How To Clean Your Pistol/Handgun

When it comes to pistol or handgun ownership, the most important guideline is safety. Are you aware that keeping your gun clean minimizes the chances of an accidental discharge? A careless discharge is a more accurate term, because it is absolutely avoidable if all safety protocols are followed. Before starting with any disassembly work, make sure that any firearm is safely unloaded and cleared. A safety check is always a required first step that should be repeated as a double or triple check to ensure that the firearm is clear and safe.

Knowing how to clean a gun is more than just about having a nice-looking weapon. It’s a matter of safety.

Aside from the potential for bodily harm, there are legal ramifications, as the firearm owner is responsible for any injuries or damages caused by negligent firing. The reasons to keep your gun clean and in good working order are countless and important, and it’s vital that you clean your guns often and correctly. If you want to learn more about gun cleaning related products check out my gun vise reviews

How To Clean Your Gun

Unload The Gun

This is the most important phase in the cleaning procedure. You must remove your magazine and any ammunition that may be loaded within the handgun or pistol  to preserve the safety of yourself and anyone around you. Do this only if the firearm is pointed in a safe direction. Make sure you undertake a thorough visual and tactile inspection. Never put your faith in the safety of your handgun since mishaps can and do occur.

Clean The Gun

Remove the slide from the frame and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for semi-automatic pistols only. Keep an eye out for bushings, springs, and other minor pieces and store them in a cup, can lid, or other container to avoid losing them.

Clean any loose particles discovered within the slide, cylinder, frame, and chamber with a cleaning tool such as a utility brush or cleaning swabs. Check inside the frame areas of carrying handguns for lint and dust/dirt. Prior to brushing, a light application of cleaning can be used to eliminate heavy fouling. Wipe or rag the cleared fouling away.

Continuing on to the barrel, put some bore cleaner on a cleaning patch and run it through your barrel using a cleaning rod with a jag, brush, or patch holding tip. Monitoring the amount of debris or residue that comes off as you sweep your patch through your firearm is an excellent method to evaluate how clean it is getting. If you’re using a brush tip, make sure it goes all the way into the barrel before reversing to avoid getting it stuck.

Replace the soaked bore cleaning patch with several dry ones to ensure your barrel is clean and dry. Swabs are useful in this situation since they may be used to clean hard-to-reach portions of the frame and slide, ensuring that your barrel and chamber are as clean as possible. A heavier duty cleaner can also be used to clean heavily clogged barrels and chambers.

If you are interested to find out more about gun cleaning please check my review on the best gun cleaners.

Apply Lubricant

After you’ve cleaned your firearm’s slide, frame, barrel, and chamber, you’ll want to also properly oil and lube the moving parts. This will vary depending on the type of firearm you’re cleaning and the manufacturer’s suggested lubricant. Most of the time, you’ll want to lubricate:

  • Bearing surfaces
  • Outside surface of the barrel
  • Rails
  • Springs

Except for long-term storage, do not apply lubricants to the inside of the barrel or chamber. When shooting, this can lead to high pressures and the risk of disastrous failure. Misfires or squibs can be caused by lubricant on ammunition.

When it comes to lubricating your handgun and pistol, there is a frequent misconception that more is better. You want to lubricate where it’s needed, but too much can result in excessive residues, which might cause malfunctions and handling problems (slippery). Lubricating cloths are a great tool since they allow you to manage how much oil or lubricant is used in each region of your pistol.

Examine worn metal parts on bearing surfaces like your slide, frame rails, and barrel for signs of wear. In some spots, bare metal can be seen through the finish on a well-used firearm. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it signifies your firearm is learning how to perform more efficiently. Light lubrication is required for worn regions.

Wipe It Down

Wipe down your firearm with a clean, dry towel after cleaning and lubricating it. This cleans fingerprints of any residue or oils/moisture that you may have missed in stages two and three. Once you’ve finished cleaning down all of the components, you may polish and protect your pistol with wax-treated gun rags.


It’s time to start reassembling your handgun after everything has been cleaned and wiped down. You should carefully inspect each piece as you put it together and make a note of any damage, abnormalities, or excessive wear or play during this procedure. Dents and scrapes do occur from time to time. Other damage not only reduces the worth of your firearm, but it can also pose a threat to your safety. If you detect anything suspicious during your inspection, we strongly advise you to take it to a local firearms shop or a qualified gunsmith. They’ll do a more thorough examination and advise you on how to proceed in order to maintain your safety and dependability.

You can use this step to apply preservative oils and then employ a storage method for long-term storage of firearms.

To eliminate lead and other heavy metal residues, wash down your hands and work surfaces with a cleaning cloth after cleaning your handgun.


To prevent difficulties, clean and lubricate recreational shooting weapons as soon as possible after usage if they’re going into storage, or on a regular basis if they’re used frequently. Cleaning should be substantially more rigorous for defensive firearms. They should be cleaned after each range session, stored and transported clean, and frequently checked for dirt buildup and appropriate lubrication levels. There’s no reason to compromise the dependability of a defensive pistol when a few minutes of preparation might make all the difference.

Leave a Comment