cleaning your handgun

Gun Cleaning and CCW

Part of owning a gun is gun cleaning and lubrication, as guns are machines and therefore need a bit of maintenance to function correctly. This is especially important if one is going to carry concealed - or openly - on a daily or near-daily basis. To rely upon a gun for defense, it has to be in working order.

After all, if you're going to make the effort of putting on a gun, holster and belt, you should be carrying a pistol you can trust.

Interval For Gun Cleaning Depends On Use

how often to clean your ccw

The regularity that gun cleaning should be done mostly depends on usage levels, but this goes beyond just how often one shoots it. Other factors matter as well; if this gun is carried and how, how the firearm is stored, if the firearm is exposed to inclement weather and other environmental conditions are all important.

Remember - firearms are machines. They aren't complicated machines by most standards; a wristwatch compared to a pistol is practically the difference between a Formula One car and a cart pulled by a donkey.

Like any other machine, some regular maintenance is required. What kind of maintenance needs to be done and how often depends on use. A Formula One car needs a fantastic amount of upkeep to run correctly, whereas a Ford F-150 doesn't need all that much beyond changing the oil and some other routine procedures. A Chevrolet, though, will need more maintenance than an F1 car gets in a season - and that's just to get it to start.

For guns, the most basic routine maintenance is cleaning and lubrication. Cleaning removes carbon deposits left by discharges. Lubrication is lubrication; more friction due to the lack of lubrication means the gun won't work as well.

For a start, a gun should be cleaned and lubricated before and after a trip to the range. This ensures the day's shooting will go smoothly. Afterward, it ensures the gun stays in good condition once returned to storage.

That's really all a range gun is going to need. Take it out of the gun safe every few weeks and give it a quick clean and lubrication. Maybe think about taking in to a gunsmith for a detailed cleaning every few years.

A carry gun, on the other hand, requires a bit more.

Is Cleaning My Gun Once A Week Often Enough?

cleaning a pistol weekly

For a carry gun, one wonders if "cleaning my gun once a week" is enough. In truth, it probably is - even if one hasn't fired it. A weekly cleaning and lubrication is sufficient in most cases.

There's a difference between a working gun, i.e. a firearm that's carried for defense and/or a hunting gun, and a range gun. A working gun should be cleaned more often, and lubricated more often, since it will suffer more abuse and greater exposure to the elements.

What needs to be guarded against, firstly and foremostly, is moisture. Since guns are made of metal, or at least many of their parts are made from metal, the introduction of moisture leads to oxidation, or as it's commonly called - rust. Rust weakens metals and leads to failure.

Granted, there are solutions involving the materials used. Stainless steels aren't completely rust-proof, but are far more rust resistant than blued steel. Many pistols today have polymer frames, which won't rust, but metal magazines, slides and internal components will.

Sources of moisture that carry pistols are likely to encounter certainly includes inclement weather, such as rain, snow and so on. For those who carry every day in an IWB holster, sweat is also a potential issue.

Sweat contains salt and other minerals, which along with rust can cause corrosion - as can exposure to sea air and sea spray. That kind of moisture requires more frequent and thorough cleanings and lubrication.

In other words, a clean and lube once per week is typically fine for a carry gun. However, the more a gun is exposed to sweat and other sources of moisture such as inclement weather and other elements, the more often it should receive treatment.

Clean A Gun, Preserve A Gun

preserving your handgun

He who endeavors to clean a gun preserves it. The more painstaking care given a machine - such as a firearm, car or anything else - the better it will function. It will therefore last longer and give better performance over that time.

Carry guns need more regular treatment than range guns, as do firearms that are taken afield such as hunting rifles and shotguns. More exposure means a greater probability of rust setting in.

Be sure to follow any instructions in the owner's manual for cleaning and maintenance. Be sure to use dedicated, quality cleaning solutions and lubricants. Regular treatment with a rust prevention solution is also recommended. Every few days, give your carry gun a good spritz and wipe down.

Remember not to leave standing beads on the surface of cleaner, lubricant or rust prevention. Just like with seasoning a cast iron pan, a good rub down and even coating is sufficient.

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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