How to Clean Your Gun

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Does cleaning your firearm sound like an intimidating task? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be! Today I’ll show you how to clean your gun in 7 simple steps.

Keep in mind, there are a wide variety of gun cleaning products and techniques but today I’m covering the basics. I’ll be using this kit, which I like because it’s compact and has all tools I need.

You’ll need: Cotton patches, cleaning rod, rod end accessories: bore brush & patch holder, brush, solution, and lubricant. You may also want gloves and newspaper or some type of work surface.

Step 1: Unload!

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Safety first, my friends! This is the most important step. Remove the magazine (or the storage for bullets) from your gun AND open the slide to confirm there is not a bullet in the chamber.

Step 2: Disassemble


Disassemble or take apart your gun. If you don’t know how to do this, I recommend looking up a Youtube tutorial for your specific type of gun (that’s what I had to do)! Every type of firearm is different, so instructions will vary.

Step 3: Wipe Down

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Next, we’ll clean the frame, slide, recoil spring, and outside of the barrel. (Everything except the inside of the barrel).

To be as tidy as possible, I like to remove as much residue as I can before adding solvent. You can do this with a cotton cleaning patch and a brush, which will get those hard to reach areas. The brush I’m using came with the kit, but you could also use a toothbrush.

(If you somehow find a brush that’s not meant for teeth AND did not come in a gun cleaning kit, make sure the bristles are not steel. I recommend nylon bristles. Brass is ok for uncoated parts like the inside of the barrel, but can damage some metal coatings or plastic.)

Step 4: Add Solvent

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After wiping the pieces down with a dry cloth, add a little solvent to a clean cotton patch and/or brush and repeat the process. Once residue is completely removed, wipe the solvent off and set everything aside to dry, except for the barrel.

Step 5: Clean Inside the Barrel

In the second picture, I discovered I was using a brush that was too small. Make sure to find the right brush size for your firearm. The size of the brush should match up with the caliber of your gun.

In the second picture, I discovered I was using a brush that was too small. Make sure to find the right brush size for your firearm. The size of the brush should match up with the caliber of your gun.

To clean the inside of the barrel, I’m using a tool called a bore brush. Attach this to the end of a cleaning rod and put a small amount of solvent on the bristles. Push the tool all the way through the barrel and out the other side while making a twisting motion. Then pull it backwards and out of the barrel. (Make sure not to switch directions midway though or you the brush could get stuck.) Do this several times.

Next, remove the bore brush from the rod and attach the patch holder (see above). Run a clean patch through the inside of the barrel until it comes out clean. You’ll probably need several patches.

Step 6: Lubricate

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The Solution I’m using is a combination of cleaner and lubricant. However, if your solution and lubricant are separate, check your owner’s manual to see where the manufacturer recommends applying lubricant.

Some general suggestions: Metal rail contact points, inside the slide rails, barrel. (pictured above)

You can also look for shiny areas where the metal is showing wear or any place where metal rubs on metal.

Use a cotton swab to apply and spread the lubricant. Keep in mind, a little will go a long way!

Step 7: Reassemble

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Put your firearm back together without the magazine. Again, if you need assistance, check Youtube for a tutorial for your specific type of firearm.

Rack the slide (or, push the slide back and forth) several times. This will help spread the lubricant out and give you a chance to wipe away any excess oil that might seep out. This is especially important if you use your gun for concealed carry. You don’t want to get oil on your clothing!

And that’s it! I used to always ask my Dad to clean my firearms but there’s something empowering about doing it myself. I hope this post helps you feel the same sense of accomplishment that I did when I first cleaned my firearm.


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