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There I was minding my own business Friday afternoon, enjoying a lull in the usual roar when I realized it had been a while since I’d last cleaned my carry gun of choice, the trusty GLOCK 43. Drop the mag, clear the chamber, slip the slide and…well, you can see what I found above. That represents two months worth of accumulated dust bunnies and schmutz (with one 50-round shooting session thrown in the mix last week) . . .

Before you ask, the gun is carried every single day. Ninety percent of the time, it’s inside the waistband in a simple Kydex holster. No, it’s never pocket carried. Yes, I’m sure I didn’t use too much Rem Oil last time I swabbed her down. That’s just what happens to an everyday carry gun in normal, everyday situations.

Rest easy…the gun’s now spic and span, back on my hip, and as clean as they day she came off the line. I don’t usually let ‘er go so long without a wash and wax. Fortunately, it’s a GLOCK so…you know…perfection and all. How often do you clean your carry gun?

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99 Responses to DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: How Often Do You Clean Your Carry Gun?

  1. How do you clean your gun? And where in the heck do you carry it? And what kind of work do you do to get your gun that filthy In 2 months you said? My guns don’t get that dirty when I carry them at work and I’m a gunsmith mind you constantly cleaning other guns and exposed to all kinds of Powder in What not in the air Outdoor range During test fires. That thing looks like it’s carried in your pocket Of freshly Dried clothes with dust bunnies And had excess oil or lubrication on it And you didn’t use a pocket holster. Not ragging on you just saying I’ve never had that much Stuff come out of a gun Even the police department guns that I look at at work and service Aren’t that dirty.

    • “And what kind of work do you do to get your gun that filthy In 2 months you said?”

      Why, Dan is the CEO and Managing Editor of this very blog!

      It does make one wonder what the underside of his couch looks like…

      Time to blame the cat, Dan…

  2. Monthly, I let my pocket carry .380 go 3 months just to see if it worked. The lint was thick. The slide was hard to work but the pistol functioned fine. Now always monthly.

  3. I drop the mag, lock the slide back, and use compressed air to blow out the lint about one every two weeks from a holstered daily pocket carry.

    • That’s what I do. Daily IWB carrying gets lint and dog hair in my weapon, especially around the hammer hinge area which seems to be the major collection spot. So every few weeks, drop the mag, eject the chambered round and blow it out. About once a month, the slide comes off for a routine oiled patch down the barrel and the other items of routine maintenance.
      Also, since I carry in a Sticky Holster, I found blowing out the holster with compressed air keeps my weapon cleaner. So every time I clean my weapon, I also give the inside and out of the holster a real good blow job, compressed air cleaning.

  4. If you don’t mind me asking Where do you carry this what kind of outside or inside conditions I’m just curious Because I am probably as astonished as you were when you took the slide off. LOL I would have been like oh my God where did all this come from??

  5. About once a week I clear the gun, field strip it, and use canned air to blow it out. Then I put a drop of lube on each rail and put it all back together.

      • That’s what I always assumed you did with tupperware, throw it in the dishwasher. Then after a while when it stops making the “POP” noise when you press, you replace it with a new one.

      • “Don’t GLOCK brand glocks just go in the dishwasher?”

        They clean up just dandy in laboratory ultrasonic baths.

        But whatever you do, do *not* put a Parkerized in an ultrasonic.

        When Dyspeptic gets around to submitting his article on Parkerizing, I’ll relate that tale of woe.

        Just don’t do it…

        • Actually there is.
          Now that aftermarket glock frames are available, you can assemble a glock without using a single Glock branded part.

          I think TTAG was the reviewer of said assembly.

    • Nah I do the same once a month, but I usually clean my pistols once a week, but then again I usually shoot 2-3 times a week depending on if work is slow enough to let me slide out to the range.

  6. Am i the only guy that detail strips the Glock, hoses all the bits and pieces down in the sink with hand soap, dries with a hairdryer, and Breakfree CLP?

