Wednesday on the Work Bench: Routine Maintenance

I’ve been slamming the training circuit and encouraging everyone to join all summer. But we a quick detour.

Are you cleaning and maintaining your firearms?

How often?

I advocate three types of maintenance: routine, cyclical, and event preparation.


Routine is for firearms in consistent or constant use. Your EDC’s and home defense guns as well as the ones going to the range once a month or more.

Routine involves a daily inspection and then taking care of issues as they are identified. You will check the firearm and its supporting equipment.

My P226 Legion, a regular EDC

Do the checks as you equip your carry hardware for the day. When you’re press checking your pistol do a spot check for wear and corrosion. Check the levels of dust and other detritus on the gun and holster and if it looks to be getting heavy, strip and quickly clean and wipe down your gun and holster. This will take a few minutes at most.

Additionally function test your knives, lights, seals on medical equipment. Note anything that needs attention and give it that attention before the end of the day.

EDC Carbine, IWI Galil ACE

Weekly in my routine I’ll clear the guns and run a function check, even if I haven’t seen any other cleaning issues requiring attention. This increases the overall attention and can highlight details that may be missed by introducing a variance into the routine.


Cyclical maintenance is for firearms out of routine use. The hunting rifle or shotgun that emerges once a year for the season or guns in long term storage.

Monthly, quarterly, or biannual checks depending on the environment the firearms are stored in are recommended to assess and correct faults.

In more humid environments more frequent checks are necessary, humidity is the bane of firearms. Spaces and safes with superior climate control will keep firearms far better maintained.

It’s easiest to set these checks by the calendar. I use the solstice and equinox dates, they’re easily remembered due to their conjunction with other events of the calendar.

Be aware this will likely take a much longer piece of your time and involve a deeper cleaning of the firearm.

Event Preparation

Complete PCC’s and PCI’s on your equipment, clean it, inspect it, check tightness, optics, gear, function check, etc.

Prior to any scheduled training, qualification, competition, or even just an event where the firearm will see heavy use (IE: Demonstration) the firearm and all of its supporting equipment should see a full cleaning, inspection, function check, and a live zero check (yes, go shoot the clean gun a couple times to be sure it is 100% functioning).

The last thing you want to be concerned about is troubleshooting and unjanking your gun and gear when your attention should be on the event. A couple hours of work in the days preceding the event will pay off in your total focus and participation.

And in case you need a little help…

Video instructions all over the internet to help

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.