I first saw the Swab-Its at the 2015 SHOT Show and simply didn’t get the concept of them—hmm… disposable foam bore cleaners. Yeah, the concept was cool. However, I wondered why anyone would buy such an expensive single-use product. Like many times in life, I was wrong. I learned my lesson, even though it took me a full year. My mistake was thinking, “Swab-Its are a one trick pony.” In actuality, Swab-Its are a well made, non-damaging, bore cleaner that can be cleaned and continually reused many, many times.
Despite my inability to understand the product, the Swab-Its concept is pretty cool and simple. I am lucky they kept hounding me to try them. What I thought was a foam tip was actually highly durable plastic foam, which can be washed and cleaned with simple soap and water or most commercially available solvents over and over again. One of the Bore-Whips I have tortured has a little over 70 or so cleans, and it is still holding up fine. If I were packing out on a hunting trip, I would not worry about anything more than one of the extremely lightweight Swab-Its Bore-Whips.
The secret to the durable cleaning swabs is patented, lint-free plastic foam, which is far more durable than “regular” foam. The appropriate bore-sized tip also has a hard plastic sub-tip under the plastic foam, which allows the tips to have a tight fit down the bore. Unlike linty cotton swabs, the Swab-Its can clean a bore in one pass in most cases due to the tight 360-degree bore cleaning coverage. One pass was normally all I needed to get a clean bore from my very dirty .22 LR match 10/22 rifle barrels or AR-15 barrels. Cleaning various handguns and rifles with the other caliber specific Bore-tips proved to deliver single-pass cleaning with nothing more than WD-40 on the Bore-Tip. I even used them on my air guns.
Swab-Its was nice enough to send me a sample of their entire line of products to feature in the article. The Swab-Its line includes a number of products incorporating the bore tip technology available in various forms including screw in Bore-tips which fit any standard 8/32 and 5/16-27 threaded cleaning rods on the market. I love my comprehensive Otis cleaning kits and they accept any 8/32 threaded cleaning tool such as the Bore-tips. I was able to just screw in a tip matching the caliber of the gun getting cleaning and pull it through normally. Yes, now my little Otis kits have Swab-Its Bore Tips tucked in them as well.
Other simple and easy cleaning products from Swap-Its include the caliber specific Swab-Its Bore-Whips which have a long, flexible, nylon tail permanently attached—slip it down and pull it through the bore, and your are done. This is basically an inexpensive flexible Otis-style breech to muzzle cleaning device that also serves as an Empty Chamber Indicator (ECI) with its blaze orange color. Another useful set of cleaning tools is the Cleaning Tip and Foam Swabs that make detailed cleaning a breeze and allow you to get into all those nooks and crannies of a gun. Clean the firearm and use them again and again.
Swab-Its, in all of its Bore-whips, Bore-Tip, Cleaning Tips, and Foam Swabs formats, are a freaking awesome idea. They hold up extremely well, deliver a pristine lint-free bore with only one or two passes, can be used with your favorite cleaning fluids, and most importantly, they can be used over and over again.
Have you tried Swab-Its? Share your opinions and experiences in the comment section.
Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. www.MajorPandemic.com