As a responsible firearm owner, you understand the importance of keeping your firearm clean. A dirty gun can lead to issues such as buildup, loss of function, and shortened life of the firearm. When it comes to how to get the job done, here are 5 gun cleaning tips to help you stay safe while protecting your firearm from harm.

1. Know your firearm

One of the biggest gun cleaning tips is to know your firearm. While there may be some similarities between types of firearms in terms of how to disassemble them for cleaning, you need to know your particular brand and model inside out. The best way to know exactly how to clean your firearm is to study your user’s manual. You should never assume that any two weapons are alike in all aspects simply because they are similar by design.

2. Clean in a room separate from ammunition

Another one of the best gun cleaning tips is to clean your firearm in an area separate from where you store your ammunition. One of the oldest and most often repeated tips for cleaning a gun is to check that it isn’t loaded, but even with this being the ongoing mantra of gun owners, accidents still manage to happen every single year while cleaning guns. A good rule of thumb is to clean your firearm separate from where you store your ammo as an extra measure in addition to checking to see if the gun is loaded.

3. Wear eye protection

Eye protection is one of the more often overlooked aspects of safe gun cleaning. When you are cleaning your firearm, chances are your face is rather close to it to get a better view, and accidents can happen. From a spring popping out hitting you in the eye to cleaning chemicals or residue getting in your eye, a proper pair of cleaning goggles can be a helpful addition to your routine and tools.

4. Use the right cleaner

You should never clean your gun with anything other than actual cleaning solutions manufactured for firearms. Some people may claim you can clean your gun with warm water and a mild detergent but that is just asking for trouble. Gun cleaners are formulated to help remove the buildup of powder or grime without damaging the inner workings of the firearm.

5. Perform a function test when finished

You should always perform a function test once you have cleaned and reassembled your gun. A fire test should be done without ammunition! Always check to make sure the gun isn’t loaded before performing a function test. This test is simply to ensure that the trigger and recoil are working properly once you have reassembled the gun. You will know if there is a problem with the way the trigger reacts.