How To Clean a Semi-Automatic Pistol

Semi automatic pistol

Cleaning a semi-automatic pistol is not difficult, especially if a few simple steps are followed.

  1. The area where the semi-automatic pistol cleaning is to take place should have good ventilation, it should be away from any food or drinks and there should not be any small children or pregnant women in the area. There should also be no ammunition or ignition source in the cleaning area.
  2. Gather all the materials needed necessary to clean a semi-automatic pistol. These materials include latex or vinyl surgical gloves and a pistol cleaning kit, which usually includes bore brush, cleaning patches and cleaning solvent. Other materials necessary are a gun cleaning solvent, gun oil, an old sock or rag that can be torn into four 7x7 inch squares, q-tips, pipe cleaners, and a wooden chopstick with end whittled to a chisel point. Other materials that may be useful are flexible brush rods--they bend like pipe cleaners, a bore snake to use instead of a bore brush for quick cleaning that is not as thorough as a bore brush, mops instead of cloths which are strictly a personal preference, poly coated or plastic coated brush rod that is gentler on the pistol and compressed air to dry the cleaning solvent.
  3. Make sure the pistol is unloaded; never assume your pistol is unloaded. Check and double check to make sure.
  4. Begin the cleaning procedure by taking the pistol apart. Remove the magazine, which is the part that holds the bullets in the gun. Check the chamber, which is located at the back of the barrel toward the handle and holds the bullet that is ready to be fired. The chamber must be empty. Locate the slide, which is the part of the pistol where the barrel is housed and has the breechblock along with parts of the firing mechanism. The breechblock is the part of the pistol that is responsible for sealing the rear chamber and for supporting the case head when a bullet has been fired. Lock the slide and check the chamber once more to make sure there is no bullet in it. Be sure to check the chamber from the side of the pistol, not from the end of the barrel. Remove the slide assembly latch from the frame and the slide. The frame is the part of the pistol where the barrel, grip and action are connected. Remove the spring and the barrel.
  5. Begin the cleaning process by attaching a large cleaning patch on the end of a barrel rod. Both of these items should be located in your pistol or gun cleaning kit unless you are using one of the plastic or poly coated ones. These barrel rods are specific to the caliber of the pistol being cleaned. Be sure to use the one made for your pistol. Pour or spray the cleaning solvent on the patch. Never dip the patch into the cleaning solvent as that would contaminate it. Now slide the cleaning rod with the cleaning patch attached to it through the pistol's bore, or the inside of the barrel. Make sure you always slide the cleaning rod from the breech end to the muzzle, never the opposite. Slide the cleaning rod and patch through the bore until it is cleaning, changing the patch as needed. Now allow the barrel to set with the solvent in it for several minutes to loosen  any stuck on crud.
  6. This step takes the bore rod, the bore brush and the cleaning solvent. Attach the bore brush to the bore rod and apply cleaning solvent to the bore brush. Clean the chamber by rotating the bore brush in it several times, then push the bore rod and brush all the way through the bore, then pull it back out, rotating the rod so that the brush can clean the grooves inside the bore. Do this several times. Check the brush occasionally to be sure that it remains tightly screwed to the bore rod.
  7. Use the slotted jag attached to the bore rod, cleaning patches and cleaning solvent to slide through the bore just as in the previous step. Rotate the cleaning patch in the chamber then slide it on through the bore and pull it back out. Change the cleaning patch as needed and repeat the procedure until a patch comes out of the bore and chamber clean. Now use a dry patch attached to the slotted jag and bore rod and run it through the chamber and bore to dry them.
  8. Inspect the newly cleaned barrel by holding it up to a light and looking through it, from the chamber to the muzzle.
  9. Wet one of the pieces of cloth or cleaning patches with cleaning solvent and wipe the inside of frame and slide. The frame is the part of the pistol that is connected to the barrel, grip and action. Next, use q-tips and cleaning patch both wet with cleaning solvent along with the modified chopstick to get the crud out of the slide rail, rail grooves and locking lugs. Repeat if necessary. A dry cloth or cleaning pad is now used to clean up the crud and solvent remaining on the frame and slide.
  10. Make sure all solvent is wiped dry or use compressed air to blow everything dry. Wipe outside of barrel, lugs and rails with a very minute amount of oil on a cleaning patch, making sure this is a very, very thin film of gun oil.
  11. Reassembly the pistol by replacing the barrel and spring. Next, replace the slide by pulling it as far back as it would go, then lock it in the open position with the slide catch lever. The barrel should be as far forward as possible, then the slide dis-assembly latch can be replaced, which may be difficult because of the spring. This is easiest if the tab on the latch is facing the back of the pistol. The pistol should be clean, reassembled and ready to fire again.


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