My Apple Keyboard is covered with ancient Swiss grease

So I was giving my car a much needed clean and I found1 a long forgotten surplus Swiss SIG 510 rifle cleaning kit. Having never given it a second look since the time I bought it on the cheap, I take it inside and examined it. It contains two plastic bottles. I expected one to be used for oil and the other for solvent, but I was wrong. They both were full of grease. Long story short, I manage to get this ancient Swiss grease on my fingers and then, replying to an email, I get it on my beautiful new aluminum Apple keyboard!

Grease bottles on the left. has a review of these kits

I keep gun grease handy for the occasional application to a sear or trigger linkage, but this one kit contains far more grease than I have ever used on a firearm. Can someone please explain to me why a Swiss solider would need not one but two bottles of grease? Enlighten me!

  1. One of the advantages of being a gun nut is that just about every drawer, cupboard and shelf contains a long forgotten but highly useful piece of equipment. 

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • As explained in the article linked below, Swiss manuals of arms call for liberal use of Automatenfett molybdenum-based grease for cleaning, lubrication, and preservation of military small arms. Hence the inclusion of two containers of grease in the Swiss StG57 and P90 cleaning kits.

  • Patrick M

    Perhaps to keep their fancy army knifes working? Sorry about your keyboard though, I just had the same thing happen to me with dish soap and now alot of my keys are all slick and filmy, not fun.

  • chrswk

    I can’t give you the definite explanation as to why, but it’s the same for the kit of our current weapon, the Stgw 90 (SIG SG 550). My guess is ease of use, the price and logistics of only having to stock one type of item and because it worked well for the last couple of decades.

    Personally, I tend to clean it with other products (like Burnox), but that’s because I privately own other weapons. A lot of people just have their army gun and for them the cleaning kit is just fine.

    The swiss army grease, called “Automatenfett”, is of pretty good quality and I even know people in neighboring countries like Germany and Austria who like to use it.

    • Guys, thanks for the info. It does looks like pretty good grease. I see its graphite based. I know probably have enough grease to last me the rest of my life (at the rate I use it up) 🙂

  • Brian

    I picked up an unissued K31 cleaning kit for my soon-to-be picked up Swiss Miss and got two small bottles of ‘Waffenfett” grease. Pretty cool stuff, but I’ll probably stick to my CLP and M7 oils. Would lighter oils with less viscosity still work as well as actual greases?

  • HowToGetAGun

    I suspect it’s largely psychological. If you give someone one small bottle with enough grease to do the job 10 times they will use the correct amount once, then use much less the next time and less each subsequent time. It’s a natural strategy for resource preservation. But if you give them much much much more than they need, they will properly lubricate the rifle all of the time and you then replace the grease before it runs out to ensure proper operation. Just a guess.

  • Rob

    To get back at mac users grrrrrrrrrrrr

  • MrMaigo

    Grease is better in cold weather?

  • Tahoe

    Man, this article suddenly reminded me that I, too, have a forgotten Swiss kit like that…now I just have to find what drawer it’s in…damn.

  • Cpt. Spellcheck

    It’s not for the gun, sillly. They put it on their bodies as a defensive tactic. A well lubed soldier can’t be captured or restrained in the event of CQC.

  • Soleo

    Hello from Switzerland !
    During my military obligation, we have seen why we have two bottles and not just one !
    We clean regularly our Assault rifle (Sig 550), at the military place, yes but in the forest too. And, we don’t have every time the primary box to refill the grease in our clean kit ! So, some times, we must use the second bottle of grease.

    An other way is for the company weapon, like the Mortar, MG, … We clean this weapon with an auxillary box but sometimes we must grease a part quick and we use our clean kit.

    The last way what i’ve seen, is for the Officier. The Swiss Officer have a Assault Rifle And a Sig P220 pistol. One tube are reserved for the rifle and the second is for the pistol.

    • Soleo, that is interesting, thanks

  • Nathaniel

    I have always wondered why grease is not a more popular lubricant, especially for rifles that need lubrication to work well in adverse conditions, like AR-15s.

  • Automatenfett is a gun cleaner, a gun lubricant, a gun preservative, a desert topping and a floor wax.

  • Freiheit

    My German is a little rusty but “Automatenfett” is literally translated as ‘automata (machine) fat’.

  • jdun1911


    That’s depends on the temperature range of the grease and other lubricants.

    Grease that have graphite isn’t bad as long as it does not stay in the aluminum for long a long period of time.

    Aeroshell Grease 33MS is a good choice. No graphite and is use by the military. One tube will last you forever.

    • jdun1911, why is graphite + aluminum a problem?

  • jdun1911

    Graphite will cause Galvanic corrosion in Aluminum. Grease that have graphite are ban in use of military aircraft. It is not a problem to use grease that contain graphite as long as it does not stay there for a long period of time.

    For example putting grease that have graphite on barrel threads (AR15, receiver is aluminum. threads is aluminum) will cause corrosion because you’re not going to remove the grease anytime soon. It stay on until you change the barrel. The graphite will corrode the threads and thus make your barrel fall out from the receiver.

    The standard procedure is to put grease without graphite on the barrel threads for AR15. This will prevent corrosion between the steel and the aluminum.

    • jdun1911, thanks for the tip!

  • Where’d you get the sig cleaning kit? It looks pretty handy, and I imagine it’d work just fine with a ar15 as well, my thinking is right , right?

  • Redchrome

    Soleo, great information.

    I think I can condense the whole discussion down to the old adage ‘One is none, two are one.’ 🙂