    • Wut?!
      I dont do this to wooden components or precision rifles but for all other guns,

      Hand soap or whatever dish cleanser and water take care of the lint and grime and debris and contaminated lubricant.

      Hairdryer takes care of the water so theres no rust.

      CLP takes care of the caked carbon and leaves fresh lubricant.

      What’s the problem?

  7. I might be in the minority on this, but you only shot your edc once in two months? I run 50-100 rounds through mine every time I go to the range every week or two. To answer your question- I clean it every time I shoot.

    • Depends on how you look at it. Some people baby their EDC/SHTF guns that once the functionality of the parts and accessories is confirmed, they are regularly maintained but rarely used. Me being one. And i keep a separate set of identical gear which i dont care about at all just for training and practice

  8. That looks pretty normal. Those dust bunnies will get everywhere.
    I usually tear mine down every weekend to wipe it down. Having been an armored for 25 or so years, it takes less than 5 minutes.
    After shooting, I’ll even toss it in the dishwasher for a good cleaning.

    • I thought the dishwasher thing was a myth. I know stainless steel is no problem, but there are steel springs and screws and whatnot in there as well – wouldn’t they rust in a dishwasher?

  9. I swab it out and clean the chamber every time a shoot it. I field strip and completely clean guns after about 500 rounds. Once as an experiment a went 1500 rounds round doing nothing to my 1911-22 just to see how long I could go. It was still function perfectly. Guns don’t need to be cleaned as often as people think.

    • A properly designed and functioning gun does not have to be cleaned very often. I imagine you could acquire lint for two years and that would not affect function.

  10. My P238’s gone nearly a year and at least a half dozen (short) range trips, and it’s not as dirty as that GLOCK-brand GLOCK. I occasionally, once a month or so, blow some fuzz (not even enough to call it lint) off of it.

  11. I clean my Glock 19 obsessively. Every time I use it, I get every little speck of black out of it. I also use pretty dirty, cheap ammunition so that’s a reason to clean it after use anyway. I also take it apart every once in a while and check on it. The barrel seems to be the place that collects dust the fastest. I’ve never had it look like that.

  12. That is normal and typical accumulation of linty dust stuff on a carry gun. I also carry all the time, usually an OWB full-coverage closed bottom leather holster with thumbsnap. Most of the folks commenting with amazement are either not full-time carry folks, or they spend the day staring at the intertubes, nap a lot, and don’t move around much.

    Of course, there are always those anal retentive OCD psycho types that clean their guns hourly

  13. So far, after I shoot it is the plan, which will mean rarely, since I bought 2, one to carry and one to shoot. I don’t think It’ll cause trouble since I carry in a Sneaky Pete, sort of like leaving it in a closed box rather than swishing it around with a ton of lint. Every week or 2, I unload it and work the action a few times, I guess I’ll disassemble next time and see if I find any surprises. I should check my spare mag more often, it is in a pocket, albeit in its own holster.

  14. For the 1911, once a month for a cleaning, once a year for a complete teardown. It always surprises me how much lint can collect in a year around the main spring….

  15. Usually shoot it at least once a month and clean it after every range session religiously. If I haven’t been to the range in a while I’ll give it a good cleaning after 5 or 6 weeks. Usually can tell it’s due just by looking at the rear sight. When the nooks and crannies there start getting dusty I figure the rest of the gun is just as dirty.

  16. Here’s a related but non-edc question.

    I seem to find a decent amount of gritty kind of carbon coating the BCG on my AR – not a huge amount, but enough to notice. It’s simple to clan off the bolt carrier of course, but if it’s on the bcg then it must also be inside the upper. What do people use to get the inside of the upper receiver nice and cleaned out?

    • Look in the grocery store near baby bottles. Bottle brushes have good bristles on them. I use hot soapy water. Or your LGS for magazine brushes.
      There will be carbon in a gas gun, but it takes a LOT of rounds before it will be a problem.

