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Give Your Pistol a Good Cleaning – Here’s How

Cleaning a pistol is a great way to learn about all the parts that go into it. Too, a thorough cleaning is a great way to ensure the gun continues to operate smoothly shot after shot. You can put together your own gun cleaning kit or you can purchase one at your local gun store.

There are many variations of kits, you can buy one that will only have the tools for your specific gun or you can purchase one that includes attachments for various different guns. If you have a kit that has several bore brush sizes, be sure to match the appropriate cleaning brushes with the gun you are cleaning to avoid damage and ensure you have a clean gun once finished!

Give Your Pistol a Good Cleaning – Here’s How

Here is what you will need: 

  • Cloth patches
  • A cleaning rod
  • Bore brush
  • Tips to hold patches
  • A small brush
  • Gun solvent
  • Gun oil
  • Soft cloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection

Before beginning, I like to put on thin rubber gloves and eye protection. The rubber gloves protect my skin from exposure to solvents and lubricants and the eye protection will protect my eyes from any loose springs or parts that may pop out.

  1. Make sure the firearm is unloaded and there is no ammunition present. The first step is the most important step for gun safety while cleaning your gun: make sure your firearm is unloaded and there is no ammunition present.
  2. Disassemble the firearm. Always refer to the instructions in the owners manual if you are unfamiliar with disassembling the gun. If you do not have the owners manual and are not familiar with your gun, a gun smith can teach you how to assemble and disassemble your gun.
  3. Clean the barrel. After the pistol is disassembled, attach a bore brush to the cleaning rod and moisten the bore brush with gun solvent. Push the brush all the way through the bore and then pull it back through. Repeat this 10-15 times adding solvent to the brush as needed. Do not reverse the direction of the brush while it is still in the bore.
    Next, attach the jag to the end of the cleaning rod and run a gun solvent moistened cleaning patch through the bore. Continue to run several patches through the bore until it comes out clean. I then like to visually inspect the bore for any remaining residue.

    Note: if you are planning on storing the pistol over a long period of time you can also run a lightly oiled patch through the bore.

  4. Clean other gun surfaces. Once the bore is clean, move onto cleaning the other gun surfaces. Using a solvent soaked patch or toothbrush, run over the interior of the slide, the slide, frame rails and the exterior of the barrel surface to loosen and remove any powder residue.
  5. Reassemble. Finally, reassemble the pistol and wipe it with a lightly oiled cloth. It is essential to re-lubricate the gun because when you clean it the solvent removes not only the powder and residue but also the necessary lubrication from the working surfaces.
  6. Oil the pistol. Semi-automatic pistols should be lubricated on the slide, frame rails, at the muzzle and in the barrel locking area. Also apply a small amount of oil to the actions areas, sides of the trigger and hammer where they enter the frame.

With proper maintenance, your pistol will last years longer! Have fun and happy cleaning!

Nikki Boxler
Nikki Boxler
Nikki Boxler grew up on a large dairy farm in Western New York and continues to reside there today. This setting has shaped her love of the outdoors and is how she developed a passion which drives her to spend as much time hunting and fishing as possible. For her, hunting is not about the kill, it is about the experience, the memories, the moments and having fun. Her most memorable adventures take place not only in the woods but also around the grill. Nikki thoroughly enjoys her role as co-host of Winchester Life.