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 By Mike Coviello (Tanner)
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Handgun Maintenance

All guns need maintenance to keep them safe and shooting properly. Even Glocks. Gun maintenance is basically the same for all firearms, only the details vary. Basic maintenance for all firearms includes field-stripping, cleaning, lubrication and re-assembly.

Gun Maintenance at Amazon


Always Follow Basic Safety Rules

Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Treat the firearm as if it is loaded, Keep your finger off the trigger,



Step #1 - Unload the Handgun

  1. Remove the magazine

  2. Empty the chamber or verify that chamber (and gun) is unloaded

  3. Remove all ammunition from the area


Step #2 - Field Strip the Handgun per the manufacturer manual.

  1. Some handguns require that you pull the trigger as the first step in the field stripping process. MAKE SURE THE FIREARM IS NOT LOADED.


Step #3 - Clean the Handgun Components

Each semi-automatic handgun has four major field stripped parts; the frame, slide, barrel and guide rod/recoil spring assembly.

  1. Wipe down all components (including the magazine) with clean rags or paper towels to remove loose carbon buildup, oil and debris. Be sure to include the magazine well, and all parts of the frame (receiver).

  2. Using a solvent that that won't damage the plastic parts of your handgun (check the owner's manual), moisten a patch of cloth or cleaning patch and wipe down all metal parts. Let sit "wet" for a few minutes. Scrub all parts and nooks and crannies with an old toothbrush.

  3. Wipe down all parts with a paper towel or lint-free cloth.

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 if needed for really dirty guns.

    Cleaning the barrel:
    Clean the exterior of the barrel as above.
    Clean the bore with a solvent wetted bore brush. Run it through at least a few times. A rule of thumb with respect to using a bore brush is to run it through all the way, then back. Never reverse the direction of the brush while inside the bore.
    Swab the bore with a solvent soaked patch. Repeat as required until patch comes out relatively clean.
    Swab the bore with a dry patch. Repeat as required until patch comes out relatively clean.
    Swab the bore with and an oil wetted patch to coat the bore with oil.
    Swab the bore with a clean dry patch to remove excess oil.

  5. Gun Maintenance Step #5 Handgun Lubrication
    Refer to the owner's manual and oil all components requiring lubrication.
    Inspect all components for signs of wearing. Lubricate these wear points as well.
    Lubricate guide rails, corresponding grooves and areas with moving or rotating parts or friction points.


Step #4 - Keep Oil Away From The Firing Pin 

Keep oil away from any opening near or into the firing pin housing. Oil can prevent your firing pin from functioning properly.


Step #5 - Lubrication

Apply enough oil so you see a uniform glossy surface. If it starts to run or drip you oiled too much.


Step #6 - Handgun Re-assembly

Reassemble the handgun and make sure all parts are functioning properly. Perform a functional check by racking checking the action of the slide. Dry fire the gun.


See also Glock Pistol Maintenance & Repair.


Gun Maintenance Tips

  1. A very light coat of oil on the exterior of metal parts will prevent rusting.

  2. Keep oil away from the firing pin area.

  3. Use gun solvents in well ventilated areas.

  4. Wash your hands after handling the gun and cleaning supplies.

  5. Do not get oil ammunition. Oil can prevent primers from firing.

  6. Never use power tools on a gun.

  7. A little maintenance is better than no maintenance on a gun.

  8. Don't forget to clean the magazine. Many feed problems are cause by dirty magazines.

  9. Keep it simple. If it's easy you are more likely to do it.

  10. Get a bore snake for quick cleanings.


Gun Maintenance Equipment

cleaning patches, lint-free cloth, paper towels, Q-tips, gun oil, gun solvent, gun cleaning kit, barrel brush



What kind of gun oil should I use?

Any modern general-purpose gun oil should work fine.  



Authored By Mike Coviello (Tanner)


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