Cleaning your handgun is one of the most basic and essential parts of owning a handgun. With regular cleaning and care, a quality semiautomatic pistol will last for many years.
The first step in cleaning your semiautomatic pistol is to purchase a cleaning kit. These are available at most sporting goods stores and anywhere firearms accessories are sold. Kits are available for specific firearms, or specially designed for certain types of firearms (i.e. rifles, pistols, shotguns, etc.), but usually the best value is to purchase a Universal Cleaning kit – especially if you have more than one firearm.
These kits are designed for use on almost any type of modern firearm. They come equipped with a cleaning rod, cleaning solvent, oil, cleaning patches, and “end rod accessories” (used to hold the patches on the end of the rod). In addition to these tools, an old toothbrush and plenty of old rags are also very helpful.
To begin, choose a workspace in a well-ventilated area. You will need a surface on which to work – a desk, workbench, or tabletop work well for this. Spread a large cloth over the work surface in order to protect both it and your pistol. Lay out all of your cleaning equipment and your pistol.
Now is the time to make sure your pistol is absolutely, with out a doubt, UNLOADED. This is definitely the most important step of cleaning your pistol.
Once you have made sure your semiautomatic is unloaded, begin disassembling it. Since there are almost as many different ways to disassemble a semiautomatic as there are semiautomatics, it is not possible to list here the steps of how to disassemble your pistol. To do this, reference your owner’s manual. It should have detailed instructions on disassembly.
Once disassembled, your pistol should be in four main parts: the frame, the slide, the barrel, and the magazine. Most semiautomatics will also have a slide guide rod and a spring. It is not necessary and, in most instances, not recommended to disassemble the handgun any further.
Take the toothbrush and dip it into the cleaning solvent. Use it to scrub the inside of the frame, the ends of the barrel, and all the other internal parts. Use a rag to remove the loosened fouling and the solvent.
Next, choose the proper end rod accessory, attach it to the rod, and insert a cleaning patch into it. The proper end rod accessory is usually the largest one that will easily fit into the barrel. Saturate the patch with cleaning solvent and push it slowly through the barrel. Once it comes out the other end, remove the patch.* Wipe the rod clean with a rag and insert a new patch. Saturate the patch with solvent and use it to swab the inside of the barrel back and forth a few times. Again, remove the patch and wipe the rod clean with a rag. Insert a third patch and push it through the barrel without any solvent. Repeat this process until a dry patch comes out clean.
*Note: For an exceptionally dirty barrel, push a solvent saturated patch through the barrel and allow the solvent to sit for several minutes. It will help to loosen the fouling.
Once a dry patch comes out clean, saturate a new patch with oil and slowly slide it through the barrel.
Finally, apply a very small amount of oil to all moving parts of the handgun. Reassemble the pistol and inspect it to make sure it is clean and working properly. Work the action several times to make sure it is reassembled correctly.
Store your handgun in a locked container located in a cool, dry place. It is also recommended to store your handgun unloaded and separate from ammunition (unless it is used for personal protection).Store your handgun