The MS Clean: Magazine shaped cleaning kit
Last Friday a new product popped up on Kickstarter, a product that a growing number of shooters (myself included) are excited to see. The new product is the ‘MS Clean LLC Cleaning Kit.’ Simply put, its an M4 magazine shaped polymer cleaning kit that provides the ability to carry your rifle support gear at the ready, 24/7, in any standard magazine pouch or pocket.
The reason why this project is so exciting for me personally is because I was there in Iraq alongside Peter Palma when the idea was first hatched; you may recall Peter from Top Shot. I served with him overseas and I’m proud to call him a friend (and have some great stories to tell, if you are interested.) After years of tracking the progress of the MS Clean and discussing its design phases (and final design) with Peter, his invention is now coming into fruition.
To provide some context about the kit’s genesis — I was sitting on the edge of a cot next to Peter, listening to yet another ‘Palma rant’ when the idea came up. With the colorful use of both eloquent and profane language, he was explaining why the Powers That Be so frequently display incompetence from the top all the way to the lowest level.
“Even our cleaning kits are flawed!” he raged.
With literally hundreds of thousands of M-16/M-4 magazine pouches being made, he wondered (with many expletives deleted) in at least 50 different designs, why doesn’t someone make a cleaning kit to fit them? How more obvious could it be? The real surprise is that it took a Marine Scout Sniper instead one of the titans of industry to hatch this idea and execute a plan to build it. In any even, our deployment came to the end, and we cycled home, leaving the sandbox behind us (hopefully) forever. Post-deployment was filled with enough distractions that I figured Pete had let his great idea slip away. As he commonly does with most people who know the guy, Pete proved me wrong.
For years the military-issue cleaning kit was stored in the buttstock of the M-16, a space that offered limited room for additional cleaning gear and an inherent inability to access quickly. Our unit SOP has been for all Marines to carry the hard steel cleaning rods and a bottle of lube on their person every time they stepped outside the wire. Many Army units operate in the same fashion. It was an inspectable item, and a potentially life saving one if your carbine went down hard in the middle of a firefight. Some guys would even tape pre-assembled rods to their handguards (a lathe musket), just to be able to clear a stuck casing quickly. Others would slip the rod down the back of their MOLLE plate carrier in order to have it readily at hand in the same way. This contributed to many bent and lost cleaning rods.
Later they began issuing the Otis wire-style cleaning kits to supplement the classic issue kit. This was fine, and an improvement of sorts, but Marines still had to carry hard rods on their rig. The main problem presented was the inability to carry any of the kits easily and accessibly under exigent conditions, regardless of what weapon was being used. Some Marines would use a longer GP pouch to store their kit and lube, which would result in a crushed bottle of CLP as soon as they hit the deck. When you get one shower a month, having yourself and gear covered in petroleum is more than just some small inconvenience. These shortcomings were and are obvious to every Marine (if not to every trigger-pulling serving over the horizon), but no commercial solutions existed.
Thus the concept of the MS Clean was born in the dark of night in western Al Anbar province, Iraq.
This past Friday Peter Palma, assisted by his lifelong friend Trevor Jordan launched his MS Clean: The Magazine Shaped Cleaning Kit idea on Kickstarter. The website has helped many other great ideas gain traction, exposure and the funding required to give great ideas a start and to push projects into the final stage of production. It’s a great way for the little guys to break into the industry and offer products that otherwise would never see the light of day. In 48 hours they have already gained the support of nearly 50 backers, but are still short of meeting their goal.
This is too good of an idea to see fail, folks, and Peter knows it. If you head over to the site you will see that different pledges will be rewarded with some options from the first production run. It’s a great way to see a combat veteran trying to finish college succeed in his endeavor, to be on the ground floor of American innovation, and to help provide a tremendously useful piece of kit to those on the ground.
Editor’s Note: Some questions have been asked about drawing the cleaning kit instead of something that actually carries bullets during a fight. The ‘MS Clean’ will not fit in a magazine-well and obviously feels different than a regular magazine, though that might not be enough to prevent someone from snatching it by accident under stress. That said, when I was speaking with Nate the impression I got was that the MS Clean had been built this way in order to provide a ready-made carry option (the mag pouches). I am pretty sure the intention was never to put it in a primary magazine pouch where a shooter carries a combat load, but rather secured someplace other than your primary source of ammunition. In any case, I will contact Nate and Peter Palma both to see if I can get them to log in below and respond to this justifiable concern. (David Reeder)
About the Author: Nate M. is a USMC sergeant currently serving as a Scout Sniper team leader in the 4TH MARDIV. He was formerly active duty, an infantry platoon sergeant and veteran of Operation Phantom Fury who recently returned from a FID (Foreign Internal Defense) tour in Africa. Now a reserve Marine NCO, he is a gunsmith and freelance writer-photographer who spends most of his time designing or scratch-building weapon parts and accessories. You will see more of him here in the future.