How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?

Today I’m not going to talk about cleaning and maintaining your guns. You’ll know that this is the way to go if you wish to keep them at their best.

I want to discuss with you something about firearms that users have misunderstood for years- how often should you clean your gun?

Some will tell you that you need to do this right after every use…others insist that you do it daily, monthly.

Heck, some will even tell you never to clean your guns!

But who’s right here?

Only after reading the following post that you’ll discover when you ought to clean your gun…

“How often should I clean my gun?”

I wish I could give you a direct answer… but if I did, I’ll be misleading because the regularity of cleaning your gun depends on the four key factors that I’ve outlined below:

  1. Level of usage
  2. What you primarily use it for
  3. The ammunition and elements it gets exposed to

Now come with me as I discuss how each of the above factors affects your gun cleaning regularity in details…

1. The Level of Usage

Depending on how often you use your gun (and regardless of what type it is), you should always take it through a periodic, detailed cleaning to improve its overall performance and reliability.

In other words, you have to tear down the rifle and thoroughly clean it, oil it, and reassemble it again.

How often you should do this depends on the number of rounds you shoot with it, and the primary role you use it for.

BUT…regardless of whether you have used your gun or not, I’d advise you to give it such a thorough clean once every year.

If possible, do the cleaning on your own. Why? You might ask. As you disassemble your gun to clean it, you get a chance to inspect all its parts and any issues it could have developed internally. This way, you can fix them on time and prevent unexpected failures.

2. What Do You Use Your Firearm For?

What do you use your guns primarily for? Shooting matches? Personal defense? Plinking? Target clay?


What you use your gun also plays a key role in determining the right time to clean it.

If you simply use it for tasks such as target clay, plinking, punching holes on papers (yes, some people use their guns for this task), etc., then you can let them go for around 3-4 months before giving them a thorough cleaning.

What if you use your firearms for personal defense, hunting, shooting matches, and so on? Boy, you got to keep them clean at always, properly lubricated, and ready to go!

As I did mention earlier, fouling, dust, and dirty tend to slow down the performance of your rifle.

So, if you own that semiautomatic rifle for self-defense, be sure to keep it clean and oiled at all times- it’s the only way to ensure it will never fail you when that moment comes.

Do the same to revolvers as well to make them immune to fouling; carbon tends to build up in their cylinder, making it almost impossible to execute the double action trigger (since the barrel becomes blocked).

The same case applied to match and hunting guns. If you use a semi-automatic for such tasks, you can only enjoy its reliability when you keep it clean at all times.

And if you use the bolt action guns, you can simply clean it and store it. But, when the time to use it comes, you’ll have to fire a foul shot to “activate” the bore for the range shooting task ahead.

3. The Ammunition and Elements It Gets Exposed To

Consider a scenario where you shoot corrosive ammo with your gun… or it gets exposed to moisture, dust, water, salt, etc.

Now, if you store your gun after exposure to such elements, without cleaning it, you know what is likely to happen. The rifle becomes easily susceptible to corrosion, rust, and even excess tear and wear.

For that reason, I’d suggest that you clean your gun immediately after use (i.e., if it gets exposed to the elements I’ve mentioned above).

NOTE: Don’t fool yourself that because your gun’s bore and receiver are made of stainless, it isn’t vulnerable to tear and wear.

This might be true, but you need to keep in mind that the stainless steel is softer and is likely to tear and wear faster when exposed to dust, dirt, fouling, etc.

WARNING: Always ensure that you put on protective clothing when cleaning your gun. And do it in a well-lit, ventilated area where since some of the chemicals as well as solvents you’ll be dealing with are hazardous and produce fumes that might affect your breathing system.

Final Verdict

There’s no set rule on how often you should clean your gun. Rather, this depends on a few factors such as how often you use your gun, what type of gun it is and the primary role you use it for, and the ammunition or elements it gets exposed to.

At least once a year, make a point of giving your gun a deep clean. This not only helps make it thoroughly clean but also provides you with an opportunity to inspect any problem it might have developed internally. And if you fix them on time, it will be ready for the next use.

As for the defense guns, you need to keep them clean, properly oiled at all times. I’m saying, if your life depends on your concealed carry, keep it ready to go anywhere, anytime!

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