another really cool feature is that after cleaning your weapons, you can wash the pads with warm soapy water, dry them, and re-use them. They are hardy and last for a good while.
At first, I was nervous that the plastic, threaded part of the Bore-tip would break off in my gun cleaning rods. That fear was proven unfounded because I’ve never had one break, and I’ve used quite a few Bore-tips over the years.
So, scenarios where I really like and recommend using Swab-Its follow:
- I find the swabs handy when cleaning out the cylinders on my revolvers. In the past, I had to attach a patch to my cleaning rod. That is semi-awkward even if you have a three-piece cleaning rod and remove two of the pieces. A swab is just a lot handier.
- I find myself using the swabs to clean the barrels of my pistols instead of using a factory cleaning rod. Again, it is just handier. I don’t have to screw in a rag tip, put in a rag, etc. The swab is just one piece.
- The Swab-Its are second-to-none for easily accessing hard-to-reach spots while cleaning your AR, while cleaning your semi auto pistols, or even while applying oil to the crack between the stock and barrel of your rifles.
- Then, of course, as alluded to up above, the Bore-Tips are much more convenient than cutting old shirts into properly sized patches to use on your various calibers. Instead, just screw on the properly sized Bore-tip and you’re good to go.
When asking Swab-Its marketing guru, Cathy Desorcy, how the company came into existence, she said that it originated in the cosmetic world. When that market shifted overseas, however, Swab-Its stayed in the USA and diversified into many industries such as computers, industrial, automotive, aerospace, aviation, and their bread-and-butter market, medical. Their engineer, who is a pheasant hunter, said that you can’t clean a round barrel with a square swab, so he invented the patented core that provides the 360-degree pressure in their caliber-specific Bore-tips.
I know that I probably sound like I work for Swab-Its, but I don’t. I just haven’t found anything that competes in their niche market. Check them out and see what you think.
Tom has been an Outdoor Writer for over 20 years and has columns with numerous magazines, has weekly outdoor columns with multiple newspapers, websites and freelances for many other publications and has e-articles & books on Amazon Kindle. He publishes 325-375 articles/yr. He’s on Pro-Staff with numerous Outdoor companies and conducts 40-60 seminars/yr. from Texas up to Vegas and on up to Alaska at the big shows and has taught hundreds of seminars at Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop and is a guest speaker at various events.
He’s been on multiple TV shows, radio interviews and has produced YouTubes with RonSpomerOutdoors. As a young man he rodeoed professionally as a bareback rider and now lives in Idaho with his beautiful wife Katy.