How to Clean and Maintain Your Handgun for Top Performance


Your concealed carry weapon needs to do one thing, and do it perfectly. That’s firing fast and true when your life is on the line.

For a gun to work properly, it must be cleaned and lubricated regularly. Firing a dry or dirty weapon may damage the firearm or result in a malfunction.

Some Cleaning Tips to Keep in Mind

It is good practice to clean and lubricate your firearm after each session at the shooting range. If you’re planning on storing your firearm, you should make sure it’s clean and lubricated before you put it away.

Before you clean your handgun, review the owner’s manual. Most handguns need to be disassembled to some degree for proper cleaning. Make sure you are familiar with the process for disassembly and reassembly.

Firearms should be cleaned in a well-ventilated area. The chemicals produced by shooting a gun are toxic, as are the substances used to clean and lubricate the firearm.

Clean a gun regularly, not only when you think the gun is dirty. Making it a habit will help you remember to keep up with cleaning.

Always be aware of the location of the gun’s ammunition. Make sure that it’s nowhere nearby while you’re cleaning your handgun. After double checking there is no chambered ammunition, take the ammunition into another room during your cleaning to keep it away from your cleaning area.

General Procedures for Cleaning Firearms

Use a cloth rag to wipe down the gun and remove any carbon buildup, oil and powder that you see. After you wipe down the gun, you will apply solvent to remove the gunk that you weren’t able to wipe away. Let the solvent soak for a few minutes to loosen the dirt, buildup or unburnt powder. Use a brush to scrub the buildup away.

To clean the barrel, apply solvent to a bore brush and run the bore brush through the barrel a few times. It may be necessary to add a bit more solvent to the brush as you clean. Once you’re done, attach a patch holder to the cleaning rod and run it through the barrel. Repeat this step with a new patch until the patch comes out looking clean.  Add some gun oil or lubricant to a clean patch and run it through the bore.

If you’re cleaning a revolver, you’ll need to clean each chamber using the same method you used to clean the barrel.

After you clean the gun, apply lubricant as needed. Check the owner’s manual to learn how to apply the lubricant for your specific handgun.

Once your firearm has been cleaned and lubricated, it is time to reassemble it. After you put it back together, apply some metal preservative or gun oil to a clean rag and wipe down the gun.

Owning a firearm is a big responsibility. Regular cleaning is just one of the many responsibilities required to be a confident and safe gun owner.