As an automobile owner, you've likely heard or learned through experience that the single best thing you can do to ensure a long life for your vehicle is to change the oil. Skip that maintenance long enough, and all sorts of problems can start popping up that interfere with the smooth operation of your car.
Don't wait for your handgun to jam before you give it the maintenance it requires. Like your car, you want your firearm to be ready whenever you need it. And, like almost any machine, a firearm needs to be cleaned and lubricated regularly to function as expected. But how often is that? The answer should come from a combination of your owner's manual and your own experience.
First, you need give every new firearm an especially good cleaning. That's because it comes from the factory with a thicker grease designed to protect it while it sits on a shelf. Manufacturers recommendations for regular maintenance will vary based on the style and model of firearm you own, so consult your manual. But you'll likely need to clean your firearm about every other time you visit the range. If you see signs that it's dirty--if your fingers turn black after removing the magazine, for instance--it's time for a cleaning, regardless of when you cleaned it last.
Make sure you have the right supplies and tools on hand to do the job right. At a minimum, you'll need a cleaning brush or bore snake; patches (small cleaning cloths); solvent and lubricant. A Point Blank Associate can help you find what you need-including a convenient all-in-one cleaning kit that's easy to stash in your range bag.
To clean effectively, you need to field strip your handgun. Of course, you should never clean a loaded firearm, so begin by removing the magazine and checking the chamber. Remove the slide from the frame and remove the barrel from the slide. Use the brush or snake to clean the barrel all the way through. Use the patches and solvent to clean inside the slide as well. Lubricating your firearm is essential, but keep in mind that too much lubrication can make it a magnet for dirt and debris. You don't want any surface permanently wet. A thin coating of lubricant over all the moving parts is what you're after.
If you want your firearm to function smoothly every time, you need to keep it clean. And if you want to be at your best every time you shoot, you have to spend time on the range! That's why Point Blank Shooting Ranges are climate controlled and always staffed with certified Range Safety Officers. It's always the right time to practice.
Remember, these and many other fundamentals are included in Point Blank's Basic Handgun course. Check our calendar for dates at your favorite location.