How Often Should You Clean an EDC Gun?

cleaning a concealed carry gun

Ideally, you should clean an EDC gun after every use, such as a session at the range. It should also be cleaned in intervals not to exceed 30 days—even if it has not been discharged—due to the dirt, moisture, and perspiration that it is exposed to when you carry it daily.

This article will provide you with information pertinent to the frequency and purpose of EDC gun cleaning. Even if you have cared for other firearms in the past, an everyday carry (EDC) gun, with its important defensive role and frequent exposure to field conditions, requires a bit more attention. Read on and find out how.

Why Your EDC Gun Requires Special Care

All firearms require maintenance. However, when it comes to caring for your everyday carry gun, its level of importance grows tremendously.

This importance is directly related to the nature and purpose of carrying an EDC gun in the first place. Its role is that of self-defense. As such, your EDC gun must always be in optimal condition. The last thing you want is for your gun to have an issue when you are in a literal life and death situation.

Additionally, unlike hunting and sporting firearms used only in specific situations, an EDC gun is a firearm that you carry with you every day. You will expose it to conditions that are conducive to corrosion and dirt accumulation.

Whether you carry your EDC gun in a concealed or open holster, you will be exposing your gun issues related to “close body” carry and to climatological conditions, such as humidity. Even the ambient dirt and dust can find their way into your weapon rather easily.

Unlike guns used less frequently, an EDC gun must be cleaned not only when it has been used in a training session; but also to mitigate the natural effects of being carried with you daily.

Frequency of EDC Gun Cleaning

You should be in the habit of cleaning your EDC firearm each time that you have fired it. Some gun owners do so after they have discharged a certain number of rounds. However, in general, it is the best practice to clean your gun even if you have only used it to fire a single round.

Whenever you go to the shooting range for target practice or other training, you should clean it afterward.

If you go to the shooting range to discharge your EDC gun at least once a month and you are in the habit of cleaning your gun when you return from the range, you are ahead of the vast majority of folks.

Of course, not everyone can get to the range with regularity. As such, you should get into the habit of cleaning your EDC gun at least once a month. By developing this habit, you will ensure that you have a defensive weapon that is clean and primed for use in any situation.

While the month-long interval between cleanings is best practice in regards to how long you should have between your EDC gun’s cleanings, you may also decide to clean your gun on a biweekly or weekly basis, all the better. However, there is no need to go overboard.

The more frequently you clean your gun, the more of a habit that it will become. Additionally, you will increasingly become more proficient in assessing potential flaws that could affect the gun’s operation.

The month-long interval between EDC gun cleanings does have some exceptions. If you expose your gun to excessive moisture or harsh environments, you should increase the frequency of the cleanings. Use your best judgment!

Basic Field Stripping vs. Deep Cleaning Your EDC Gun

When talking about the frequency of cleaning an EDC gun, the type of recommended cleaning involves field stripping instead of deep cleaning.

Field Stripping a Semi-Automatic Pistol

When you clean a semi-automatic handgun by field stripping it, you typically do not use any special tools to disassemble it. Depending on the type of gun involved (Glock in this example), this usually means that you are disassembling the pistol by hand into the following components.

  • Slide
  • Barrel
  • Recoil Spring Assembly
  • Receiver
  • Magazine

Can You Field Strip a Revolver?

If your EDC is a revolver, the presence of fewer action components makes the process simpler. However, you shouldn’t take this as an excuse to extend the intervals between cleaning.

For effective EDC cleaning, you should break a revolver down into the following components.

  • Yoke
  • Cylinder
  • Extractor star
  • Ejector rod and springs

What Should Be Cleaned?

As was mentioned above, depending on your gun—whether it is a revolver or semi-automatic, the model, etc.— the actual cleaning procedure after field stripping may vary. At a minimum, however, the cleaning process after the strip down should include the following.

  • Barrel cleaning
  • Cleaning the action components
  • Cleaning the magazine for semi-automatics, the chamber for revolvers
  • Oiling and wiping down all metal surfaces

What About Deep Cleaning an EDC Gun?

When it comes to deep cleaning any gun, the fact that this involves breaking down the weapon to its absolute individual components, the process is more complicated than a field stripping.

Some gun owners who are less experienced in advanced gun maintenance may feel overwhelmed or lacking in skill and experience for this type of cleaning.

Some prefer to leave this type of deep cleaning to a gunsmith. While your EDC most definitely should be deep cleaned, the frequency of these deep cleanings, under normal use conditions, can be in 12- to 18-month intervals (maybe even longer).

Don’t Neglect Rotating Your Ammo

When conducting your EDC gun cleaning, it is also vital to consider rotating the ammunition in the gun. Remember, your EDC gun needs to be in optimum shape for responding to life and death situations.

No matter how clean and well maintained your EDC is, if the ammunition in it is unreliable, it adds unnecessary risk.

For semi-automatic pistols, it is recommended that you rotate the ammunition at least once per year. For revolvers, the recommended period for ammunition rotation is once every three months.

The different cycle times for ammo in revolvers versus semi-automatics are due to how much exposure the ammunition has to the elements. Chambered rounds in a revolver are more exposed in this sense.

For peak preparedness and to mitigate the possibility of a failed round—and the increased risk of jamming when this happens in a semi-automatic—rotating your semi-auto EDC rounds quarterly, just as a revolver, is something that you should seriously consider.

Isn’t Rotating Ammo Expensive?

Although not technically part of the cleaning process, you should incorporate ammo rotation for an EDC gun into your cleaning routine.

As far as the expense, consider that rotating the ammunition in your EDC gun does not mean that you are dispensing with ammo every three months. You are merely rotating the ammo out of EDC use.

Once you have rotated ammo out of EDC use, you can still use it for shooting at the range. As such, you are not wasting ammunition. Your freshest ammo should always be your EDC ammo.


When it comes to EDC guns, ensuring that they are cleaned and loaded with reliable and fresh ammo is crucial. This is because you rely on an EDC gun for immediate defensive action in life and death situations.

For this reason, cleaning an EDC gun should take place soon after you have discharged it. If you have not fired it, cleaning should still take place in monthly intervals.

Additionally, you should rotate the ammo that you use in your EDC gun quarterly. All of this ensures that your EDC gun does not fail you when you need it most.

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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