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While pondering RF’s question of the day yesterday it suddenly struck me: I had no earthly idea how long it had been since I’d last cleaned my carry gun. Not the smartest thing, since I basically rely on it to save my life if and when (God forbid) I ever need it. So out came the cleaning stuff in its dedicated toolbox. BTW, to answer his question, my preferred summer system is my trusty CW9 in an oh-so-comfy N8² Tactical Professional model IWB with a pair of cargo shorts (or ‘sharts’ as we pronounce it in here the STL), a sturdy belt and an un-tucked polo shirt…toter’s bliss. Anyway . . .

the kitchen’s now perfumed with a heady blend of Hoppe’s and Rem Oil and my heater’s as clean and smooth as Abbey Clancy’s inner thigh. While I only field stripped it (the gun, not the thigh), I was amazed by all the fuzz, lint and schmutz that had managed to accumulate from almost daily carry in just a few, er, months. As a result, I’ve resolved to be a better gun owner and cleanse my go-to gun once a month going forward. So ‘fess up – when did you last give yours a bath?

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  1. My carry piece is also my competition piece. It gets cleaned every Tuesday evening after my USPSA league.

    • yes. the modern gunner uses the dishwasher. and if she’s not in the mood to clean tour gun, try flowers and chocolate.

        • i don’t know if this is true or not, but i was told of a man that took the wood grips off his stainless steel ruger old army bp; disassembled the rest and put it in the dishwasher. now, i’m lazy,but not that lazy.

        • Black powder firearms are usually cleaned with soapy water. Black powder residue doesn’t require solvents but is extremely hygroscopic so the fouling needs to be removed asap. Solvents may be involved depending on the bullet lube you use or if there’s leading.

      • Standard clean up for BP guns is soap and water, inside and out, followed by a light oiling after dry. BP residue, even the substitutes, will corrode the metal. But its no big deal; there are only four parts (hammer, hand, trigger, and cylinder lock) and two springs inside the frame. And Bore Butter is the only lube you need. That indeed one of the attractions of these guns is the utter simplicity and elegance of the operating mechanism.

  2. I never shower without my gun, which is why it smells like Cashmere Bouquet and I have the refreshing scent of Hoppe’s.

  3. My 1911 gets taken down to the last pin after every range trip (mostly for fun), except when I feel really sluggish, then I just detail-strip the slide. 🙂 If i’ve been carrying it in hot weather and sweating on it, then I give it a light coat of oil every other day.

  4. Dan, maybe that’s how they say shorts in South County, but over in West County, we actually say it correctly. Lol!

  5. Rarely does a month go by without some range time, so monthly cleaning is my average. That said, I find myself carrying my S&W m60 snubby more frequently in warm weather but spend more range time with one of two 1911s. So at minimum the snub gets a bore snake floss, a couple drops of oil in all the right places every few weeks and a silicone rag wipe-down at the end of each day, especially during the summer.

  6. What carry gun? I’m not a cop, state-licensed security officer, or active duty military person carrying in the performance of his duties … Those are the only folks who may carry an accessible firearm in public in the State of Illinois. (Yay me!)

    • “Those are the only folks who may carry an accessible firearm in public in the State of Illinois. (Yay me!)”

      I’m not sure if your serious or being sarcastic, but my state (AZ) sounds sooo much better than illinois

      • Dan, did you see that our legislature passed and I think it goes in to effect in August, that it will no longer be a crime if you accidentally print or expose you firearm in public? And I’m with you about going across the river into Illinois!

        • Dan, it was an email from Ultimate Defense, it’s HB 1647 and it goes into effect Aug 28TH 2012.

          “It also precludes a penalty for “accidental exposure of a firearm by a concealed carry holder” as long as the event was truly accidental and not done in an angry or threatening manner”.

        • What state is this? I want to talk to my Congressman about the same thing here in Texas. Yes, link please.

  7. Most people overclean their piece. I swab out the barrel, clean the chamber and add some oil to the slide channels after every range session. After 500 rounds I field strip the gun and give it a complete makeover. I find that my wife’s M-9 can go much longer without a takedown. The open slide design allows most of the combustable products to be blown out the gun. It stays much cleaner than a conventional closed slide designs.

    • Just curious – how does one overclean a firearm? Personally every third or fourth cleaning my pistols get detail stripped and run through an ultrasonic cleaner. I like that factory fresh feeling.

  8. My “every day carry” gun is more like a weekend carry gun, as I work and go to school in the so called “gun free zone” aka target rich environment of a public college. When I do carry regularly on school holidays and such, I try to clean every two weeks. Only carrying on weekends Ill often go a month between cleanings.

    • I’m in a similar situation — don’t get to carry much at all, as I’m spending my daylight hours working on a large university campus, wondering when some disgruntled student’s going to snap and send all us unarmed targets running for cover (yeah, I’m paranoid like that). I only carry on weekends when I’m out and about, but I do get at least a little bit of firing time every weekend, and my carry piece is also my only piece.

      It’s been about three months since I gave the gun a full cleaning with solvent, brushes, and oil. But after every shooting session I field strip the gun, clean the soot off everything I can reach with a Hoppe’s silicone cloth, and then wipe the whole gun down. That seems to keep it running pretty clean.

  9. Every 500 or so rounds (so, basically twice since I bought it) I bore snake and very lightly lube my LCR. Wipe it off with a silicon rag every so often and that’s it. I have no compunction about leaving it holstered for weeks without inspection as long as the bore was oiled first (I live at the beach).

