Two Often Forgotten Components of Your Gun Cleaning & Maintenance Routine

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 3.57.27 PMI am a vocal advocate for regularly cleaning and ops checking your concealed carry firearm. When you really need it, there aren’t any second chances. It will either go bang or click with the latter leading to some very unpleasant ramifications. So if you aren’t at least performing monthly cleaning, oiling and operational checking of your firearm(s), you should start doing so immediately.

Your regular routine to ensure your firearm is running smoothly shouldn’t end with the firearm itself; after all, there are other critical components to your concealed carry system. Two of those components that need as much attention as your gun are the holster and the ammunition. Both have to work flawlessly when called upon or those unpleasant ramifications will rear their ugly head.

When inspecting your holster, ensure that there are no cracks or tares, no missing or loose screws or rivets and make sure the firearm is held securely in place without any unnecessary play. And lastly, make sure the firearm will come out of the holster when needed. If you are using a leather holster and it gets wet, there is a chance the leather will shrink making the firearm hard, or down right impossible to draw. I know of an individual who never separated the firearm and holster, he just took the holster off with the gun in it to store it. There came a time when the gun and holster found themselves out in the rain while this individual was on duty. A few weeks passed and while at the range, the staff wanted to inspect all the weapons. When this individual attempted to remove the gun for inspection, it would not come out of the holster because the leather had contracted. The firearm was so stuck that the holster had to be cut off. Now imagine needing that gun in an emergency.

I store my gun in the holster to protect it, but I always remove it before I put the holster on and further draw the gun out a few times to ensure everything is in working order.

If you have a holster with some kind of mechanical retention system, every time you strap it on, you should be ops checking the holster to be sure the retention system releases when it should and retains the gun properly when it should. Also be sure to clean out the mechanical device should it become dirty while in use.

The next component to be regularly inspected is the ammunition. The gun and holster can be working fine, but if the ammo is bad, the pesky unpleasant ramifications will poke their head out.

First of all, I strongly suggest you use ammunition manufactured for personal defense for everyday carry as opposed to ammo made for target practice. While both are generally manufactured on the same assembly line, the quality control standards are higher for your “duty” ammo. When I find bad ammo, it’s almost always practice or target ammo, but on occasion you will find “duty” ammo with flaws. Some you won’t be able to detect, but most you will. Look for missing primers or primers that are pressed too far into the casing to be struck by the firing pin. Look for ammo with a bulge in the casing. Sometimes the bullet isn’t perfectly lined up when it is pressed in causing the casing to protrude out ever so slightly. This will cause the round to either not feed or if it does feed, it won’t eject properly. I recently saw a casing like this get stuck in the barrel requiring a vice and mallet to free. So when you load from the box, take the time to inspect for defects.

Lastly, humidity can create issue with the ammunition over time. Even if your gun doesn’t get wet, if you carry it next to your body, the moisture from your body will create a humid environment. In and out of the heat can also create issues with humidity building up on the firearm and the rounds. So inspect for any signs that humidity has damaged the round and rotate you duty ammunition yearly replacing it with a fresh box.

So remember, its good practice to regularly clean and inspect your gun(s), but don’t neglect the other key components to you firearms successful operation, the holster and ammunition. Remember, a click during a gun fight is the loudest sound in the world.

Don’t just survive, thrive!


Carrying a firearm for personal protection brings with it an awesome responsibility. You have the power to change a person’s world forever, and even the power to take their life. It is you duty as a responsible gun owner to always obey the cardinal rules of firearms safety and to understand the laws where you live and travel with your gun. Do your due diligence become educated on the use of force continuum and become proficient with your firearm before you leave home.

Leave a Reply