The COVID-19 pandemic led to panic-hoarding of everything from toilet paper – to 9mm ammunition. With the ongoing social unrest spreading across the United States, states across the country are experiencing an uptick in gun sales to first-time firearms owners.

To all new gun owners across America, we wish to say thank you for joining the side of choosing to exercise your second amendment rights.

However, the reality is that most new gun owners are stocking up on firearms and ammunition, without giving a second thought to training with the weapon. Without discipline, you won’t have the imprinted muscle memory. That muscle memory is necessary to successfully engage an attacker in a pressure Close Quarters Combat (CQC) situation in your home.

Therefore, it’s critical that you get to the range as often as possible to practice with your firearm. We recommend at least once a month. Visit the range and shoot some rounds – it’s good training, a stress reliever, and you’ll meet new people.

Why Is It Important to Keep Your Firearm Clean?

Training with your firearm is essential, but eventually, it starts to take a toll on the gun. The barrel experiences “leading” from the gunshot and requires cleaning from time-to-time. The spring and other internal components all accumulate particulate debris from the effects of the primer and powder igniting, and the force of the explosion inside the chamber.

If you never clean your gun, you might get away with it for a while, but eventually, you’ll start experiencing malfunctions. Getting a slide jam or double feed jam, could end up costing you your life in a CQC situation – Especially with no training on how to clear the chamber and return the gun to the forward-firing position.

Key takeaway: Keeping your gun clean makes sure you don’t have to deal with a malfunction in a pressure CQC situation.

Allen Company Ultimate Gun Cleaning Kit(60 Pieces) for Rifles, Shotguns, Handguns/Pistols,Multicolor
  • 60 piece gun cleaning kit in an aluminum carry case
  • Clean your rifles, shotguns, and pistols all with one kit
  • Includes various sizes of brushes, jags, cotton swabs, slotted tips, and cleaning rods
  • Each item has a slot, so it's easy to keep organized and ready to use
  • Case: 14" x 2-3/4" x 12"

Prepare a Takedown Bench or Dedicated Area

Cleaning a gun is a task you need to get used to as a gun owner. It’s best to have a dedicated takedown area to get the best results from the cleaning exercise,

Use a table or shelf, with a 2-square-foot surface, and cover it with a durable vinyl covering. We like using a large gaming mousepad for our takedown area. The pad is easy to clean and prevents the scratching of your furniture – plus, the mats come in cool designs.

Choose a well-ventilated area, as you’ll be working with solvents and oils. Keep the takedown bench clear of clutter, and only have your essential tools on the work surface.

We suggest setting up your takedown bench in your garage, or your study – away from children. As a pro tip, always store your ammunition in a safe in a separate room. Before cleaning your gun, clear it and leave the live mags and ammo in the firearms safe while cleaning your gun.

Prepare your gun cleaning area
Prepare your gun cleaning area

Make Sure You Know What You’re Doing

If you’re a new firearm owner, make sure you have the right training and knowledge to take down your firearm. The owner’s manual is a must-read, but you’ll only get limited theoretical understanding from it.

If you ask the guy at the gun store to show you, you’ll probably forget the procedure by the time you get home. Look for resources on YouTube that takedown your specific firearm – there’s dozens of videos on the topic.

Book mark the best video you find and use it as a reference guide when taking down your weapon. You can keep the video playing on your phone and follow it step-by-step on your takedown bench.

What Do You Need to Clean a Gun?

When it’s time to get your hands dirty, you need the right tools for the job. Make sure you have the following essentials ready to go before you start cleaning.

  • Cleaning rods
  • Bore brushes (specific to your caliber gun)
  • Three cleaning jags (form-fitting and slotted)
  • Cleaning swabs
  • Mop and hot water with mild detergent
  • Double-ended utility brush
  • Cleaning patch fiber and lint-free, specific to your caliber)
  • Luster cloth with a reel cloth and silicone impregnated gun
  • Cotton swab
  • Bore snake-tool
  • Cleaning agents and firearm lubricant
  • Drip pan or disposable paper towels

When purchasing your gun, make sure you pick up a caliber-specific cleaning kit. The kit will have most of the items listed above.

