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American COP Nov/Dec 2010 - Page 28
STREET lEVEl JOHN MORRIsON sTRAIGHT TAlK ON suPERVIsION & lEADERsHIP ON THE FRONT lINEs — THE sTREETs. BAcK To BAsics: Handgun Cleaning v eteran range masters are notoriously grumpy, and I understand why: They get muzzle-swept more than ghetto liquor-store clerks — by officers! They have to wear fullbody armor during department qual-shoots if they want to ever blow out birthday candles again, and in recent conversations, their number-one complaint? Weapons and magazines so neglected and dirty they break down on the range — and There can be too much of a good thing, and greasin’ your tractor ain’t the same as greasin’ your roscoe. Morrison’s tips on cleaning could actually save your squadmate’s life — or your own sorry-skin. (Photo courtesy of American Handgunner) If you don’t clean your teeth, you get decay. If you don’t clean your gun, you die — and really decay … sometimes, on the street. The air turned blue with stories of stoppages and malfunctions caused by filthy, cruddy guns; duty ammo killed by chemicals like WD-40 penetrating primers; a whole array of horror stories which could lead to officers killed clutching useless firearms. When asked if their sergeants aren’t teaching them right, the response was unanimous: The sergeants don’t know how! If this applies to you or you’ve become lax on the subject, read on. Connor and I recently collaborated on some general principles of cleaning, and a brief cleaning guide. Here’s part one: The STraighT-eighT On handgun healTh You don’t need a suitcase-sized cleaning kit to do a good job. Here’s a compact kit from GUNSLICK. www.gunslick.com Manufacturer’s manuals are critical. Some are better than others, but most are clear and thorough, containing schematics, info on mechanical operation and modelspecific maintenance tips. Make sure your troops have them. Help acquire them if they don’t. You don’t have to be a gunsmith — just mechanically informed. “Cleaning postponed is often cleaning forgotten.” Postshooting cleaning frequently goes undone because “I don’t have time for a thorough job.” If the gun is a dutycarry piece, make the time NOW! Otherwise, one quick pass down the barrel with a solvent-soaked patch and a dab on carbon buildup areas makes later cleaning far easier. Over scrubbing and excess lubing are common, unnecessary and can lead to greater problems. If you have to scrub much at all, it either means your solvent hasn’t had time to work (15-30 minutes) or it’s not up to the job and should be replaced. As a general rule, lube should not be so thickly applied as to be clearly visible. 1 2 3 4 5 6 “All-in-one” cleaner-lube-protectant solutions like Centerfire’s Weapon CLP and Weapon Shield CLP have their value, like in a go-kit in your gear bag. But, they can rarely match the effectiveness of dedicated singlepurpose solvents, cleaners, lubes, greases and protectants. Lube and grease are different things with different purposes. Lube goes where you need it to flow, like inside slide rails. Grease goes where you need it to stay, like where a barrel hood scrapes the inside top of a slide. Consult manuals for important points like the single drop of lube needed where a Glock trigger bar touches the connector. Look for signs of friction, galling and “chatter” which tell you where grease is needed. “Blow it out dry; flush it out wet.” Especially with very dirty guns and triggers or actions you shouldn’t disassemble, blow out all the dust and grit you can with compressed air, break more loose with Continued on page 62 28 WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010