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By shellshocked via

A pressing subject for all those who enjoy the freedom of Every Day Carry: when is the right time to take that firearm from the holster and give it a good cleaning and some range time? Personally, I feel practice on a weekly basis should be a priority; however sometimes work and personal schedules don’t allow this. At the very least, a few sessions of drawing practice should be observed occasionally throughout the week. I see nothing wrong with clearing your firearm and going through a few drawing drills in the morning after you’ve dressed for the day. This will insure you know for certain how to get around your clothing to access your firearm quickly and effectively should the need arise . . .

Now, the subject of cleaning your Every Day Carry is a debatable one. In my opinion, a well cleaned and lubed firearm doesn’t necessarily need to be disassembled and cleaned over and over again if it’s not being fired. However you may notice that after a few weeks or even days, depending on the environments you carry in, there can be a substantial build-up of dust and fuzz from your clothing in various areas of your firearm. Usually, a little dust-off with a silicon rag will remedy this issue; but as we all know, sometimes lube can be a magnet for dust and other particles. A little build-up shouldn’t affect the function of your firearm, but I for one can be quick to quote: “If one must err, err on the side of caution.”

With that being said, even if you haven’t fired the firearm, this gathering of dirt and clothing fuzz could eventually cause an issue and should be dealt with. A quick wipe down, a field strip and quick cleaning and reapply of your chosen lubricant; whatever action you feel is best. However, if you practice often with your chosen Every Day Carry firearm, you won’t have to be concerned with a possibly dangerous build-up of foreign material, as you’ll be cleaning your firearm after the range anyway; or at least you should be.

As I stated earlier, it can be hard to find the time to visit a range with a busy work schedule and weekend full of to-do’s and honey-do lists. I’m fortunate enough to be able to walk outside to my back property and take advantage of my own personal range. Some aren’t so fortunate; but scheduling that time to take your personal carry firearm to the range is vital in keeping your skills sharp. When I come across fellow carriers and engage in conversation, I am sometimes saddened and shocked to hear that the last time they fired or practiced with their chosen firearm was the day they took their concealed carry course.

I will never bash anyone’s choices when it comes to how they practice or how they carry, unless they are being outright unsafe and a danger to themselves or those around them. However I will tactfully offer my own advice and suggestions on the matter. You know how much practice you need when it comes to handling your firearm. Everyone is different. I will suggest that if you find yourself with some free time during any given week or weekend, visiting the range should be on that list of items to accomplish.

If the range allows it, or you have your own private area to practice, wear your chosen concealed carry holster. Run through those drills of drawing and firing. Practice taking cover and reloading. Set up a few scenarios in which you have to shoot from behind cover, or from the kneeling position. You never know what sort of real life situation you’ll find yourself if you ever have to draw your firearm in public. Of course, logic dictates you can’t prepare for them all, but you can certainly cover the basics with a little thought and ingenuity.

The most important aspect is practicing with that carry firearm to the point of drawing it safely from your clothing, taking accurate aim and firing becomes second nature. Keeping mindful of proper trigger discipline during drawing and aiming and learning to work your safety quickly and effectively are also important factors to consider when practicing at the range. Developing this muscle memory can drastically reduce your draw time and effectiveness in making your firearm ready to fire accurately.

Just as important as the practice is the cleaning and preparation of your firearm afterwards to return to its duty as your Every Day Carry. Knowing how to safely and properly break down your firearm for cleaning and lubrication is just as important as knowing how to operate it. If you’re not a seasoned veteran and new to the firearm or firearms in general, ask a local gun shop or gunsmith to assist you in the area of breaking the firearm down and cleaning it properly. Also, Youtube can more than likely offer you a video on disassembly and reassembly of your make and model firearm if you wish to go that route.

Once you’ve properly cleaned, lubricated, and reassembled your firearm, perform a functions check to be sure it is functioning properly. This includes magazine maintenance as well. It’s always a good idea to rotate your personal defense rounds and inspect them for damage that may interfere with feeding and/or ejecting. If you’ve purchased new personal defense ammo, I would suggest running a few rounds through your firearm, as well as inspecting them for obvious factory defects.

