Gun maintenance. It’s surprising how many people don’t take the time to think about maintaining their firearm. Of course, a firearm is a mechanical device (like your classic, pre-computer, car), so regular maintenance is vital to make sure that your gun does what it’s supposed to do if that horrible situation comes up when you need it to fire to save a life.
But even those who think about maintenance for mechanical devices often only think about having replacement parts on hand (and that is necessary) in case of the need for an emergency part replacement. Not everyone considers the importance of cleaning mechanical devices, and, yes, that includes cleaning your firearm.
But even those who think about cleaning their firearm are usually thinking about preventing a malfunction due to dirt (which is a good reason to clean your gun). One writer, though, says that even that shouldn’t be your primary reason to clean your gun. Jeff Gonzales writes,
While a clean gun is a happy gun — and yes, somewhat less likely to stop working than a dirty gun — as long as you keep it lubricated, the main issue you face is simple wear and tear.
Guns are mechanical objects. Mechanical objects degrade with use. Parts can and will give out. It’s only a matter of time. Maybe a lot. Maybe a little. But there’s no avoiding it. In some cases, when these small parts break, they render the weapon inoperable.
The real reason you should clean your handgun on a regular basis: to inspect small parts for abnormal or indeed normal wear and tear, to avoid a catastrophic failure.
Even the simplest handguns are complex machines at their heart. When you have the important bits in front of you, you can see cracks in plastic pieces, metal burrs developing or excessive wear. You can replace mission critical parts before they give out.
Gonzales goes on to suggest that you set up a maintenance schedule for your firearms based on rounds fired so that you can always keep your firearms working optimally. In his case, he says that he inspects his firearms every 1,000 rounds and replaces any part that looks to be wearing.
It all comes down to trying to avoid problems before they become problems. That thinking often works to help you to avoid needing to use your firearm, and that thinking also works to make sure that your firearm works in the rare instance when you actually do need to use it.