How to Clean a Glock "Safe Action" Pistol
The Glock "Safe Action" Pistol
The Glock "Safe Action" pistol is a weapon used around the world by various law enforcement agencies, military organizations, sportsmen, and even civilians. In today's age, one can hardly even watch an action film without being exposed to the iconic weapon. From Harrison Ford in Fugitive to Will Smith in Bad Boys II, the Glock has a indisputable presence in the world today.
Part of its appeal is its revolutionary design, which utilizes plastic polymers to increase the durability and reliability of the weapon, as well as to decrease the cost and weight of the gun itself. Part and parcel of such technological innovations, however, is the method of servicing and cleaning the weapon itself, to keep it in working order.
What You Will Need
Glock Pistols have an almost legendary reputation for reliability and durability. However, as any responsible firearm owner knows, even the most reliable weapon will fail if improperly cared for, or exposed to the elements for too long. In order to keep your Glock in working order, here are the things you will need:
- Gun Solvent: This will be used to remove fouling from the gunpowder residue, copper from the jacket, and any lead buildup that may occur. My Recommendations: Hoppe's No. 9, or Outer's Foaming Bore Cleaner
- Gun Oil: This lubricates the moving parts in the firearm.
- Gun Cleaning Rod and Brush: Glock Pistols come standard with a plastic rod and brush.
- Gun Cleaning Patches: These are used to swab the barrel and slide with solvent, as well as to swab out the barrel itself once the solvent has been used.
- Additional Supplies: Helpful, but not strictly necessary.
- Pipe Cleaners: Useful to get into hard to reach areas
- Break-Free CLP: Sometimes if gunk has built up, in the barrel or in the slide, Break- free is a good way to clear it up.
- Latex or Non-porous Gloves: Solvents and cleaning products have come a long way in recent years, but keep in mind, these are substances designed to dissolve or loosen metal. Do you really want that seeping into your skin?
- Microfiber Cloth: Microfiber cloth is very absorbent, will not abrade metal in the least, and leaves very little debris.
When Gaston Glock first designed the Glock Pistol, he attempted to meet the Austrian Defense Ministry's 17 criteria. One of those seventeen criteria stated that disassembly of the main parts for maintenance and reassembling must be possible without the use of any tools. So it is with the Glock, with its unique method of dissasembly.
It is important to mention that before attempting any cleaning or maintenance, a safety check should be performed. First, eject the magazine, and set it aside, taking care to keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction. Then, open the action, and eject any cartridge remaining in the weapon. After doing so, check to make certain the chamber is empty, then check it again. Untold numbers of accidental and negligent discharges happen during weapon cleaning, many of them fatal.
Now that you've verified that the weapon is unloaded and uncharged, you can begin dissasembly.
- Point the weapon in a safe direction, and pull the trigger, resetting it.
- You don't have to follow my method, I simply find it much easier and more ergonomic than with the gun held upright.
Part Two: Cleaning
When a handgun is fired, residue from the gunpowder conflagrating (as opposed to exploding) is coats the inside of the weapon. The coating from black powder is even corrosive, and can damage the weapon itself. Glocks, however, being modern weapons, have little to fear from that. However, buildup of powder can cause the weapon to malfunction.
Furthermore, copper, and other metallic deposits can accumulate on the inside of the barrel and breechface as well. Depending on the weapon, this can be allowed for longer or shorter periods of time. You can go a very long time without cleaning a Glock with full functionality. However, Glocks use polygonal rifling, which creates a tighter gas seal around the bullet as it is propelled out of the barrel. With higher increases in pressure, so comes higher risk of catastrophic failure, or as its colloquially known, "Ka-boom." With such a risk, even minor, the simple and beneficial task of cleaning seems a no brainer. The first step in the cleaning process is also the solution to that particular risk:
- Run your bore brush through the barrel, removing any large or loose powder or metal residue. As a rule, always insert the brush from the breech end of the barrel, and never the muzzle end.
- Remove the brush if necessary, and insert a cleaning cloth into the rod. Soak the cloth in bore cleaner. I personally use Hoppe's No. 9.
- Run the solvent soaked cloth down the length of the barrel, again inserting it from the breech, for consistency. Once you've run the cloth down the length of the barrel a few times, set the barrel aside, and let the solvent soak in.
- After the solvent has had time to soak into the barrel, run a cloth down the length of the barrel, discarding the cloth once it becomes too soiled. Repeat this until the cloth is running through the barrel with no soiling or discoloration.
- Now, you're finished, The barrel is now clean, set it aside somewhere where it won't pick up lint or debris.
- With a clean (non oil soaked or solvent soaked) toothbrush, scrub the inside of the slide. This loosens up any debris or deposits on the metal of the slide.
- Soak another cleaning cloth in solvent, and run it along the length of the inside of the slide. I use a bent in half pipe cleaner to force the cloth into hard to reach crevices. Make certain to clean the slide rails out, in particular.
- Tilt the slide upright, with the barrel end the bottom most portion, then scrub the breechface with the solvent cloth. This is to ensure no solvent leaks into the chamber that houses the firing pin assembly. Make sure to get the other hard to reach places such as behind the extractor, and such.
- Once you've cleaned the slide off with the solvent, wipe the slide off with a clean cloth, either another gun cloth, or a clean microfiber cloth, to leave as little debris or lint as possible.
1. Brush the internal area's off with the toothbrush, loosening any powder buildup or debris that may have accumulated.
2. Inspect the frame for any gunk that might have built up from oil attracting dirt, powder residue, or debris, and remove it.
3. Wipe clean with a clean microfiber cloth.
Part Three: Oiling
Oiling is a necessary maintenance task for any firearm. Regardless of how simple, they all have moving parts put under great stress, and it is important to keep those parts interacting as smoothly as possible. Glocks in particular require less oil than many firearms. Below is a diagram detailing the proper oiling points for Glock Pistols. Make certain to oil the slide rails, as well as the oil point on the "tail" of the frame, in particular.
You'll note at the bottom that it cautions against using too much oil in the process. Too much oil can result in the oil catching the powder residue during firing, as well as any other debris that is floating around inside the weapon, gunking it up. Glocks require very little oil to function properly. When applying the oil, you may use a thin tipped oil applicator, such as an oil syringe, or even rub it on with your finger to avoid over-oiling it. I personally have a 4" by 4" microfiber oil rag that I lightly soaked with oil that I use to spread out or wipe up any excess oil.
The Finished Product
Once you've finished cleaning and oiling your Glock, you should be left with a frame, barrel, and slide that is free from all residue, buildup, lint, or debris. It should also be well oiled and fully functional. Thank you for reading, and remember, proper maintenance is key to a properly functioning firearm. Whether you rely on it for defending yourself and your family, law enforcement, combat, or simply sports shooting, a properly maintained weapon is a weapon you can rely on.
As always, be safe! Firearms are a great responsibility, and handling them safely and properly should be at the forefront of every weapon owners mind.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Not everyone does it the same way, and I can't rightly say that my own method is any better than any other persons. I will say, though, that when I first purchased my Glock, that I wish I had better instruction in it. Hopefully, this will be of use to someone else like me out there.
Cleaned, Oiled, and Reassembled Glock 21
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.