How to Properly Maintain a Handgun thumbnail image

How to Properly Maintain a Handgun

80 Percent Arms   |   Mar 1st 2021

Countless military forces, law enforcement, and civilians carry a handgun everyday.  Civilians in the US alone account for over 46% (393 million)  of the total worldwide number of civilian gun ownership and a staggering 72% of Americans have fired a gun at least once. With so many pistols in circulation, all handgun owners must know how to properly clean, maintain, and lubricate a handgun.

When to Clean Your handgun

cleaning a handgun

To ensure your handgun works as intended—reliably and safely—you must perform regular and thorough cleaning and lubrication on a set schedule. Your pistol’s owner’s manual will provide further information on how to clean and lubricate a handgun. For now, let us focus on the when.

  • After you take it to the range or have to fire your pistol for any reason.
  • Once per month is a good rule of thumb, even if your gun sees zero use during that time.
  • If your pistol is exposed to the weather, including rain, snow, dirt, and dust.
  • After firing 1,000 rounds, perform a field strip and clean internal components thoroughly.

If you intend to use your handgun frequently, set aside time each week, or every other day, to thoroughly clean and lubricate all moving parts. It may be useful to own a range cleaning kit to help remain organized and ready. 

Once in a while, we recommend scheduling an inspection with a certified armorer to ensure your pistol is properly functioning.

Handgun Cleaning Tips

How to clean a handgun

  •  First thing’s first, always remove the magazine from your handgun and check the chamber to make sure the firearm is unloaded. 
  • Do not forget to read the owner’s manual. Most firearm enthusiasts think they are too good to sit down and read the manual. Do not be that person.
  • The proper amount of cleaning and lubrication helps prevent corrosion and rid your pistol of built-up dirt and debris that affects firing.
  • Applying the proper amount of lube is vital. Too much will affect performance, while too little may cause harm.
  • Handgun manufacturers design their handguns for long-term use. Through maintenance and cleaning efforts, they intend for you to hand down your firearm through the generations.
  • Once your pistol is clean, please keep it safe and secure in a handgun safe or gun safe.

Where and How to Lubricate a handgun

where to lubricate a handgun

Cleaning a handgun is one thing, but lubrication is a whole other matter altogether. Without the proper lubrication, your firearm is not suitable for use.

Here is where and how to lubricate a handgun.

  1. Apply a small amount of lubricant to your barrel’s top exterior, close to the muzzle, and smear it around the barrel with a finger.
  2. Place a small amount of lube along the square shelf near where the barrel hood locks into the slide. Using your finger once more, smear the oil along the hood, then insert the barrel. Lastly, spread the remaining oil on the locking lug underneath the barrel and reinstall the recoil spring assembly.
  3. While your firearm is stripped, complete firing pin safety check by depressing and holding the firing pin safety plunger down, then shake the slide back and forth. If all is well, you should hear the pin moving gently inside the slide.
  4. Apply a little drop of oil along the frame rails, then smear it about with your finger or a cloth to coat each side.
  5. Use a little lube along where the trigger bar attaches to the connector.
  6. Install the slide, rack it, then distribute oil along the rails, barrel, and hood.
  7. Finally, wipe down the exterior of your handgun using a clean rag. Be sure not to leave behind excess oil.

We hope you schedule time this week to clean your handgun with all that you learned here with us.

If you do not yet own a handgun but are interested in the style, consider building a pistol using a GST-9 frame. It’s a fantastic way to learn more about your handgun while customizing it to your precise specifications!