How Often Should I Clean My Gun?

How often should I clean my gun?

How Often Should I Clean My Gun?

Different Cleaning Routines, Different Purposes

How often should I clean my gun? The answer depends on what it is used for, how often you use it, what kind of ammo you’re using, and if it has been exposed to potentially damaging materials, like water or dust. The frequency you use it determines how often you should give it a proper cleaning, but even doing the minimum will significantly impact it. To get the most life out of your firearm, all you have to do is clean it, lubricate it, and store it properly. 

People purchase and operate guns for many reasons. Whatever your purpose, maintenance is an essential part of owning a firearm. Firearms are complex pieces and require routine maintenance. Regular, thorough cleaning will keep your gun operating smoothly and prevent many common issues associated with poorly maintained guns, such as accuracy and safety.

Not all guns require the same cleaning routine. Usage and shooting frequency is vital in determining “how often should I clean my gun?”. Don’t add pricey maintenance expenses when all you need to do is clean and lubricate your gun.

If you clean your guns regularly with a comprehensive cleaning session, you won’t have as many tightly adhered particles and residue buildup that need scrubbing to remove. With frequent cleaning, you’re preventing premature wear and tear to your trusty firearm.

Concealed carry firearms can often mean the difference between life and death; you don’t want to take any chances in those situations. Your gun should always be clean to give you confidence in its reliability. Firearm maintenance is even more critical for people who carry daily but can’t go to the range as often as possible.

  • – By neglecting your gun, you will speed up its wear and tear.
  • – Your firearm’s type, purpose, and ammunition all share in determining the best cleaning practices. 
  • – One of the essential elements of gun cleaning and maintenance is lubrication. There’s a balance to lubricating your gun and finding the right amount between too much and too little oil. It’s a little different with every handgun, and the better you get to know your weapon, the easier it’ll be to find that balance.
  • – Over lubrication can become a problem without cleaning sessions; however, under lubrication is far worse for your gun. 

With proper cleaning of your gun, you can prevent:

    • – Rusting: Several different catalysts can cause rusting in guns.
    • – Residual fouling buildup: The residual fouling can build up in the barrel, affecting your precision and potentially reliability.
    • – Failure to fire: If the gun has enough residue build-up, it may fail to shoot a round of ammunition after pulling the trigger.
    • – Failure to feed (FTF): Lubricant can get in places it shouldn’t be if you over oil and it gets in areas that shift rounds from the magazine to the chamber; it may cause an FTF.
    • – Failure to eject (FTE): The other two failures involve the round never leaving the gun; FTE refers to the casing jamming in the chamber.

Some of the most common firearm purposes and appropriate cleaning routines:

How Often Should I Clean a Conceal Carry Firearm?

    • – Defensive firearms that don’t get used frequently should be deep cleaned and inspected about once a month.
    • – Carry guns won’t be as susceptible to rust and corrosion since they are not typically exposed to harsh conditions.
    • – Clean your carry gun at a 2-week interval to ensure it’s clean when back in the holster.
    • – Inspect your gun once a month with your disassembly tools and carefully examine every part to ensure there are no cracks, breaks, rust, or corrosion.

*Feel confident that your gun is reliable and will keep you safe, even in unpredictable situations.

How Often Should I Clean A Hunting Firearm?

    • – In the wild, you will not frequently fire your hunting rifle, but dirt can still get inside as you cover in the bushes and from elements in the early dusk, such as morning moisture.
    • – Rain and snow are unforgiving; therefore, clean your firearm immediately.

How Often Should I Clean a Target/Practice Gun?

    • – You won’t face as many damaging particles like dust and moisture, but you’ll be shooting more often.
    • – A quick cleaning process after 250-300 rounds can prevent carbon particles from building up inside the barrel and help you keep your firearm in good shape.
    • – At the 3000 rounds mark, consider an in-depth cleaning. Take your firearm apart and clean every component separately.
    • – Add lubricating oils and rust protectors to form extra protective layers on your firearm.

How Often Should I Clean a Competition Firearm?

    • – Soot and combustion particles can be left in your gun’s shooting chambers and impact your accuracy.
    • – Clean your gun after each match, so you have a fresh start.
    • – Develop your firearm cleaning routine.

