How clean is clean enough when it comes to caring for your firearms? Or in other words, how dirty is too dirty? Everyone probably would agree that if you finish a 500-round training course and don’t clean your gun you could be setting yourself up for trouble in the future. Because of the tiny explosion in the chamber every time you pull the trigger, residue and sediment are left on the inside of the barrel, making it essential that you take the time to clean it to avoid dangerous malfunctions. Of course there are those guns we all have that just never stop working no matter how badly you abuse them. But what about cleaning your gun when you have not fired it? When should you clean the everyday concealed carry piece if all it does is ride around in your holster all day?
A gun in a holster will pick up its share of daily dirt— but how much dirt is largely a matter of the holster material, the location of the holster on your body, and the amount of dust and dirt you are subjected to during the day. For example, a revolver carried in a leather ankle rig will pick up more dirt than the same gun in a leather hip holster. If you happen to be walking around lots of dusty parking areas with your gun in an ankle holster, you can count on even more dirt. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a handgun carried in a belly band holster will stay pretty clean.
Still, after about week, it might be time to pull your gun out of the holster, unload it, and give it a quick once-over. Most of the time, the daily dirt will not hinder performance, but do you really want to take that chance? If you do a quick cleaning weekly, you may want to field strip the pistol and conduct a more thorough cleaning monthly. The goal here is to do this regularly so as to not let dirt build up. That would be a bad thing if it caused a malfunction.
Whether you purchase a pre-assembled cleaning kit from a store or buy each necessary component individually, keep these basic cleaning supplies on hand so there's no excuse not to clean your firearms on a regular basis:
Disassemble your gun only as much as the manufacturer recommends. Check the owner's manual for disassembly instructions. Before you begin, double-check to make sure it's unloaded. Remember that your gun may still have a round ready to fire after you remove the magazine, so check and remove this round, too!