This will ruffle some feathers, but you don’t need to clean your gun every time you go to the range. Seriously, you don’t need to and more importantly, if you needed to, then you probably choose a poor gun in the first place.
Is It Safe
This kind of reminds me a little of daylight savings. Nobody is willing to repeal it because they don’t want to be that guy. They don’t want to be associated with some kid who got hit by a car in the dark on their way to the bus stop. You have to put things in perspective, if your trips to the range are about the same as your trips to the dentist then it is unlikely you are putting enough rounds through that would significantly foul the gun and possible induce a stoppage. This in now way eliminates human error, but if the gun is from a quality manufacture, firing quality ammunition then it is safe to say you are good. What is far more important is knowing how to properly lubricate a gun.
Let’s Break It Down
This is also not an excuse not to clean your gun when necessary. The most common reason for avoiding periodic maintenance is not knowing what to clean or how to clean. Before you can clean a gun, you must first be able to safely unload the gun, then inspect and confirm it is safe. You will want to then be able to disassemble or field strip the gun to it’s basic parts. Usually the frame and slide. Keep in mind the recoil spring and recoil spring guide will be under spring tension. Keep them pointed away from you or others nearby. Now that you have fully disassembled the gun for cleaning you can actually start the cleaning process.
A Little Elbow Grease Goes a Long Way
Like any cleaning you will need a few supplies and tools. Some type of cleaning brush, cleaning solvent, rags and a quality lubricant. There are plenty of other items you might want to have, but these are the very basic requirements to ensure optimal functionality. From here you want to common sense. Spray, brush, wipe and repeat. Everyone has their own system and you will develop one yourself. I typically start with the barrel and accessories, then work to the slide and finish with the frame. Your cleaning brush should have soft bristles, like a tooth brush to avoid damaging the finish. While it may seem smart to use something tougher for those hard to clean areas it will cause damage to the gun in the end. Nothing functional, but aesthetically. Once you are done cleaning the next step is to lubricate and reassemble.
The Quest for Lube
Choosing quality lubricant is easy, find a product designed to lubricate guns. Avoid the multiple purpose products and stick with designed for products. You can apply lubricant to all the disassembled parts. How much do you apply? Again, you will get the hang of it the more you clean guns. After you have fully reassembled the gun you will wipe down any excessive lubricant. Lastly is the function check. To ensure you reassembled the gun correctly you will perform a function check. Start by ensuring the gun is unloaded and lock the action open. Pointing in a safe, release the slide, then pull the trigger and hold it to the rear. Cycle the action. Then release the trigger to ensure the trigger resets. If it does, then lock the action open and you are done.
That’s it, nothing too fancy. Learn how to clean then as you get better you will learn how to inspect for wear and tear; which is far more important.