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Big Green Blog

Handgun Cleaning How To

06.26.2023 | By Remington Contributor

Rem Oil Wipes package next to a pistol

It’s no secret that keeping your firearms clean protects them from rust and corrosion and plays an essential role in maintaining ultimate performance. The ol’ spit and shine technique unfortunately isn’t as effective as some have led us to believe. Thanks, grandpa. Debris and fouling can cause components to jam and malfunction, failure-to-feed (FTF), failure-to-eject (FTE), and even as far as resulting in squibs from an obstructed barrel. Yikes.

Cleaning Kit Tools & Supplies

  • Cleaning Solvent
  • Microfiber Towel/Rag
  • Flashlight
  • Bench Mat
  • Latex Gloves
  • Lubricant/Gun Oil
  • Bore Brush & Cleaner
  • Cleaning Rod

Whether you’re doing a quick field strip at the range or a complete disassembly, follow these 5 easy steps for a consistently clean handgun.

1. Unload the Handgun

Following standard firearm safety protocol, remove the magazine, place it far, far away from the firearm (preferably in another room or locked away in a safe) and triple-check that the chamber is empty.

Rem Oil bottle next to a pistol taken apart for cleaning

2. Clean the Handgun

Refer to the manufacturer’s user manual for model-specific take-down instructions. This typically involves simply removing the disassembly pin with a flathead screwdriver, empty casing, or fingernail. Remove the slide from the frame. (Pro Tip: Keep those tiny parts somewhere safe! Nothing worse than losing a take-down pin.) Using a wipe or microfiber towel, remove any debris in the slide, frame, and chamber. If this is your carry gun, check for dirt, (belly button) lint, fibers, etc. that may have snuck in.

Up next is tackling the barrel. Apply solvent to your bore brush (or you can use a patch wrapped around a rod) and run it through the barrel in a singular direction. Avoid pulling it back and forth. Work the solvent through the inside of the barrel, then run a clean patch through it with the rod. Rinse and repeat for those extra dirty areas (like your feed ramp).

3. Apply Lubricant Where Needed

After your slide, frame, and barrel are clean, it’s time to lubricate the mobile mechanisms. Be sure to lubricate any and all metal-on-metal components (this includes, rails, guides, etc), springs, as well as the outer surface of the barrel. Lubricating the inside of the barrel and the chamber is not necessary unless you are storing the firearm long-term.

4. Wipe Down Components

Next step is wiping down the firearm with a clean (and dry) cloth to ensure any residue and moisture is removed.

5. Reassemble and Inspect

Time to reassemble. Always carefully inspect each component during the process. If you notice any unusual wear and tear or alarming damage, take it to your local gunsmith before any further use. If everything looks up to par, do a quick dry fire to ensure it is functioning properly and has been reassembled correctly.

When done with your routine firearm cleaning after the range or the hunt, simply place your firearms in a protective cover like a gun sack, place in your safe, turn on your dehumidifier, and close the door.

Rem Oil Wipes package being opened

Common Mistakes

  • Not drying the bore before the next use. Run a dry patch down the barrel. Too much oil for extended periods of time can cause malfunctions.
  • Not checking magazines. Ensure the follower is in working order and springs are functioning properly. If you’re a frequent mag-dropper (competitive shooter, etc.), don’t leave too much lube on them. Those oils will act as a magnet to dirt and debris, ultimately effecting the functionality. And who wants to spend $50 on a new mag? No one.
  • Not making pistol cleaning a regular routine. If your handgun is used often, aim to do at least a field strip after every range day. Just use it for everyday carry? Once a month should cover it. Run 50 rounds through your pistol every so often to ensure its reliability and proper cycling. Seasonal hunting gun? These can be cleaned prior to hunting season and at the close of each season.

Clean gun = happy gun.

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