How To Clean a Pistol

In the United States, about 40% of people report having a gun or living in a household where someone else has one. Many gun owners don’t know how to clean a pistol, but it’s crucial if you want your gun to last a long time, to know the steps.

If you aren’t sure how to properly maintain your gun, this pistol cleaning guide is for you. We are going to tell you what supplies you’ll need and how to use them. Keep reading so you can learn more about your gun.

Regular Maintenance

Before we talk about how to clean a pistol, let’s go over why it’s essential. As a gun owner, you are legally responsible for keeping your gun clean.

Gun powder residue can build up inside your gun over time. If it’s not cleaned properly, your gun won’t work as it should.

An unkept pistol has a greater chance of misfiring. Regular maintenance will ensure your gun fires properly every time.


How often you should clean your pistol is often debated. Some think you should clean it after every use and others wait until after a few training sessions.

If you can wipe it down every time you use it, that is best. Your pistol will have a longer lifespan if you take the time to clean it. Dirty, grime, and chemicals can cause damage to the gun if they sit for too.

You should also consider the climate you’re shooting in. If you’re out shooting in humid air, moisture can get trapped in the pistol and cause it to rust. If you don’t have time to clean it right after you fire it, be sure to do it as soon as possible.

Supplies Needed

To clean a pistol, you’ll need to get a number of supplies. Parts of the inside of the gun are small and hard to get to, so you’ll need to take your time and don’t rush. This will ensure you get all the particles out

You can purchase a pistol cleaning kit or you can gather the supplies individually. You’ll first need to step up your cleaning station and place a cleaning mat down. This will ensure your gun doesn’t get cracked. It will also protect your workbench or table from any liquid cleaning products.

Many guns don’t need tools to be disassembled, but some do. You may need a gunsmith screwdriver to take the gun apart. Not all pistols are the same, so you might not need these tools.

You’ll need a soft bore brush; be sure you get it in the right size. You’ll also need a patch holder, a cleaning rod, and a bore brush. You need to purchase gun solvent and a clean brush. If you have an old toothbrush that will work too.

Lubricants and a cleaning rag are the last things you’ll need. There are specific gun rags that are pre-lubricated and you may want to purchase a pack of disposable gloves. Some of the chemicals, solvents, and grease can be hard to remove from your skin and they may irritate your hands too.

Unload Your Gun

It’s crucial that you check and recheck that your gun is not loaded. About 500 people die each year from unintentional gunshots. This includes cleaning a gun that is supposed to be unloaded but isn’t.

Remove all ammo and store it in your gun safe. Once you’ve done that, check again, then you’ll be ready to get started.

At this step, you can also take the time to look over your gun manual. There will be information that you can use while cleaning your gun.

It will tell you how to take it apart without damaging any of the parts. There may be a list of what chemicals, you should and shouldn’t use depending on the materials of your gun.

Barrell and Chamber

To clean the chamber, you’ll want to take a brush and push the leftover debris through towards the muzzle of the gun. You’ll then put some solvent on a patch holder and place it on the end of a cleaning rod.

You’ll then put the rod through the pistol’s chamber. Don’t pull the rob back through as you’ll end up putting dirt back into the chamber. Let the solvent sit for about 15 minutes.

Next, you’ll take a bore brush and clean the barrel. Take a clean patch and your cleaning rob and run it through the barrel. Do this several times until the patch comes out clean.

You’re then ready to lubricate the inside of the chamber. If you plan on storing your pistol for a while, you can use a heavier lubricant.

The Action

The action is the portion of the gun that loads, fires, and ejects the cartridge from the pistol. When you’re setting up to clean, and lubricate this part of the gun, take your time. If you haven’t already, now is also a good time to check the manual. This step requires some precision.

You’re going to take a solvent and spray it on the slide, pump, and bolt of the gun. You’ll let the solvent sit for about 10 minutes to ensure it soaks through all the debris. You’ll then lubricate the spot of the action that the manual indicates.


Every gun’s magazines have different cleaning requirements. If you have multiple pistols, don’t assume they all can be cleaned the same way with the same cleaning products. However, be sure to never use lubricants or petroleum-based products.

Finishing Up

After everything is cleaned, you’ll need to put the gun back together. After doing so, be sure to make sure your gun is working properly. If it’s not, you may have reassembled it wrong or some dirt may be causing the issue.

Be sure to check that the safety and trigger mechanisms are working correctly. You’ll also want to inspect the magazine retention and the injection systems. Now that everything is working properly, use a lint-free cloth and wipe down the outside of your pistol.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re cleaning a pistol. However, even a minor mistake can ruin your gun. You may want to save some money on supplies, but using a gun solvent alternative can cause a lot of damage. You can ask your gunsmith about the best products to use or read the labels to ensure that to product won’t corrode the pistol.

Another mistake people make is not purchasing or using enough patches or clean rags. You’ll likely need more than you think.

Some people may think they can get away with not cleaning the inside of the gun. The internal mechanisms are crucial and it isn’t a step that should be skipped.


Here are a few common questions that people have when it comes to maintaining their pistol.

Should I Clean a Brand New Gun?

If you’ve just purchased a pistol, you should take the time to clean the high-quality Sig P365 parts. There will likely be grease and lubricates that was put on the gun during the manufacturing process.

These products helped keep the gun protected during the shipping process. However, they aren’t good for shooting. Taking your gun apart and cleaning it when you first get it will also help you get familiar with it.

How Should I Store My Gun?

You don’t want your gun to become rusted or damaged when you aren’t using it. If you decide to store it, you may not pull it out for a few months and you’ll need to prep it. You’ll want to clean it like normal and then apply long-term gun grease.

It’s important to keep it properly locked up in a gun safe. Once you bring it out of storage, you’ll want to clean it and ensure it’s working correctly.

How to Clean a Pistol

If you own a gun, it’s essential that you follow these pistol cleaning tips. They will help you maintain and even maximize the time you can use your gun. No matter what you use your gun for, whether you take it to the range for practice shots, store it as an antique, or compete in competitions, you should take the time to care for your gun.

Learning how to clean a pistol should be at the top of your list of things to do if you own or if you’re purchasing a gun. We hope you’ve found this article helpful; if so, keep browsing our site for more lifestyle tips and tricks.

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