Most people clean their guns too frequently. There’s no need to clean a gun after every range trip, since most people don’t shoot enough in a single range trip to actually matter. If you’re one of those people that enjoy cleaning guns, the good news is that at least with pistols you’re not going to hurt it by cleaning it. But you could just spend that time doing something else.
That doesn’t mean that your pistol doesn’t require maintenance though, because it does. It also requires cleaning, albeit less frequently than you might think. Today we’re going to look at a guide to when to perform basic maintenance tasks to keep your pistol in tip top condition. Most of the cleaning and maintenance intervals we’ll discuss today require you to track how many rounds you fire out of your pistol. It’s easy to set up a simple Excel or Google Drive spreadsheet that you can do this with.
Like we said in the intro, you don’t need to clean your pistol after range trip. There’s an exception to this: if you’re an extremely infrequent shooter and the gun is going to sit for quite some time after your range trip, you should clean it and apply a thin coat of lubrication in order to prevent rust. If you’re a very frequent shooter, after each range session you should apply some lubrication to all the major metal contact surfaces, particularly the slide rails. Then every 2,000 rounds, the gun will get detail stripped and fully cleaned. When it’s reassembled, a light bit of white lithium grease is applied where the connector makes contact with the trigger bar.
Recoil Spring Assembly
You should change your recoil spring assembly, whether it’s a Gen3 or a Gen4 every 3,000 to 5,000 rounds. Since our recommended cleaning interval is 2,000 rounds, we recommend changing the recoil spring assembly every 4,000 rounds. Not changing the RSA is the easiest way to crack the slide on a high round count gun, and it’s such an easy part to replace. Just buy one of the complete assemblies, pop the old one out and throw it in the trash, pop the new one in! Life is too short to worry about your recoil spring and guide rod assembly, which is why just tossing the old one after 4,000 rounds is easier. If you’re concerned about the cost, think of this way: a Gen4 RSA costs $30.00. If you’re at 4,000 rounds of ammo, you’ve already spent $800 on ammo, so why sweat thirty bucks?
Other small parts
There are a number of other small parts in your pistol that require occasional maintenance. While there are no official mandated figures on these, many shooters have adopted the 10,000 round strategy. Every 10k rounds it’s recommended to replace:
One thing to bear in mind is that suggesting to replace these small parts doesn’t mean they’re going to break. There are many documented cases of pistols running for extreme round counts with these parts never changing, with the exception of the recoil spring. Changing the RSA is a must, and changing the other small parts is highly recommended. After all, you wouldn’t let your car go 15,000 miles without an oil change, so why would you abuse your gun?