Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Concealed Carry: Carry Gun Care

I have carried a gun off and on since the 1980’s in one form or another. As a military member I can remember being “married” to my weapon. You did not get caught being at least an arms-length away from your rifle.
Once you have your concealed carry license there are some usual steps that are taken. You find a pistol that is right for you, practice, and get the right ammo. Is that all there is? Well, regular maintenance of your weapon is something that should become a habit.
Even if you shoot a different weapon weekly, other than your carry weapon, your carry gun will need cleaning. General grime and lint from your clothing will get into the gun. More so than a gun you just take to the range and then put back into a case or sock. Everything from dirt to animal fur. The deeper in your clothing you carry, the more lint you’ll have to deal with.
What you carry will make a difference. Some guns just have more places to develop grime. A revolver or an auto with an exterior hammer will develop more lint as there are more edges to scrape clothing. Even a form fitting holster will develop this lint and grime over time. Is it enough to effect the works of the weapon? I don’t think so. But my life may depend on this weapon’s ability to go boom. I want to give the device every opportunity to function correctly. But remember a dry, clean weapon will collect less grime than an oily, dirty one.
Daily inspect and wipe down the weapon. Weekly field strip it and wipe down the insides. If you see actual dirt clean the gun as you normally would. If you see just lint and something that will just wipe off, then just wipe it down. If it’s not dirty, that’s all it needs.
All guns function better with lubrication. The problem with this is that lube is a dirt trap. Modern weapons will function without lube. In fact, as you read the owner’s manuals for maintenance of new guns you will see most call for little oil. One reason is that oil seldom stays only where you want it. It “migrates” and so does the dirt with it. A dry gun will stay cleaner, longer. To fight this migration of oil you could use a heavier, “grease” like paste lube. There are several on the market but I like a good lithium grease. Like oil you don’t need a lot of this to lubricate. I would recommend this only in a carry gun. I still use a good CLP in everything else. If you use a heavier grease, use it with greater care that it doesn’t gum up the works.
If you have a beautiful commemorative 1911 you would like to keep nice then don’t carry it! Holsters wear out the exterior of guns. There is no way around it. I don’t know of any holster that won’t wear the finish of a gun.
Leather holsters fit a gun like a glove. They also get dirty and get small particles in them that will eventually scrape or scratch the weapon. Kydex wears out the front of the trigger guard and the top of the barrel or slide.
There’s not much you can do to stainless steel. Often the finish will just get dull. Bluing seems to take it worse than any other finish. The new polymers are pretty resilient. They will scratch but they keep their “finish”, whatever that is. The powder coatings don’t wear out very much but it’s always possible.
When you carry a blued gun for very long, you are more than likely to get some rust, especially in hot weather. Oil it down every day with a light coat.
There is a product that I have never used, but I’ve seen many weapons finished with. It’s called Dura-coat. There may be other brands I have not researched that.
Today’s new finishes and polymers wear better than the older ones, like bluing. Taking care of your guns finishes as best as possible will keep away the dreaded rust forever if you work at it.
Remember that moisture and politicians are your gun’s enemy. Keep both away from your guns.
Just as we need to have situational awareness we should be aware of the status of our carry weapon. Your home defense weapon is similar. We need to make sure it’s in top running order and is not degrading. When things get bad enough we may need to replace the gun. I don’t think that will ever be the case but I suppose it’s possible.
Take care of your gun and your gun will take care of you!
Semper Paratus
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