Basic Weapons Cleaning

We wanted to put out a basic weapons cleaning guide for the firearms the majority of us have in our collection.

Hopefully, some of you get something out of it. For those of you who don’t, it never hurts to brush up on the basics.

Included is how I tackle my weapons maintenance and the gear I use when doing so. Having a basic field cleaning kit in your bag/ruck is a must and everyone needs it.

Cleaning Supplies

Basic Weapons Cleaning

I’m a dumb grunt, so I don’t go crazy with cleaning supplies. I’ve got a basic kit I keep in my range bag/ruck, and when I’m doing weapons maintenance in my barn I still use the items in my small kit mainly.

AP brush, brass brush, barrel snake, rag (old t-shirt), chamber brush, CLP, and a rod/punch with attachments for the patches and bore brush.

I do change up from CLP (cleaning, lubricant, protectant) and use more solid (IMO) cleaning solutions from Slick Shot USA when home. 

I also use a longer guide rod for my barrels when in my barn, and some other tools I’ve acquired to make taking certain things apart easier (punches, different scraping tools, cleaner towels/rags, etc.).


Basic Weapons Cleaning
  • Separate the upper and lower receivers
    • Remove the buffer assembly/spring from the lower receiver
    • Remove the charging handle and BCG (bolt carrier group) from the upper receiver, and then remove the bolt and firing pin from the BCG
  • Clean the lower in the trigger area, magazine well, etc.
    • Carbon buildup usually isn’t too bad here, so shouldn’t be your primary focus
  • On the upper receiver focus on the entirety of the inside
    • Chamber/barrel should be cleaned thoroughly
      • Barrel snakes are great, as are punch rods with patches attached
      • I like to use bore/chamber brass brushes here as well
  • Bolt, BCG, charging handle, firing pin
    • Clean thoroughly, AP brushes work fine here.
    • I like to disassemble the bolt as well and clean up any and all carbon buildup in there.

Bolt-Action Rifle

Basic Weapons Cleaning

By far the easiest weapon to clean/maintain while in the field or even your home.

You really don’t need to go crazy with taking these rifles apart like you do others.

Take out the bolt/action, and open up the magazine if it’s not a detachable model.

That’s about it. 

If you want to take out the trigger housing group you can, but it’s not recommended unless you are experienced enough to undertake it.

Focus on the chamber, and any and all carbon buildup in there.

Then tackle the barrel and any fouling/carbon buildup in there.


Basic Weapons Cleaning

Shotguns are a lot more involved in disassembly/assembling.

Luckily, you don’t ever need to clean a shotgun (half-joking).

They’re super reliable and sturdy weapons and that’s why they are so popular, dependable, and reliable.

If you shoot yours a lot, a solid breakdown and cleaning should be done – taking care to remove all parts (barrel, magazine spring, trigger housing, etc.).

If you take it hunting/shooting and only let off a couple dozen rounds then all you need to do is remove the barrel, clean out any fouling/carbon from the barrel, and give the chamber a solid run-through.

Basic Weapons Cleaning

Striker-Fired Pistol

Basic Weapons Cleaning

A little more disassembly than the bolt-action, but everything will be.

Remove the slide from the frame, take out the barrel, and guide rod/spring.

Get to cleaning.

Focus on the barrel, inside and out, again removing all carbon. In the inside of the slide remove carbon buildup, and then the internal parts of the frame.

You can also remove the striker assembly (which I always do) but isn’t completely necessary. Suggest doing that at least once every 1,000 rounds or so though.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for making it to the end of this guide! If you got some value from this please make sure to like, share, and save it for later. We make these to help give people a baseline when making decisions for their next firearms or gear purchases.

Also, check out Slick Shot! We aren’t paid to push them at all. We just think they make a solid product and we like to support fellow veteran-owned businesses.

Be sure to read our other guides here!