For more than 25 years I didn’t know anything existed in the realm of gun-cleaning products other than WD-40 and Hoppe’s No. 9, the latter only because I saw it on shelves in stores.
Scoff if you wish, but it’s true. My father wasn’t a diehard, break-it-down each time guy when it came to cleaning his guns. We hunted with shotguns and rifles for waterfowl, small game and whitetail deer. I’m unsure if he’s ever even shot an AR-style rifle although I think he’d probably like some of the new PCC models or something like the 224 Valkyrie for long-range fun.
Point being, we didn’t have a slew of guns when I was growing up and we didn’t do much to clean them. But each time I came in from hunting, whether for ducks, doves, squirrels or deer, I’d spritz a little WD-40 on the rag in the box in the bottom of the gun cabinet, wipe down everything to remove fingerprint oil and moisture, and then put the gun in the cabinet before locking it.
I’m 52 now and know about the wide range of cleaning items available today. If you want an uber-super oil for your pistol or some kind of copper-fouling cleanser for a rifle, options exist. That’s a good thing. Right now I’m trying the new Sig Sauer Spect 1 cleaning system, which so far has proven to be pretty darn good. I’ll have more on that new partnership and products soon.
But That WD-40?
WD-40 is 65 years old and has been a staple of tool boxes for years. It works well as a mild lubricant but is designed more to help protect metal from rust and corrosion.
The WD stands for water displacement. Displace the water, prevent any rust. That’s the general principle. It originally was designed in the 1950s to help the nation’s Atlas missile program, which was battling rust inside the rocket.
WD-40’s formula was a secret, too. After 39 attempts to get it right, 40 was the “Ah, ha!” moment. I suspect the secrecy was in part to prevent copycats and also because of working with the growing space program. Anything involving the missile defense and space program then was top secret, other than what the G-men wanted released to the public.
“We are 65-years-old going strong,” said the company’s chief executive, Garry Ridge, to FOX Business’ Stuart Varney. “We just moved out our secret formula yesterday to a new bank vault.”
The WD-40 company is based in San Diego and also has other products including 3-in-One Oil — which my father also used for his firearms — and Lava soap. Coincidentally, we used Lava when I was a kid to get rid of heavy grime and such. Funny how stuff like this is tied together.
Much like the secret formula for Coca-Cola or Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “13 herbs and spices,” the secret formula for WD-40 will remain that way for now. It just has a snazzy new vault to call home.