Hazards regarding ethanol based solvents used in cleaning weapons for Law Enforcement

Always remember to ensure the firearm is unloaded both in the chamber and magazine before cleaning!!

After a day at the shooting range/hunting lease blasting through ammo, your weapons will require cleaning to remove carbon, lead, copper and plastic (shotgun shells) left in the barrel, chamber, and action. Shooting weapons dirty or dry (or both) can result in malfunctions and permanent damage. Refer to gun cleaning manufactures cleaning instructions for specific details.

There are many name brand cleaning solvents that are widely used to remove the powder, lead, metal fouling and rust. The ingredients in these cleaners are solvent based, and contain chemicals known to create potential serious health side effects to both human and aquatic life.  Below is an example from a leading manufacturers MSDS for their gun cleaning product.

Composition of Gun Bore CleanerThe chemicals are;  ethanol, kerosine, oleic acid, amyl acetate and ammonium hydroxide. This product is a “hazardous chemical” as defined by OSHA Classification 29 CFR 1910.1200. Ethanol and kerosine, the two major components (% WT) of the solvent, is corrosive to the skin, mutagenic, flammable, damaging to lungs, and hazardous to aquatic life. Prolonged or repeated inhaled overexposure is anesthetic. May cause irritation of the respiratory tract, or acute nervous system depression characterized by headache, dizziness, staggering gait, confusion or death. Irritation of the mucous membranes, coughing, and dyspnea are also possible.

It is important to clean your weapons in a well ventilated area that has been prepared for gun cleaning and to use chemical resistant gloves.

Controlling gun cleaning solution fumes with a SS-200-WSL.

Controlling gun cleaning solution fumes with an SS-200-WSL.

The Winged Sentry with Lid Model # SS-200-WSL is a compact benchtop fume extractor which offers a unique and customized design that includes adjustable “wing flaps” and a clear acrylic hinged lid to assist in directing fumes into the unit’s inlet and filter chamber. These wings are adjustable according to the operator’s preference and the hinged lid provides a hood-like enclosure for added containment. The Winged Sentry is an optimal choice for fume extraction in applications such as weapons’ cleaning. Appropriate filtration media is installed in the Winged Sentry based on the application being performed by the operator. HEPA [up to 99.97% efficient on particles 0.3 microns and larger], ASHRAE [up to 95% efficient on particles 0.5 microns and larger], Activated Carbon, and specialty-blended media [i.e. Acid Gas, Mercury, Aldehyde, Ammonia] are the most common filters for this unit.

Contact Us:

For more information about controlling hazardous fumes for small and large weapons cleaning, contact Sentry Air and speak with one of our applications specialists. Call 800.799.4609, email sales@sentryair.com, or visit our website.