How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?

gun cleaning after shooting range

Keeping your gun clean is one of the keys to reliable and accurate shooting.

It can be game-changing in many situations, particularly for those who care about the details and aim for a rewarding shooting experience.

Cleaning your gun can drastically differ depending on its type, which has a lot to do with the purpose of the firearm to begin with.

Are you using your gun for practicing, hunting, or EDC?

Also, we have to keep in mind that when we say cleaning the gun, we’re not just referring to the firearm, but you should keep the different pieces of your gear clean as well.

That said, and before we get into the details of different cleaning techniques, there’s one question that we should answer: Why should you clean your gun?


How Essential Is It to Clean Your Gun?

Unfortunately, cleaning weapons isn’t a topic that the internet focuses on despite having a great impact on performance.

It’s a nobrainer, really; the same thing applies to everything we frequently use; if you don’t clean it from time to time, it ends up being damaged for good.

Moreover, cleaning your gun is the only way to avoid the inconsistencies that come with dirt as it builds up, let alone corrosion and rust.

Many people aren’t aware that it’s not just about keeping your gun in a clean place because air contaminants pile up and can severely damage your firearm. Also, if you duck in high humidity, the moisture can penetrate your gun, and you’ll end up with rusty pieces.


When to Clean Your Firearm?

As mentioned earlier, the frequency by which you should clean your gun has a lot to do with the type of shooting we’re talking about.

Needn’t we mention that you should clean your gun after each use, regardless of the type. However, in this part of the article, we’ll take a deeper look into the different types of gun usages and how to clean such guns.

Competition Guns

shooting at competition stageCompetition shooters use their guns too frequently; thus, they should keep their cleaning cycles as short as possible. Otherwise, they’d be risking getting stuck with low rankings. 

With such guns, consistency is the key. This is why we recommend having the same setup at your practice place as well as home.

Also, it’s best if you develop a cleaning ritual to use with every cleaning session, using the same tools, and cleaning the pieces in the same order.

This way, you can expect a consistent performance as well. Not to mention, you can get this out of the way and focus your efforts on the other, more critical factors to improve your score.

Every-Day-Carry Guns

every day carry gunEvery-day-carry or EDC guns are only used when you need to defend yourself or your loved ones. If you’re lucky enough, you won’t need to use them.

Regardless, it’s essential to clean them even if you rarely use them. Having a consistent cleaning schedule is a must if you don’t want these guns to let you down when you need them.

If you go on training sessions, you should clean your gun after every trip to the range.

On the other hand, it’s preferable to schedule your cleaning sessions every two weeks while keeping in mind that you shouldn’t go for more than one month without cleaning your gear.

Recreation Guns

shooting for funUnlike competition guns, recreation guns are only used for shooting at a range, which makes them less susceptible to rust and corrosion.

This doesn’t mean that cleaning them isn’t necessary; however, you don’t need to keep your cleaning sessions so close.

The best routine for cleaning recreation guns is once every 300 rounds max, with a deep cleaning session after every 3,000 rounds.

Keep in mind that this is restricted to guns, and your cleaning sessions should be closer with shotguns and rifles.

Because it’s harder to keep track of the number of rounds while using such firearms, we recommend going for a deep clean after each quarter at the least.

Hunting Guns

kayak huntingHunting guns are the most exposed to environmental factors; hence, they’re more likely to suffer from rust and corrosion. 

As mentioned above, such factors have the worst impact on the performance and durability of your firearm.

Accordingly, you should make sure to clean all the parts thoroughly after each trip.

If you go hunting on a rainy or snowy day, you’ll need to put in some extra effort to get rid of the dirt that sticks on its rails and then dry it out.

It’s also worth mentioning that proper storage will make a world of difference when it comes to keeping contaminants away from the gun, so it’s best to keep the action closed and safely store the gun when you’re on the move through the trip.


How Often Should You Clean Your Gun If You Don’t Use It?

If you’re keeping your gun in a safe place that’s not always within your reach, we recommend cleaning and oiling it once every three months.

Yet, it’s absolutely fine if you do it every six months rather than three. If you don’t like oiling your gun too often, make sure to clean it periodically and oil it at least once per year.


How Long Can You Go Without Cleaning Your Gun?

We understand that shooting practices and a long day of hunting are quite tiring. Lucky for you, you don’t have to clean your gun as soon as you make it to your home.

You can give it a day or two before you clean your gun, with a maximum of one week. Don’t keep your firearm unclean longer than this if you don’t want it to suffer from corrosion.


How to Clean Your Gun Without Damaging It?

A good cleaning exercise guarantees that your gun stays at low risk of getting damaged, so we decided to point out some tips that you should consider while cleaning your gun.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Kit

Although it’s more tempting to get a cheap cleaning kit, they usually do more harm than good, whereas other high-end options can go a long way.

For instance, if you choose a chap kit, you can end up breaking it inside your gun, and consequently, damage it for good. Also, you can find some cheap patches that “supposedly” help with keeping scratches as minimal as possible, when in fact, they do too little.

On the other hand, high-quality tools are made of more sturdy materials that come in handy if you’re looking for an effective cleaning process. This makes them more worthy of your money, even if you’ll be spending some extra cash on getting them.

Choosing the Right Brush

Finding the right brush is a bit tricky because you need to find the balance between getting a harsh brush that can take off all the unnecessary particles and a soft brush that won’t scratch the surface of your gun.

The good news is, usually, kits and brushes are categorized according to the type of gun you’re using, so you don’t have to give this much thinking. You can simply pick a kit that’s designed for your gun model, test it out, and replace it if you didn’t like it.

Similar to choosing a kit, you don’t want to stay on the low key while choosing a brush. Instead, we recommend investing in a more expensive brush without going too extreme.

Finding a Proper Solvent

Last but not least, it’s essential to find the right solvent that complements your firearm. Regardless, using the wrong solvent can have some disastrous consequences, the most common of which is ruining the finish of your gun.

To prevent this from happening, one must refer to the manufacturer’s manual to find out the substances they should stay away from while choosing a solvent. This, however, isn’t the rule with universal solvents that tend to be gentle.

If that’s what you’re using, you have nothing to worry about in terms of damaging effects; your only issue would be the efficiency of that solvent.


To sum up, the frequency of cleaning your gun depends on how often you use it and what you use it for. Besides giving your gun a general clean after each use, you should schedule regular deep cleans using the proper tools, including a high-quality kit, a soft brush, a reliable solvent, and a lubricant. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to