Finally, after your chosen maintenance, your firearm is ready to be placed back in the holster and ready for another day. It’s up to you to decide how much of that maintenance is necessary, though finding the time for it can be difficult. Whether it’s a quick wipe down on occasion and practicing at the range when you have the time, or a weekly practice and cleaning ritual, it’s important to devote any time you can to it.


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  1. “I am sometimes saddened and shocked to hear that the last time they fired or practiced with their chosen firearm was the day they took their concealed carry course”

    I used to be that guy.
    Then I graduated college and realized that Real Life has its own agenda.Between work, family responsibilities, extracurricular stuff related to family and work, plus logistical barriers (good luck going to a gun range in Chicago,NJ,NYC) some folks are lucky if they can get to the range once a year.

    That’s OK-because being a trick shot is secondary to being prepared. Most evildoing human beings won’t die from being shot once, but they’ll go someplace less likely to get them perforated.In the end that’s the goal, not busting a 1.3 second Tom Cruise type Mozambique drill.

    • Exactly. As long as your gun-handling skills are sharp enough to be safe, and you can hit a dinner plate-sized target from a reasonable self-defense distance, then you’re doing just fine in my book.

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  2. I average shooting mine (G26) every time I go to shoot or every other time. I typically shoot a box or two from it while I’m letting other guns cool down. Probably every 10 days or so. Private property range so I can draw and play around as I wish. Clean it after shooting. Boresnake and wipe it down and brush the carbon build up.

    Since I carry at work in an ankle holster it does tend to gather dust and lint so I take it out of the holster every few days and wipe off the exterior. Or after it gets soaked in a rainstorm, unexpected dip, or wet from washing equipment etc. In that case I tend to shoot up the ammo that got wet. (Never had a dud before)

  3. I usually don’t clean my EDC very frequently. Probably not as much as I should. I practice almost every day here and there when I have some free time. I’ll practice drawing and dry firing at least several times a week.
    But here’s a question in return for you armed intelligentsia. Is it acceptable or normal to have multiple EDC guns? My usual is a VP9, which I switched to after carrying a Walther P99 AS for several years. Sometimes I’ll carry the P99 for old times sake, and because I still shoot very well with it. However there’s times when I like the security of an FNX-45 because it’s hard to beat 46 rounds of Hornady 230 grain Critical Duty +P. Assuming that one is totally familiar with the operation of all interchangeable carry guns, what is your apps opinion on this?

    • Go for it. Sounds like you’ve got some nice carry pieces. I personally like Glocks because my EDC’s take a beating. They work, they are lightwight, and they are inexpensive. If I sweat on my Glock or lose it to an evidence locker they are easily cleaned or replaced. M&P and XD are roughly equivalent. The VP9 and FNX 45 are sweet guns.

      Sometimes I switch to my Smith 340PD in the summer heat. And I may add a Shield 9mm to the mix.

      The first rule is to have a gun. The 2nd us to have the biggest gun possible. Bigger rounds from rifles and shotguns are better than smaller ones. Full sized handguns hit harder than mouse guns. And running out of ammo is a bad thing. If you use your gun(s), lawyers will have months, possibly years, to critique your actions in a comfortable courtroom.

      Your choice of firearms and ability to train already makes you more prepared than 99% of the folks out there walking around in Condition Clueless.

        • (Married with children. Just booked a getaway trip for 2 with the Mrs. Self defense tip: happy wife, happy life. And no chopping off the pen!s in the middle of the night.)

    • “Okay I just emptied a mag into my berm. The joys of rural living.”

      We’re about to lose that here in Florida. (Residential density greater than 1 dwelling per acre, that is) thanks to a few dumbasses.

