Saturday, February 27, 2010

Carry Gun Hygiene

I just spent my morning once again scrubbing the schmutz out of my bobtail Wilson. Before I started carrying all the time, I used to think shooting was the only way to crap up a gun. Boy, do I ever know better now.

Lint, skin oil, itty-bitty skin flakes (ick!), and sweat are way worse than carbon and copper. Wearing a gun all the time also leads to finding occasional traces of the R-word in the deepest nooks and crannies alongside the sights and inside the hex-holes in the grip screws. Utterly horrifying to a clean-gun-freak like me. Not even a day at gun school shooting hundreds of rounds makes that much of a mess.

I use a piece of paracord when field-stripping as no-idiot-mark insurance.

Every so often I grit my teeth, hold my nose, and let my gun actually get dirty as a test of reliability. I certainly don't have time to clean it every day other than maybe a quick spritz of Tetra Gun Spray and a wipe-down. If getting a little gunky causes malfunctions, I need to know -- and probably would opt to carry a more-tolerant gun for self defense. Fortunately, so far my Wilson has run like a champ even when less than pristine.

Every time I unload my carry gun, I rotate the chambered round into the magazine to avoid possible setback. When all nine rounds have been chambered once, I shoot out my carry loads. The two spares I carry just get checked for hairballs. Maybe once a year I'll burn through all of them, swap the mags, and start over.

Yeah, I know there are plenty of folks who clean their carry guns seldom or never, and those guns will probably go bang if needed, especially if they're Glocks or wheelguns. Me, I just have to treat the thing like my life might depend on it some day.

With all this near-OCD thorough gun maintenance going on, you'd think I wouldn't be afraid to detail-strip the thing to make sure I really get all the crud out. Well, here's the embarrassing admission of guilt. Yes, I am afraid to do a full detail strip. I can field-strip it with my eyes closed (if I don't mind pinching some part of my hand at least once thanks to that 22-pound recoil spring and flanged barrel), but replacing a plastic mainspring housing with stainless steel in one of my Kimbers is as far as I've ventured into the realm of Tasks That Require Pin Punches. I have all the stuff I need to do it, except the nerve.

Did I mention there's still an escaped HK P7M8 magazine spring lurking somewhere in my house?

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