How often should you clean your gun? We all know that firearms require maintenance & cleaning; but how often should you clean your firearms? Some insist that gun cleaning should occur every time one is fired, as well as every few months — whether they’ve been used or not. Others insist that it is fine to leave your rifle or pistol uncleaned even after multiple trips to the range. Who’s right? The answer depends on the type of firearm, what it is primarily used for, and what ammunition and/or elements it has been exposed to. If you are shooting corrosive ammunition, or if the firearm is exposed to water, moisture or other damaging elements, you should always clean your gun as soon as possible.
Furthermore, all firearms should periodically undergo a professional detailed cleaning where the firearm is torn down and thoroughly cleaned, oiled and reassembled. How often this is necessary depends on the number of rounds fired through the gun and the role it typically is used for, but generally a firearm should be detail stripped and cleaned by a professional at least once a year regardless of whether or not they ever made it out of the gun safe at all (because ambient moisture in the air and humidity can cause small rust spots to show up).
Right off the bat, I know what some of you are thinking: “Well, if you’re practicing with it on a regular basis, then you should be cleaning it after a range trip.” I couldn’t agree more, but reality shows us that not everyone can get to the range on a regular basis.
While training regularly is important, it isn’t uncommon for someone to be unable to get to the range for weeks at a time. So, if this is you, how often should you clean your concealed carry firearm if you aren’t actively using it?
If you carry everyday like you should, natural buildup can and will occur inside your firearm if it’s left untouched for weeks on end. This buildup will consist of lint, dirt, and anything else you may come in contact with. The areas where this buildup accumulates may vary, but it will typically happen near the end of the muzzle and around the ejection port (inside and out). If you carry a firearm with a hammer, you may notice buildup around or below the hammer. Pretty much any location can accumulate debris.
So, how often should you clean it?
If it’s a firearm that you carry and you miss out on some range time for an extended period of time, you should clean that firearm every few weeks. If you notice an accumulation of anything at anytime, it is recommended to strip down the firearm and give it a good scrub and re-lube. Give your firearm a good look every few days for any abnormal buildup. It can happen quickly sometimes, and you don’t want that to happen. What if a chunk of lint gets in your firing pin channel? You’ll want that cleaned out.
If it’s a firearm that you carry and go to the range with it often, it’s good practice to clean it after each trip to the range. If you do this, you’ll be able to keep a close eye on any parts that may be wearing, worn or damaged. Plus the more you clean it, the better you’ll get at cleaning it. Each firearm requires different treatment while cleaning (such as points of lubrication), and correct repetition of this isn’t a bad idea.
What about a DEEP CLEAN?
With the above examples, we’re talking about your standard cleaning by field-stripping your firearm, but what about a deep clean? Your firearm has other internal parts that you can’t see without taking other things apart. These areas will also accumulate debris over time and should be touched at least once a year. If you aren’t familiar with the inner workings of your firearm, you should seek out a gunsmith that can perform this cleaning for you.
In the end, a clean firearm is a happy firearm. It’s also a safe firearm. Regular practice of cleaning any and all of your firearms is, to me, an important thing to do. Not only are you protecting your investment by keeping it nice and clean, you’re also making sure that they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Clean your concealed carry firearm as if your life depended on it.