      • I have a democrat neighbor that calls the cops every time I shoot. So, clarify “dumbasses?” I bulldozed my own berm, and all the trees left over from clearing 5 acres were not burned, but set behind the berm…

        Floriduh is a cesspool anyway, I can’t wait to get out…

    • Done, have a steel silhouette setup just a little ways into the field. Joys of rural living and working from home! Although not encouraging, FTF on last round, might have to reconsider the mag guts kit I have in my carry mag, first time it’s giving me any issues… 🙁

  4. Dry practice a couple times a week for a few minutes. Try to shoot at least a box of ammo at the backyard range once a week, but sometimes my schedule does not allow. Wipe down the EDC once a week whether I went to the range or not.

  5. I practice with my EDC at either an indoor or outdoor range every one or two months, and clean it after every visit. I handle the gun routinely, but imagine most scenarios I’m likely to become involved in would not require a quick-draw response. If a deadly nutball rolls into WalMart and starts shooting, I’ll probably be in some other corner of that vast retail space with enough time to drop behind the Blu-ray bin or beer pyramid, draw slowly, and start looking – I hope.

  6. I shoot my EDC in IDPA monthly. I clean my EDC after. My point being that my EDC better run after being carried for a month, otherwise I need to find another EDC. (Full size Kimber 1911, for anyone who is interested)

    I’ve actually had someone laugh at the lint flying off from the hammer strike.

  7. every couple of months: go to range, shoot 2-3 magazines through it, clean it and put it back together and do a function check when I get home.

  8. Since I can’t go to the range without blowing at least $100 in ammo I try to keep it down to once or twice a month and I always shoot and thoroughly clean my EDC. If I don’t make it to the range in a month I’ll clean and lube everything, including an oil and a dry patch down the barrel. I often work in dusty conditions and while I keep my firearm locked in the truck, I carry it under my dusty clothes and it needs a wipe down at least once a week.

    As far as draw practice I usually draw the weapon out of the holster when I get home instead of pulling it out with the holster. That’s about it. As long as I can pull it out without a snag every time I’m happy. Not really planning for a quick draw contest.

  9. I practice with my EDC G27 / G23 1-4 times per month. I also run timed qualification courses quarterly for my G27, G23, and G35. My schedule is widely variable depending on OT, court cases, vacation, etc.

    A Glock within spec can run just fine with a heavy coat of lint and dust. I know because I’ve done that with mine. I use a very light amount of Otis Ultrabore 085 on the frame rails and a miniscule amount on the feed ramp. External metal surfaces have a very light coating of lube as well.

  10. This is why I carry a 1911. I have many of them, I rotate them often, I shoot a 1911 every time I go to the range (in addition to other fun things) and I clean and lube the fired ones after each range session.

  11. I don’t shoot nearly as often as I’d like. Every few months I’ll shoot four boxes and a mag of SD rounds. I field strip, and relube every other week, as in my climate, lube seems to dry out pretty quickly. I have never noticed any lint build up, maybe because my Remora pocket holster has a closed toe.

  12. I try to get to the range at least once a month.
    I fire about 2 boxes through my EDC and do clean the lint out once a week or so.
    The big problem here in Palm Beach County is in my opinion not a decent indoor range to be had.
    All way to safety conscience here for me.
    Slow fire isn’t practice.
    No outdoor anywhere allowed anymore.
    Rural life in NY was much better. Open up the kitchen window and blast away at the plates just sitting waiting to be hit.
    Only thing I miss about NY was living in the country.

  13. Dry fire at least once a week with both OC and CC guns/rigs. Crimson Trace laser on the semi-auto for practice, don’t carry with it on.

    Range time at least once a week in good weather (meaning the road to the range is drivable, not too much snow). Shooting clinic held one morning of each week for students, others who would like some practice and coaching.

    I don’t need to fire a ton of ammunition. I make each round count, and practice both accuracy and movement, shooting from various positions and doing role play with the students. They make some very interesting targets. 🙂

    Every gun is inspected and wiped down weekly, and cleaned after being fired. I never use any kind of oil or grease, just Eezox, a dry lubricant and rust inhibitor.

