Keep Your Gun Functioning Properly

Pistol Maintenance

In general, firearms should be inspected periodically to determine whether they are in good working condition. When properly maintained, firearms can be expected to function properly. Although not a fun thing to do for most people, maintenance must be done periodically because it will guarantee that your pistol will last and function when needed.

Cleaning Supplies

I played around with cleaning equipment, chemicals and lubricants before sticking to my preferred brand.  Some people prefer ultrasonic cleaner, but I prefer getting my hands dirty. Keep in mind that certain chemicals can damage your wood grip panels or your nickel-plated steel gun so read the label. Q-tips, old shirts or hand towels will definitely come in handy. I clean a lot of pistols. To save time cleaning barrels, I attach my bore brush rod to a hand drill and use it to speed up cleaning the barrels.

Field Stripping

Safety first! Clear your firearm of any live ammunition and keep it away from the area. Field stripping is the easiest way to clean your gun. Just disassemble the major parts (frame, barrel, slide, recoil spring assembly), spray your chemical and let everything set. After a few minutes, start brushing. I field strip all my pistols after every 500 rounds.

Detail Stripping

Most gun manufacturers recommend that you detail strip your pistol every 5,000 rounds. Caution! Don’t just detail strip your gun without proper training. I highly recommend that you take it to a certified armorer or attend an armorer’s course to learn proper gun disassembly. If you’re a self-taught armorer through YouTube and damage your gun, you will void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Function Checks

Function checks are a must after every detail stripping. This will ensure that you have installed all the parts in the right places and help you determine if the internal parts need replacement. Here are some tips:

With an unloaded gun, close the slide, insert an empty magazine and release it three times. The magazine should freely drop. If not, something’s wrong with your magazine catch/release or your magazine.

Next, with the empty magazine in the magazine well, pull the slide to the rear. This should lock the slide/action open. Do this three times. If it fails to lock the slide to the rear, check your slide catch/release.


Next, release the magazine. Pull the slide back and release it. The slide should move forward into battery. If not, check your slide catch/release.

Now, engage the external safety and pull the trigger. The trigger should not release the striker. If you have a trigger safety like a Glock pistol, pull the sides of the trigger without engaging the trigger safety. If the trigger pulls, replace the trigger assembly.

And last, pull the slide back. While holding the slide, let it slide forward about an inch, going into battery and release it. The slide should go into battery on its own. If not, replace your recoil spring assembly.

The last function check is to fire your gun at a shooting range. If it fails to fire, check the internal parts of the slide (i.e. striker).