Brian Enos’s Slide-Glide Firearm Lubricant and Grease
By Duane Thomas
Grand Master shooter Brian Enos is now selling a very interesting gun lubricant called Slide-Glide. This product exists because Brian has a friend of 20-plus years named Keith Lewis who just happens to be a retired engine development engineer at the GM Proving Grounds….and an avid shooter. Enos describes Lewis as, "real intelligent, super-meticulous, just a no-BS engineer kind of mentality." Lewis studied experimental and applied tribology, which is the science of lubrication, friction and wear through the University of Michigan.
When Brian told his old friend he was trying to develop his own firearms lubricant because he wasn’t happy with what was already on the market, Lewis told him, "You know, it might work a lot better if you just told me what effects you want, and then let me do it for you."
The first thing you notice about Slide-Glide is its color and consistency: red and thick. Slide-Glide is red, according to Lewis, "Basically because I liked the color. Several of the compounds I was already using had a red tint, so it was really easy to pump that up to bright red. The red dye in Slide-Glide is the same stuff that’s used in automatic transmission fluid which has a couple of characteristics I liked. One, it’s non-staining; second, typical clothing cleaning products will take it out." This means you don’t have to worry about Slide-Glide giving you indelible "shooter’s ink" stains if you get some on your clothes.
Lewis describes Slide-Glide as "a dual soap based grease blend, with some base petroleum oils and proprietary extreme pressure compounds, typically referred to as EP additives, which boosts the ability of the oils in the grease to withstand extreme pressures. If this proprietary compound were available on the market, it would sell for about $150 a gallon. I haven’t found anything that can surpass it for pressure characteristics. It gives the grease a very stringy, tenacious character that really makes it stay where you put it." You know how, after you’ve lubed a gun with standard oil or grease, a few hundred rounds later you can take the gun apart and see the wear on the moving parts because the lubricant just doesn’t stay put. It pushes out into the grooves and recesses of the gun, and you have to clean and re-lube frequently. Slide-Glide doesn’t do that; its "stringy" characteristic just pulls it back into place, even on sliding surfaces in contact with each other, instead of being forced away. Therefore it never stops lubricating, never stops working.
Slide-Glide is offered in two versions: Slide-Glide #1 is standard viscosity for general use. It’s lighter than Slide-Glide #3, the heavier viscosity which is more appropriate for really hot weather – like for instance Arizona where Enos lives. Slide-Glide #3 can also work well on real rattle-trap guns – it fills in the gaps to "tighten" the action back up. Some of the local guys in Enos’ area are using SG #3 on their Glocks which can be kind of rattly in stock form, and they love it.[Note: Since Duane wrote this article, I’ve added a thinner viscosity to the line: Slide-Glide Lite. especially formulated for Open guns, .22s, lever and bolt action rifles, and shotguns.]
I wanted to put a couple thousand rounds through a Slide-Glided 1911 before writing this article, so I could actually know what I’m talking about. Accordingly I cleaned my Wilson .45 and lubed with Slide-Glide #1. Then in the post World Trade Center world the demand for firearms training went nuts, I wasn’t able to practice as often or shoot as many matches as I would have liked – it took almost two months to burn through 2,040 rounds. In that time I fired five IPSC matches, three IDPA, and the Thursday night IPSC practice league at my local shooting range six times. The gun ran great, with absolutely no malfunctions of any kind. One thing that impressed me very much about Slide-Glide as a lubricant:at the end of those 2,000-plus rounds the gun didn’t feel sticky at all. It’s not unusual for me to put a few thousand rounds through my Wilson 1911 with no cleaning and no malfunctions, but with conventional lubricants by the time I’ve let it go that far the slide action becomes noticeably gritty. With Slide-Glide, even after that many rounds, I could barely tell the difference, when cycling the slide by hand, with how it felt at the beginning of the test program, with the gun freshly lubed before I ever fired the first round! Slide-Glide simply doesn’t, when mixed with powder fouling, turn into the same sticky crud you get with conventional lubricants. According to Brian Enos, his own Limited .40 gun lubricated with Slide-Glide frequently fires over 5,000 rounds between cleaning/lubrications, and it just keeps shooting.
Slide-Glide seems to have a real cushioning effect on the recoil stroke. It feels like, at the end of its travel, the slide hits "stringy" Slide-Glide instead of metal-to-metal. Shortly after I first Slide-Glided my gun, an experienced gunman, when handling my 1911 and cycling the slide, said to me, "My God, I’ve never felt a gun this smooth before." Now we certainly must give much of the credit for that to Wilson Combat which builds some mighty fine handguns, but before being Slide-Glided even the Wilson gun didn’t feel this good. Enos says he’s gotten the same reaction many times from people who handle his guns, partly because, "I’m not afraid to fill ‘er up." He uses a lot more Slide-Glide than most people. With standard lubricants we’re sternly warned against using too much lube because it’ll leak out, and into places it shouldn’t be. Slide-Glide stays in place so you can apply much more lube, and thus get the maximum benefit from its cushioning effect. Enos says, "Sometimes I wish I had an open port drilled into the gun so I could just pump the stuff in."
Slide-Glide should be applied to everything in the top end of the gun – barrel bushing, the barrel where it rides the bushing, the lugs on the top of the barrel and the corresponding lugs in the interior of the slide. Enos says he gets especially good effect from coating the recoil spring, guide rod, and the interior of the recoil spring plug. Also slide and frame rails receive a generous coating of Slide-Glide.