Cleaning Your Gun And Other CCW Pistol Maintenance
Guns are machines, after all, and just like other machines they require a certain amount of maintenance such as cleaning your gun and other regular maintenance tasks. Something that a lot of concealed carriers may forget at times is that the more they carry their gun, the more wear it's actually being subjected to.
Does that mean your concealed carry gun needs a Formula One team's worth of technicians around to service it? Not at all! It just needs a bit of regular attention to be kept in good working order.
What You'll Experience As Part Of Holster Wear
If a gun sits in a safe, not much will happen to it, but if you carry it, holster wear and so on become part of the equation. What, though, can you expect to happen to a gun that's carried every day?
One of the first things you can expect is that the finish is going to take a certain amount of punishment as the pistol is inserted and removed from the holster. Granted, there are some mitigating factors like holster material; leather holsters don't wear down the finish on a pistol as hard as other materials, especially if a leather holster is suede-lined.
Scuff marks where the gun contacts the holster are pretty common, especially on the sides and top of the slide. Wear can also be expected on the grip.
Additionally, another thing to be aware of - especially if you carry inside the waistband - is that your gun is going to be subjected to moisture, and especially sweat. The moisture, plus the chemicals present in sweat, can also lead to rusting and pitting in the metal.
You might also just scuff it up by bumping into various things.
These are just some of the things you can expect in terms of holster wear and general wear when it comes to your carry pistol. The good news is that these things are totally manageable.
Regular Gun Cleaning And Rust Treatment Goes A Long Way
While a certain amount of wear is unpreventable - sort of like how your car will never be 100 percent factory fresh ever again - you CAN keep your gun in good working order with regular gun cleaning and a bit of rust prevention.
It also is a good idea to hand it over to a gunsmith every few years for a detailed cleaning.
That said, field-stripping your pistol about every week or so, followed by a basic cleaning and lubrication as well as application of rust-proofing is a fantastic step toward ensuring your pistol remains in good condition. For those folks who live in drier climates, you may be able to get away with only doing so every few weeks. However, it's a good idea to strip, clean, lubricate and apply rust prevention every week or two.
When To Touch Up Gun Finish
As to gun finish, you'll want to periodically touch up the finish every so often on a carry gun. The frequency and touch-up procedure, of course, vary depending on the finish of your particular gun.
Gun finishes have improved a great deal in recent years. In years past, you could choose between a blued finish and stainless. Today, a number of other coatings are used such as Cerakote and parkerized finishes. Length of service of finishes depends on exactly what coating is used.
Bluing is a process by which steel is exposed to a alkali salt solution, causing a black oxide (magnetite - Fe3O4) to form on the surface of the metal. This prevents rusting but is less resistant to rust than parkerized or otherwise coated steel. Blued firearms were more common in past decades and thus with older pistols such as revolvers and older GI-spec 1911 pistols from some manufacturers, though many M1911 pistols were being parkerized by WWII.
Most common is parkerizing, a process by which a piece of metal is dipped in a phosphoric acid solution, which causes a layer of phosphate crystals to form on the surface. It is much hardier than bluing and resists rust and corrosion very well. An occasional reparkerizing may be necessary, but the time between parkerizing treatments is often measured in decades rather than years.
A common misconception is that the various ferritic nitrocarburizing processes are finishes. Tenifer, Melonite and Tufftrite and so on are not actually finishes; they are case hardening processes that toughen up the metal. Glocks, for instance, are actually parkerized.
Ceramic coatings such as DuraCoat or Cerakote are also common. They are quite hardy and stand up to use and abuse well, but do flake off and get divots as time goes on. Periodic recoating will be necessary; some people find every few years and some find the finish lasts much longer indeed.
However, part of how long a finish is going to last is the batch of finish you got and how your gun is used, so your mileage will vary. You'll know when it's time to touch up the finish, as it will start developing spots where the finish has worn.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.