Gun Cleaning 101

The Opposite of Dirty? Kinda’ Clean … ‘Sorta

American Handgunner Magazine editor Roy Huntington shows the fast and easy way to clean an auto pistol.

19 thoughts on “Gun Cleaning 101

  1. Dan

    For “play guns” I agree. However, for military and law enforcement where we may have to save a life (our own perhaps).. or where we may do a lot of shootin’ or… where we might be in a very dirty place (like one time when I was in Iraq)… we may need to do a good cleaning.
    My “Fast” method is (depending on what I have) is to remove any wood parts, take the pistol, rifle or machine gun apart, and drop it into cleaning solvent. Scub it with a NYLON brush…never use hard metal to scrape. Wipe the parts off, run brush and patch through the barrel. Wipe dry (use compressed air to get into hidden places) and LIGHT oil on shiny spots.

    With this method, I can fully clean an M16 in about 15-20 minutes. Pistols in about 5. For weapons like M9, glock, H&K, Sigs etc you can’t luck “gunk” build up in fire pin channel or it will cause the firing pin to not strike hard enough.
    Never, ever use bore cleaning solvent on anything but the bore and chamber. If it gets into nooks and cranniers, it will turn to sludge!
    This is based on 27 years of Army/ National Guard running all kinds of ranges, training and 2 deployments and 32 years of police work (overlapping times– I’m not that old.)
    But I do use your method for play guns.

    1. Roy Huntington

      Thanks for your comments.
      Dan, I couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying. But since “most” of the guns readers use are “play” guns, that fast method gets us shooting more, eh? I did caution if it was a defensive gun to take more time and care.

      And Larry, removing the grips really depends on the situation. If you’ve been in the rain, for instance, get ’em off, or if it’s been very dusty. But normally, unless you have the kind of sweaty hands that can turn a piece of metal into rusty dust in one day, I’d take those grips of and wipe under them (leaving a bit of protection behind, even auto paste wax works great!), about three or four times a year. But use caution because a slip of the screwdriver means a nasty mark!
      Roy Huntington

  2. larry gredlein

    great article, helped enomously – when or how often should you remove the grips, particularly on revolvers, and clean inside.

  3. Brian Dickinson

    Good stuff (print and video). Gonna try this tomorrow. Just makes sense to remove the fouling while its dry first. Less oil is another good tip. Now about those 357 magnum wheel guns that we shoot .38’s through. I use a 40 cal brush chucked in my electric drill to get the smoke ring out of the cylinder. Messy and time consuming. Any thoughts there? If you have good time saving techniques for that, would love to see ’em.

    Enjoy the magazine and these vids are really nice. Thanks Roy!

  4. Kyle Barrette

    Thank you Roy! I liked the article and I really appreciate the video. Yet again I get a straight answer for a common and often misdirected problem.

  5. Bruce Morgan

    Excellent narative and visual guidance on the cleaning of a semi-auto pistol. Many times people over lube these pistols, especially the Glocks, according to what I have read regarding cleaning. Maybe people will reduce the massive amounts of oil and solvents used after watching this video. I have recommended it to several people already. Thanks for making it.

  6. Peter Colli

    Thank you for the lesson. I am a recreational shooter and this was good.
    Usually put about 100 rounds through
    in a session and then would clean the gun
    and it never really got all that dirty.

  7. Tony Nista

    Excellent video Roy! Your magazine article peaked my interest and the video made it real. Last year a range officer was kind enough to provide this same guidance and I have been using this method to clean my Glocks, Sigs, Smiths and 1911s ever since, with no malfunctions. Although it wasn’t always this easy for me. I remember many years ago taking home my first gun after an hour on the range, a Smith & Wesson model 66 snubbie. It took me two hours to clean that gun – two hours! Obviously I didn’t know what I was doing back then and I wasn’t smart enough to ask for professional guidance. I’ve learned alot since then, and easier gun cleaning is one important lesson I am very happy to have learned. After 52 years on the planet I don’t want to waste too much time cleaning! Thanks again Roy for your great magazine and the real life no-nonsense guidance!

    Tony Nista

  8. Mark Stutzel

    The Marine in me is freaking out that you called that a clean gun! I guess as my collection grows and I get weapons that I just plink around with and don’t care that much about, I can take your approach.

  9. Jeff Liss

    Great video. Wow…I’m way over the top with keeping my guns cleaned and oiled. Thanks for the good tips.

  10. bore solvent

    Great advice! There are those that never clean, and a handful that clean obsessively. Some clean with oil dripping out of the barrel while there are those that never use oil.
    For me, well, I use Hoppes. I’ve had one small bottle for some time, and it’s only half empty. I never had, any operation issues with my guns..

  11. Jaro

    Good stuff there. I like how you deconstructed cleaning of a gun. I think that using just small amount of oil is crucial when it comes to cleaning guns. I wrote a post not too long ago that addresses that. You can find it here: Most of the people overdo using oil, which can negatively impact performance of the gun. That being said, you should use lubricant sparingly and just a little bit. Anyways, I am looking to more of this type of videos. They are very useful and gave me some good insights on how to take better care of my gun.
    – Jaro

  12. Jay

    Okay just watched this one and he is Great. Clear, straight to the point and very articulate. I too have used too much oil in the past and this was most instructive!!

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