    • Only time I have ever seen carbon build up like that is on ARs run with minimal lube. Run it sopping wet with your CLP of choice, and re-lube the BCG after every range trip and shit mostly just wipes off when you finally get around to a full cleanup.

  17. Mr. Zimmerman,
    I would implore you to clean your lint trap and your dryer vent before you have a household fire.

    So I have a few.suggestions for you.
    1. Don’t overload the washer.
    B. Switch to a front loading model if possible.
    iii. Use cold water setting.
    D. Add a bit of vinegar to your wash cycle.
    5. Use a dryer sheet, in will reduce static and let the lint filter do the work.
    F. Turn your lint prone clothes inside out. Before washing and drying.
    VII. Switch to moisture wicking underwear. It will wick the moisture away, lint less, and make the twins feel better.
    8. Using some of the “scrubby netting” in the washer will catch and contain the lint before it is a problem.
    9. Hang your clothes outside to dry on a clothes line.
    X. Get a new laundry service, or trade the spouse in for someone else.

    • “I would implore you to clean your lint trap and your dryer vent before you have a household fire.”

      *EVERYONE* should do that, it happened to me.

      If your dryer vent hose is plastic, REPLACE IT IMMEDIATELY with a metal one, you *really* don’t want to deal with the aftermath of a house fire…

  18. Won’t the police clean, lube and inspect my gun after a DGU and return it to me in near factory fresh condition once the investigation is over?

  19. Not that often. One of the advantages of open carry is you get considerably less lint in your gun over time.

  20. I shoot blackpowder, so I’m used to cleaning obsessively out of necessity. It carries over to my modern firearms. That and too many stories about M-16s/M-4s jamming in the field.

  21. Meh, I clean my every day carry gun about once a year. It works just fine.

    The only issue I ever encountered was excessive corrosion on the brass casing of the round in the chamber. The corrosion was so bad that I thought I was going to break the extractor pin in the process of applying about 50 pounds of force to rack the slide and eject it. Since that event, I make it a point to apply an ever so slight coat of oil to the round that sits in the chamber for months on end.

    • Consider nickel-plated brass for your carry ammo.

      Oiling the chamber risks the oil migrating to the primer…

      The loudest sound you never want to hear is a ‘click’ when you were expecting a ‘boom’…

  22. I have a Colt Detective special that I pocket carry in the summer. That gets cleaned every 2 weeks on average. During the winter I carry a Glock 30S IWB which gets cleaned monthly. Any time either of them gets shot, they get cleaned.

  23. I use a desantis inside the waistband leather holster for my Glock G17 Gen4 and I clean my piece once every couple weeks or so.

  24. I clean my carry piece once a month, and every time after I shoot at the range. I also make sure to swap ammo in my carry magazines once a week, so it doesn’t mess up the springs too bad and keeps everything clean.

  25. My carry gun doesn’t get that dirty after months of carry. Perhaps I’m not a terribly linty person.

    People also do realize you only need lube in a select few areas right? If there’s no contact between surfaces it really doesn’t need to be lubed.

  26. My carry is my only handgun right now, it gets cleaned when it starts malfunctioning

    I think it’s been almost a full year since a solid cleaning otherwise I just keep it from rusting and put drops of oil in keep places.

    My mags I leave em loaded , springs wear out from repetitive use . the compressing and releasing does more to wear it out than it sitting static

    • “…My carry is my only handgun right now, it gets cleaned when it starts malfunctioning …”

      Uhhh, no offense but you may want to think that one through.

  27. Every couple months I will clean my pocket carry LCP. I’ve never had anywhere near as much lint on my gun, though.

  28. What on earth is going on with the dust in your pants? I’ve been carrying a SIG IWB for years and a Glock in a Vanguard II (now the enhanced one), for months…so there’s not much to keep the gunk off…I have never found that much crap in my gun. Except this one issued Glock that hadn’t been cleaned for years before I got it, ugh. Seriously though, how did that much dust and gunk get in your pants?

