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Changing my cleaning method for my CCW

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by DeepSouth, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Well-Known Member

    I had a experience recently that makes me rethink my cleaning process. Normally I just pull the slide, remove the barrel and recoil spring assembly, then blast every with gun cleaner wiping clean and using a toothbrush for cracks and such. Then clean the bore, relube everything, reassemble and finally step outside and fire a mag or two just to check function after reassembly, then in the holster she goes. (Yes that means I carry a "dirty" gun. And no, it doesn't bother me)

    Recently when I went to preform the last steep....."fire a mag or two just to check function after reassembly"..... and I had 2 light strikes that did not fire. After repeating the cleaning, giving special attn to cleaning the striker and channel, I reassembled and gave her a few dry fires. At this point I heard a very weak firing snap...every time I dry fired. I kept trying to figure out what was going on and I finally saw a very small piece of red plastic in the firing pin hole. If you look at a dime the plastic was about the same size of Roosevelt's ear, like I said very small. I actually took a pic to prove how small it was.

    So for the first time since I bought the gun (a KAHR PM45) I completely disassembled it to get the plastic out. Then I cleaned it all up and reassembled, re-lubed, and then she went back 100% reliable, of course. Before this I had never done more than a "field strip" cleaning to my carry guns, and I have felt this was sufficient until now. It even said in the owners manual to this particular gun, disassembling the slide could void the warranty.

    I am just wondering how often do most of you detail strip and clean your carry gun? I mean completely disassembling and cleaning. To realize that a piece of plastic that size could potentially cost me or my family a life just puts a new light on things I guess.

    BTW: I have absolutely no idea where the piece of plastic came from. Like I said I have never disassembled the slide. The gun has been to C&S and more recently to Mag-Na-Port, but it's hard for me to think they are responsible. I do pocket carry, but something would have to try very hard to get inside the striker channel. I just have no idea where it came from.

  2. kimbernut

    kimbernut Well-Known Member


    Just a guess but my first thought is red primer sealant.

    My 1911 gets a fairly thorough cleaning including firing pin and extractor recesses every 250-300 rounds but a full detail strip only annually.

    Carry gun gets a good external look over about 3 times a week and field strip/check every other week and when fired. It's amazing how much pocket lint and dust finds it's way into the internals,hammer, and trigger areas even in a good heavy leather pocket holster.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011
  3. usp9

    usp9 Well-Known Member

    Very disconcerting to hear again how sensitive the Kahr striker system is to failure. It seems to have very little over-engineering built in.

    My Kahrs have been detail cleaned, and a couple other guns, but I've never detail stripped my two most carried pistols, a Seecamp and a HK P2000sk. I'm careful about keeping a lot of cleaning material from seeping into the firing pin hole though. Of the 50 or so pistols I own, or have owned, maybe only 10 were ever detail stripped, for one reason or another, (usually part replacement).
  4. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    Do you ever put ANYTHING ELSE in your gun carry pocket? Even your hand? Given that you're from the warmer part of the country it's certainly not at all unresonable that your hand could have been a bit sweaty and some debris was stuck to it.

    Or for that matter something in the wash could easily end up in a pocket. Pockets generally "collect" a lot of lint if they make it through a washing without being inside out. It could even have been some plastic or whatever that ended up in the pocket during the laundry.

    Seems like a good excuse to look into IWB or pocket holsters so the gun is a bit more protected?

    Anyhow, the REAL reason I wanted to post a reply. ".... and finally step outside and fire a mag or two just to check function" just makes me sick to my stomach that I can't do the same thing.... :D If I didn't tend to melt in our "Northern Summers" with our relatively mild heat already I'd move down to where a man's actions say more than some noises that don't mean anything in a blink.... :D

    Oh, and just a thought about the firing pin channel and possible debris. I only own hammer fired guns so I don't know how this would affect striker fired guns. But I normally push in the firing pin and allow it to snap back a few times to aid in the solvent flushing the firing pin track. If there's something you can do to check for clear travel with a striker gun while the slide is off other than detail stripping it you may find that you'll spot any such forgien blockages or jams while cleaning the slide. I know that with my guns there was one time the firing pin was grunged up and I was able to feel it and detail strip to correct this.
  5. Chris Rhines

    Chris Rhines Well-Known Member

    I've found that striker-fired guns in general are sensitive to crud, lint, grime, and other schmutz in the striker channel. I've had Glocks and S&W M&Ps pack up completely from it.

    I don't think that there's anything wrong with your cleaning procedure, but you might expand it to include pulling the striker assembly, spraying out the channel, and scrubbing it with a long-handled cotton swab or something similar.

    Also, if you've been putting lube in the striker channel, stop. That's one place where you cannot afford to be collecting dust and crud.

