For semiautomatic pistols the recoil spring and guide may be cleaned and lubricated by the operator either separated or together. In either case firing residue should be brushed from the surface areas of both parts. Lubrication is accomplished by saturating a cleaning patch with an appropriate lubricant / preservative and wiping down all exposed surfaces of the recoil spring and guide.
In semiautomatic pistol clean the interior and exterior of the slide with a nylon brush and an appropriate lubricant / preservative to dissolve and remove all firing residue. The slide rails and locking surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned as should the breech face (SPECIAL ATTENTION MUST BE GIVEN TO CLEANING THE EXTRACTOR). Foreign material and firing residue around the breech face and extractor can cause extraction related stoppages as well as failures to feed. After cleaning, wipe all exposed surfaces of the slide with a lubricant / preservative-saturated patch. Wipe the exterior surfaces of the slide with a clean patch to remove any excess material.
The magazine is the most neglected part of the semi-automatic pistol. It is the ammunition feeding device, and if it fails, the semi-automatic pistol can experience a stoppage. At International Training, Inc. we strongly recommend that each time you disassemble, clean, lubricate, and function test your semi-automatic pistol you do the same to the pistol’s magazines. The magazine is easily disassembled and may be cleaned with a nylon brush and / or soft lint free cloth. In addition, the metal surfaces may be treated lightly with a commercially available lubricant/preservative. Finalize the cleaning and lubrication by wiping all surfaces with a clean cloth. This will prevent ammunition contamination, but allow the metal surfaces to be protected from the environment. NOTE: The pistol is not considered clean unless the magazine is clean also.
It is the weapon operator’s responsibility to maintain the weapon in a state of maximum operational readiness. This requires cleaning and lubrication at regular intervals. Frequent checks by visually and physically verifying the operational state of the weapon should be performed between maintenance intervals. Holster, ammunition pouches and ancillary equipment should also be inspected regularly to assure serviceability. You should inspect for safety / retention devices that retain and release correctly (snaps, Velcro® or inserts), the accumulation of lint, dirt, oil, or other foreign material, the overall appearance and shape, inside and outside, and the possibility of moisture build-up.
NOTE: Separate your handgun from the holster and ammunition devices from the pouches regularly, especially if the holster and magazine pouches are made of leather. This will help the holster and pouches to dry out and not trap moisture. This also provides an opportunity for regular visual inspection.
You should use the air hose (dry air) to blow out pouches and holster. A clean dry cloth would be sufficient when compressed air is unavailable.
When performing an inspection be sure that the pistol is safely unloaded ("check twice") before inspection. The following should be part of that inspection:
- Sights - Are they properly configured and positioned correctly? Do they fit tight on the slide?
- Barrel - Is it clean? Barrel and chamber should be inspected for fouling and other firing residue that may be accumulating. Is the feed ramp smooth and contoured correctly? Are there pits inside the barrel? Pits may weaken the metal and allow gas to escape around the bullet reducing accuracy and velocity. The crown/muzzle end of the barrel should be inspected for wear, nicks or any damage that could affect accuracy. Does it match the slide and frame by proper fit and/or serial number?
- Recoil Spring and Guide - Inspect the spring for straightness, continuity of the wire wraps, equal separation of the individual coils and proper fit on the recoil spring guide. Inspect the spring guide for smoothness, straightness and flange integrity.
- Frame/Slide- Inspect the frame and slide for the appropriate serial numbers. Check the sights for visible damage and proper fit in the dovetails of the slide. Verify that there are no abnormally protruding pins from the slide or frame. Visually check for cracks, excessive wear or stress marks. Verify that all screws are in place and tight. Check the grips for proper fit and damage.