How to Clean Your Pistol


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Introduction

After I bought my Taurus Millennium Pro PT-111 9mm pistol I went about looking on the web for information on how to care for and clean a pistol. It seems that how to clean a gun is the best kept secret there is. I could not find a single site that really went into detail. My "aim" is to fix that.

If you find something here that could be done better or is just plain WRONG please so #1, I can fix this page and #2, I can start caring for my pistol better. But, if you are where I was, I hope this helps. This page goes into great detail on how to assemble and dis assemble my PT-111. If you have a different pistol, yours may/will differ.

These pictures were all taken after I fired 200 rounds of CCI Blazer FMJ 115 Grain rounds.


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Have the supplies you need and a place to work.


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BE SURE YOUR WEAPON IS UNLOADED!!! You could shoot yourself or someone else and we really don't want that. Remove the MAGAZINE by pressing the MAGAZINE RELEASE BUTTON. BE SURE that the chamber is EMPTY by pulling back on the slide. Lock the slide open by pushing the slide catch lever up with the slide back. Look in the chamber (from the side not down the barrel) and make sure there is no bullet there.


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With the slide locked open twist the slide disassembly latch down (clockwise) until it stops.


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Completely remove the slide disassembly latch from the frame.

a note from jojo who wrote to me:
On a Tarus PT-111 PRO third generation model, in order to get the dissassembly latch out, after I switch it to the down position, I have to pull back the slide and while holding it let it move forward slowly and the dissassembly latch will click and pop out a litle then I have to pullback on the slide and relock the slide manually.
thanks jojo


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Carefully release the slide catch, and with the slide under FULL control, pull the slide forward off of the frame. - If the slide sticks on the frame, be sure the chamber is empty (YOU DID DO THAT, RIGHT???) and firmly pull the trigger fully to the rear while pulling the slide forward off the frame. - If the slide does not move because the barrel remains to the rear and tilted upward, be sure the chamber is empty and push the muzzle against the palm of your hand while pushing the slide forward with the other.


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Take out the spring. Note: this is a spring. Be careful.


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Take out the barrel and that's as apart as this gun ever needs to get without a gunsmith.


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Cleaning kit: tip from Kevin: - Get yourself some "powder-free" latex surgical gloves or vinyl surgical gloves. These prevent solvent from soaking into your skin. Hoppes No.9 is safer tha it used to be, but don't take any chances with your health. Oh and make sure you clean in a well ventilated area away from any food, drink, ingition source, ammo, small children, or pregnant women. - Thanks Kevin

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Solvent

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Oil

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Rod end accessories.


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Use a wire brush to get all the really tough stuff out of the barrel. You should only push the brush in the direction that the bullet would travel. Do this a few times.

Kevin wrote to me to give me a few tips for barrel cleaning:

  1. You don't need to remove the bore brush to pull it back through the barrel as the cleaning rod rotates provided that you grip it from the handle. Still always push the brush and the patch through the bore from the breech end of the barrel only, never from the muzzle end.
  2. Wet a patch with solvent and run it through the bore a few times, then set the barrel aside and leave it wet with solvent. Go clean the frame/slide. By leaving the barrel to soak you allow the solvent to soften and losen any hard caked on fouling.
  3. Now you come back to the barrel. Get several patches ready. Wet the bore brush with solvent and grip the cleaning rod at the base just above the handle and rotate the brush in the chamber first, this scrubs the chamber and headspace area. Next grip the t-handle of the rod and push all the way through the bore back and forth several times, allowing the rod to rotate in the bore as the brush contacts with the lands and grooves. Make sure the brush is screwed on tight and does not come loose from the rod when pulling it back through the bore, sometimes they tend to come loose making them ineffective on the pull through. Next attach your slotted jag and take a wetted patch and run it back and forth a few times through the bore. Make sure these patches fit reasonably snug in the bore. I like to to rotate them in the chamber first to allow the patch to swirl around the jag for better surface contact once in the bore. Repeat with a new wet patch a few more times and keep changing them until one comes out clean. When you are satisfied take a snug fitting dry clean patch and dry the bore. Hold your barrel up to a light and inspect it, or use a light. Is it clean? Any area where the is still fouling? If so, then repeat the barrel cleaning prosess until you are satisfied. About every 5000 rounds or so use a copper solvent to remove copper fouling from your bore. Just to keep it in check, copper fouling really isn't that detrimental to pistols as it is to accuracy in precision rifles. When using a copper solvent for copper removal make sure to use only a steel or aluminum rod and plastic bore brush and plastic slotted jag, no brass or bronze.
Thanks Kevin


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Put the cleaning rod through the barrel. Put a large patch (square piece of cloth) on the end of the cleaning rod, dip the patch in solvent and pull it through the barrel. Pull the patch through in the same direction as the bullet would travel. Repeat with a new patch until the patches comes out clean. You can then wipe the outside of the barrel with a patch and solvent.

picture don't be afraid to use lots of patches


Another tip from Kevin:
Slide/Frame: Get some clean cotton cloths (old laundered T-shirts work well) cut to about 7X7 inches or so. You will need at least 4 of these per cleaning. Get several Q-tips. Get a wooden chopstick and whittle the end to a chisel tip. Pipe cleaners also come in handy. Wet one of the cloths with solvent and wipe the inside of the frame and slide. Pay special attention to the breech face and extractor area. Use solvent wet Q-tips and a wet patch with the chopstick to get crud out of the rail and rail grooves, fouling out if the breech face and extractor claw. Pay attention to the locking lugs too. Use as many q-tips, cloths, and patches as you need for this. When satisfied, take your last clean dry cotton cloth and wipe dry all the solvent and crud from your slide/frame.

picture Look at all the metal flakes inside the slide.

picture Clean out the slide with a patch and some solvent. I also used the soft bristle brush.

picture A nice clean slide.

picture Do the same with the handle full of metal flakes.


picture Put the barrel and spring back together the same way they came apart just in reverse order.


picture Put a drop of lubrication oil here,

picture and another few drops here along the spring and wipe dry.


Another tip from Kevin:
Before re-assemebly make sure all the solvent is wiped dry. I find that compressed canned air works well for blowing out any residual solvent still hiding in hard to reach places. Inspect all the parts for wear, cracks, or breakage. Make sure to never over oil your gun. The better method for oiling any firearm is to use only a very very slightly dampened patch and wipe oil residue on the rails, lugs, and outside of the barrel before assembeling. All you need is a very slight and very thin film of oil on guns, you should barely be able to see it with you eyes. Remember that if you see any oil running or oosing out any time, you've got way too much oil. Once in a while disassemble your magazines and clean them with solvent then wipe dry.



Put the slide back on the same way it came off. Pull it all the way back and lock it open with the slide catch lever.


picture Put the slide disassembly latch back in. UPDATE: Be sure that the barrel is all the way forward before attempting to replace the slide disassembly latch - Thanks to Bill Ellett for this tip.

picture See that spring? You will learn to hate that spring. It makes insertion of the slide disassembly latch VERY difficult. (NOTE: Good news, it loosens up after a while) Orient the slide disassembly latch with the tab facing the rear of the pistol and push it in. It will be hard.

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picture load up some rounds

picture These are Winchester 9mm Luger 115Gr JHP.

picture and you are ready to go

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