How to Clean A Firearm | 6 Simple Steps
Cleaning a firearm at home can be easy with the correct information and tools. Proper maintenance goes a long way to keep firearms performing well. Whether you own a shotgun, rifle, or handgun, cleaning supplies and equipment are basically the same.
What You Will Need To Clean Your Gun At Home
- Solvent, such as Hoppe’s No. 9
- Lubricant, such as Lucas oil or Wilson oil
- A dry rag or cloth
- Swabbing patches
- Cleaning rods
- Boring brush that fits your barrel
- A toothbrush
- Latex or nitrile gloves
The 6 Steps To Cleaning Your Firearms at Home
When handling a firearm, always do a safety check and ensure the firearm is unloaded.
Step 1: Disassemble The Gun
The most important thing to do before you start cleaning your gun is to make sure it’s unloaded.
Once you’ve done that, put on your gloves to avoid getting any chemicals or toxins on your skin. When dealing with firearms, lead exposure is a concern.
When doing a routine cleaning, you don’t need to break down the firearm entirely. Referencing your owner’s manual if necessary, remove the slide, guide rod, spring, and barrel. Doing this will give you enough access to most of the buildup within the firearm and allow you to clean the areas that see the most accumulation of debris. Place the components out on a covered surface in front of you.
Step 2: Clean The Barrel
When cleaning your barrel, we recommend using a bore brush (or wrapping a patch around a rod or patch puller) and running it through the barrel in one direction. Don’t pull back on the brush/patch because that will reintroduce any dirt or buildup back into the barrel.
Now that your barrel is clean, move on to cleaning the rest of your gun. When you come back around to dealing with your barrel again, use your boring brush or rod to work in the solvent inside of it. Make sure all gunk is gone by using a clean patch and running it through with your rod—look into the chamber and make sure it’s clean and shiny! If not, repeat the process until all residue has been removed. Make sure to pay extra attention to build-up-prone areas like feed ramps while you’re at it!
Step 3: Remove Debris
Use a rag or a microfiber cloth and a cotton swab to remove debris from the firearm. Pay close attention to all small parts, including the spring. Next, use a dry brush or an old toothbrush to address surface debris with a dry rub-down.
If you see any serious residue left behind after using a dry rub-down, you can spray some cleaner onto a swab and go over the area again. Sometimes using compressed air can help to remove any trapped dirt and debris from inside springs and other small compartments.
Finally, periodically deep-clean magazines, magwells, and even holsters by wiping them down with a dry cloth—and avoid using any lubricant on those parts!
Step 4: Lubricate The Gun
This step is essential because it keeps your firearm running smoothly and safely. You can use either an oil-based or silicone-based lubricant—just be sure not to overdo it! You don’t want too much oil getting on your holster, or else it will become slippery and dangerous to handle.
Step 5: Reassemble The Gun
Now that you’ve cleaned your gun, it’s time to put it back together. Make sure that it’s completely dry before reassembling it.
The first step is to reattach the barrel (if you removed it), then slide the recoil spring back into place.
Step 6: Store Your Gun Properly
Where you store your firearm is just as important as keeping it clean. Be sure to choose a case that suits the size and style of your firearm. Being picky about your case may pay off in the long run. The right firearm case can prevent your firearm from becoming dirty, rusty, or damaged.
Now that you have some tips, it’s time to clean your gun. And if you decide cleaning your gun at home still isn’t for you, our Gunsmith will be more than happy to clean it for you.
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