Teaching Others About Firearms: Buying Branded vs Unbranded Gun Tools


Teaching Others About Firearms: Buying Branded vs Unbranded Gun Tools

One of the things I learned early on in my gun ownership is that being a gun owner makes me a target for retailers and marketers. There is a lot of time and money spent to get me to leave some of my money in someone else’s hands. Many of these items are proprietary and well worth the money. There are some unique barrel cleaning swabs I won’t do without, for example. I’ll be the first to admit that I buy a lot of branded “stuff” related to my shooting sport hobby. Ruger guns, Barnes bullets, CCI primers, etc. I also would probably buy a Ruger or Colt branded tea service if they were available. I can be pretty loyal to a brand.

Sometimes I shop outside the box. My sonic cleaner is an unbranded jewelry cleaner that does a sweet job on a carbon-encrusted suppressor. My cleaning cotton swabs on a short stick (the “Q” in Q-Tip stands for “quality,” but the inside of my magazines or a trigger assembly may not need the best money can buy). The magnetized bowl that hold my screws, springs, and pins came from an unclaimed freight store. You get the picture; branded stuff is great – but sometimes…

Teaching Others About Firearms – AllOutdoor

Just the other day I was dutifully following my spouse around a Lakeshore Learning store. This store specializes in giving teachers top quality teaching and classroom tools.  I can assure you there is nothing shooting sports branded at Lakeshore Learning, but I do tend to think outside the box so the following came home with me:

  • Magnetized Hooks attach to my tool chest, and hold small parts or documents I don’t want to lose or need to dry.
  • Colorful Plastic Trays for disassembling just about anything with pins, screws, and springs that I don’t want to get lost on the bench or floor. The 1″ deep sides keep cleaning solutions or tubes of lubricants in place as well keeping my workbench clean.
  • Paint Brushes with brightly colored handles (so I don’t misplace them as easily), and silicone bristles for swabbing parts with solvents. They fit my big mitts just fine and they are also good for painting or finishing small wooden parts (but that is another article).
  • Timer (my best find) can be made so loud I can hear it all the away across the shop when I’m cleaning cases or timing the soaking of parts in my unbranded sonic cleaner. If the timer is loud enough to get the attention of pre-school children it should work just fine for me.
  • Other Outside-of-the-Box Ideas
    • Tackle Boxes & Toolboxes to sort and transport range tools
    • Camping Headlamps for illuminating dark areas inside of guns when I could really use a couple of extra hands
    • Sandpaper on a Dremel for getting the last of the carbon off my suppressor
    • Tupperware or Rubbermaid Storage Containers for keeping things tidy and visible
    • Pipets from a chemistry education supply store for applying small doses of cleaners and solvents in tight spots


Any branded tool that doesn’t really add value across settings will often be left on the shelf of my local sporting goods stores (in my world adding the word “tactical” to a name does not enhance value – but we can agree to disagree on any of my opinions). On the other hand, there are some branded items that are simply genius. They get a lot of my loyalty and dollars (e.g., nifty boxes for storing completed bullets; grease with an easy to not overdo applicator; foaming juice that slowly runs down my barrel and makes cleaning so much faster; magazine protectors that securely hold the magazine and keep pocket lint from getting anywhere near the follower; a spring-loaded device for reloading magazines; just to name a few).

Here is my final test of whether a fist full of dollars will quickly leave my hand: a product that can have multiple uses and doesn’t draw attention to itself while sitting at the range. For example: a backpack I can take anywhere and will easily swap out range supplies for classroom supplies is a win-win for me.

My most recent rebranding task involved something old, something handmade, and something given a new life. We will cover that in a future Teaching Others About Firearms edition. So, be on the lookout for that future article as well. As always, we always love to have feedback from our readers. Let us know in the Comments some of the best branded tools that you have paid retail for that make your life easier. It can be in regards to gun cleaning, upgrading components of a firearm, or possibly small do-dads you found at “non-firearm” stores like I was able to acquire. We all like life hacks that make our lives easier so share in the Comments the branded and unbranded ones that you enjoy the most. Until next time!


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Dr. Phil Godding wears many hats and has accomplished a lot in the fields of higher education, neuropsychology and forensic psychology. His favorite hat, were he to actually wear hats, would be blaze orange with the word “teacher” on the front. Dr. Godding teaches in classrooms, courtrooms, hospitals, ranges and coffeeshops. The other odd thing about Dr. Godding is that he reads eight to ten different books at any given time. This time of year you will likely find Dr. Godding in a deer stand, repairing a deer stand or thinking about preparing a deer stand.

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