As with anything that requires ongoing maintenance and upkeep, handguns require cleaning from time to time. For those who have never cleaned a firearm on their own, the process demands careful preparation and attention to detail to ensure cleaning is performed safely and properly.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Firearm
Keeping your firearms clean is important for multiple reasons. Primarily, a clean handgun is a safe handgun. When firing, powder residue and grimy substances are left on the exterior, in the action and in and on the barrel. Over time, this buildup can prevent your firearm from operating the way it is intended to. The results can be both dangerous and cause unreliable, unpredictable performance.
Another reason to keep your handgun clean is to improve its useful life. A handgun that is properly treated, cleaned and cared for can last for decades, while, a firearm that is rarely cleaned or maintained could rapidly deteriorate.
How to Clean Your Firearm
Cleaning your firearm can be easy and enjoyable if you follow the simple steps laid out here:
- Buy a cleaning kit. To get started, you will need some very specific cleaning supplies and tools. Most sporting goods stores sell preassembled cleaning kits, but check to ensure everything you need is included. This includes cleaning solvent, lubricant, cleaning rods, bore brushes, cotton swabs, polishing cloths and patches.
- Unload the firearm. You should never clean your firearm while it is loaded. Start by removing the magazine and double-check to ensure there are no rounds in the chamber. A good rule of thumb is to have no ammunition present when and where you clean.
- Disassemble the firearm. Your handgun will come with specific manufacturer instructions on how to disassemble it. Carefully follow these instructions and remove the various parts for cleaning.
- Clean the barrel. One of the most important parts to clean is the barrel. To do this, use the brushes and patches included in your cleaning kit to remove grime and lubricate.
- Clean all parts of the action. Be sure to remove any buildup of dirt or residue down to the finished metal or polymer surface.
- Lubricate the action. Next, apply some solvent to the brush and lubricate the moving parts of the action. A small amount goes a long way, so only use a little for best results.
- Reassemble the firearm. After cleaning the barrel and action, reassemble the firearm according to manufacturer instructions.
- Wipe down the outside. The final step is to clean the outside of the firearm with an appropriate cloth to remove oils, dirt and other foreign substances.
If you are looking to buy your first handgun, check out our wide selection of products at Springfield Armory®.