  29. Since firing my gun is makes up for my lack of penis size (big guy, small hands), I lubricate, fire, show my game face, then clean my gun, smoke a cigarette then take a nap.

  30. Must be more often than Dan does! Actually, I try to remember to do it about once a month, principally because the oil dries up, but even then, for pocket carried pistol, the only lint I see is a little bit in the barrel.

  31. How about your home defense guns that only see action on occasion at the indoor range and/or open range like the desert?

  32. Everybody is different from the clothes they wear, to how much they shed skin or sweat. All these can end up on your concealed weapon and depending on the time of year even more so. Most firearms can handle battlefield conditions so lint is no big deal, just do a regular PMCS and you’ll be fine.

  33. A) There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Glock pictured.
    B) But if it really bothers you, blast it with an air compressor.
    C) Ease up on the lube. It attracts lint.

  34. Ruger SR 22lr or Bersa Thunder 22lr. Ruger can be practiced a couple of hundred rounds w/o cleaning, Bersa needs feed ramp squeaky clean or it will jam at around 50 rounds, carry spray clean & lube Just a little bit and back in action. Used to clean as soon got home, but have been too busy lately. Carry gun is shot a lot and cleaned after each practice session

  35. Every four weeks…fired or not, rain or shine. May be overkill, but I’d rather be a little OCD about it than have it fouled and not working when I need it.

  36. I carry a G27 daily… IWB with a tucked dress shirt in dress pants on work days. Jeans and t-shirt after hours and weekends.

    Mine ends up looking JUST like the photo in the OP after a while.

    I usually just blow it out with some compressed air. Field strip and clean “every once in a while” – when I get the urge.
    It’s never malfunctioned on me. Goes bang every time.

  37. Eventually if left untended enough stuff can accumulate in the workings of a pistol
    to cause it to malfunction, a bad thing when you are in dire straits. You really don’t
    need to CLEAN a weapon if you haven’t fired it. Just breaking it down a bit and using
    some canned air and a lint free cloth to remove dust and lint will do. You can even simply
    drop the mag and rack the slide back a few times while blowing into the gun and get rid
    of most of the offending material. But far be it from me to interfere with someones excuse to haul out the Hoppes and gun oil for a some ‘therapy’. Modern combat Tupperware doesn’t really need that much attention that often.

  38. I carry my gun every single day. I check it everything every 5-6 months and give it a quick clean and my gun is never that dirty. What the heck are you doing that it’s getting that dirty.

  39. I clean my Glocks after every trip to the range. I also do the annual breakdown recommended in the manual myself, now that I know how to disassemble the lower and the slide.

    Life isn’t hard when you just follow the manual.

  40. Inspect it each week. If it looks like its picking up the gunk/fuzzies, strip and clean. I pocket carry my P238 in the summer so evil fuzzies are a real thing 😉

  41. The puff of lint that comes out of my 649 on the first shot after carrying it for a while is always funny! It’s probably been 2 years since I’ve cleaned it… the cylinder still free wheels, there is no gunk under the star, and the cartridges go in and out easily so cleaning hasn’t been a priority.

    For all you who carry autoloaders, don’t for get to disassemble your magazines and clean them too! I used to find more lint in my spare pocket carried mag than I did in the gun when I still carried a semi auto.

  42. I put at least 500 rounds a month, usually in 2 sessions, with my EDC. So I clean it every other week after I shoot. I shoot other guns the rest of the time. There are rarely more than 2 days that go by that I’m not cleaning a gun.

  43. I carry my 1911 in a shoulder rig, so no lint. My pocket pistol is a tiny wheel gun in a handmade leather pouch style holster, ironically it doesn’t collect much.

    That all said I clean my guns after the range.

  44. I carry IWB either an FNS-9C or Glock 43 depending on what I am wearing. I do a decent cleaning after each use at the range which is at least once every two weeks give or take. I also do a quick wipe down at least once a week and/or after a heavy sweat. I know you don’t “have” to clean as often as I do, but then again, when it comes to life or death, no reason to not keep your weapon clean.

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