A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Glock

Glock handguns for sale are everywhere. Much has been written about the Glock 19 being the “perfect” handgun. Glocks are durable, easy to shoot, accurate, and low maintenance.

However, low maintenance doesn’t mean the guns don’t get dirty. As with any handgun, to keep your Glock working at peak levels, you must keep it clean.

Glock History

Unlike some other handgun manufacturers like Remington or Smith & Wesson, Glock is a relative newcomer to the firearms world.

Gaston Glock, an Austrian, made curtain rods in the 1960s, followed by knives for the Austrian military.

One day, while having dinner with his contacts in the Austrian military, he pitched them on an idea he had based on designing a handgun using a light-weight, but durable polymer already part of the knives Glock sold to the Austrian Army. The military liked the idea and by 1981 he had a contract with the Austrian government to provide the new Glock handgun to the Austrian security forces.

Glock began selling guns in the United States in 1986. At the time, the revolutionary Polymer construction resulted in several false media reports that the gun could not be detected by airport metal detectors. The handgun, due to its reliability, durability, and extreme light weight, made it an instant hit with the American public and law enforcement. As of 2018, one of the most popular guns used by law enforcement is the Glock.

Cleaning Frequency

Experts laud the durability of Glocks and ease of maintenance for a reason. Clean it regularly, but there is no need to over clean it.

Many gun owners obsessively clean their guns, before, after, and in-between shootings. With a Glock, cleaning the weapon every time you go to the range is unnecessary.

Glock includes a copper-colored lubricant on the slide’s interior specifically for long-term lubrication, for example, and although the gun has tightly machined tolerances, you don’t need to worry about reliability if you don’t clean it for three or four range sessions.

If you carry your Glock daily, you need to clean, lubricate and function-check it every few months. Your sweat, body oils, dust and moisture, will eventually wear the gun down and affect its reliability unless you disassemble it and clean it routinely.

Particularly if you rely on your Glock in your profession and you shoot your gun weekly or monthly, consider having a certified armorer, maybe once a year, detail strip and clean it for you.

Materials Needed to Clean Your Glock

  • Cleaning patches
  • Q-tips
  • Cleaning Rod
  • Correct Caliber of Bore Brush
  • Nylon Brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Gun Solvent
  • Gun Oil
  • Cleaning Cloth and Rags

Before Starting

Read or refresh your memory by reading the manufacturer’s guide. You can find it online if you can’t find it or bought the gun used without it.

Ensure you have plenty of time and won’t be interrupted in the middle of the disassembly.

For safety, keep all ammunition away from the area or room where you are cleaning the gun.

Glock Parts

Glock is renowned for having much fewer parts than most handguns. Since Glocks have a small number of parts, Glocks have fewer things that could cause the gun to malfunction.

Learning about all the parts will not only add to your store of gun lore, but it will also help you better understand how to maintain your Glock.

The 34 parts for the Glock 19 Gen 4 include:

  1. Slide
  2. Barrel
  3. Recoil Spring
  4. Recoil Spring Assembly
  5. Firing Pin
  6. Spacer Sleeve
  7. Firing Pin Spring
  8. Spring Clips
  9. Firing Pin Safety
  10. Firing Pin Safety Spring
  11. Extractor
  12. Extractor Depression Plunger
  13. Extractor Depressor Plunger Spring
  14. Spring Loaded Bearing
  15. Slide Cover Plate
  16. Rear Sight
  17. Frame
  18. Magazine Catch Spring
  19. Magazine Catch
  20. Slide Lock Spring
  21. Slide Lock
  22. Locking Block
  23. Trigger Mechanism Housing and Ejector
  24. Connector
  25. Trigger Spring
  26. Trigger with Trigger Bar
  27. Slide Stop Lever
  28. Trigger Pin (long)
  29. Trigger Housing Pin (short)
  30. Follower
  31. Magazine Spring
  32. Magazine Floor Plate with Insert
  33. Magazine Tube
  34. Locking Block Pin

The Materials Used

Background

The Glock frame, body, magazines, and certain other components are made of strong polymer or plastic. Called Polymer 2, Gaston Glock, the weapon’s inventor, created this polymer.

Gaston used Polymer 2 to make the handles and sheaths for knives he sold under contract to the Austrian Army. Polymer 2 proved extremely resistant and much more resilient than many steel alloys. The plastic can withstand very high temperatures and has excellent shock resistance.

Gaston and his designers decided to make a revolutionary gun making the larger parts out of Polymer 2, drastically reducing the weight compared to other handguns.

The Steel Parts

The slide and barrel of Glocks are made from a single block of steel. The frame also has four steel rails, and several other parts like the trigger are steel.

Safety Features

Glocks use three independent safety features called the Safe Action® System. There is not a single safety lever or button. The three safeties disengage when you pull the trigger and reengage when the trigger is released.

Trigger Safety

The trigger safety uses a lever to block the trigger from moving rearward. The shooter must depress the trigger safety button while pulling the trigger to move the lever out of the way. When the trigger is released, the lever moves back in place, blocking the action.

Firing Pin Safety

The firing pin safety blocks the firing pin from moving to the ready-fire condition. Working in concert with the trigger safety, when the trigger safety is disengaged by the shooter, the trigger bar pushes the firing pin safety out of the way, allowing the firing pin to move along the firing channel.

