A quick beginners guide to cleaning your firearm by Jay Chambers
Owning a firearm is a big responsibility. You not only have to ensure it’s safe use, but you must also maintain it and make sure it’s in great condition. Inspecting your firearm on a regular basis will help you determine whether any dirt or debris is affecting it from firing normally. (It’s also very interesting to learn how they work and the amount of engineering that goes into one to make it function-Editor)
Having a safe firearm is a must, and for that, cleaning it is a necessity. By making sure to clean your gun often, you will have the potential to reduce the risk of accidental discharge. But if you’ve just obtained your first firearm, you may not be familiar with the cleaning process you have to go through.
So, we’re here to teach you the basic steps for cleaning a gun the right way, maintaining its great look, and its safety. Let’s get to it!
First things first, you need to prepare the area for cleaning your gun, and also get all the necessary tools that will help you complete the task. You need a spacious place, one that is not only properly ventilated but that it’s also lit enough. More often than not, gun owners do this in a garage or, even better, outside. If you can’t do this outside and have to do it indoors, make sure you do it near an open window.
Furthermore, pay attention to the particular spot you’re picking. Don’t go for a table you use to eat or drink. Pick something that can only be used for cleaning your gun or similar tasks. The solvents, oils, and carbon you may need for the gun cleaning process are quite toxic near food and may contaminate it.
Then, make sure you get a cleaning kit, whether we’re talking about a pre-assembled cleaning kit or just individual tools or substances. The kit should include a cleaning rod, bore brush, cleaning solvent, cotton swabs, lubricant, flashlight, microfiber cloths, nylon cleaning brush, patches, and a patch holder.
- Unload the Firearm
Obviously, you have to remove the ammunition during the cleaning process, so you don’t risk hurting yourself or others. Unload your gun and always double check, because you never know when the gun has a round left even after you remove the magazine. So, don’t rush and look carefully.
Do this by pointing in a safe direction and looking through the barrel from back to front when you open the chamber. Ensure there’s nothing inside or stuck there.
In the UK a firearm should never be kept or stored loaded however it is good practice to get into the habit of checking any firearm is clear every time you pick it up.
- Check the Owner’s Manual
You probably don’t care too much about the manual when you first buy your firearm, but you have no idea how useful it can be – especially when it comes to cleaning the gun. If you want to clean it properly, check out the manual as it will tell you how you can safely disassemble your gun. If there’s a diagram showing the entire procedure to you, that’s even better, as it will make it easier to understand. The manual may also make recommendations on cleaning products to use and which ones to avoid. As an owner you should always check if a product or alternative is going to affect your firearm.
- Start by Cleaning the Barrel
Take the cleaning rod and patches and soak the inside of the barrel with them. Try to do it from the back of the bore and if you can’t, try a muzzle guard, which will stop the rod from banging against the gun’s muzzle. This way, you prevent potential damage.
If you want the barrel to be properly cleaned, then make sure your patch is soaked in solvent, and push it through the bore until you see it exiting the other end. Make sure you don’t pull it back through as it will just put back all the dirt you cleaned off.
Then, scrub the inside of the gun’s barrel with a bore brush. Remove residue with a dry patch and run it through the bore until it doesn’t come out dirty anymore.
Next, take some light lubricant and a pull-through tool, and soak the latter in the lubricant. Use this to clean and prevent corrosion for the bore surface.
- Use Lubricant for the Action
Although you need to lubricate the bore, that’s not all you have to do. This action needs some consideration too, so make sure you also take care of the pump, slide, or bolt. Grab a dry cloth, nylon utility brush, and an action cleaner solvent.
Make sure to apply some spray on the action from the frame’s top, so that any debris and carbon has enough time to wash into the drip pan. Let the cleaned parts dry and then dispose of the residue.
Now, use a needle applicator to take some lubricant drops and apply them on particular points. These include the slide assembly, frame/action, and the barrel’s exterior. Just make sure you don’t overdo it with the lubricant.
- Assemble the Gun
After you’re done, look over the instructions on how to assemble the firearm again. Once you’re done assembling, perform a functional check to make sure the firearm still works properly and it’s safe. Try the slide operation, trigger mechanism, safety, ejection systems, magazine retention, and locking.
- Clean the Outside of the Gun Too
Once you are done cleaning the inside of the gun and it works properly, you should wipe down the outside too. Take a reel cloth as it is soft and pre-treated with lubricant – this is perfect for this step. Wipe down the surface of the gun. The silicone lubricant will help remove any dirt, debris, or acidic print from your gun. What’s more, it will also make your firearm shine and feel like it’s brand new.
The Bottom Line
It’s important to take care of your gun, whether you have a very strong firearm with a receiver, such as an AR-15, or a small pistol. Keep the manual that comes with your weapon after purchasing it and check it out to make sure you’re disassembling it correctly. Before you start cleaning, though, get a cleaning kit and unload the gun.
By maintaining your firearm and cleaning it regularly, you will increase its lifespan and ensure your safety, as well as the safety of those around you.