breaking in a new gun

What You Should Do To Break In A New Gun

Joy of joys, you got a new gun! Congratulations. It should be the start of a beautiful friendship. Provided decent care and good fortune, you may enjoy a lifetime of use from it. Some brands are known for it.


That said, you are going to have to break it in. Just as a prize stallion has to be broken before you ride in the Kentucky Derby, many pistols have to go through a break-in period - as do fine leather products such as a baseball glove or a gun belt. Here's what to do to break in your new pistol…


First Step Is Clean Your Gun And Lubricate It


clean and lubricate gun

The first thing you do before almost anything else is to clean your gun and then lubricate it. Granted, you wanted to take a moment to appreciate it. The moment you get a new gun home is like the moment you get a new car. The future is rife with potential possibilities, and there's a good chance you're going to have a whole lot of fun.


Or it could turn out to be a total lemon.


To keep that from happening, the first thing you must do is clean it! Most guns come coated with a rust-proofer. Surplus guns are known for having a whole lot of cosmoline on them, for instance.


Feld strip your gun and give it a basic cleaning according to the procedure outlined by the owner's manual. Resorting to the instructions may seem undignified to some people, but in this instance it should be done. This will also familiarize you with the takedown procedure, which is important to learn.


Take time to inspect your new gun. Look for any manufacturing defects, metal shavings or barrel obstructions. Make sure to give the barrel a good cleaning, as well as (if applicable) the slide, the frame and any and all other parts until your patches come clean.


Then, lubricate - again, according to the owner's manual. They will tell you where and how best to apply it to your pistol.


If you get a feel for the instructions, then you've pretty much figured out basic care for your gun, which is a good thing.


Now that you've got that out of the way...time to shoot!


First Time Shooting Your New Gun


how to shoot a gun

Your first time shooting a new gun is a special thing. Treasure the moment.


Also check your owner's manual for any special instructions for the first time shooting, because the manufacturer may have some recommendations. Additionally, there are different procedures for breaking in a rifle and breaking in a handgun. For now, we will concentrate on the latter.


There are a couple different schools of thought. First is you start by loading one round, and fire it. Then you clean the barrel. Load two rounds, fire them both. Clean the barrel, then load three rounds, repeat, then four, followed by five. Clean the barrel again, and commence to shooting however you want.


The other school of thought is once you get it cleaned and lubricated, you shoot as many rounds as you can as soon as you can.


The first shooting session with a new pistol should be used for several purposes, first of which is break-in. Second is to determine accuracy, and specifically how it shoots. Does it shoot a little low? The front sight may need to be held under the target. If hitting high, just over the target. To the right or left? You could need more dry fire practice or you may need to adjust the sights.


This process also, as you've likely guessed, lets you zero the pistol, which is just as important.


When Is A Pistol Broken In?


when is a gun broken in

When a gun is broken in...is a subject of debate. Some people feel differently, and popular lore holds that some pistols break in very quickly and others may need a bit more.


For the garden variety gun, you're mostly likely going to get there after 100 to 200 rounds, so 2 to 4 boxes of 50. After this amount of shooting, you should notice the action will get a little smoother, the trigger should break a little easier and travel a little smoother as well.


Again, some guns may need a bit more "break-in" than others. A lot of people in the 1911 community insist 500 rounds are needed at least. Often enough, though, the owner's manual will tell you what the break-in period will be.




Sam Hoober 

About The Author


Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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