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  • When Should You Clean Your Handgun?

    3 min read

    Cleaning your handgun might seem like a boring chore, but that doesn’t stop it from being a hot topic among gun owners. Some people swear by cleaning their firearms after every use, while others think it's fine to wait until something goes wrong.

    Since the answer to how often you should clean your gun is "it depends," we’re going to focus on some specific times when you should be cleaning your pistol. Knowing when you should be giving your gun a good cleaning will help you keep your handgun in great shape without overdoing it.

    Before You Fire the First Shot

    Before you shoot your new handgun for the first time, give it a thorough cleaning. This helps get rid of any leftover debris from manufacturing, like metal shavings or dust, plus any grease or oils you don't want in there. It also gives you the opportunity to inspect everything and familiarize yourself with your new handgun. Once cleaned, make sure to grease and oil it properly to make sure it runs smoothly and protects the moving parts.

    When You Start Having Malfunctions

    If your handgun starts acting up, a good cleaning might fix the problem. Dirt and residue can cause jamming, misfires, or feeding issues. When you clean after a malfunction, make sure to inspect all parts closely. Look for any signs of wear, damage, or heavy buildup that might need more than just a standard cleaning.

    When You’re Going to Put It in Long-Term Storage

    Planning to store your handgun for a while? You'll want to thoroughly clean and lightly oil it first. This removes any residue and can protect against rust and corrosion, which will certainly cause issues. Firearms in storage can gather moisture and dust, which can harm the internal parts. A good cleaning and proper lubrication before storage will keep your handgun in great shape until you need it again.

    After Exposure to Adverse Conditions

    If your handgun gets exposed to rain, mud, high humidity, or dust, clean it as soon as you can. Moisture can cause rust, and dirt can lead to malfunctions. Disassemble your firearm to the level you're comfortable with and clean all parts thoroughly, making sure everything is dry before applying a light coat of oil to prevent rust. Taking these steps will maintain your handgun's reliability and longevity.

    Before Major Competitions

    Before any big competition, give your handgun a detailed cleaning. A clean gun performs better and can boost your confidence since you'll know you can depend on it. Just make sure that after you clean it, take it out for a little practice to make sure it's working perfectly. If there are any issues, you'll have time to fix them before the big match.

    On Your Decided Maintenance Schedule

    This one is up to you, but it's important to create a general maintenance schedule (especially for your carry guns). Decide on a regular cleaning schedule and stick to it. Figure your out your schedule based on how often you use your gun and the conditions it's exposed to. If you shoot frequently, a weekly cleaning might be best. If you shoot less often, monthly maintenance could be enough. Sticking to your schedule helps prevent residue buildup and catches any potential issues early.

    Don't Forget Deep Cleanings

    Besides your regular cleaning routine, it's a good idea to give your handgun a deep clean every so often, like once a year or every six months. This means stripping the firearm down close to completely and giving it a thorough inspection and cleaning (if you're not comfortable with this, consult a gunsmith). Think of it like spring cleaning for your gun. You’ll get rid of any gunk that might have built up in hard-to-reach places and catch any wear and tear that might need fixing. It’s a great way to keep your handgun in tip-top shape and it gives you a chance to really get to know your firearm inside and out.

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