    Did I ever tell you about the early days when I carried the .357 revolver crossdraw? I was making bread and happened to look down… oops, gun full of flour. I cleaned the gun, then put on an apron. Have worn the apron ever since when I’m in the kitchen. 🙂 Girls have different problems. LOL

    • “Every gun is inspected and wiped down weekly, and cleaned after being fired” Several people seem to be suggesting this regimen… Could it be that it really is possible to have too many guns? I consider the notion blasphemy, but, if I did this every week, I’d get no sleep and just have to start over immediately upon completion…

  14. As shooting is a perishable skill, I say as often as you can get to the range you should be there, and you should be optimizing your training so that you are not just punching paper for fun, unless, of course, that is why you are there. If you are training for self-defense you should have specific training plans that allow you to maintain your skills efficiently.

    In general, even though you cannot always get to the range, I think daily or thrice weekly dry fire practice and presentation, draw, safety manipulation, and so forth are pretty reasonable. I would say a clean and lube once a month at the minimum to ensure that your lube is fresh and in good working order. Doesn’t have to be all your guns, just the ones you want to rely on in an emergency.

    • “As shooting is a perishable skill …”

      I am not convinced of this as it applies to the overwhelming majority of self-defense encounters. There isn’t much involved when an attacker engages you from six feet away: just draw, point at the attacker, and squeeze the trigger … and keep squeezing the trigger until the attacker is no longer a threat. The key here is that you are engaging an attacker at contact distance. There isn’t any aiming involved at such close range — just point shooting. Everyone can immediately point their finger accurately at someone who is standing right in front of them — and they can immediately point a handgun just as accurately at someone who is standing right in front of them.

      I liken this to riding a bicycle. Once you learn, you never forget. Sure, you might want a few minutes practice before racing on a difficult course. But if all you are doing is going for a ride down the street, you can confidently get on a bicycle and go even if it has been 10 years since your last ride. And the same applies to self-defense at contact distances even if it has been years since your last “target practice”.

      • While I think there is a majority of encounters that happen close, I think it’s flawed to assume that it does not take as much skill to shoot effectively in those situations as in others. On the range close encounters are easier, because on the range you are only constrained by marksmanship and speed of presentation. If you take marksmanship out of the equation (I disagree on this point, but more on that later), then speed is all that matters. However, in a self-defense situation close distances require effective weapon retention, and threat reaction, including the responses to an attacker who may be coming in hot and fast, and who will continue to come towards you do purely to momentum even if you do shoot them. It’s simply not enough to just shoot them, you need to be able to continue shooting them, among other things, such as avoiding being shot yourself. There are videos demonstrating close encounters with people intent on harm fighting with police. In one case, the policeman shoots the attacker at close range, but this is insufficient to stop the attacker. The gun, due to the close range and failure of the proper application of firing a gun under retention, jams on the officer. This leads to a life and death struggle where the officer very easily could have died. At no point does the assailant who has been shot in the torso, stop being a threat. Drugs and the like were not a factor. The simple size of the attacker was a factor.

        Moreover, point shooting very much is a perishable skill. You want to make CNS hits to drop an attacker, and barring that, to make hits to the heart or other organs which will instantly halt blood flow. Anything short of this and you quickly encounter diminishing returns. A good bullet’s pressure wave will assist in incapacitation, but is not alone enough, especially if you do not hit a direct connection to the brain. Thus, you need to realistically be able to place fist sized groups directly to the heart center or to the head under stress, preferably at least four shots, in under 1.5 seconds for the first shot, which is about the upper end of the amount of time you have to address a threat that is within the “danger zone” of about 7 yards.

        Point shooting is still aiming, and most people while they can aim, have poor trigger control. Trigger control is more important than sight alignment as they say, and if you have bad trigger control under stress, there is no way you will make tight and effective shots even at close distances. You also need to be able to draw from your holster and have a secure weapon at speed, which is not something people are naturally good at. It’s also insufficient to assume that you will be able to touch your opponent when you need to fire. There are many examples of encounters that require shooting from 2 – 10 yards, and at these distances, most people cannot make CNS hits at speed from the draw in the time required to be safe. They might get lucky, but you don’t train assuming you’ll be lucky.

