2020 Maintenance Reminder

I carry every day and my guns get filthy. It’s amazing how much lint and gunk can build up on them, and It’s a non-stop job to keep them clean and lubricated. As a result, I’ve gotten into the habit of cleaning and inspecting them monthly (and sometimes more frequently, if conditions require).

December was a really busy month, and I didn’t get around to my cleaning until the afternoon of the 31st. As it turned out, it wasn’t a moment too soon.

I’d already inspected, cleaned, function-checked, and loaded my snub before I turned my attention to my autopistol. Aside from the coating of crud, everything looked in order and it didn’t take long to clean and lube it. After reassembling the gun, I racked the slide a few times to distribute the oil on the barrel hood, muzzle, and rails, in preparation for a function check of the gun–Rack, Rack, “Hey, WHAT THE HECK?”

The slide had shot off the gun, onto the bench in front of me. A quick inspection showed that the spring which tensions the disassembly lever had finally broken, allowing the uncaptured slide to literally “go off the rails.”

The gun was dead in the water.

A couple thoughts entered my head at the same time:

      1. Gee, I’m glad I inspect and check this thing regularly!
      2. You dummy, you should have changed out that spring when you updated the trigger spring last time!
      3. Oh crud, I’ve been carrying a single shot gun this whole time, and I didn’t know it!

With this experience in mind, I thought I’d take a minute to issue a RevolverGuy Public Service Announcement, and remind you that now is a good time to think about going through your safety gear and giving it a once-over.  Here’s a starter list to get you going:

      1. Clean and inspect your carry guns. Fix any discrepancies you find;
      2. Replace your duty ammo with fresh cartridges;
      3. Inspect and clean your holster, ammo pouches, and gun belt;
      4. Give your pocketknife a good sharpening;
      5. Change the batteries in your flashlights (your pocket light, and the ones in your house);
      6. Inspect the fire extinguishers in your car and home;
      7. Change the batteries in your smoke and monoxide detectors.

I’m sure you can come up with more, once you get rolling. Tire pressures, wiper blades, emergency food supplies . . . the list can be endless.

So, get a good start on 2020 and make sure your safety gear is in order. I think we all want to avoid the “loudest sound in a gunfight,” eh?

Author: Mike

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Mike Wood is a bonafide revolver nut, a certified law enforcement instructor in handgun, shotgun, patrol rifle, less-lethal, and diversionary device disciplines, and the author of Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis, the definitive study of the infamous, 1970 California Highway Patrol shootout in Newhall, California. Mike wrote the "Tactical Analysis" column at Police1.com for 8 years, and enjoys teaching both armed citizens and law enforcement officers.

7 thoughts on “2020 Maintenance Reminder”

  1. Also – the batteries in your car’s remote key-fob . . . got reminded the hard way when I couldn’t unlock the Explorer. Turned out the battery was from 2017. And yes, I use a sharpie to put the date of install on items like that.

    As for things that go bang, I tend to do a quick checkdown before holstering up to head out into the wild … sorta like a pre-flight check, only for your EDC gear.

    1. My truck’s key fob is on the fritz – probably something I should check out. Also if you’re the owner of one of those completely “keyless” cars, it would be a good idea to know how to access that mechanical key hidden in the fob, and mechanical keyway hidden on your door.

  2. Daily dry practice – if you’re using your equipment every day, you’re also keeping eyes on it every day.

  3. Justin,
    Good point about the dry practice.

    I noticed the Blue Wonder in your photo. I finally found some on Amazon. It is everything it is advertised to be and is now my go too cleaner. It does a great job cleaning the carbon rings out of the chambers of my .357 left from firing .38 Specials in it. Thanks for recommending it!

  4. One start-of-year ritual: I clean my long guns when hunting season ends, and put them up until target time in Spring (handguns I practice with year round).

    I am generally old-school about tools, but the new LED lights with a warning indicator of low battery are great. No more buying batteries, either: just plug them into a USB port.

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