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Sentry Solutions Dry Film Lubricant

by

Roger Lanny

Well, for some reason or reasons which are not entirely clear to me, but are probably somewhat perverse, I seem to have been tasked with doing the lion's share of articles on gun cleaning and chemicals. First there was Gun Cleaning (the products) in August 1994, then Cleaning Hand Guns (a how to) in January 1996, and lastly, until now, Cleaning Long Guns (another how to) in February 1996. Lord knows why. Cleaning (guns, house or Spring) is my least favorite thing to do!

That being said, actually repeated (since I probably already stated my lack of enthusiasm for such tasks in those articles), anything which will make that chore easier and/or more effective certainly grabs my attention. Such a product line is Sentry Solutions Dry Film Lubrication.

I found out about this system at the Annual Training Conference (ATC) of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) in Armarillo, Texas, when I met Mark Mrozek, Sentry's Director of Sales and Marketing. We talked for a while, looked at samples and guns that had been treated, and agreed that some samples should be shipped to me for evaluation. It is worthy to note that although Mark wanted to give me the T&E items then and there, they were selling at the ATC at such a rapid pace (an example of the LEO instructors' level of interest), that his pragmatic side held sway.

To make a long story short, their Armorer's Kit finally arrived at my doorstep. It consisted of Smooth Kote (two sizes), BP2000 Powder, Hi-Slip Grease, a Tuf-Cloth, and various ancillary items. For the initial test, a brand new Glock 27 (their little "baby" 40 S&W) was detail stripped, thoroughly cleaned and degreased, and treated with the Sentry system. It was then fired, and fired, and fired. With two exceptions, there was not one malfunction, not a failure to feed, failure to chamber, failure to extract.

The two exceptions were when the gun was being fired by a small-statured person unfamiliar with Glocks. Since the gun worked perfectly before and after this occurrence, I assumed this to be a case of "limp-wristing" anomaly. Although this malady is thought to be particularly endemic to Glocks, I find that it only happens when the gun is quite dirty and crudded up (which this gun wasn't). Any gun needs all the help it can get under these circumstances. If a Glock is reasonably clean and has a small amount of lubrication, I find it will fire and cycle even when loosely held.

The 27 was field stripped periodically for inspection. It was far less dirty than any other firearm fired an equivalent number of rounds. No cleaning or re-application was done. This was getting interesting. We will digress into the whys and the wherefores.

There are many fine lubricants on the market. I've used and written about many of them. However, most have a similar weakness, they are based on oils, natural or synthetic. And these oils attract and hold dirt, unburned powder, and combustion byproducts. This sludge buildup eventually causes malfunctions. It also cakes on, becomes baked in by heat, and forms a coating which becomes increasing resistant to your and my cleaning efforts. I hate when that happens.

The Sentry Solutions system is based on dry film lubricants and technology, and that's the difference. No oil, nothing wet, nothing to attract and hold dirt. The firearm works better and longer. Sounds simple, but according to their literature, they had to "engineer the critical combination of particle size and chemical composition that insures molecular bonding to the metal" and the proper lubricity.

Their Smooth-Kote is a molybdenum disulfide based special formulation dry film lubricant in a fast-drying, residue free isopropyl alcohol carrier. The alcohol provides some cleaning action. When it evaporates, the lubricants bond to the pores of the clean metal surface. This bonding assures long-lasting effectiveness. Smooth-Kote needs to be shaken well before using, and should cure for two hours at room temperature (applying heat will shorten this time), so you can't use it just before going to the range.

The BP2000 Powder can be used after the Smooth Kote to further reduce the coefficient of friction (they claim by 20%). A small amount is applied and then burnished in. You can actually feel the surface getting slipperier.

The Tuf-Cloth is their replacement for the silicon gun cloth. It is a long-lasting, proprietary product for both rust protection and lubrication, and is also ideal for stainless steel surfaces. Coming in a resealable vapor barrier pouch, mineral spirits is the carrier for the active ingredients. If the cloth dries out, it can be reactivated by adding a bit more mineral spirits.

Tuf-Glide is used when disassembly is difficult or impossible. Its mineral spirits carrier conveys the active ingredients to the inaccessible areas and surfaces, and provides a cleaning action also. Tuf-Glide contains a proprietary mixture of dry film rust inhibitors and lubricants.

All these products bond to the metal, are waterproof, and will work from -400 F through the heat generated by sustained full-auto firing. Since they are a dry film technology, they do not self-heal. That is, under extremely high loads, the film can break in one spot, leaving an unprotected area. For such applications, Sentry provides their Hi-Slip Grease. It likewise is based on a molybdenum disulfide and solid lubricant synthetic, and features an extended temperature and load carrying range. Application examples include, but are not limited to, the locking recesses of a bolt rifle, and the connector/trigger bar point of contact in a Glock pistol.

