Have you learned a new language yet, finally finished that semi- interesting book, or binged your eyeballs shut watching Netflix? Well, I have an NRA style idea for you.
When was the last time you thoroughly inspected, maintained and/or cleaned your firearms inventory? You do religiously clean your rifles and pistols each time you return from the range, right? And you’ve inspected and maintained those kept in storage to make sure they are in “ready to go” condition, right? And you’ve paid particular attention to your everyday carry firearm knowing that its proper functioning could be a matter of life and death? For those of you that have – good for you! If not, and I suspect there are a few of you, this down time is an excellent opportunity to invest in your “armory." Here are few considerations:
*RULE #1- BEFORE YOU DO ANY INSPECTING, MAINTAINING/OR CLEANING ON ANY FIREARM ASSUME THAT IT IS LOADED-----THEN MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE IT IS UNLOADED! First ensure that the safety (if present) is on, keep your finger off the trigger at all times, keep the barrel pointed in a safe direction, remove the magazine, only then fully open the chamber and carefully inspect that no round is present. Simple, right? You’d be surprised at how many “accidental” (a.k.a. dumbass) discharges take place by not doing these precautionary and absolutely necessary steps in this EXACT order. Do me a favor, and re-read this paragraph before going further.
Make sure you have the correct cleaning tools for your specific firearm. If you don’t already have cleaning supplies, kits specifically marked for the various calibers are available at most gun stores, on-line, and big box retailers.
Hopefully, you have saved the user’s manual that came with your firearm. If you have lost it or never had one, you may find the necessary information on- line or, even better, obtain one by contacting the manufacturer. Carefully read and follow the cleaning instructions for your firearm. Do not clean beyond what is covered in the manual.
For safety and health reasons, I recommend doing the cleaning in the garage or somewhere outside. If you’re inside your home, set-up in a location where you won’t be distracted, turn on the lights, get the fan going, and/or open some windows. Cover a very stable work space with a sacrificial towel or use a pad specifically designed for this purpose. I strongly recommend wearing eye protection since compressed springs will be involved in the process as well as oils, lubricants and brushing activity.
If you’re cleaning more than one firearm, do them one at a time completely before moving on to the next one. You don’t want any of these parts (or yourself) getting mixed up.
Disassemble your magazines and clean them as well. Many people skip this step and it makes little sense. A perfectly maintained and clean firearm will do you no good if your magazine fails to feed a bullet when you need it. If you need help with this, instructions are easily viewed on-line. Also, keep all ammunition separate from your work area and do any magazine reloading at a different time. Please see the above reference –dumbass discharge.
When finished, check your work by dry firing your firearm several times. Make sure everything looks, sounds, feels and operates in a normal fashion. Don’t forget to thoroughly wash your face and hands with soap and water after you’re done.
O.K., now for the bad news. If you are new to this, there is a possibility you may get stuck. This is especially true during reassembly. Don’t get frustrated nor try to force anything. Calmly re-read the owner’s manual and keep trying. If you reach the “no hope” point, stop, gather all the pieces and visit your friendly gunsmith. Trust me, he’s seen this situation more than a few times. Also, he’ll probably show you where things went wrong for future reference. By the way, it is an excellent idea to establish a relationship with your local gunsmith. Like anything else, ask around and find someone you like and trust. Once found, consider taking at least your most used firearms to him annually for a check-up and professional cleaning.
I wanted to give you something important and meaningful to do during these unusual times. This is a skill you can take pride in as well as doing something that could save your life and those you love. Hey, get this done and then go back to Netflix.
Be Prepared and Stay Well,