If you release the trigger, the bar slides back into place, prohibiting the firing pin from entering the firing channel and striking the primer.

Drop Safety

This third safety engages directly with the firing pin at the rear, preventing it from moving forward. When the shooter pulls the trigger, the trigger bar moves downward, freeing the firing pin by lowering the safety ramp.

When the trigger moves forward, the safety ramp moves up again, preventing the firing pin from moving. This safety prohibits the gun from firing even if dropped from a great height.

Glock Accessories

Maintaining your Glock includes maintaining any accessories you may have added. If you use laser sites, you need to ensure the battery is fresh and working correctly. Additions like top rails, scopes or stocks must be cleaned and lubricated as necessary.

First Step: Perform a Safety Check

As with any weapon, your safety and the safety of anyone nearby remains the primary focus of any gun owner. Since the Glock is a semi-automatic, you must remove the magazine and rack the slide to ensure no round is in the chamber. Point the gun in a safe direction while doing so. Once the slide is back, visually inspect the chamber also.

Disassemble the handgun

The Glock has four major components: slide, barrel, recoil spring assembly, and the frame. Depending on your level of expertise and familiarity with the gun, you can perform a basic disassembly or a full disassembly. Most Glock owners perform basic disassembly for cleaning.

Basic Disassembly

  • Pull the slide about ½ inch and pull down on the slide stop, then remove the slide from the frame or trigger housing group.
  • Remove the recoil spring from the slide by pulling it out.
  • Remove the slide by sliding it up and then back, freeing the holders and permitting you to pull the slide out.
  • Lock the striker in place by pushing it back while pushing down on the black release button below it. While pushing down on the button, slide the back plate off.

NOTE: The slide is partially spring loaded so maintain firm control of the back plate during this step.

Full Disassembly

A Glock consists of 34 parts. For the adventuresome or those that know what they are doing, you can disassemble the Glock beyond the essential components.

You only need to do this every few years if you put a lot of rounds through it regularly. In addition to performing the basic disassembly steps, you must:

  • Slide the striker out and remove the extractor plunger and push the safety pin out.
  • Using the slide as a backing, pull the striker spring down and remove the spring cups.
  • Knock the reinforcing pin, at the top, and the trigger pin, the larger of the two.
  • Lift out the locking block using an armorer’s punch, holding onto the slide stop at the same time.
  • Pull the trigger bar forward and off its shelf while unhooking the return spring.
  • Unhook the other end of the return spring from the ejector housing.
  • Push the connector piece out the back.
  • Remove the magazine release by using a pick to remove it from the slot.
  • Press on the flat spring and pull the locking lever out.

Clean the Inside of the Barrel

Saturate the bore brush with gun solvent. Insert the bore brush from the chamber end, moving the brush back and forth forcefully, reapplying gun solvent to the brush periodically.

Saturate a patch with solvent, insert it into the barrel from the chamber end to the barrel tip and pull it out again. Do this with several patches until the patch comes out clean. Once the patch comes out clean, run another patch soaked in gun oil.

NOTE: If you are going to fire the weapon immediately after cleaning, run a patch without lubricate through the barrel a few times to soak up any excess solvent.

Clean the Outside of the Barrel

Using the nylon brush dipped in lubricate, brush down the outside of the barrel. Remove any particles or residue then wipe off the outside of the barrel with a clean, dry patch. Continue to wipe down the outside of the barrel with patches until the patch comes away clean.

Clean the Slide

Using the nylon brush with lubricate, wipe down the slide. You don’t need a lot of lubricate. While cleaning the slide, point the muzzle end away from your body and brush the breech face with extractor claw.

As with the barrel, when you finish using the brush wipe the slide with dry patches until the patches come away clean. If the patches get dirty, repeat the cleaning process of the slide with the nylon brush. Keep doing this until your patches remain clean after wiping the slide.

Brush the Slide Rails

Add more lubricant to the nylon brush and brush the slide rails until all visible residue has been removed. Wipe the rails with dry patches.

If the patches come away clean, the slide is clean. If not, repeat the process using the brush until after wiping the rails down the patch stays clean.

Inspect the Slide

Visually inspect the slide. Using a rag, wipe down the inside and the outside. Using a Q-Tip dipped in solvent, brush off the nooks and crannies until you are satisfied there is no gun residue or any type of dirt inside.

Wipe off the Exposed Portions of the Frame

Using a rag dipped in the lubricant, wipe off the frame. Use patches to dry the frame and ensure that no residue is fouling it. Once a patch remains clean after wiping down the frame, the gun is clean.

Lubrication

Barrel

Wetting a patch with gun oil, lightly wipe down the outside of the barrel. Lubricate the interior of the slide by the ejection port, including where the barrel hood rubs against the slide and where the barrel slides. Wipe the exterior of the slide down with a patch soaked in gun oil.

Frame and Trigger Bar

Using one drop of oil for each slide rail, spread the lubricate oil all along the rail. Use a drop of oil on the rear end of the trigger bar at the back of the frame where the bar touches the connector.

Final Step

Reassemble the weapon and cycle the gun several times to spread the lubricate. Before you put the gun away, wipe it off with a clean rag using a very light coat of lubricant.