A theme that we’re seeing in class is a lack of lubrication (lube). It’s especially important with rifles (M4 / AR15) but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored in the pistol. Whether the result of internet myth (they can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true) or faulty dogma, the bottom line is that lubrication decreases the amount of malfunctions a pistol will have versus running it dry. When you have 2 surfaces coming in contact with each other and they are moving, you need to keep them lubricated.
The old myth was that rifles need to be kept dry (unlubed) or else they’ll attract sand / dust and will malfunction. Sand, dust, dirt will be attracted to any surface that they can land on (here or overseas). The difference is that with a dry weapon you will have a slightly cleaner weapon that malfunctions, or keep it lubricated and you will have a dirtier weapon that functions. Aberdeen Proving grounds conducted dust chamber testing on weapons and found this to be true. While a pistol has a different functioning cycle than a rifle, the basic premise stays the same.
As a more recent example, this spring I worked with 2 students both with Sig pistols – good quality guns. One was brand new and would malfunction about 10% of the time (at least once per magazine). I looked at shooting technique and didn’t see anything that should contribute to that. When I looked at the pistol it was completely dry. I field stripped it and lubed it, when he went back to shooting the malfunctions dropped to about 1% – that’s possibly attributed to a “break in” period. The other shooter had a 1911 style pistol and the same situation was present. The pistol was as dry as dust and malfunctioning without shooter error. It was disassembled, lubed, and the malfunctions went away.
Follow your manufacturer’s guidelines on clearing the pistol, disassembling, then lubricating. There are some model specific guidelines to follow. For an example of lubrication see the video starting at 14:22.
We’ve had good luck with Slip 2000 both while deployed as well as here at home. Periodically clean and lube your pistol, the lubricant will evaporate unless you use a heavier lube.
Photo courtesy of Elmore’s Firearms.