There’s a handgun out there that will suit your needs, whether you carry one for self-protection or are simply a fan of target shooting. No matter how often you shoot, keeping your firearm clean is one of the easiest and best ways to ensure it will be ready and functional when you need it. 

Here are some easy-to-follow tips to help you efficiently clean your handgun and keep it operating at peak efficiency.

Choose Your Cleaning Solvent

Your cleaning experience is only as good as your solvent. An effective one will cut through all the dirt, grime, oil and burned gunpowder that builds up during use. You don’t want something too harsh that will damage the metal, but it should be strong enough to cut through the buildup. 

Collect Your Tools

Step two is collecting your tools and laying them out. A good gun cleaning kit is invaluable for maintaining most handguns, mostly because it makes it easier to get into all the nooks and crannies. 

Lay a lint-free cloth down where you’re going to clean your handgun. This will keep your tabletop clean and prevent you from losing any small screws or other parts that could potentially roll away.

Take Apart Your Handgun Carefully

Once you have all your tools ready and laid out, it’s time to start taking apart your handgun. The exact steps for this will vary depending on the model you own, but there are a few things to consider

  1. This isn’t a race. You’re not competing for meal tickets or shower chits by disassembling or reassembling your handgun fastest. 
  2. Be careful as you break things down. Small pieces like springs and screws are essential to the operation of your handgun. Lose them, and you could find yourself on the hunt for replacements.
  3. Take your time. Clean all the nooks and crannies and ensure you haven’t left any dirt or grime behind that could interfere with the gun’s operation.

It’s vital to break down your handgun properly before moving on to the next step.

Clean, Then Oil

Start with your cleaning solvent. Spray down any visible grime areas, then wipe them down with a soft, lint-free cloth. The gun cleaning kit should contain brushes that will allow you to clean the barrel. Make sure you choose a brush large enough to scrub the interior without being so big you have to use extra pressure to force it into place. 

Once you’ve removed all the dirt and grime, take the time to oil the internal components that you won’t be able to reach once you put the pieces back together. Proper lubrication will ensure your weapon remains in prime condition.

Reassemble Your Handgun

This step will be the reverse of the disassembly step above. It’s time to put all those stray pieces back together. Again, don’t rush, especially if you’re still learning the quirks of your handgun. Take your time, ensure that everything is where it’s supposed to be and check that you don’t have any extra pieces left over when you’re done. 

Once everything is reassembled, wipe down the exterior with gun oil to remove any skin oils or leftover grime and protect the body of the handgun when it’s in storage.

Store It Correctly

Now it’s time to put your handgun away until you need it again. Ensure it’s stored in a cool, dry place. Too much heat or humidity can negatively impact the metal and cause problems the next time you take it out and try to fire it. Consider investing in a dehumidifier to keep things dry if you live in an area that experiences high humidity frequently.

Shoot Safely and Clean Often

A well-maintained gun will serve you well for many years. Take the time to learn how to clean a handgun and ensure you’re cleaning it thoroughly after every use.