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Pistols: 10 Step guide to clean yours


Let’s start with the safety procedure before the cleaning. Instilled within me is a red flag that pops up whenever I need to handle a firearm and that red flag is something called NSP’s.

NSP simply stands for Normal Safety Procedure.

  • Unload the pistol according to manufacturer’s recommendation for cleaning.
    • Unload the magazine from the pistol.
    • Unload the cartridges from the magazine.
    • Pull the slide (working parts) to the rear.
    • Whist the slide is at the rear visually inspect the body, chamber and firing pin assembly as to visually check that there are no cartridges in the pistol.
    • Once all is clear release the slide forward.
    • Aim the pistol in a safe direction as if you wanted to discharge the firearm in that direction and fire of the action. (Only in a safe direction – thus a dry fire!)
    • Now you are safe to start the cleaning steps.

Step 1

Unload the pistol. Visually inspect the magazine well and chamber to make sure, no ammunition remains in the pistol. (yes, we are doing this again the above NSP was to put the pistol in a state where it is safe to be handled for cleaning)

Step 2

Strip the handgun in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Wipe off the pistol including all the disassembled parts completely with a clean cloth example an old T-Shirt (that was washed to get rid of oil or other contaminated content) to remove the dust, carbon, oil or other external fouling.

Step 3

Using the appropriate caliber specific cleaning kit. Attach the brush to the rod and apply a few drops of bore solvent to the brush, these should be supplied with the cleaning kit. If not, then any decent bore solvent like Hoppes No 9 or similar would suffice that helps remove lead/copper and powder fouling. Bore brushes and caliber specific rod should by widely available any local firearm store.

Step 4

Scrub the bore using the brush. The brush should enter the barrel from the chamber end at least 10 passes with the solvent.

Step 5

Remove the brush from the cleaning rod and replace it with the slotted tip that allows you to attach a cleaning cloth patch (patches available at local firearm stores).

Step 6

Insert a clean patch through the slot (caliber specific size patch).

Step 7

Dampen the patch with bore solvent. Run the patch through the bore several times to remove loose powder fouling and jacket or lead fouling. Allow the solvent to remain in the bore/chambers

for several minutes to loosen fouling.

Step 8

Replace the patch on the tip with a clean one and run it through the bore to remove solvent and loosened fouling. Repeat the procedure several times until the dry patches come out looking clean.

Step 9

If storing the pistol, dampen a clean patch with lubricant (Gun Oil) and run it through the bore and chambers to prevent corrosion. Note: Gun Oil should be rust preventative. Always remove all oil from the bore and chambers with a clean, dry patch before firing.

Step 10

Use the Nylon Cleaning Brush or an old toothbrush to remove dirt and fouling from the slide and frame rails and barrel breech, as appropriate.  Be thorough in your inspection of the pistol. If something looks dirty, it is. Check the nooks and crannies for a build-up of fouling. For semi-autos, pay close attention to cleaning the slide’s interior grooves, under the ejector and the contact points between the slide and the frame. Wipe the pistol clean of all solvents before applying lubricants. Lightly lubricate using appropriate oil or gun grease for all the working parts as needed, the key is to not over lubricate. Now it’s time to reassemble the pistol. Once it’s all back together cycle the action (Rack) of the firearm a couple of times to ensure all lubrication spreads appropriately where applied and that the firearm functions as normal. Making sure that there is no ammunition in proximity so that when you do fire off the action that the firearm is pointing in a safe and intended direction.

“Knock knock – The gunner”

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