There are some who will lead you to believe having a dirty handgun is a bad thing. How you should always clean your handgun after using it or else.
Understand the why
Should you clean your handgun after using? It’s a trick question, the real question is why do you clean your gun? Most folks have no idea why they clean their guns, they clean them because everybody is telling them if they don’t the Baba-Yaga will come for them. If you look at your handgun as a tool you need to ensure the tool functions properly. A clean gun can still malfunction, but not for the reasons you think. Most modern day service handguns are built to handle tremendous abuse, but wear and tear will still take it’s toll. Parts, particular small parts can and will give out. In some case when these small parts break they render the weapon totally inoperable.
Small parts breakage
The reason you clean your guns is to inspect these small parts. To inspect them for abnormal wear and tear in an effort to avoid a catastrophic failure. The best way to inspect a handgun is to clean it, so you can see burrs developing or metal wear. What sucks, a lot of folks reading this blog have no idea what parts they should be inspecting or have an interval for routine maintenance and replacement. Even the simplest handguns are complex machines at their heart and need this type of maintenance. Research and develop your own maintenance intervals so you can stay on top of them and avoid issues down the road.
Routine maintenance schedule
Most modern service handguns have many of their OEM parts available in the commercial market. You can order online and watch various tutorial videos (no guarantee on their validity) to help become more knowledgeable with end user maintenance. I suggest keeping a small parts replacement kit in your range bag so if you do have a problem on the range you are not too inconvenienced. Then create a routine maintenance schedule where after so many rounds you will visually inspect your firearm for potential issues. Here’s a tip, if you cannot find at the very least a recoil spring for your particular modern service handgun, you might want to question your purchase. I disagree with manufacture’s approach to only allowing access to spare parts at armory levels or worse having to ship the handgun in for repairs. You, as the end user should have the knowledge and resources to care for your handgun indefinitely if necessary.
Oil the crap out of them
What is a good interval, an interval you may use for defensive tools. A lot of this will be personal preference, but I am far more likely to oil my handgun than clean after use. Sometimes I will fire only 50 rounds and other days it might be 500 rounds. My governor is the total rounds fired since the last inspection and for me I use 1,000 rounds. Let that soak in for a moment because I’m sure someone’s head just exploded at that statement. That means at every 1,000 rounds I will fully disassemble, clean and inspect my handguns. Any part I feel has reached the end or near end of it’s service life is replaced right then and there. What you will find me doing in between this interval is oiling the crap out of my guns. I put way more stock in a dirty gun properly oiled, than a dirty gun with little to no oil.
Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you is great, but truly knowing your gear is the secret. To know and understand how it operates in order to keep in the highest state of readiness.