        At contact distances it becomes very important that you are able to prevent someone from taking your gun away or from jamming your gun do to messing up its firing cycle through clothing or unintentional contact due to the cramped nature of the fighting distance. This is not something many people train for, but they should.

        Finally, even if a skill is like riding a bike, you don’t have a few holster draws and a few dry fires to get back into the feel of shooting. You need to be ready on the first shot out of the gate.

        I would say that if you can deliver four shots to the CNS in a fist-sized group at 7 yards in under 3 seconds with the first shot coming in at under 1.5 seconds, then you’re sufficient in speed and accuracy for self-defense, though you may need to work on weapons retention. If not, I say you need to practice more.

        • Aaron,

          You are describing a level of training and aptitude that few people will ever endeavor to achieve. It is on par with achieving the skill level to play major league baseball or world championship tennis.

          Keep in mind that simple batting practice and playing catch, or practicing your serve and having good vollies in tennis serves most people very well. Being able to throw a ball from the warning track to home plate, hitting 95 m.p.h. fast balls over the fence, or putting 110 m.p.h. serves on the white line are unrealistic for most. Similarly, being able to simply present a firearm for a self-defense event — and even better put one good shot on target — serves most people very well. And, along the same lines, the highly advanced training and skills that you mentioned are unrealistic for most.

          I think it is fantastic if anyone sets out to master highly advanced training and skills — and maintains that level. I ardently admire anyone in that realm. And if that includes you, I tip my hat to you. For the rest of us mere mortals (I say that in a tone of humor, not snark), we will be aiming (pun intended) for a lower level of mastery. Nevertheless, if Johnny Jihadi shows up at the local shopping center, I hope you are there right next to me!

      • I’m not sure that’s quite true either– First time I was back on a bike after 10 years I was VERY wobbly & I believe I even fell over. (That’s been 10 years now).

        It did come back quickly; but I had to take time to regain my balance. YMMV.

  15. For the last few years, my EDC has been mostly bolt guns in the back of my SUV going to the range and to matches. I shoot bolt guns and AR’s every other day. Rarely rock out with my glock out but I am always thinking I need to. Shot Steel Challenge the other day with a glock 9, Thinking about shooting that once a month and not cleaning that gun until it chokes and pukes.

  16. Sometimes I take guns out to the range that I haven’t shot in a long while. If I haven’t taken them out for several months I always clean them before I do, and the problem is never that they’re dirty — it’s that the lube has disappeared.

    I think that checking and relubricating guns that you don’t shoot very often should be done more frequently than cleaning them.

    • Perhaps lubrication is the real key here. As far as I know, oil does NOT evaporate. And yet I have heard from people who say how their lubrication disappears. Maybe it would be a good idea to check on that every three to four months.

      • I use Hoppe’s gun oil, and believe me, it “disappears,” meaning that the rail surfaces appear dry, whether that is because of evaporation or dust I don’t know. The springs remain shiny, but lube there is more of a rust preventative than anything. Maybe the rail surfaces are slick enough, but I personally like them to look a bit wet.

        • Mark N.,

          I use Hoppe’s oil as well. I’ll have to seriously inspect the wear surfaces for oil — or lack thereof. Like I said in my post, you are definitely not the first person to report that the oil they applied seems to have disappeared.

          Having said all that, I seem to recall some people who like to use synthetic motor oil for their firearms. I don’t recall why. As far as I can tell, motor oil looks quite a bit thicker than Hoppe’s oil. Maybe the extra thickness (increased viscosity) prevents the oil from evaporating or running off of wear surfaces.

      • I know that the oil doesn’t evaporate, but it must go somewhere because it does disappear. I think that it slowly spreads out all over the gun, instead of being just on the slide rails where you want it. I recently took a revolver out of storage to take to the range, and the cylinder wouldn’t spin freely when I flicked it, so I had to lube it up. And I have a Glock 19 that I keep in long-term storage (with ammo, accessories, and cleaning supplies), and I use grease on that gun instead of oil. But the lube still disappears.

