Why is Gun Maintenance so Important?

February 23, 2022

Whether you’re at the range or in the field, you need your firearms to work properly. Regular maintenance using a high-quality gun cleaner and lube is the key to a long-lasting, well-maintained firearm. Learn more about how you can use these products to optimize the performance of your favorite guns.

What Is Gun Maintenance and Why Does It Matter?

Gun maintenance is the process of cleaning and caring for your gun. There are two main steps to gun maintenance: cleaning and lubrication. 

But why should you bother with maintenance? Seasoned firearms experts will tell you that maintaining your gun provides the following benefits:

  • Improve gun performance: Clearing your gun of debris and contaminants helps to ensure optimal accuracy, precision and firing speed.
  • Eliminate fouling: Contaminants like copper, plastic and lead can build up inside the barrel and around the ejector, action and chamber, resulting in erosion. Left unchecked, powder and copper fouling can render your gun useless.
  • Extend your gun’s life span: Sliding and load-bearing metal parts within your gun experience intense stress. Cleaning and lubricating your gun regularly prevents friction and grinding between metal parts, which reduces stress and failure.

Even if your gun is in storage for long periods, it’s still a good idea to perform regular maintenance. Moisture from your storage environment and condensation can corrode metal parts and contribute to rusting, which can negatively impact your firearm’s reliability, accuracy and longevity.

What Is Gun Cleaner?

Gun cleaner is a chemical solvent that removes caked-on dirt and debris buildup from your gun. From copper fouling to sticky grease, a good gun cleaner will dissolve any buildup on your firearm to reveal the smooth, shiny metal underneath.

When and How Should You Use Gun Cleaner?

No rule says how often you should clean your guns, but make no mistake – regular maintenance is essential. Law enforcement and military personnel often clean their firearms after every use, even if they’re just practicing. 

Generally speaking, you should clean your gun whenever it’s dirty. Some signs that your gun is dirty and could use a cleaning include:

  • Groups opening up
  • Gritty slide
  • Sticky bolt
  • Rough firing

It’s impossible to clean your gun too often, but frequent cleaning with poor technique can damage your gun, reducing accuracy and increasing friction. Use a high-quality cleaning kit that includes gun cleaner, a cleaning rod and absorbent patches to clean your firearm gently.


If you’re a beginner, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to cleaning your gun:

  1. Disassemble your gun: Make sure to unload and store all ammunition separately while you’re cleaning your gun. 
  2. Clean the bore: Soak a patch in cleaner and run it through the barrel from breech to muzzle using a cleaning rod. Repeat several times to loosen and remove fouling and other buildup. For heavy fouling, it can help to run a cleaner-soaked patch over the affected area a few times with a bronze brush. A borescope is a helpful tool for this step because it will give you a clear view of what you’re doing.
  3. Clean each part: Spread out your gun’s parts and use a utility brush to scrub off any buildup.
  4. Wipe off excess: Using a dry patch, wipe down the inside of the barrel until it comes out clean. Then use the patch to remove any excess cleaner from all parts, including wood, synthetic or painted surfaces – leaving the cleaner on these areas can damage the finish.

What Is Gun Oil?

Gun oil is a refined petroleum-based lubricant that reduces friction between moving parts and improves performance. 

Some people prefer to lubricate their guns using motor oil. While motor oil is technically safe for use in firearms, gun oil will deliver the best results. Gun oil is designed specifically for use in firearms, which have tighter tolerances, higher amounts of pressure and more extreme temperatures than car engines.

Clean-Lubricate-Protect (CLP) gun oil lubes are another option for those who like to save time. These products combine gun cleaner and gun oil into one effective solution so you can get the job done as soon as possible.

When and How Should You Use Gun Oil?

Only oil your gun after thoroughly cleaning it. Lubricating before cleaning can result in deposits of greasy residue.

In general, stick to the rule of “less is more.” Over-lubrication provides the perfect surface for dirt and grime to stick to, which can negatively affect your gun’s performance.

Here’s how you do it. Apply a small amount of oil to each part. Using a dry patch, wipe the excess oil away until only a thin layer remains. Pay special attention to any area where the metal looks worn.

If you’re going to store your gun for long periods, it’s a good idea to use oil as protection against the elements. Place a small amount of oil on a cotton patch and attach it to a cleaning rod. Run the rod through your gun’s bore, making sure to leave only a thin coat of oil behind. Before using this gun again, wipe the remaining oil from the bore using a dry patch.

If you’re pressed for time, just apply a small amount of oil to the lubrication zone of a bore snake and drop the brass weight through the chamber so it passes through the barrel. Then you can clean and lubricate it in one go by pulling the snake through.

What Makes a Good Gun Oil?

For the best results, your gun oil should have the following properties:

  • Effective against rust and corrosion: Gun oil creates a barrier between the elements and a gun’s metal parts, which can prevent rust from forming. 
  • High lubricity: Gun oils with high degrees of lubricity can control carbon buildup and help prevent fouling.
  • High viscosity index: Modern firearms produce high amounts of heat and friction, which can damage your gun. A highly viscous oil can prevent carbon from baking and building up on the interior of your gun. Plus, high viscosity oil allows your gun to function well in both high and low temperatures.

Choose Hot Shot’s Secret for Top-Tier Gun Oil

At Hot Shot’s Secret, we rely on science to develop the best products. That’s why we’re proud of our Nano Precision CLP Gun Oil. It’s an all-in-one product that both cleans and lubricates your gun in one simple process. Our patented FR3 Nano Technology provides superior lubrication and protection even under the harshest weather and firing conditions. It’s also safe for use on all surfaces, including metals, woods and composite materials, so you can use it on all your guns. 

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