How to Clean a Semiautomatic Gun

Shooting a firearm carries a number of responsibilities with it. One is to care for the weapon after use. Failure to properly care for the gun after firing can damage the metal of the weapon and provide poor performance in the future. The procedure is simple and takes very little time so there is really no excuse for not doing it.

Purchase a cleaning kit for your weapon and the particular barrel brush for the caliber of your gun. Each caliber of gun has a particular diameter cleaning brush to remove particles of lead and copper that may accumulate during use. It is best to use a solvent especially designed to remove metal deposits rather than just a general-purpose solvent designed for gunpowder residues and other explosive products.

Locate the instruction manual for your weapon and disassemble it according to the directions. In order to properly clean the weapon it needs to be field stripped to gain access to all the working parts. Perform the field strip on a work table so you can lay out all the parts of the weapon and deal with each part one at a time.

Take the barrel and run a cloth patch dipped in solvent down the bore. Following this, run a clean patch down the bore to absorb the majority of the solvent. Take the bore brush, dip it in the special solvent for metal particles and run the brush down the bore of the barrel. Run the brush back and forth, up and down the bore for at least three passes. On the last pass, rotate the brush as you go down and back so that you will remove all clinging traces of metal on the bore.

Continue to pass clean cloth patches down the bore of the barrel until they emerge as clean as they entered the barrel. Use a lightly oiled cloth to wipe down the outside of the barrel and set aside for the moment.

Take the slide and using a rag with solvent on it, wipe it down and rub to remove any visible deposits of gunpowder residue and light markings from the cartridges. Wipe the surface of the slide with a cloth to remove fingerprints and body oil from handling. Use your finger to spread a light layer of slide grease on the surface of the slide groove. Set this aside for the moment.

Wipe down the main body of the weapon and run a solvent soaked patch over the metal surfaces to remove any residue from firing and then use dry cloth patches until they remain clean. Wipe the body and grips with the lightly oiled cloth and set aside.

Clean the magazine with the lightly oiled cloth. Rub gently to remove any signs of wear from loading the shells. Set this aside as well.

Reassemble the weapon, taking special care to look over any piece for excessive wear. Once you reassemble the weapon, wipe it down with the lightly oiled cloth and place in storage. Proper gun safety recommends to not store a loaded gun and especially for semiautomatics not to store with a shell in the chamber.


  • Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.

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