Nope, it’s Snake Oil. As a bunch of stories at Vuurwapen Blog and TFB demonstrated, spectrographic analysis of FireClean is consistent with it being nothing but rapeseed oil, also known as canola oil, and/or chemically similar oils. Some people called it Crisco. But Crisco is a very pure, food-grade rapeseed oil; you can fry your morning hash browns in it, and they’ll taste delicious. Neither we nor the FDA recommend doing that with FireClean, and neither do the makers of FireClean. Your cardiologist would probably be equally distressed to see you frying up with either, but hey, if we all ate right, how would cardiologists ever make their Bentley payments?
Naturally, the guys who were buying 55-gallon drums of this stuff ($800/metric ton) and selling it (and a bunch of hype) in tiny plastic plastic squirt bottles for weren’t happy to have their secret outed, and so they sued Andrew Tuohy, the writer who first broke the news that FireClean was predominantly vegetable, specifically rapeseed, oil. They also sued Everett Baker, a chemistry student who did some analysis of the suspect formula as a college project, and published his results.
Apparently, showing the world the spectrum of FireClean is supposed to be like saying the name of God was to the Ancient Hebrews, as you can see in this clip from a Biblical documentary.
Yes, suing people for factually describing your product is certainly the way a corporation acts if its business model is based on developing advanced technology. It’s certainly not what a bunch of con artists would do when their con was exposed.
Or is it?
You can read the lawsuit — Andrew has posted it — and form your own opinion. (His lawyers’ memo in support of motion to dismiss is located here. If you donated to his legal defense fund you helped make that document, now donate again). We’re not lawyers, but what they’re demanding is, first, that Andrew and Everett be muzzled with respect to Crisco, er, FireClean. (Please Crisco, don’t sue us for comparing your fine cooking oil to the generic version marketed as a gun lube. No defamation of Crisco is intended).
Then, of course, they want money, because, well, for the same reason you might put cheap stuff in a bottle and sell it as expensive stuff: because they want money.
Meanwhile, of course, because the only justice that American courts are really concerned about is making sure that lawyers get paid, get paid off the top of the stack, and get paid handsomely, it’s going to cost Andrew and Everett a bunch of money to defend against this shakedown.
So there are two things you can do: never, ever, ever recommend, sell, or use FireClean, and throw a few bucks the defendants’ way.
Don’t feel bad for the brothers who run FireClean — when their product was challenged, rather that post science defending their product (there’s no scientific substance in their suit, just spectra of motor oils that are not like the vegetable oils at issue here), they went on legal attack-dog attack.
And there is this: we do not now, and we will not ever, use or recommend FireClean. (Even though Andrew! says it’s good gun lube).
Not only will they lose their SLAPP suit, they, and their product, deserve to be sent to market Coventry. We’re talking nuclear Streisand Effect in the megaton range.
Their major malfunction seems to be that even though their goop is, by its spectra, generic canola oil, it’s really a blend of three vegetable oils, so you can’t call it vegetable oil. They’re also really PO’d that people (not Andrew, who has been adamant about this) are calling it Crisco. And indeed, it might not deserve such a comparison, because it’s unfair to Crisco. The FireClean oils are somewhat like Crisco, except probably not food-grade; you can cook in Crisco, and it might not be safe in FireClean.
It gets better. If you read the suit, you find out their blend of three magic
rapeseed oils ingredients.
The suit (available here) is simply full of conclusory assertions and outright falsehoods. Here’s just one:
53. The suggestion that FIREClean is not suitable for military use is false.
Here’s what the US Army’s graphic maintenance publication, PS Magazine (Issue. 735, February 2014, inside front cover) says about using snake oil lubricants like FireClean:
Which tells you all you need to know about how suitable FireClean is for military use. The assertion that FireClean is suitable for military use is false, according to the US Freaking Army, who apparently were not consulted by FireClean’s ambulance-chasers. The military people in charge of lubricants Just Say No (to FireClean and to many other snake oil formulations).
[I]f you think you can improve on what the TM instructs you to do, then you’re asking for trouble. For example, using … a different lubricant than what the TM lists, can leave you … not being able to fire at all because your rifle jammed.
Also, just because something has an NSN doesn’t mean it’s OK to use.
That tells you that the attorneys who wrote line 53 there, Bemara J. DiMuro,
Bureau of Prisons Nº (oops, Virginia State Bar Nº, but the mistake is understandable, given that both numbers say the same thing about a person’s character) 18784, and Stacey Rose Harris BOP VSB Nº 65887, aren’t shy about just making facts up and lying to advance their lawsuit.
Well, what do you expect? They’re lawyers, not people.
What to Do
- Gun owners, do not buy FireClean.
- If you bought it, return it and demand a refund. If they refuse a refund, complain to the BBB and your state Attorney General or other consumer authority. They want to play with lawyers, let them.
- Range owners and stocking FFLs, stock other products instead. Return any FireClean to your distributor and demand a refund. After all, even if the company didn’t deserve the Market Death Penalty™ for this, it’s not like you’re going to be able to sell the stuff now.
- Most of all, support Andrew’s legal defense. We donated, but it looks to us like fundraising has stalled out and he can use some more lettuce to feed his lawyers.
If they want to know why you’re returning it, tell them you thought it was Crisco. But now that you know this product with uncannily similar spectrum to Crisco rapeseed oil is not Crisco, you don’t want it; you want your money back. Because it’s not Crisco, right?
It’s snake oil.