The History of the Breechtool™


The Breechtool™ arose after discovering a common problem when cleaning the breech of British rifle, the L86 SA80 A2. After obtaining feedback from Regular, TA and Ret. soldiers ranging from Privates to Major Generals within the British Armed Forces over a period of four years, a significant inefficiency was found in the cleaning process for the breech.

The standard issue brush currently used for this purpose is made with steel bristles limited to clockwise rotation.  This results in the flattening of the bristles after approximately three uses prompting every user to adopt different, inventive methods to clean the breech.

Research identified the use of the little finger combined with the firing pin from the rifle as the most common solutions to cleaning these difficult parts; a practice which can be punishable in some regiments.  Two top armorers were also consulted, confirming findings.  Further research into existing solutions found a lack of consistency, efficiency and even damage caused to the rifles. 

With rifle cleaning being a daily procedure when on tour and exercise, and the breech being the most time consuming part to clean, it was immediately clear there was a need for a suitable and efficient appliance to aid the cleaning process. 

To solve this problem it has taken over four years of research as part of a final year project for Design Engineering at Northumbria Univeristy (Newcastle UK) and the creation and testing of over 40 concepts and 25 prototypes exploring different shapes, techniques and materials, all of which were tested extensively both in the lab and in the field.  For the final design, 10 working products were taken to Sennelager, Germany for use during a month-long exercise in 2012.  Product feedback was extremely positive with over 200 soldiers from a wide range of regiments requesting Breechtools following the exercise.

The final design, consisting of three different components (the main tool, the firing pin substitute and the brush head) allows soldiers to use the tool all over the rifle, not limiting use to the breech.  As a result, average cleaning times (tested on over 600 personnel) decreased from 20 minutes to 12, a reduction of 40%. 

Furthermore, using the Breechtool with only the standard issue combination tool and a bore snake, soldiers can complete a full rifle clean in the field, excluding the need for additional kit thus reducing kit weight by at least 120g. 

The SASC (Small Arms School Corps) followed the development of the tool and asked for the it to be tested in their armory where the tool was proven to work on five additional rifle models; The LMG, The Sharpshooter, The AK 47, M4 and M16.  Following commendation by the SASC, further market research conducted in Germany also confirmed the Breechtool to be a simple, yet effective solution to some of the universal problems of rifle cleaning. 

At launch, over 1000 soldiers of all ranks (representing almost 1% of the primary user of the SA80) had been involved in the tool's development.  It is an exciting product meeting and solving an immediate, poorly addressed problem. 

We look forward to continued work with soldiers as the Breechtool carries on developing and expanding.

The Breechtool™ is now being used across NATO by over 1200 personnel, and by private weapon system owners. It has now become a registered trademark as well as reaching the worldwide patent application stage. 

Our online community has risen to 3,432 and is constanly growing thanks to our PR manager Joanna. 

Thank you for reading and for your interest in Breechtool™.