If you’re cleaning a long-gun or AR rifle, a cleaning cradle is useful for hands-free cleaning of the weapon. Control is an integral part of cleaning your firearm, and a cradle keeps everything secure.

Always wear safety glasses when cleaning your gun, and we recommend wearing latex protective gloves to keep the solvents off your skin.

Gun Cleaning Kits

Bestseller No. 1
TekMat TEK-R17-HKP30-TEK, Multi,One Size
  • Hunting Gun Cleaning Supplies
  • Hunting Gun Cleaning Supplies
  • Hunting Gun Cleaning Supplies
  • Hunting Gun Cleaning Supplies
  • Hunting Gun Cleaning Supplies
Bestseller No. 2
The Smart Man Novelty Antique Silver AK47 Rifle Gun Shaped Tie Clip for Mens Gift
  • Material: Thick brass
  • Plating: Antique Silver
  • Size (Approx.): 2.34*0.69 inches
  • Packing: Velvet Bag
Bestseller No. 3
Blackpowder Products 0.50 Caliber 209 Shooter’s Necessities Set
  • This kit includes a bullet starter, cleaning brush, capper/extractor tool, cotton bore swab, cleaning jag and 2 rapid loaders. A complete basic set for loading and cleaning.
  • CVA Bullet Starter/Brush/Capper Extractor Tool/Swab Cleaning Jag & Rapid Loader

A Quick-Guide to Cleaning a Gun

Now that you have everything you need to start your first cleaning session, where do you begin? With safety, of course.

Clearing the Firearm – Why Is This Important?

Speak to any member of the teams, and they’ll tell you that learning to clear a pistol the right way is an essential skill. Learning how to clear a gun protects you and everyone around you from accidental discharge due to negligence.

Therefore, before you ever learn to clean your firearm, you need to know how to clear it. Follow these steps for a basic guide to clearing a striker-fired pistol like a Glock. The example is for clearing the weapon after expending all the ammo from the mag.

  • After finishing your shot, return to the compressed ready position.
  • Turn the gun down to the side, pressing the mag release to drop the magazine.
  • You can either let the mag fall to the floor or return it to your belt; newbies should let it fall to the floor.
  • Pull the slide of the gun back until you engage the slide lock.
  • Check for the presence of ammo in the chamber, and the feed. Striker-fired firearms like Glocks have a bright orange plastic feeder at the top of the mag. You’ll see it in the feed, allowing you to clear that stage of the firearm.
  • Next, look in the chamber for any sign of ammunition. Failing to complete this clearance check is responsible for 99% of all accidental discharges when clearing the gun.
  • After clearing the gun, check around you, and announce that it’s clear to people around you.
  • Place the gun on the takedown table for assembly.
  • If you’re handing the gun to them, make sure you point to the feed and the chamber, and say “clear” on each when handing over the firearm.
  • The person receiving the gun should also point and announce the words “clear” when receiving it from you.

As mentioned, 99% of accidents with guns that occur with an accidental discharge result from negligence with clearing the weapon. Don’t make this mistake – Drill until you get it right.

Step 1 – Cleaning the Chamber and Barrel

  • Start the cleaning by taking down the gun, removing the slide, and separating it from the frame.
  • Dry brush your barrel and chamber using the nylon or copper-phosphate bore brush in the chamber. Make sure that your brush towards the muzzle direction.
  • This brushing releases the carbon and the metal fouling from the barrel bore.
  • Dip a cleaning patch in the cleaning solvent and place it on the end of a cleaning rod.
  • Push the cleaning patch through the barrel, saturating the surface of the bore.
  • Don’t pull the patch back through the barrel, as that drags the dirt back. Push it through the front, and discard.
  • Allow the solvent to gas-off for 15-minutes.
  • Brush the inside of the barrel using the bore brush.
  • Repeat the solvent and patch process until the patch comes out clean.
  • After cleaning, soak a patch in light lubricant and run it through the chamber and barrel. Don’t use gun oil for this purpose unless you’re planning on storing the gun for an extended period.
  • Clean the other components of the slide, including the barrel hood, lug, as well as the feed ramp.

