A gun can be a tool, an investment, an heirloom, a part of history, a means of protection, and so much more. It should be respected, taken care of, treated well, and maintained. A big part of proper maintenance is care, and cleaning. Regular cleaning and care preserves the function, reliability and value of your gun. However, cleaning should be done methodically, with precision, and with care. Safety should be a top priority and concern when cleaning a gun. Not just safely cleaning the chamber and barrel so as not to damage the firearm, but practicing safety to avoid accident and injury.
The following are seven useful tips for safe gun cleaning:
- Always treat a gun as if it is loaded. It seems like every few weeks there is an article in the paper, or a story on the news about an accidental death from firearm. And many times this occurs when the weapon is being cleaned. The person did not realize it was loaded, and it went off. To avoid this happening to you while cleaning your gun, always treat the gun as if it is loaded.
- Never point at anything you wouldn’t want destroyed. Even if you have removed the magazine and emptied the chamber, only point your gun at things you are okay with destroying. If you don’t want to kill it, ruin it, or injure it, don’t let the muzzle of the gun point at it. This seems like common sense, but should be considered carefully. What about your television? Your furniture, etc.? Keep the muzzle pointed at the ground during any kind of transport, and pay attention to what would be hit if the gun were to fire.
- Make sure you have a target before you put your finger on the trigger. When cleaning your gun, keep your hand away from the trigger. Once you are ready to clean that area, deliberately pick a target (even though the gun is empty), and keep your gun aimed there while cleaning. In other words, if the firearm was to fire, where would an acceptable place be for a bullet to go? Aim it there before you ever allow your finger near a trigger.
- Disassemble your gun in a safe place. Interior walls don’t stop bullets, so know what lies behind them. Safely cleaning a gun means making sure that if an accidental firing were to happen, nothing you value would be damaged. This takes into account some of the previous tips. Find a clean, clear, and safe work space to disassemble and clean your weapon.
- Slow down. Cleaning your gun is not something you rush. When you rush, mistakes can happen. Clean your gun when you can give it your full focus and attention. Be methodic. It is best to clean your gun when you can be alone, without interruption or distraction from others. This will also reduce risk to others if a misfire were to occur.
- Reassemble with care. Keep ammunition away from the gun while reassembling, and reassemble with the same care and precision used to disassemble. Again, only pointing the gun at something you are okay with destroying.
- Return to safe or case immediately. Do not leave a gun out after it has been cleaned. The sooner it is returned to a locked case or safe after cleaning, the lower the risk of accident and injury.
Taking time to exercise common sense, and safe gun cleaning practices can spare you heartache, expense, frustration, and more. Slow down, handle with care.