As a firearms enthusiast or competitive shooter, cleaning is a task one typically waits until your pistol needs to be cleaned. A well-maintained pistol keeps your gun looking like new, and it keeps your handgun in working order.
Your gun-cleaning routine not only keeps your firearm working, but regular maintenance avoids a potential safety hazard if your pistol has a buildup of gunpowder or rust. Cleaning your handgun doesn’t have to be a long process once you establish a routine. In the following steps, we’ll cover basic field stripping and handgun cleaning.
STEP ONE: Unload Your Handgun of its Ammunition
Prior to field stripping your gun ensure you have cleared your handgun of its ammunition. This means, dropping the magazine and racking the slide to ensure there aren’t any rounds loaded in the chamber. Here you are confirming your gun is UNLOADED prior to disassembly. This ensures the safety of you and those around you during the gun-cleaning process. As you visually and manually check your pistol is clear of ammunition, ensure you’re following the fundamental rules of gun safety.
STEP TWO: Disassemble Your Handgun
Before you begin to disassemble your gun, confirm you are in a well-ventilated area such as a garage or a room where you can open a window. As you prepare for cleaning, we recommend laying down a cleaning mat to protect your Beretta and the surface underneath, so you don’t get any of the cleaning solvents where you don’t want them. If you experience prolonged contact from your chosen cleaning solvents, contact Poison Control for assistance. For new gun owners, the first cleaning generally means you’ll need to stock up on supplies; we recommend a cleaning kit with your basics for a thoroughly cleaned gun. Depending on how in-depth you plan to clean your handgun, you may need more specific cleaning supplies.
Once your gun has been safely unloaded, it’s time to begin cleaning. Reference your owner's manual for your specific Beretta to carefully remove the slide, guide rod, spring, and barrel. Once you have removed these parts, this will provide access to much of the carbon and fouling. As you clean each part, place the cleaned part on your cleaning mat and any small parts in a cup or metal tray to avoid them becoming lost or damaged throughout the cleaning process.
STEP THREE: Clean the Slide and Barrel
Take your preferred cleaning solvent and patch, remove any dirt and other loose debris from the slide, chamber, and frame. As you are removing debris from the frame and chamber, if there is heavier fouling, it can be removed with a brush and a light application of your cleaning solvent. If you need to remove any fouling once you have used your brush, you can remove it with a cleaning patch or microfiber cloth. In the meantime, set your slide and barrel to the side on your cleaning mat.
As we move to the barrel, take your cleaning rod and patch, dip them in the solvent, and push through the barrel from the chamber end with the muzzle pointed downward to catch any excess cleaning solvent and debris on your mat. How do you gauge how clean your barrel is? As you are moving the cleaning rod through the barrel, monitor the amount of residue and debris that comes off on your patch as you swipe through your barrel. Once you have reached the level of cleanliness you desire, run a few more cleaning patches through your barrel to ensure it is clean and dry prior to the reassembly of your gun.
STEP FOUR: Apply Lubricant to Critical Areas
Now that you have cleaned your slide, frame, chamber, and barrel, you will move on to lubricating the moving parts of your pistol. Typically, you will want to lubricate the following areas of your firearm:
• The outside surface of your barrel (semi-automatic handguns)
• The bearing surfaces (metal-on-metal, such as the slide, guide rod, and rail)
Note: remember do NOT apply any lubricant to your chamber or the inside of your barrel.
Adequately lubricate all moving parts where needed, but not too much you’re contributing to excess residue, which may lead to potential handling issues once you’re on the range.
Once all moving parts have been lubricated, take a moment to look over your gun for any excess wear and tear on bearing surfaces such as the slide or frame. Finish wear is to be expected on surfaces where there is metal on metal contact. It is not considered excess wear. Excess wear is considered gouges or visible displacement of metal.
STEP FIVE: Wipe Down All Firearm Components
Now that you have cleaned and properly lubricated your firearm. Wipe your gun down with a clean and dry microfiber cloth removing any excess cleaning solvents and fingerprints.
STEP SIX: Reassemble and Check Controls
Once you have cleaned, lubricated, and wiped down the gun components, it’s time to begin the reassembly of your pistol. Start by inserting the barrel into the slide, then the recoil spring assembly (either the guide rod and spring separately or captive assembly if your handgun is equipped) into the slide and the barrel lug. From there, slide your slide onto the pistol ensuring to lock it to the rear and re-engaging the slide retention mechanism (check your owner’s manual for specific instructions depending on your Beretta handgun). Once the slide is locked to the frame, drop the slide and function check the fire controls and the active safety mechanisms, if equipped.
During reassembly, if you happen to spot anything you question while going through your inspection, we recommend contacting Beretta Technical Support or a Beretta Certified Service Center for further inspection.