We all know the importance of keeping our guns cleaned, especially after firing them. You should clean your magazines, too. But sometimes, we neglect to keep our guns as clean as we should when we haven’t fired them.

Early on during Illinois’ lockdown period, I cleaned the last couple of handguns that I haven’t (yet) lost in unfortunate boating accidents. Thankfully, my carry pistol remains in its holster 99% of the time. But last week I checked it and my eyes did a double take.

Dust had completely obscured the front sight.

Yes, in just four short weeks of 24/7 carry (at least while I’m dressed), enough dust had accumulated on the gun to obscure the front sight and, even worse, hide the glowing tritium sight needed for a proper sight picture in low-light.

At typical self-defense distances of three yards or less, an obscured front sight isn’t an issue for the “defensive” shooting.  However, against a moving target or if a more precisely aimed shot is needed, the ability to see the sights certainly helps.

Yeah, and in other news, water is wet.

It could have been worse. A now deceased friend of mine once admitted that he once lost the front sight off his holstered GLOCK. I asked how long he had carried it like that and Pete just shrugged his shoulders.  “I dunno. It’s probably been six months since I took it out of the holster.”

Now, while the confessional stands open and in service, I’ll also admit that a couple of boat accidents ago, I fired my KelTec P3AT back up gun on an indoor range. As the gun fired, I saw a bunch of stuff explode out of the gun. When the dust had settled — literally — I brushed numerous dust bunnies off my arm. It wasn’t one of my prouder moments, but it certainly cleaned the proverbial cobwebs out with one shot.

Thankfully nobody except the surveillance cameras caught it.  And I’m sure the incriminating video has long been over-written.

The moral of the story: check your carry gun and gear on a regular basis. More often than you think is necessary. Because beyond a couple of yards, those sights can really come in handy.

3 thoughts on “CHECK YOUR CARRY PIECE: It gets dirty more quickly than you think”
  1. As a range officer at a local gun range, I watch a man with a very nice chrome 1911, super 38. A very good shot by the looks of his target.
    He took out his Ruger LC9 CC and had a problem with the slide. It took a two hand push against the bench to move the slide. After getting backed and locked we looked at rust on the rails. Summer in Houston, with two months without cleaning, made it a single shot pistol.
    My personal rule, shoot the carry ammo every month, load with fresh and at least a light clean and lube.

  2. I cleaned my pistol yesterday, after it lay dormant in a holster for several months. It didn’t have dust bunnies, but I noticed the grease in the slide rails had dried a little.

    A thorough cleaning after every outing is a rule I favor. Maybe that frequency is not necessary, but I feel better knowing I have done all that I can to insure it will function properly if that critical need arises.

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