Three years ago, I did a series on gun ownership that started with "Are you Thinking of Owning a Gun" and followed with Thoughts on Gun Selection and Ownership." I was too ill to post the third part this series, so my apologies for having taken so long with its third. In this final part, I will discuss ways to maintain your weapon.
Maintaining your weapon is similar to taking care of your vehicle. You need to give it some attention, so that it doesn't fail you when you need it most. The most common problem with weapons that don't function properly is the gun jamming, due to a lack of maintenance. There are two important things that must be done to a gun in order for it to function properly: Clean and lubricate. Even if you don't use it often, you should maintain at least a monthly ritual of cleaning and lubricating it.
How to Clean Your GunIn order to clean your gun, you must first learn to disassemble it, or if you want the gun verbiage, "field strip it". This might require some time to do, but with practice it will be easier to remember the main parts of a gun: Slide, Barrel, Frame and Magazine. If you're just as forgetful as I am about remembering the different parts, I found that the following sentence will help me remember the anatomy of a gun: Silly Boys Forget Manners. The anatomy of a gun is a follows:
Slide- helps strip (or remove) the next round from the magazine and ejects the spent shell casing. The sights (what you look through in order to aim at your target) are also located on your slide.
Barrel- the long, cylinder part from which the bullet is fired through.
Frame- the "body" of the pistol. It holds all of the parts together and also contains the action and trigger.
Magazine- the container that holds the rounds (bullets), and just so you know, for the love all gun owner's everywhere, never, EVER, call the magazine a clip. Hollywood does this quite a bit, and it drives gun owners nuts. I once called it a thingy-ma-jingy clippy thing, and I actually made my husband's teeth grate, ha! It was as if I had spat on the holy grail of gun terminology, sheesh! So seriously, don't call it that, unless you want to look like a total noob.
To clean the weapon, watch the following video to see how to disassemble each piece and clean the frame:
How to Strip and Clean Your Gun
Lubricate Your Gun
A properly lubricated weapon will function properly when needed. Your pistol, like your car, should always be in good working condition. After cleaning your gun, it's important to lubricate it in the following areas:
Barrel, slide rails/frame rails, and the action (which is the only metal part towards the back end of the frame that makes contact with the back end metal part of the slide- see video below). You can either use oil or grease to lubricate those parts. My husband prefers TW-25 grease because unlike oil, it doesn't run, stain, and stays where you put it, but I suppose that really is a matter of preference as long as your weapon is lubricated properly. My preference is Frog Lube, because of its minty smell and non-toxic formula.
To clean your weapon there is a safety precaution you must take before you strip it, and that's to ensure that there is no bullet in the chamber. Most gun accidents with guns going off occur because the owner forgets to clear the chamber when cleaning it (see Stripping your weapon video above). Below is video on how to clean and lubricate your weapon.
Cleaning and Lubricating Your Gun
MaintenanceWhen it comes to maintaining your weapon the important thing to remember is to ensure that the recoil and magazine springs are working properly, because they are the ones that wear out the most and therefore most often need replacement. Simple disassembly will allow you to replace these parts yourself. In your owners manual, which comes with all new guns, you will have a schedule as to when parts should be replaced. Follow this and your firearm will give you years of reliable service. If replacing certain parts makes you uncomfortable, take it to a gunsmith.
Remember that a monthly cleaning ritual will help your gun work properly. Never put away a dirty gun. It is important to clean and lubricate it after each use. I can't stress that enough. When it comes to storing, always make sure it is secured in a safe or lock box, especially if you have kids. I'd personally would like to try the biometric ones, but I haven't researched enough about them, yet, so I'm going to refrain from commenting about that for now. If you have one you use, I'd like to hear what your opinion is about traditional combination types verses the new, biometric ones.
I hope that this series on gun use proved helpful. I'm not a proponent of open carry as I stated in the second post of this series, but if you are interested in concealed gun carry, my recommendation is to choose a concealed gun training professional to help you with this process. I have one to recommend for the San Antonio area if you are interested in inquiring about his classes. Full disclosure, I know him personally, he is a friend of mine, and he is sincere about helping people learn good gun safety. He is also patient with women. His name is Robert Suttner with El Tejon and you can find him on Facebook.
Good luck and be safe!