Knowing how to clean a gun is a maintenance skill of utmost importance. It’s better to be safe than sorry when lives are on the line.
How to Clean a Gun | Cleaning Tips & Tricks
Having a clean firearm is essential to keep it running smoothly and effectively, without having to worry about it breaking down in the field. If it’s just a gun you play around with and use for fun, you don’t need to clean it as often.
You don’t want lazy maintenance to get you in trouble whenever the fun turns serious. Our crew here at GC have different thoughts about gun maintenance and how to clean a gun, but the vast majority of us clean our go-to firearms after every use.
This is just one of the ways to clean a gun and we’ll be focusing on a pistol in particular today. It’s simple, easy to follow and really quick.
I know folks who spend hours cleaning their guns because they enjoy the Zen-like experience. Me, I like spending more time at the range and less on cleaning my firearm.
So time to grab your gun cleaning kit and just follow these simple directions to have a gun so clean you could eat off it.
Supplies You’ll Need:
- Gun cleaner solvent
- Gun oil
- Rag (We like Mechanics Rags)
- Paper towels
- Dry patch
- Brush that fits your caliber
How to Clean and Oil a Gun Inside and Out
Step 1: Brush Through the Pistol Barrel
Dip your brush in some gun cleaning solvent and brush it through the pistol barrel and then set it aside to cook for a little bit. This cleans up the barrel and prevents fouling.
We will come back to that later. If you can find one, a bore brush usually works better than a regular pipe cleaner.
Step 2: Wipe Off Gunks on the Frame
Take your mechanic’s rag (or paper towels if you don’t have one) and wipe off as much gunk as you can from the frame of the pistol. Make sure you don’t use any rubbing alcohol to prevent alcohol stains on your gun.
Make sure to use a completely clean rag for this. Also, pay special attention to your handguards as we all know these get dirty really fast.
Don’t use any solvent here because it can lead to an even bigger mess than you started with.
Step 3: Clean the Rail and Slide
Now take a Q-tip, then run it around the rail and in as many nooks and crannies as you can on the slide of the gun to get out all the dirt and grime accumulated inside. A semi-automatic pistol usually gets really gunky inside the rail, especially if you spend a lot of time on the range.
Step 4: Brush off Gunk in the Recoil Spring
Take the recoil spring. Use your dry rag and rub all the gunk off. You can also take the toothbrush and run it across the springs to get off any hard-to-reach grime.
This is probably one of the easiest steps of the cleaning process.
Step 5: Brush the Barrel Again
Now the barrel is just about ready to be cleaned. Run your brush through it again and then clean the outside with your dry rag.
Step 6: Use a Pistol Jag to Clean the Inside of the Barrel
Grab your jag, put a patch on it, and push it right through. Don’t drag it in and out, that will just move the dirt back and forth leaving your firearm as dirty as when you started.
Use a few patches until you’re satisfied with the color of the patch when it comes out. You can also use a bore snake for this.
What is a pistol jag? A material used to clean the bore and barrel of a gun. It has a tight fit design for thoroughly cleaning the patch and bore.
Step 7: Oil the Gun
Now it’s time to oil the gun. Dip the Q-tip in oil and oil up the slide rails and any part that looks shiny.
Put some oil on the shiny areas because that’s what’s used the most. You also may want to put some oil on the recoil spring and then dab with your rag to remove any excess.
You really only need about 4-5 drops of oil for the entire weapon.
Step 8: Reassemble and Dry Fire
Now you can reassemble your handgun. Dry fire it to make sure it’s working, do a final wipe off with your dry rag, and there—you have a perfectly clean gun.
5 minutes is about all it takes unless you have a SUPER dirty gun, then it might take a little more time.
Here’s a complete video from FMGVideo on how to clean a pistol:
You always want your gun to function seamlessly at all times. Whether you’re just practice-shooting in the range or using it in an emergency situation, you don’t want your favorite firearm to fail when it’s needed the most.
These gun cleaning tips will give the satisfaction you’re looking for in terms of performance and firearm longevity.
Got any gun cleaning tips and tricks of your own? Let us know in the comments section below!
Up Next: 36 Best Handguns You Will Ever Need
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.