Understanding Why Cleaning is Important for Your Firearm


Categories: Trainer Tip

Firearms are built to last a long time, and many safety features are put in place to prevent accidents. However, your firearm may not last as long and your safety features may not work as effectively if your firearm isn’t clean. For these reasons, gun cleaning is an important aspect of gun ownership.

Most gun malfunctions are due to negligence and improper maintenance as opposed to manufacturer error. In order to minimize these problems and ensure gun safety, cleaning your gun on a regular basis is essential.


What exactly happens when you fail to clean your weapons?

One well-known firearm issue is failure to feed and eject. These are each common malfunctions that can damage a weapon and potentially lead to injury. A failure to feed occurs when the round is not fed into the firing chamber. A failure to eject occurs when the empty cartridge or the fired round fails to clear the ejection port of the gun. This often occurs in self-loading, semi-automatic pistols where the cartridge becomes lodged in the slide of the gun. If the gun is dirty, rusted, or corroded, it could fail to extract the used cartridge. This issue is a result of negligence in cleaning, inspecting, and loading a gun.

Another well-known issue occurring from negligence in cleaning is incomplete discharge, which is when a round is fired but gets stuck inside the gun barrel. This can be caused by damage to the inside of the barrel or by residue buildup from previous rounds. If you tried to fire another round in this scenario, it can cause the gun to explode.

Misinformation about Firearm Maintenance

A common rumor is that you don’t need to clean your gun for it to function properly. While it’s true you do not need to clean your gun every time you use it, this does not mean that you never need to clean your firearms. You have consistency with firing a gun that has been used versus one that has been freshly cleaned, but if going too long without a thorough cleaning, your gun will get too dry, or fouled up, and begin to have trouble firing. You may not need to clean your gun after every use, but gun owners should make sure to clean it after a few uses, otherwise you will risk ruining your gun, or endangering yourself and others with the chance of a malfunction. In an article on American Rifleman, an NRA sponsored site, it details that cleaning your firearms will keep them in their best condition, but your guns may be cleaned less or more often depending on how often you use them.


How Often Should You Clean Your Firearm?

If you depend upon the firearm for defense, it should be cleaned and function tested after every firing. While some firearms can function for a long time between cleanings, some ammunition tends to accumulate debris faster, which makes it more prone to malfunctions. A firearm can never be “too clean,” so if you choose to clean it after each time you shoot, you will not be doing your firearm any harm and can protect future users.


It’s not just a dirty firearm that can impact the way your firearm functions. A dirty magazine can also lead to operating problems. It is important to clean the magazine per the guidance in your manual. Your firearm likely came with lubricating instructions with specific points where lubricant should be applied. The amount of lubricant that should be applied depends of your firearm type, as some may fail to operate properly if too much is applied. If your firearm malfunctions in a dangerous situation, it could be catastrophic. Also, if any sweat on the gun is not removed, there is potential to create rust on a firearm.


Why Handgun Cleaning Course is Recommended

It is best to clean a gun after each use to avoid the issues outlined above. If gun owners are not able to clean their firearms after each use, it is recommended that they set several cleaning sessions throughout the year to ensure cleanliness.

The best option is to take the Handgun Cleaning Course at Heritage Training and Shooting Center. Heritage Instructors will walk you through the disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly of your firearm. All you need to bring is your unloaded firearm, owner's manual, and the cleaning kit of your choice. The handgun cleaning course teaches all the steps needed to help shooters keep their firearms clean, free of rust and ready to be accurately fired in a fraction of the time.

At Heritage Training and Shooting Center, we are available to help you with your firearm maintenance needs. To prepare the services correctly for your firearm, you will need to undergo a pre-consultation process before bringing it in. For more information, please stop by our retail center or call us at (240) 837-8139.

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