There’s a bit of hoopla going around at the moment based on some test results that were posted. They sent a sample of the popular FIREClean firearm lubricant off to be tested in a lab, and the results indicate that the much beloved lubricant is actually nothing more than common cooking oil. In the same way that Evian water is still just water, I really couldn’t care less — the stuff works. The FIREClean guys aren’t quite as sanguine about the allegation, and are firing back. But that isn’t the only thing the Vuurwapen Blog dug up . . .
From FIREClean’s response:
We would like to address recent false or misleading allegations that range from simply misguided to false, defamatory, and libelous. These attacks have been made by competitors and others that paint our product in a false or misleading light. The allegations do not focus on actual performance or relevant tests, and draw a misleading picture.
FIREClean™ Advanced Gun Oil is a specifically formulated, technically superior weapon reliability solution that resists the harshest firing with enormous heat and carbon overload that seize most weapons. It is a formulation- made specifically for exceptional reliability in firearms and weapons- not a re-labeled or re-packaged product.
It goes on to illustrate how well the product works and flashes some credentials. But the one thing that the statement doesn’t contain is an unequivocal denial of the accusation that FIREClean is actually just canola oil. They simply state that FIREClean is not a re-labeled Crisco knockoff, not that it isn’t made from canola oil.
In short, myth probably confirmed. Personally I couldn’t give a toss. The stuff works, and I use it liberally on my competition guns. Even if it were made from George Carlin’s proverbial zebra semen, I’d still keep using it. That might not be the case for everyone, but I prefer to trust results.
What’s more interesting is that the Vuurwapen Blog has come across some interesting video from Larry Vickers. Vickers Tactical did a test in which they compared the exhaust coming from the chamber of a handgun during the extraction phase of the firing cycle on guns lubricated with nothing, with CLP, and with FIREClean. The claim that went up was that the extra exhaust gasses coming from the chamber with FIREClean is evidence that the solution repels carbon better than the other options.
There’s just one problem: two very obviously different cartridges were used, one for the FIREClean and one for the “losers.”
I’m dubious as to the idea that FIREClean actively repels carbon better than anything else on the market, especially from that specific area of the firearm. I’m open to that being possible, but when you ignore basic principles of scientific testing I tend to see the “test” as more of a paid advertisement than an actual demonstration.
The basis for scientific testing is eliminating as many variables as possible and only changing the one you’re interested in testing. If you’re testing the lube then you’d damn well better keep the ammunition consistent, especially if the exhaust gasses from those cartridges is being directly measured for the results.
Differences in powders, projectile weights, and even the primer being used (very obviously a different color – see the Vuurwapen post for close-ups) can throw the “test.” Changing something so critical to the “experiment” being run is extremely suspicious, especially when the test itself is on shaky ground to begin with. Seriously, who looks at a lube and thinks “I know! The best way to show the durability and lubrication this provides is to measure the exhaust gasses!”? That might actually be the very last thing I would ever consider testing.
The moral of the story here seems to be twofold.
One, don’t take any test on face value. That includes those we do here. Question everything, and look at the methodology to ensure that what they are showing you actually matters for your purposes. Being able to bake a GLOCK 19 into a cake may be a great way to demonstrate reliability, but tells you nothing about accuracy, for example. If the methodology doesn’t make sense to you, don’t trust the results.
Two, documentation is everything. Don’t trust results where the documentation is shoddy. For example, if there are visibly different components being used to illustrate something unrelated to those specific components. Changing ammo types in the middle of a test like this is like changing barrels when comparing the accuracy of two ammunition brands. It doesn’t make sense. At the very least it shows an ignorance of basic scientific principles, and at worst it could point to deliberately skewed results.