I know not everyone who reads this blog carries a firearm concealed. But for those of us who do, when was the last time you cleaned your EDC (Every Day Carry) gun(s)?
I try to take good care of my firearms, since I expect them to take good care of me. However, with the craziness of every day life, sometimes the things that take care of you, that you use day in and day out, get taken for granted. You might forget to change the oil on the car that starts every morning and takes you to work, for example. But, like the oil in that car that needs to be changed, you have to take a few moments once in a while to make sure that pistol you pack around everywhere stays up to snuff in the cleanliness department.
I’m guessing that if you’re stuffing a gun in a holster to have at your side all the time, it starts out clean…as most people start out with good maintenance habits. You know if it’s going to protect you, you better have the grime and carbon from your last range session (you’re practicing with it too, right?) policed up so the gun works when you want it to! Yet, somehow, even after riding in a relatively protected spot, like a holster under a jacket could be considered, after months of daily duty, shit will start to build up.
Sand that gets kicked up in wind, dust that floats everywhere, lint from your clothes, animal hair…all these things will build up on the INSIDE (believe it or not!) of your gun over time. Oils that are used to keep a gun in good working order work against you at that point, attracting and collecting all that crud and keeping it in the gun. When combined with the natural corrosion that comes with proximity to your body and use, (e.g. sweat, salt air, precipitation), all this adds up to enough nastiness that it’s possible to bind your gun up or slow down its cycling enough to inhibit function. So, naturally, we need to make sure that doesn’t happen.
It’s a good practice to get into to pull your EDC gun out of its holster once in a while and give it a check-up. Set a mental landmark if it helps: maybe when you change the oil in your car, or when you put Frontline on the pets, or fertilize the garden, pull the gun out and give it a once-over. Chances are it’ll need a bit of help. A bit of sand in the bore of your gun can blow it up with a pressure spike, so make sure you run a patch down the bore and (if you carry a revolver) cylinder chambers (with a VERY light coat of oil if you live in humid/salty environments) to get that junk out. Run a toothbrush through and over the slide and frame rails if you carry a semi-auto. Make sure all the working points on the innards of the gun have just a touch of oil or grease on them to keep them moving freely. If you have a semi-auto, make sure to put a light film of oil on the outside surface of the barrel and the front of the chamber…these are all active locking points and need to not stick. a couple drops of a good light oil on the frame rails, re-assemble, and you’re good to go. Function check your gun after you check to see it’s empty. Dry-fire it to make sure everything is working well. Wipe down the metal surfaces of the gun with a VERY light coat of oil (I just use a rag that’s had some gun oil squirted on it) to prevent rust, and you’re good to go.
Like I said before, take care of your equipment and it’ll take care of you. You don’t need to do a crazy deep-clean on the gun every week, but make sure it’s clear of contaminants that can bog it down or endorse rust. It’s not hard and it ensures that you will have gear that works when you need it to!
Do you clean your carry guns often? What’s your schedule and do you do it differently than I do? Let’s hear it in the comments!