Can I Use 3-in-1 Oil on My Gun?

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3-in-1 oil is a common home product that household use for a variety of things related to maintenance. If you’ve run out of gun oil, you’re probably asking yourself, can I use 3-in-1 oil on my gun? In this article, I’ll provide the information you need to know whether 3-in-1 is good for your gun.

Can I Use 3-in-1 Oil on My Gun? 

Yes, you can use 3-in-1 oil in your guns. However, it’s not as effective as most modern lubricant oils. Consider using it only when you have no other options left. It only offers minimal corrosion protection.

A person cleaning a gun

Most gun owners would not recommend using 3-in-1 mainly because it gums up pretty bad. It also does not have rust protection. It was pretty popular back then. However, there are oils that are specifically catered to for maintaining guns.

What Is 3-in-1 Oil?

The 3-in-1 oil is a multipurpose oil used in most households since 1894. It is a flexible formula that you can use to clean grime, lubricate components, and provide some protection from rust. That’s why it’s called 3 in 1 oil.

You can use 3-in-1 oil in almost every tool and equipment that requires oil for maintenance. That’s why it was popular before CLP came up. Be careful, as 3-in-1 oil can cause gumming, especially in dusty areas.

3-in-1 oil is now owned by WD40, so they made clear differences with it compared with other lubricants. 3-in-1 oil is meant to be for general use, so you shouldn’t expect it to work effectively with guns.

Pros of 3-in-1 Oil

If you’re considering using 3 in 1 oil, here are some advantages of using 3-in-1 oil:

  • A pure oil-based product
  • Lighter for flexible use
  • It can be used with other items outside of guns
  • It saves you money  since it’s multipurpose

Cons of 3-in-1 Oil

If you weigh in between other options, you should also know the bad things to know if it’s a dealbreaker:

  • Can easily gum and attract dust
  • It can clog up when you apply too much
  • It is not as effective as WD40 when it comes to protection
  • Outdated and outclassed by modern oil products
A man using gun oil to clean his gun

Related Questions

What Kind of Oil Can You Use on Guns?

While you can use most types of oil like hair clipper oil for gun cleaning, it’s better to use oils that are specifically made for guns, like the top-quality CLP. Using other kinds of oil like olive oil as a cleaning substitute may cause damage to your guns which you may have overlooked.

What’s the Difference Between Gun Oil and 3 in 1?

Gun oil is a highly refined petroleum-based lubricant specifically made for gun maintenance. 3-in-1 oil is pure oil. Using gun oil is pretty effective because they contain additives that have protective properties for gun parts against rust and corrosion.


3-in-1 oil used to be the universal oil for gun maintenance. However, as technology progressed, modern oil became better at protecting your guns. That’s why 3 in 1 fell off in popularity. You can still use it. However, don’t expect the same level of effectiveness when you use CLP to clean your gun.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.