  6. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

    A lot of folks over clean Glocks (and I suppose that all the knock off designs are similar in nature). By that I mean they lube areas that aren't supposed to be lubed. Generally, if plastic is between metal parts, it doesn't need lube (like the striker channel).

    I use TW25B grease on the lube points, and I have a rag, a baking cloth because it has no lint at all, that I've been using for nearly 20 years that has never been cleaned --it is primarily a lube and wipe down rag. It has enough oil on it to protect a surface, but just barely. No lubing qualities.

    My Glocks get minimal lube, greased in the spots they recommend. The rest gets wiped down. I always strip down the slide, and almost never the frame except to work on it (polishing or changing parts). They also get cleaned now and again even if they aren't used. While firing rounds after cleaning may be a good function test for peace of mind, it can also dirty up the action and have the opposite effect.

    I had one that I didn't do this with, early on. I cleaned the Glock like you would a Beretta or 1911. I would get sand and grit stuck in there. Now my chief complaint is lint. I can't figure out how the lint travels UP the barrel!

    If you aren't using a holster, perhaps you should. I pocket carry only when I can't use the holster IWB. Even with a revolver, pocket carry can be iffy. Revolvers can jam up too. Also, my pockets seem to pick up junk in the washer, not lose it.
  7. PabloJ

    PabloJ Well-Known Member

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  8. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    I can see why it would give you the willies, but I'm going to disagree. I think that you are more likely to do damage with frequent detail stripping. Detail stripping with every cleaning to prevent something like this seems to me a bit like the guy whose life was saved once because he was able to jump out of a car because he didn't have his seatbelt on, so now he believes that a seatbelt is more likely to get him killed than save his life.
  9. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Well-Known Member

    Never CARRY a clean gun.
    I field strip once a month.
    Detail strip once a year.

  10. MM OneSix

    MM OneSix Member

    I generally only clean my Glock after about 500 rounds or if it's been sitting awhile, and even that's just a basic tear down and wipe down as it never seems to really need it. I'll only detail strip it after a couple thousand rounds and a trip to the desert during which I'm pretty rough on it - sand usually ends up all over the place. I've never had it give my pistol a hiccup, but it never hurts.

    As for oil, I'll only throw on a bit in the recommended spots, and leave the firing pin channel alone. It's safe to say that with today's semi-autos (especially polymer ones) that you're better off bone dry than soaked. I think AirForceShooter's advice is pretty good.

    However it's my opinion vs. your life, so do what you're comfortable with. The important thing is that you restore your confidence in your pistol. I wish you all the best.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I don't detail strip all that often.
    What I do do is blow the crap out of them with a hi-pressure air compressor about every couple of weeks.

    You'd be surprised how much belly button lint can accumulate inside a pocket gun.

    I'm also surprised about some of the darnedest things I find in my pocket!
    See this about that!

  12. MM OneSix

    MM OneSix Member

    Interesting about the knife! Who would have thought.
  13. Valkman

    Valkman Well-Known Member

    I like to detail strip 1911's, which is what I carry mostly, but I only "do it" about once a year. :)
  14. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the replies, I've been working a lot and haven't had time to get back until now.

    I think I'm going to pretty much stick to my same cleaning routine with the exception that I will start pulling the striker out and cleaning it out better. Basically going to add slide disassemble to the field strip cleaning. If I do this for a few years and don't find any more problems I'll probably back off and do it less often, time will tell. I don't think I'm going to start a full disassembly of frame and all, like others suggest I'll probably do that once a year or so.

    rcmodel, that's just bad luck with your knife. I never would have guessed that one.
  15. Creature

    Creature Well-Known Member

    I keep my CCW as "dry" as possible. Meaning I use lube sparingly and only on critical parts.
  16. Sgt_R

    Sgt_R Well-Known Member

    I see no problem with your cleaning process. You field strip the gun, clean the important bits, reassemble the gun, and then perform a thorough function check.

    Recently, after reassembling your firearm, you noticed a specific and unusual problem which you then corrected. This is the entire reason for the function check. I would say that your cleaning process is exactly right.

  17. mark1616

    mark1616 Well-Known Member

    I'm new to striker fire arms (got my first one this month) and this was a good thread to read. Thanks.
  18. Ben86

    Ben86 Well-Known Member

    I've yet to get something in the striker channel to cause a problem with any of my striker fired pistols over the years. I detail strip them about once a year or so if I remember. Shooting just to test the function after only field stripping the gun seems OCD to me. A simple dry fire should suffice.
  19. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Well-Known Member

    You bring a very good point, but you would be amazed to amount of criticism I get for carrying a dirty gun. Most people I know outside the internet world would never carry a gun that was 'dirty' they keep them"fresh."
  20. Sgt_R

    Sgt_R Well-Known Member

    Well, there's more than one way to function check a firearm. You do it the fun way, and who could fault you for that? ;)


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