Cleaning is important to keep your semi-automatic handgun running. Although people differ on handgun cleaning techniques, here are some tips.

Clean your gun regularly. You don’t have to go overboard, but after a range session it’s a good idea to clean and lube to prevent corrosion and make it ready for the next session.

Keep it lubricated. Use a quality gun oil or grease and apply it according to the manufacturer’s directions. With experience, you’ll determine how much is enough, but generally a light coating you can see but doesn’t run is about right. Put it on the slide and frame rails, barrel locking surfaces, where the barrel contacts the slide and anywhere the finish has worn. That indicates a friction point. Once in a while, put a drop on springs and lever pivot points.

Get the grit out. Clean out unburned powder, dirt, sand and any other residue. Pay particular attention to the rails. Rags, pipe cleaners, cotton swabs, small brushes and even used toothbrushes work well. Bronze brushes sometimes work better for caked-on residue.

Pay special attention to the chamber. Use a bronze bore brush slightly larger than the gun’s caliber. Just insert it into the chamber (not into the bore) with some solvent and twist tit o loosen any crud.

Use good solvents. Apply it to the bore with a patch and let it soak before brushing. Then clean the gunk out with a solvent-soaked patch and repeat until clean.

This article was originally published in “Combat Handguns” July/August 2017. To subscribe, visit

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