TEKMAT AR-15 Benchmat: Why Do You Need One?

AR-15 rifles are reliable, accurate, and most of all, customizable. But they are not AK-47s and they don’t have the nickname “mud gun.” At some point, it will need to be cleaned and this will require some disassembly. And if you own an AR-15 you should also own a TEKMAT AR-15 benchmat.

This is probably not one of the items on your radar when you set out to find that perfect AR-15 rifle or pistol. Optics, flashlights, mags, and everything else that could possibly fit on a rifle may have crossed your mind at some point. You may also want to upgrade various parts because that’s one of the fun things about owning an AR-15.

If you are wondering what a TEKMAT is, it’s not a yoga mat. It’s a cleaning mat made specifically for working on your AR-15. 

Having a good AR-15 mat is important. But what is special about the TEKMAT? Let’s find out.

Cleaning mat for AR-15
The TEKMAT cleaning mat for the AR-15 comes in a plastic tube that can be used for storing and transporting the mat.

Why a TEKMAT?

TEKMAT was the original printed cleaning and maintenance mat. It provides a good soft durable surface while cleaning or working on an AR-15 rifle. This may not seem important until you drop a part and damage it. If you are like me and have made your kitchen table, desk, or coffee table a workbench for your gun, it can protect the surface. The TEKMAT collects all the oil and dirt and can be washed so it is ready to go again. The TEKMAT is 12X36 inches and 1/8” thick. This gives plenty of room for a full-size AR-15 rifle and room for cleaning supplies.

I learned several gun lessons the hard way and the need to use a cleaning mat was one of them. With my first AR-15, I was excited to have an American classic rifle. I bought the best scope I could afford along with a sling and several mags. I did pick up a bottle of gun oil and a cleaning rod, but that’s about all I wanted to spend on the boring part of owning a gun. It wasn’t long before I decided to take it apart so I could learn more about my rifle.

Like most guys tend to do, I skipped any instructions that came with the rifle and was too embarrassed to ask any of my buddies how to take it apart. It took me a while to learn how to put it back together. Once it was reassembled, noticed a large scratch down the side of the receiver. The cleaning mat I didn’t buy would have had a diagram of the AR-15 printed on the front of it and a soft surface to keep it from getting scratched.

AR-15 cleaning mat
The TEKMAT is great for cleaning an AR-15 rifle and includes diagrams.

Benefits of the TEKMAT

TEKMAT offers cleaning mats for other firearms like the 1911, Beretta, AK-47, and plenty more. Each one has a diagram of the weapon printed on the mat and lists the name of each part. This may not be important for someone familiar with their weapon, but for beginners, this can be a lifesaver. For the experienced, this is one of the best mats available for cleaning and maintaining your AR-15.

For those wishing to break down their rifle in more detail than what’s done during a fieldstrip, the diagrams can be useful. The TEKMAT has detailed diagrams of the Magazine Assembly, Telestock Assembly, Lower Receiver Assembly, Bolt Assembly, Forward Assist, upper Receiver Assembly, and Barrel Assembly. Each part is numbered with a total of 98 parts listed on the mat. The TEKMAT AR-15 Grey Mat also came with a Tek Towel Microfiber firearm towel.

Cleaning with the TEKMAT

When cleaning one of my AR-15 rifles or AR-pistols, I like to start with removing the BCG (bolt carrier group), charging handle, and then separating the upper and lower. Some may leave the upper and lower together, but it’s important to clean the chamber. A chamber brush works best for this and is made easier when the lower is not attached. I typically remove my firing pin and extractor from the BCG so I can clean those as well, but this is not needed unless you have fired a lot of rounds from the rifle.

TEKMAT AR-15 cleaning mat
Keeping oils and cleaning solutions off work surfaces is important. It also helps keep dirt off your gun parts that were on the work surface already.

After I have laid out the parts to clean, I apply a solution to them so they can soak. I let them soak while I clean the upper and lower receiver. I clean the lower by wiping it down with a cleaning cloth to remove any dirt or carbon buildup and apply oil to any metal-on-metal parts that touch. An AR-15 is like any other machine, if metal rubs on metal, it needs oil.

After I clean the chamber, barrel, and the inside of the receiver. I re-assemble the AR and perform functions check before giving it a final wipe down with the cleaning cloth. My TEKMAT keeps the cleaning solutions and oils off my work surface and is easy to wipe off before I roll it back up and store it for the next cleaning session.

TEKMAT Specs:

  • Dye-Sublimation Printing
  • Thermoplastic Polyester
  • Vulcanized Laminate Bond
  • Oil and Stain Resistant
  • Protects Worksurfaces
Micro-cloth for cleaning firearms
The TEKMAT comes with a microfiber cleaning cloth that works great for wiping off any fingerprints or leftover residue once the firearm has been cleaned.

Summary

If you are just getting into the exciting world of firearms, a gun cleaning mat is one of those things that should be on your list to have. It can be kept in the plastic tube it arrives in, making it convenient to store and move around. Keep it with your cleaning tools and use it to keep that favorite rifle in tip-top shape.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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