  10. I clean my carry piece after every trip to the range, so, probably once every six weeks.

    However, whenever I hit the range, I haul the 1911 out and start shooting. There’s no cleaning of the firearm beforehand, because I figure this is the best way to find out if the gun will remain reliable after being in a holster for an extended period of time.

    So far, the gun has run every single time.

  11. I just got on here, and coincidentally, I cleaned mine today. My carry gun is my primary range gun, so I do a basic strip and clean every time. When I go through 600-1000 rounds I then do a full detail strip of the slide. Finally, when I go through about 3000-5000 rounds (around the same time I get a new spring) I do a complete strip of both slide and handgrip. This time I had actually been busy, so I didn’t get to clean my firearm for almost a week, but I got her cleaned today. I did a full-detail of the slide. But to answer the main question: I clean it every time after I go to the range, and give my rails and a quick light oiling over most items once every week or two, or if it just looks dryer than usual.

    On another note, how often do you guys clean your magazines? I usually clean mine every time also, but once in awhile I get a little lazy and just give it a quick wipe on the outside and call it a day.

  12. I clean all my guns every time I fire them, and my carry gun gets fired at least once a month…even if I don’t want to. I carry a Glock 30…not pleasant to shoot, but I shoot at least 20 rounds with it a month when I’m at the range.

  13. When it crosses my mind and it is visibly dirty. Per month I only blow about 100-200 rounds and I never get passed 300 in anything unless the idea is to run her dirty, which is my current 1911 idea.

  14. I clean mine after the range, or when they look dirty, or when I’m bored. No particular schedule.

    I find they get a decent amount of dust and lint on them, which I blow off (with lung power) or wipe off when I unholster it at the end of the day. As long as I don’t blow said dust into the gun, the insides stay relatively clean.

  15. Honestly I don’t know, and I should clean it. It matters not if you clean it every time you shoot it, it’ going to collect lint and debris. (last time I cleaned mine I swear half of Arizona was crammed into bits of the action)

  16. I just thought of a related question:

    I can’t carry openly in Florida, but I wonder if there is anyone in a state with both open and concealed that has enough experience to answer me this… Is a consistently openly carried gun generally cleaner or dirtier than a consistently concealed one? Maybe a LEO that carries an open primary and a concealed backup? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • The short answer is yes but not by much. You don’t get sweat on it but more debris from outside like pollen. Open carry guns wipe clean easier in my experience with less body oil. Concealed ones have more body dust in them. And carry the same for both on and off duty? It gets ugly.

  17. Do you really need to clean a modern (non 1911) handgun every time you shoot it? I go 300 or 400 rounds between cleanings with my EDC (Kahr PM40). Which is about every 3 months or so. Other range toys I know that I only shoot a few times a year I make sure to put them away clean. Shooting is much more fun the cleaning as my 7 year old son reminds me we it time to clean guns

  18. when i used to carry holstered on a belt i didn’t notice the difference in cleaning as opposed to a cc weapon. what i did notice was i was forever banging the holstered sidearm on things. the grips took most of the beating.

  19. Well, if you aren’t practicing with your carry weapon often enough to obviate the question then I opine you are wrong. IMNSHO,

  20. I do “not” walk out the door with out my side arm. and my carry weapon is a Glock 36 or a pocket rocket Bond Arms 45/ 410 with 00 buck shot. All my guns get cleaned after a shot or after target practice.

  21. I see statements such as, “detail strip slide,” “field strip and give a complete makeover,” “pistols get detail stripped every 3rd of 4th cleaning,” “every 3 months-full cleanng w/solvent, brushes and oil” “and full detail of slide.” Do all these remarks mean the same thing to everyone in this forum? Are they all just different individuals’ ways of expressing the same cleaning operations? After reading these various posts, I scratch my “balding” head, wondering what it is that I do to clean my guns after a day at the range. I only think of it as field stripping and doing a general cleaning.

    The bore and bolt face are treated with Hoppe’s #9 on patches, and if necessary, a thorough brushing (particularly the bolt face). Then I dry-brush the spent powder from inside the receiver, magazine chamber and anyplace that looks suspicious. Sometimes I leave a coating of Hoppe’s in the bore for a couple days, but usually the bore gets dried and then coated with “Ballistol Lube,” a thin, non-drying oil preservative. The same oily patch is used to wipe the outside of the barrel, recoil spring and all outer surfaces of the piece before returning same to a box or gun rug till the next trip to the range. Before firing again, I run a dry patch through the bore. I do not carry, so it is seldom necessary to clean inside the magazine, or between grip panels.

    Will somebody tell me what you would call my procedure, please? And am I overdoing it?

  22. I try to clean my pistol between the time the current crop of dust bunnies have grown up and moved out, and before the next breeding cycle.

  23. Think about this guys…. What one place do you regularly “sit” in complete privacy for the 10 or so minutes it takes to clean the gun you should be most familiar with? You can get a Wally world Cheapo pistol cleaning kit and keep it near the throne for an easy access regular cleaning without making time in your schedule.

    It may sound a bit…. odd, but my carry piece isn’t dirty very often…lol.

  24. Seriously? You refer to cargo shorts as “sharts”?

    Are you aware that is the term for attempted flatulence which results in more than just gas being ejected from your arse?

    Example: “Man, I have to go home and change my pants. I just sharted.”

  25. I don’t clean my gun unless it’s starting to open up my groups or if 6 months has passed, whichever comes first.

    Modern firearms do not need constant cleaning, which can damage the finish. Same for my AR15. All the important parts self clean.

    • “Same for my AR15. All the important parts self clean.”

      Funny. Someone forgot to tell my AR15 that it’s supposed to self clean. And while they were are it, they also forgot to tell my instructors at OCS.


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