The slotted patch holder is used for pushing the patches through the barrel. Care should be exercised when using either to ensure that they do not mar the lands and grooves of the barrel. The slotted tip allows the patch to be moved through the bore primarily for solvent distribution. The jag allows for a more precise fit of the patch in the bore to enhance removal of firing residue. Use the correct caliber jag to ensure a tight fit of the patch in the bore.
Patches are either round or square and should be made of soft, absorbent material. Some patches have a woven side and a fibrous side. The woven side may assist in introducing solvent into the barrel and provides a scrubbing surface, while the fibrous side may be used to remove the residue left by the solvent's chemical action. Patches may also be used to dry the bore and lightly lubricate the entire handgun.
There are many commercially available cleaning solvents that do an excellent job of removing both powder residue and metal fouling. Cleaning solvents should be used to loosen and remove powder residue, and copper or lead fouling. Use cleaning solvents that are manufactured for weapons use only. If a cleaning solvent is used, be sure all solvent is removed before applying any lubricant, as the solvent will reduce the effectiveness of the lubricant. WARNING: Some cleaning solvents and treated cloths may be detrimental to the finish of your handgun. Always read the manufacturer's recommendation for use and the warning label before using.
For the wet brush a nylon toothbrush with a lubricant, preservative or similar material to dissolve and remove firing residue can be used to clean areas of the weapon that are hard to reach. For optimum results, this brush should have bristles located at each end similar to today's issue military style brush. A moistened toothbrush works well on the interior of the frame, the underside and face of the breechblock, behind the extractor, the exterior of the slide, and any other location where firing residue may accumulate. It is not recommended that solvent be used in areas where it may collect and cannot be removed.
A dry nylon brush, such as a toothbrush, makes the cleaning process easier in areas where solvent is not desired such as the grips, and when removing lint and minor fouling from the front and rear sights, trigger, etc.. Lint and fuzz that accumulates in the holster can also be removed using a dry brush. A military style brush not yet used with lubricant or solvent will best satisfy this requirement.
A screwdriver of proper size should be used for tightening all screws. Correct blade size prevents mutilation of screw head slots. For best results, the blade must fit the slot snugly in both width and length.
A clean, absorbent, lint free cloth is necessary for cleaning the weapon and protecting it from hard surfaces during the cleaning process. Cheese cloth is one of the most widely recommended. Too often the effort to keep the weapon clean is defeated by the contamination of dirt, grease, fouling, etc., from a soiled cloth. Once the cloth becomes soiled discard it. A mechanical stoppage while firing is less likely to occur if a clean lint free cloth is used.
There are a number of separate applications for the treated cloth. This makes it extremely important to read the instructions on the packaging concerning both use and storage. The most widely used cloths are impregnated with a finish preservative. Silicon, microscopic solids, or petroleum-based substances are used to cover surface areas of pistols to prevent deterioration of the finish due to oxidation and corrosion. Other types of cloths are designed for lead removal in the bore as well as fouling accumulation elsewhere. These cloths may be harmful to the weapons finish and should only be used following the manufacturer's recommendations.
That brings us to the last cleaning tool I mentioned; the air hose. Not every individual or department has access to an air hose and there are advantages and disadvantages to using one in the cleaning process. An air hose is excellent for blowing out dirt particles or excess cleaning solvent from areas hard to reach with the soft brush or cloth. And it is an excellent tool for blowing out holster and magazine pouches. On the other hand, an air hose may blow solvent, dirt particles or lubricants into the face, the pores of the skin, or the clothing of the user or other persons (Again, I cannot stress the importance of wearing eye protection). Dirt particles may be blown back into the mechanism rather than out, contributing to a stoppage. Condensation may accumulate in the air tank and hose, which, in turn, will introduce moisture to the surfaces being cleaned causing rust (consider using dry air).