A pressing subject for all those that enjoy the freedom of Every Day Carry: When is the right time to take that firearm from the holster and give it a good cleaning and some range time? Personally, I feel practice on a weekly basis should be a priority; however sometimes work and personal schedules don’t allow this. At the very least, a few sessions of drawing practice should be observed occasionally throughout the week. I see nothing wrong with clearing your firearm and going through a few drawing drills in the morning after you’ve dressed for the day. This will insure you know for certain how to get around your clothing to access your firearm quickly and effectively should the need arise.
Now, the subject of cleaning your Every Day Carry is a debatable one. In my opinion, a well cleaned and lubed firearm doesn’t necessarily need to be disassembled and cleaned over and over again if it’s not being fired. However you may notice that after a few weeks or even days, depending on the environments you carry in, there can be a substantial build-up of dust and fuzz from your clothing in various areas of your firearm. Usually, a little dust-off with a silicon rag will remedy this issue; but as we all know, sometimes lube can be a magnet for dust and other particles. A little build-up shouldn’t affect the function of your firearm, but I for one can be quick to quote: “If one must err, err on the side of caution.”
With that being said, even if you haven’t fired the firearm, this gathering of dirt and clothing fuzz could eventually cause an issue and should be dealt with. A quick wipe down, a field strip and quick cleaning and reapply of your chosen lubricant; whatever action you feel is best. However, if you practice often with your chosen Every Day Carry firearm, you won’t have to be concerned with a possibly dangerous build-up of foreign material, as you’ll be cleaning your firearm after the range anyway; or at least you should be.
As I stated earlier, it can be hard to find the time to visit a range with a busy work schedule and weekend full of to-do’s and honey-do lists. I’m fortunate enough to be able to walk outside to my back property and take advantage of my own personal range. Some aren’t so fortunate; but scheduling that time to take your personal carry firearm to the range is vital in keeping your skills sharp. When I come across fellow carriers and engage in conversation, I am sometimes saddened and shocked to hear that the last time they fired or practiced with their chosen firearm was the day they took their concealed carry course.
I will never verbally bash anyone’s choices when it comes to how they practice or how they carry, unless they are being outright unsafe and a danger to themselves or those around them; however I will tactfully offer my own advice and suggestions on the matter. You know how much practice you need when it comes to handling your firearm. Everyone is different. I will suggest that if you find yourself with some free time during any given week or weekend, visiting the range should be on that list of items to accomplish. If the range allows it, or you have your own private area to practice, wear your chosen concealed carry holster. Run through those drills of drawing and firing. Practice taking cover and reloading. Set up a few scenarios in which you have to shoot from behind cover, or from the kneeling position. You never know what sort of real life situation you’ll find yourself if you ever have to draw your firearm in public. Of course, logic dictates you can’t prepare for them all, but you can certainly cover the basics with a little thought and ingenuity.
The most important aspect is practicing with that carry firearm to the point of drawing it safely from your clothing, taking accurate aim and firing becomes second nature. Keeping mindful of proper trigger discipline during drawing and aiming and learning to work your safety quickly and effectively are also important factors to consider when practicing at the range. Developing this muscle memory can drastically reduce your draw time and effectiveness in making your firearm ready to fire accurately.
Just as important as the practice is the cleaning and preparation of your firearm afterwards to return to its duty as your Every Day Carry. Knowing how to safely and properly break down your firearm for cleaning and lubrication is just as important as knowing how to operate it. If you’re not a seasoned veteran and new to the firearm or firearms in general, ask a local gun shop or gunsmith to assist you in the area of breaking the firearm down and cleaning it properly. Also, Youtube can more than likely offer you a video on disassembly and reassembly of your make and model firearm if you wish to go that route.
Once you’ve properly cleaned, lubricated, and reassembled your firearm, perform a functions check to be sure it is functioning properly. This includes magazine maintenance as well. It’s always a good idea to rotate your personal defense rounds and inspect them for damage that may interfere with feeding and/or ejecting. If you’ve purchased new personal defense ammo, I would suggest running a few rounds through your firearm, as well as inspecting them for obvious factory defects.
Finally, after your chosen maintenance, your firearm is ready to be placed back in the holster and ready for another day. It’s up to you to decide how much of that maintenance is necessary, though finding the time for it can be difficult. Whether it’s a quick wipe down on occasion and practicing at the range when you have the time, or a weekly practice and cleaning ritual, it’s important to devote any time you can to it.