There are some aspects of weapons maintenance that I believe should be covered. Before we dive into specifics, some basic things to consider are how often to clean your firearm. The answer to this will depend on what purpose that firearm serves.
If that firearm is carried for personal defense then it should be cleaned every time it is fired. The purpose behind this is that if you are trusting your life to this firearm should you end up in a defensive situation, give yourself the benefit of having a clean gun.
The second thing to consider with firearms that are carried for personal defense is that often times we don’t get the chance to get out and shoot that firearm every month. However, just because it hasn’t been shot doesn’t mean that it’s clean. Firearms are magnets for dust, lint and all sorts of gunk. Carrying a firearm on your person for long periods of time also means that we are subjecting that firearm to rapid temperature changes, condensation, etc.
A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t fired your personal defense weapon; give it a good cleaning once a month anyways. Again, always give yourself the benefit of having a clean weapon.
The third thing to consider with weapons maintenance is how far does a firearm need to be broke down to clean it properly? This answer may differ between beginners and experienced firearm owners. First recommendation is to look at the Owner’s Manual before attempting to disassemble. For beginners the recommendation is to stick with a “field strip” for cleaning. This is a relatively simple break down that includes separating the slide from the frame, removing the barrel and guide rod assembly and giving it a thorough cleaning.
A more in depth break down is absolutely possible, however it is not recommended for anyone other than an experienced armorer (it can also void some manufacturers warranties). For beginners or individuals who are not armorers, a great rule of thumb is that if you are disassembling and end up with more than about 6 or 7 parts, stop what you are doing and reassemble or take it to an armorer and have them show you how to properly disassemble for cleaning.
This is not the case for every firearm; some might have a few more parts than others on a field strip. There are many video tutorials that can be found online as well, and these can be a great resource for individuals
learning a new firearm.