No matter if it’s an important match or a fight for your life, your gun needs to work when you need it. A proper breakdown and cleaning regimen is key to ensuring that this is the case with your firearm.

A clean handgun is a reliable handgun, and reliable is a good thing. No matter if it’s used to protect your life or win an important match, any handgun has to work.

Still, cleaning guns is a disagreeable way to spend your time—I rank it right up there with taking out the trash and mowing the lawn. It has to be done, and frankly, unlike the lawn or trash, I don’t trust anybody else messing with my guns.

Spray in a light viscosity gun oil to lubricate and protect the metal. In addition, use compressed air to blow out any excess oil.

First off, make sure the gun is unloaded, with the magazine removed and the chamber empty. It puzzles me when I read about some fool shooting himself while “cleaning his gun.” You can’t clean a loaded gun properly and it’s a huge inconvenience to shoot yourself, so avoid the hassle and unload the thing.

Cleaning the bore is a two-step process. Start with a general solvent to remove the powder fouling and then follow with a copper-removing solvent.

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No matter if it’s an important match or a fight for your life, your…