        I know a guy who had owned an AR-15 for several months, but had never taken it out shooting. (He also has magazines for guns that he doesn’t own.) So my brother and I finally persuaded him to go out to the range with us, and he just loved shooting it. So much so that he took it out several times and shot about 1,000 rounds through it without cleaning it — he didn’t know how to field strip it. So I took him home and showed him how to do it, and there was some slight scraping damage to the inside of the upper receiver, because all of the lube was long gone.

        There’s no question in my mind that keeping guns lubricated is more important than cleaning out the dirt.

  17. James Butler Hickok AKA “Wild Bill” thought of himself as a “Professional Gunfighter” to that end he did fire, clean, and reloaded his black powder, cap and ball revolvers every day. He was concerned with having ‘fresh powder’ as the black powder guns of the day sometimes attracted moisture and even a little degraded the charge. To this end he practiced daily, cleaned his guns daily and a had fresh charges in them as he walked the streets in Kansas or South Dakota.

    I am not a ‘professional’ and I am lucky to shoot my EDC every four to five months. I shoot more than that, but different guns. I do try to re-lube every couple of months. I am trying to get used to IWB for my Glock 29, but it is strange to me and I find myself pocket carrying my XDS 3.3 .45. I use a holster and rarely have dust or lint on anything but my rear sights. I pocket carry a holstered Kahr CW380 as a bug and I carry a holstered extended mag for the XDS . I know I should Shoot my EDC more often. (my wife says so, even if she does not carry). Something I need to rededicate myself to.


  18. Cleaned all three of my mouse guns this morning. Ran through some laser practice with them. I shoot two of my five at the range every couple of weeks.

  19. I practice monthly, and clean it weekly. I carry in an ankle holster, so it gets funky. Not so bad it won’t fire, but I worry that if I went more than a two weeks without cleaning, it would fail to fire.

  20. Nice picture. I had a Glock 23 (1 st gen) and EEzox is my favorite gun lube.

    As it lived in a zipped pouch under the car seat, it never got too dirty. Tried to shoot it at least once a month, carry ammo first and then the rest ball.

    Pocket piece was an AMT 380, and sometimes NAA derringer, similar shooting schedule.

    As always, your miles may vary…

  21. Range once or twice a month. It’s not really a scheduling issue, it’s budgetary. I’ll blow through $100 in ammo during a range trip, easily.

    Cleaning? Every two weeks for anything I use often, pistols and rifles. My S/O gifted me an ultrasonic cleaner for my birthday so cleaning isn’t the hassle it used to be.

  22. EDC pistols (M&P40 pro 5″/ M&P40c) evey other Sunday morning, EDC extra magazines once a month or so. After most practices the last mag fired is my carry ammunition, Speer gold dots.

  23. For people who have easy access to a place to shoot only need to shoot 5 or 6 rounds to retain muscle memory. If getting to a range is difficult dry firing is always an option. People who are recoil sensitive or trying to work the kinks out of their shooting technique dry firing can be better than live fire. Dry firing is helpful when you get a new gun.

  24. Shoot my EDCs (S&W Shield .40 and M&P Full Size .40) once per month 50 rounds each. Couple of hundred .22 just for fun. Old school cleaning after every firing with Hoppes #9 and assorted lubricants.

  25. I shoot my EDC (HK USP)100 rounds every week- warm up with 10 rnds@ 5 yards, 20 @ 10 yds, 10 @ 20 yds, 10 @ 25 yds…. Then 24 rnds of Mozambique drill from the draw at 10 yards, and 24 @ 15 yds. Then I chase it all down with a double tap to center mass. For me, this keeps it intersting, fun, and I have continually increasing confidence in my weapon.

  26. Nowhere near enough.

    I recently discovered I had been carrying a brick. So full of lint and grit from living in my pocket, it wouldn’t function. It took a hell of a lot more than a field strip to make it run again, too…

    I am a dumbass.

  27. Shooting, like any other practiced skill, is not inherently perishable. It depends upon the mind. Some retain, some don’t. Maybe YOU get worse when you don’t practice, but even after several years of not touching a gun, I picked up the ol’ 1911 and I sucked no more or less than I ever did.

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