Had a friend of mine ask me a couple days ago what the different “levels” of gun cleaning were. It was an honest question, probably deserves a serious answer, sorry this is what he gets.

Gun Cleaning as Therapy or Punishment

You take your weapon down to the smallest pieces (probably blindfolded) and drag out the white cloth, pics, magnifying glass and Q-tips. In this modern age you may have a bin full of the latest tools and trinkets to remove the last spec of dust, dirt, or anything else you can find on the microscopic level. Barrel is checked with a bore scope for the minutest imperfection. Once satisfied every piece is meticulously cleaned, inspected, and properly lubed then fitted to perfection. It’s entirely possible you will spend twice as much time cleaning your firearm as shooting it. This process is repeated on a regular basis whether you used your weapon or not. Frequency is more about the degree of ADD or repressed memories than anything else. It’s what they do in the movies when portraying the good or bad guy as some sort of tactical psychopath. Not really about function, more therapy or you saw it in a movie. Like to tell you I have some experience with this, nope, not sure I ever made it to this level, pretty sure I never will. My psychoses don’t include ADD, life is too short, I fired all my bosses in 2009 and don’t watch movies much anymore.

Duty or Carry Clean 

Learned this one as a cop, but it works for concealed carriers. There are two, the process you should follow, the one most do. Preferred method has you tearing the firearm down as per the manual or your armorers instructions for cleaning. Clean and inspect everything you can, lube, assemble and perform a functions check. Load if needed, press check or make sure it is loaded and holster up. If not for carry place in appropriate condition for safe storage. Should be done every time you shoot it, regularly if you never shoot your gun. It’s the condition needed to pass inspection for cops. Supposed to make sure it is properly functioning when you need it to save yours or someone else’s life. In the old days you were frightened into this being told if its dirty then IA (or the cops for CCW) will flip a biscuit and think you expended more rounds than you did. Mostly BS, but hey it worked most of the time. What actually happens is more like this. Remove pistol, wipe off all the dust, dirt, lint, and pet fur with an old T-shirt. Extra points if you made it safe and make sure it works, double points if you lube it. Back in the holster it goes and off to work or play!

Dirty Gun is a Happy Gun!

This may the most popular today. Cleaning your gun may actually effect how it shoots. This is critical for precision or sniper rifles. Shoot it until it either stops working or accuracy sucks. Take it out and wipe it down, try again. If it still won’t work proceed to the Duty method. If that does not work put it back together and sell it.

Gun Writers Cleaning Method

Learned this one after a couple years writing articles, it is by far the easiest. Shoot it until you are done with the article, put it in the box, attach the return shipping label and send it back.

The I’m Special Method

Working in a retail store taught me this method. It is very popular amongst people with more money than brains or consideration, you know who you are. Almost got fired from my off duty gig on this one. If you fit into this category you shoot your gun until it stops working, is caked with crap and barely capable of being disassembled. Then you drop it off to some guy working at the retail store and say “clean it”, I need it tomorrow. My response of ” you shot it, you clean it”, “I work here I am not your F%$@$&g slave” was apparently not appropriate for the owner. Probably why I am not in retail anymore…

Most people probably fit somewhere in here, or are a bit here and there. Probably a few I missed. If you have used guns for any length of time you will be familiar with them all. Most of you will chuckle cause you either use one of them, or are picturing someone you know that does. If you don’t laugh you are probably part of that special crowd and need to get over yourself.