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Question of the Day: To Clean, or Not to Clean

Take a quick look at the quick video spot above – one dirty pistol eh? During almost the complete two hours prior to this video, we were running prone drills with the Smith and Wesson M&P15’s. One position in particular caused this gunky mess; rollover prone. The shooter had tried to adjust position while in the prone position, and by doing so had slightly opened the slide on the M&P in his holster. In went the Arizona high desert…

This sucker was jammed up to the point where the slide wouldn’t even operate. Done for the day? I think not! One of our instructors took the pistol down to the condition you see in the video and had that pistol back on the line functioning minutes later – his only tools were compressed air (ie: blowing on it) and a toothbrush.

Given my own anal-retentive streak when it comes to cleaning my personal firearms, I ask the Armed Intelligentsia: to clean, or not to clean, that is the question. How often do you clean your firearms? How clean do you get them? Bore snake? Field Strip? Detail Strip? Total OCD breakdown to parts over the course for three to four hours? Come clean. Spill the dirt.


  1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

    How dirty is your AR 😉 ?

    I try to clean a soon as I get back from the range, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. In reality I usually get to it within a few days.

    1. avatar Benjamin T. Shotzberger says:

      Fear not, good Sir.. I have gun Pr0n to your liking in that regard. We just didn’t get in till 11:00PM local last night (Shooting the Next Generation Arms x7 with the ATN PVS14 Gen-3 MNVD and a little toy from Crimson Trace that lit up the night like Christmas) – there’s only so much posting one can do before 2:00AM rolls around and you say to yourself “Crap! I have to get up tomorrow (today)!”

  2. avatar Nathan Ramsey says:

    I usually don’t clean after every trip to the range, but try not to let things go beyond 3 range trips before cleaning. I typically shoot 150-300 rounds per range trip total depending on which guns I bring and which range I go to (rifle vs pistol etc). When I do clean it’s usually just a field strip. I use a bore brush. I have a bore snake for my AR, but haven’t used it yet. I have been thinking about doing a detail strip finally on my G19, which is at around 4500 rounds by now, but it still runs like a champ.

  3. avatar Rich T says:

    I usually clean most of mine after 3 or 4 times of shooting. could be 3-4 days or 3-4 months.

    This goes for deer rifles, 1911, AR & shotguns

  4. avatar Tam 212 says:

    It depends. I usually field strip and clean as soon as practicable after shooting but sometimes forgo for one or two outings due to time constraints. I did do a 750 round test (~ 3 range outings) to verify it will function when dirty because it’s also my SD house gun.

    The one exception is if I am going to a training class. I detail strip before the class and typically field strip after – depending on what happens during a class (round count, severity of conditions, etc.).

  5. avatar James Felix says:

    Field strip and clean after every range visit, that’s my policy.

  6. avatar RonH says:

    I field strip and clean my carry gun before I go to the range. After that, I know it’s working.

    My range-only guns get cleaned after I get back from the range.

  7. avatar 2Wheels says:

    Every 2-3 range trips my guns get a cleaning, unless I know it’s a gun that’s going to sit in the safe for a LONG time in which case I’ll clean it right away before storing it.

    My carry guns get inspected and possibly oiled every week.

  8. avatar Blake says:

    I use the Otis cleaning kit.

    I clean my firearms after every trip to the range. Which means my handguns get cleaned once a month, minimum.

    I detail strip my 1911 after a trip to the range.

  9. avatar Patrick Carrube says:

    At the range, and in my range bags, I have an assortment of Bore-Snakes. Initially I thought these were ridiculous until I tried their 12-ga snake on my O/U bird guns. From that point on, I’ve been a firm believer in them and have one for almost every caliber. However, since I’m a “dad” before I’m a “shooter”, I sometimes need to let my guns sit for a few hours, and sometimes over night before I can get a chance to fully clean them. For this reason, after paper punching or a match, I make sure to bore snake the gun with a touch of Rem-Oil or CLP cleaner. They get so much gunk out of the bore and they only take 30 seconds to use! I use either a small phos-bronze brush or stiff nylon brush to scrub the basic areas (i.e. breech-face and feed ramp), and then wipe the entire gun down with a small microfiber cloth and Rem-Oil. When time allows, I fully field strip, clean, inspect, and relube as necessary. When I feel the need, I will detail strip my pistols and do a full clean/inspection. I usually replace recoil springs and other “consumable” parts at this time. On my rifles/shotguns, I typically do a detail strip before and after hunting season. I find that quality cleaning materials/solvents like M7-Pro, and quality cleaning tools make it easy to do a proper job quickly and efficiently. My best investment so far has been 3 carbon-fiber cleaning rods (3 different lengths), a quality jag/brush set, and finding out about M7-Pro cleaners!

  10. I have a friend who never cleans his guns. Well, to be honest an occasional spritz of WD-40 and he is good. That’s just when rust starts to show.

    I on the other hand will simply say I spend more time cleaning my guns than shooting them. It’s just an OCD thing and I can’t help it. I refuse to let a dirty gun back in the safe until clean. I fear that it will spread like the flu through my safe infecting all my guns. Before I know it, I am cleaning every gun…. I really need a sonic cleaner, but for now I prefer the Otis over any other option.

  11. avatar Bob H says:

    What is this “cleaning” you refer to?

  12. avatar John Fritz says:

    I clean every gun every time it’s shot. I clean my carry guns every few weeks that have been exposed to nothing more than air in a holster.

    I enjoy disassembling, cleaning, lubricating and reassembling all my firearms. It’s a part of the enjoyment (for me) of gun ownership.

  13. avatar The 4th says:

    After I go to the range I switch guns – take the one I just shot, field strip it, and drop it in Dunk-Kit.

    Best stuff I’ve ever found. Finish cleaning when I get around to it. I carry the Otis kit when I travel.

  14. avatar Gunner442 says:

    The former Jarhead and Zoomie in me mandates clean. You clean before you sleep, eat, or S3( [email protected], shower,shave)….I’m not anal like the DI’s at MCRD Parris Island( white sheet and Q-tip…all the parts of yor M-16(in my day) were rubbbed on the sheet and gone over with a Q-tip…a very light gray on the sheet or Q-tip was the edge of tolerance, anything darker resulted in some creative feedback). I prefer functionally clean, bore snaked, CLP’ed( Break Free), scrubbed, and wiped down.

  15. avatar jason says:

    I clean each and every time my guns get shot. I love breaking down the 1911, and since it is my carry/sd gun, I oil it regularly. I detail strip it once every 6 months, and field strip every time, including removing the firing pin and extractor. I love a clean oiled gun!!!

  16. avatar revjen45 says:

    With corrosive ammo I run a Windex patch thru the bore at the range, and finish up when I get home. With non-corrosive, when I get around to it.

  17. avatar Jim Outhier says:

    With my carry pistol, I try to shoot 2 – 3 trimes a week and shoot 100 – 400 or more rounds each time I shoot. I spend the time most people use cleaning for reloading to shoot more. I use a bore snake whenever I think about it and give the gun a field stripping and cleaning about twice a year. I was taught differently, but like shooting better than cleaning. With my hunting rifles, I probably clean them once a year after hunting season.

  18. avatar Joe Doakes says:

    I’ve got 5 to clean now. I can’t go shooting again until I get it done.

    A clean gun is your friend. A dirty one is the ally of your enemy.

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