Clean Your Gun

Step 2 – Check the Spring and Trigger Assembly

  • After taking care of the slide, it’s time to turn your attention to the frame. Follow this quick guide to maintaining the spring and trigger assembly.
  • Start with cleaning and lubricating the trigger assembly.
  • Make sure that the trigger is functioning correctly, and there is no dirt in the frame.
  • Pull the spring out and check it for signs of wear. You can spray it with solvent, wipe it down to remove any debris, and then rub it down with a light lubricant.

Step 3 – Reassembly and a Safety Check

  • After completing your cleaning process, reassemble and clear your firearm.
  • Insert the Glock block, and dry-fire the weapon to ensure everything is working correctly.
  • Clean the magazines separately to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Load ammo into the mag and insert it into the mag-well to engage the feed.
  • Conduct a press check to see that there is a round in the chamber.
  • Holster the firearm.

Step 4 – Carrying Your Clean Gun to the Range

  • No-one at the range wants you to pull out a loaded firearm and start practicing on a target. That’s bad etiquette, and it will make other members of the range feel nervous.
  • If you’re going to the range, clear your gun after cleaning, and leave the slide locked to the rear. Store the firearm in your carry case with your mags and keep your ammo in a separate firebox for safety.
  • When arriving at the range, remove the gun from the case, load your mags, and press check the chamber before you start firing.
  • If you hand your firearm to anyone else during the training session, make sure you clear it first.

How to Clean a Gun Guide FAQ

Do I need to clean the magazines?

Of course. The mags are an overlooked component of the firearm when it comes to maintenance. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to disassembling the mags and make sure you clean then as often as you do your gun. Dirty mags can lead to feeding malfunctions.

What’s the most important thing to check when stripping the gun for cleaning?

By now, you should know the answer to that question. If not, go back and read the section on how to clear a firearm before field stripping. Safety is critical, and if you don’t adhere to the correct procedures, you’re at higher risk of experiencing an accident due to negligent behavior.

Do some guns need cleaning more often than others?

Yes. If you look at the 1911 model, for example, this gun requires expensive maintenance, or you’ll get malfunctions. However, a striker-fired pistol like a Glock or CZ P10c, won’t require maintenance, and you can push over 1,000 to 2,000-rounds through these firearms without bothering about malfunctions due to a lack of keeping it clean.

What’s the most popular pistol in the world?

The Glock is by far the most popular pistol in the world. There are many reports of faults with the gun online, but you need to consider that Glocks sells more guns than any other company, and it’s the gold standard for firearms ownership since the 1990s.

Bonus Tip – Buy a Dry-Fire Block for Practice

We go to the range to practice with our guns. Most of us don’t have an indoor range at home, and there’s no way to practice your shot. Dry firing your weapon is a popular drill for learning the dynamics of drawing your gun and firing, returning it to your holster after the sot.

Unfortunately, you can’t do this for long with your gun. Dry firing wrecks the firing pin. Fortunately, there’s a cheap fix for that. A dry-fire block, or “Glock block,” is an excellent choice for Glock owners, and there are models available for other manufacturers as well.

Dry firing will help you fast-track your learning curve by firing the gun. The first time you give it a try, you’ll notice the mistakes you’re making with trigger pull and grip. It’s a $10 investment in your firearm and the best training tool you’ll ever buy.


A Patriot, Life-Long Survivalist & now full-time editor at Vinjatek

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