General Cleaning for Firearms:

    • – Clean your gun after every trip to the shooting range.
    • – In some situations, it’s a good idea to clean your gun immediately if exposed to serious conditions that silently work in the background and can cause damage.
    • – If you use corrosive ammo, such as military surplus ammo or ammo in your historical firearms, you should clean it after every use.
    • – Shooting corrosive ammunition causes accelerated wear on your gun.
    • – The primers in your ammo may leave behind salts (potassium chloride or sodium chloride) when fired. When these salts mix with moisture in the air, they cause corrosion that can seriously damage the inside of your gun.
    • – Proper cleaning of residue and storing your weapon in a clean, dry pistol case delay the corrosion process.
    • – Not only will this residue cause corrosion — and, in turn, rust — but it will also prevent your gun from firing correctly.
    • – If your gun has wood grips, you may want to add waxing or polishing them to your cleaning routine.
    • – The more thorough you are, the fewer parts you may need to replace over time.

How Often Should I Clean My Gun?

  1. Do a Light Cleaning after every Shooting Session.
    After you’ve gone to the range, you should do a “light” cleaning when you finish up or get back home. Light cleaning means dipping a few patches in a lubricant cleaner and running it through the bore and other easily accessible parts.

    • – If your firearm is directly exposed to damaging elements such as salt, dirt, water, it’s essential to clean it right away. Instead of guessing whether your specific gun material will fare well against different conditions, it’s easier to clean your firearm!
    • – Rust shouldn’t be a significant issue for firearms made of stainless steel. Still, the material choice makes them less durable and more likely to be damaged by dust or dirt particles.
  2. Do a Deep Cleaning a Few Times a Year.
    A deeper gun cleaning should be done a few times a year. “Deep” cleaning is more involved and extensive, but it’s necessary to maintain your gun. Accuracy and reliability will be impacted if you don’t clean your guns regularly.

    • – With every shot, propellant combustion leaves carbon particles that build up in the chamber over time.
    • – As the bullet travels through the barrel, microscopic metal fragments are chipped off, adding residue with each shot fired.
    • – You’ll reach a point where you’ll notice a downgrade of your gun’s performance either in terms of accuracy or reliable mechanical operation.
    • – Firearms have many metal pieces, and moisture creates rust-related severe issues that are expensive to fix.
    • – Corrosive chemicals can begin eating their way through the metal parts.

Stored Guns:

How often should I clean my gun if it is in storage?

Guns that spend most of their time in storage cases will still need proper maintenance.

  • – You won’t clean your stored guns as often as the firearms you use, but it’s essential that you continue to keep an eye on them.
  • – Even with proper storage, moisture and dust can find their way to your firearms and lead to rust formation.
  • – Clean and lubricate your stored firearms twice a year.

Good cleaning habits are a relaxing routine for many, and they’ll help you prevent several common issues. There are solid factors that can speed up your firearm’s wear and tear. Ensure your investments retain their value by making cleaning and maintenance a big part of your routine. Firearms can last you from several years to several generations, depending on how you care for them.

If you already own a firearm or you’re considering purchasing one, it’s essential to know how to use and clean it safely. Whether or not you know how to clean your gun, it’s always beneficial to seek professional help. A trained technician can give your firearm a thorough cleaning and ensure all the parts and pieces are correctly assembled. From providing routine work to supplementing your own gun cleaning class session with an inspection, CSA Guns will help educate you to keep your gun functional, accurate, and safe.

At CSA Guns, we understand the importance of keeping your handguns clean. So if you have ever asked yourself, “How Often Should I Clean My Gun?” and you want to learn how to do it yourself, we offer a comprehensive instructional course, “Pistol Cleaning Workshop,” to train you on the essentials of cleaning your pistol.

For more information about the courses and services, we offer at CSA Guns, feel free to contact us with any questions. (704) 554-9511

Register for the Pistol Cleaning Workshop or… have your firearm professionally cleaned at CSA Guns.

Additional Resources:
Mecklenburg County Handgun Purchase Permit Requirements