Firearms are mechanical instruments that incorporate a number of moving parts. All mechanical tools incur a certain amount of wear & tear with regular use, and will require maintenance to sustain functionality and have an increased lifespan. Proper maintenance for your firearm will ensure that it continues to function properly and will ultimately ensure the firearm is as safe as possible. Firearms that are not properly maintained can have malfunctions, and malfunctions cause injury or severe harm.
For proper maintenance of a firearm, we strongly recommend the following:
Once the appropriate equipment is acquired, we urge you to review the "User's Manual" (commonly included with purchase of a firearm) to ensure you are following the manufacturer's guidelines for proper disassembly, cleaning, and maintaining your firearm. There are a few basic practices that you can adopt to ensure you are maintaining safety at all times during this process.
First, remove all ammunition from the firearm. To be truly safe, remove all ammunition from the area where you will be conducting your maintenance. Thorough maintenance will include parts such as your magazines as well, so be absolutely certain that all ammunition has been removed. Even if you have ammunition referred to as "dummy" or dud rounds for training purposes, it is strongly recommended that you remove them from the planned cleaning area.
Second, before you begin disassembling your firearm for maintenance, you should organize your workspace and remove any clutter. Organize everything you will be using and guarantee they will be easily accessible. If possible, you may want to have some kind of barriers or walls surrounding most of the workspace in the event a spring or component goes flying. Barriers around your work space will make it much easier for these pieces to be recovered.
Remove all food and drinks from your workspace. Liquids are acceptable, but should always be in a capped container. This is not just to prevent liquid from spilling onto your workspace, but also to prevent any debris or chemicals while cleaning from accidentally making their way into your drink and ingested accidently.
After you finish maintaining your firearm, you should always run a functions check. This will be noted in the "User's Manual". This should go without saying, but in the interest of being thorough, we will note that there should never be extra parts or pieces leftover when you've finished reassembling your firearm.
Once completed and you have cleaned your workspace, the very last thing is always thoroughly washing your hands with cold water and soap. Cold water is recommended because it will prevent the pores on your skin from opening as they would with warm water. When your pores open, there is the potential that some of the lead, carbon, or other chemicals might sink into your skin and work their way into your system.
Whenever you are not conducting maintenance, all of your cleaning tools, oils, and lubricants should be kept out of the reach of children or animals. Always remember, even if you don't have animals or children, there may still be the potential for a family member or friend who visits your home to have children or animals.