There is also a Marine Tuf-Cloth available, which is formulated to be used in a salt water environment. It is a different formulation than the Tuf-Cloth, with additional protection, a heavier film, and longer drying time.

The Sentry system was then applied to a Glock 23 and 21, which I used in the National Tactical Invitational at Gunsite in Arizona (Lyn Bates' article on this appeared elsewhere in the same Women & Guns issue). It was dry, dusty and windy there. Many oiled guns were not happy. These two Glocks, however, couldn't have been more content, not one glitch or bobble.

To seek other opinions, I contacted two police departments that have been using these products on their duty guns for a while. I first talked with Sergeant Robert Carruthers of the Hopkinton, NH, Police Department. Although they are a smaller department, their almost three years experience with their S&W 5906's is all positive. Sgt. Carruthers finds the system dependable and low maintenance after applying, even in the extremes of New Hampshire weather. He finds it is something that the average officer can use (all personnel have a Tuf-Cloth), and simple brushing off and blowing out with an air hose suffices.

Lt. Mike Houle, a 16 year veteran of the Woonsocket, RI, Police Department recounts similar experiences with their issue Glock 21's. He is the head armorer and firearms instructor for the department, and is responsible for over 100 officers and firearms. After using Sentry Solutions for 2 1/2 years plus, he finds the guns stay cleaner, with less wear and tear. Since he is dealing with officers who run the gamut from dyed-in-the-wool gun enthusiasts to those who would prefer not to carry a gun at all, he had issued all officers a Tuf-Cloth. That worked out so well, that they will soon get the Smooth-Kote as well.

Although the application is time-consuming initially, it prolongs the service life of the firearms, and minimizes officer-required maintenance. In addition to three models of Glocks, Lt. Houle has also converted the department's Remington 870 shotguns and H&K MP5 sub-machine guns to the Sentry system. In fact, at an SMG instructor's course he participated in, a number of the other department's oil lubricated MP5's were experiencing problems after 500 rounds or so. Woonsocket's Sentry treated guns, however, were still functioning flawlessly after thousands of rounds that day.

He finds it the "best stuff I've ever had," with department sidearms only needing to be broken down and cleaned by him once a year. The officers just field-strip and brush out the gun after qualification, and then rub down with the Tuf-Cloth. The same procedure is followed after inclement weather.

OK, bottom line, is this system perfect, without any problems? Can it be used anywhere and everywhere? Come on folks, you know better. It is time consuming to apply initially, since the firearm has to be field stripped or detail stripped, thoroughly cleaned and degreased, and the Smooth-Kote applied, let dry, cured, and followed up with the BP2000 Powder.

The Smooth-Kote and BP2000 Powder are messy to apply. Although the Armorer's Kit comes with gloves, I, in a rare display of male "I know what I'm doing" syndrome, didn't use them. My hands looked like a bad caricature of the 1970's auto mechanic for quite a while. Likewise, esthetically it is not a good idea to get it on the exterior surfaces of a stainless steel firearm. But then again, that's another reason for the Tuf-Cloth.

Lastly, the system cannot be used on a firearm having a hard chrome, mirror plated finish. The proprietary technology needs to bond to the metal, and hard chroming prevents this. Interestingly enough, Mrozek claims that Robar's NP3 or Roguard finishes are OK with respect to the Sentry system. This seems to be born out in my Glock 21, which has had the top end NP3'd. This is good news, since these are two great finishes! As to my bottom line, one by one, all my guns, both hand and long, are being converted to this system. It just makes better sense.

Price of Products:

Smooth-Kote* 1/2 oz $8.95
BP2000 Powder 3 grams 6.95
Tuf-Cloth 12"x12" 8.95
Tuf-Glide 1/2 oz 8.95
Hi-Slip Grease 12 cc 6.95
Marine Tuf-Cloth 12"x12" 9.95
Armoror's Kit 39.95

*2 oz and 8 oz also available
All products are available through Tarnhelm Supply Co., Inc.

Roger Lanny is a certified firearms and defensive weapons instructor, a certified Glock armorer, a competitive shooter, and board member of We Are AWARE.

As Roger says, applying the product can be messy! Why not let Tarnhelm Supply do it for you? See our Services page for prices on our drylube gunsmithing service and other services that are available.

We have previous issues of Writers' Corner that are available, and we hope you will enjoy them also.


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Article Copyright © 1996, Roger Lanny, All Rights Reserved, Reprinted with permission