Around 67% of gun owners cite protection as the major reason for gun ownership. Some say it’s for hunting, while others buy guns for the sake of collecting them.

No matter your reason, though, you need to learn how to clean it. If you’re new to gun ownership, you might not yet be familiar with everything you need to do to keep your gun in pristine condition.

Cleaning guns is important so you can use it for its intended purpose. Even if you don’t shoot it, you still need to clean it. So that when the time comes you need to shoot it for protection, hunting, or sports, it will still be working fine.

Read on to get tips about cleaning your guns.

1. Use the Right Cleaning Solutions

When cleaning guns, you need products for cleaning, lubricating, and protecting (CLP). There are products featuring these specific purposes. Yet, some gun owners look to other products that aren’t meant for guns as alternatives.

We’re talking about vegetable oil, transmission fluid, and other stuff that seem similar enough to gun cleaning solutions.

Avoid doing this if you don’t want to risk damaging your gun. Only use solvents and lubricants made for firearms.

Solvents break down copper, carbon, and/or lead fouling. Lubricants ensure the gun’s moving parts work smoothly with less wear, while protection solutions help prevent corrosion.

The good news is you have a lot of options when it comes to gun cleaning solutions. You might have to do some trials and errors, though, to see the best products for you and your gun.

2. Use the Right Tools

While we’re on the subject, make sure you also have the right tools for cleaning firearms. Specialized tools help you reach the nooks and crannies of all the parts of your gun, whether you have Ballistic Advantage parts or else.

You need general tools like a cleaning rod, cotton swabs, bore brush, bore snake, utility brushes, a cleaning jag, cleaning patches, a luster cloth, and more. Keep in mind that different types of firearms might need other specialized tools. Find out what you need for your gun and make sure you have them in your arsenal.

Get a gun cleaning kit for your specific gun; it should contain almost everything you’ll need.

You might also want to use a gun cleaning rubber mat. This will keep your work surface safe from the solutions.

3. Pick a Well-Ventilated Area

As you’ll be dealing with chemicals, it’s best if you choose a spot with good ventilation. It should also be away from other people as much as possible. You don’t want yourself or other people inhaling the fumes in an enclosed space.

An outdoor location is a perfect place. Your garage is also a good spot if you work while the windows or the door is open.

If these aren’t available to you, do it in a room wherein people don’t usually hang out. The living room, kitchen, and dining room aren’t the best places to do this unless you have the house to yourself.

Pick an area closest to the window. Then, use a table that you don’t use for food or drinks, so the dining table isn’t an option either.

4. Wear Proper Protection

Regardless of ventilation, you should still have proper protection when cleaning your guns. Skin contact with the cleaning solutions may cause redness, irritation, rashes, and such.

Always wear gloves even if it might affect your finger sensitivity and dexterity. It’s still better to be on the safe side, though. It also has the added benefit of protecting your gun against your oily fingerprints.

The solutions may also splash into your eye on accident. As such, eye protection is always the bare minimum.

Depending on how often you clean your gun and what chemicals you use, you might also have to use a mask or respirator. Some solutions have strong fumes that can hurt your lungs. A mask isn’t always a necessity, but if you want maximum protection, go for it.

5. Make Sure It Has No Ammunition

The first rule of having guns is to treat them as if they’re loaded, even if they’re not. The safety might be on, but still assume that it can fire on you.

Guns fired on accident due to mishandling are quite common; it can happen in schools, workplaces, homes — everywhere.

That’s why you should always keep this in mind even while cleaning your gun. The first step is to handle it with care and then remove the ammunition.

Put them somewhere far from you, like in the next room or wherever you store your ammo. If it’s where you clean your gun, pick another place.

Once you’re sure the gun has no more ammo, only then can you proceed to disassembling and cleaning it.

6. Learn How to Disassemble Your Gun

You’ll have to disassemble your gun to get to all the nooks and crannies. A small spot left uncleaned can harm the whole function and/or integrity of the gun, so you don’t want to leave anything out.

Pistols are pretty easy to disassemble, but all the same, the risk of damaging it is present if you don’t know how to do it. Guns with more parts are more complex to dismantle, posing higher risks. You may bend or break some parts if you force them apart.

Read the manual first before cleaning, especially if it’s your first time. Even if you think you got this, there’s no harm in refreshing your knowledge. Refer to it from time to time while you’re disassembling the gun to make sure you’re on the right path.

If you’re a visual learner, you can find tons of tutorials on YouTube. You’re sure to find a video with your exact gun model. This is also useful for when you have lost your manual.

7. Learn When to Clean Your Guns

Knowing when you should clean your guns is almost as important as knowing how to clean them. It depends on what type of gun you have, though. You also need to factor in the age of the gun, how often you use it, and the type of ammo.

In general, it’s best if you clean a gun each time after using it. Do it within the week of shooting or as soon as you can.

You don’t need to deep clean it; at the least, clean the gun barrels to dissolve carbon fouling. This will prevent carbon buildup, which might affect the cycling of your gun.

For hunting firearms, you may have to clean it if you bring it out with you if you didn’t fire it. The humidity, wet surroundings, and dirt can still get its way inside.

For carry guns, you have to deep clean it at least once a month. The guns in storage will do well even with cleaning quarterly or twice a year.

Inspect your guns more often, though, to make sure they’re still good enough to fire at a moment’s notice.

8. Learn How to Clean Your Guns

Next comes the actual process of cleaning your guns. Not sure how to do it? Consult the manual or, again, look for a YouTube video.

One important tip, though: don’t use too much lubricant. One drop is often all you need to lubricate everything that needs it. You only need a light coating because lubricants are sticky; if you use too much, debris will stick.

This is also true for the protective coating. Rub it on and then wipe it away, no matter what type of coating you choose.

9. Take Your Time Cleaning Guns

Cleaning one gun isn’t too time-consuming. On average, a handgun will take you about 30 minutes or so. Of course, you’ll spend more time on bigger and more complex firearms.

Still, you shouldn’t time your cleaning process. It’s far more important to get to all the crevices of your firearm rather than following a certain amount of time.

Taking longer is always better than finishing faster than expected. If you do only have 30 minutes to spare, make sure each minute of those is well-spent.

10. Function Test Your Gun Before Storing It

Once you’re done cleaning, it’s time to reassemble your gun. You might have to refer to the manual again to make sure you’re putting everything back to where they’re supposed to be.

If there’s some piece you left out, disassemble and reassemble again, looking closely at the manual or a YouTube video this time.

Then, you also have to make sure that the gun is still working after you clean it. Do a function test, which checks if there’s something that catches or prevents the firearm from firing.

The gun should still be empty with a safe backstop. Then, pull the trigger to see if it’s working as it should be. The trigger should also reset when you rack the slide.

Handle Your Guns Safely

Guns can be dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced person. While many people use it for protection, the same gun can harm them if they’re not careful in handling it.

That’s why the most important tip to cleaning guns is to do it in the safest way possible.

Of course, you shouldn’t stop with learning how to clean your gun. For more gun maintenance and safety tips, feel free to read more of our informative guides right here, today!

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