Caring for a handgun is not difficult but is a responsibility you must take seriously. Caring for a handgun properly will keep it delivering reliable and dependable service for decades. Cleaning and polishing are minimal tasks but important to keep the piece looking beautiful. Storage and safety are always important when dealing with firearms.
1. Unload the handgun. You should never handle the firearm until you have unloaded it and made sure that it is safe, unless you are preparing to shoot it. Remove all shells from the weapon and remove the clip if it has one. Sight down the barrel to be sure there is no bullet in the chamber.
2. Strip the weapon for cleaning. In the case of a semi-automatic, this requires the removal of the barrel and slide from the weapon. For revolvers, remove the cylinder. Always clean the handgun with solvents to remove the residue of both the ammunition and the gunpowder discharged during shooting. A wire brush of a slightly larger removes lingering traces of lead and copper from the bullets that may remain in the barrel. Lubricate any parts that require it and then reassemble the weapon. Give it a final wipe down with a lightly oiled cloth to protect the metal finish from rusting during storage.
3. Place the safety lock on the weapon. These are either a cable that passes through the chamber of a semi-automatic or a trigger guard on a revolver. Store the weapon away either in a gun case or safe. Storage with the safety lock will prevent accidents if children find the gun or use of the weapon on the owner if found during a theft. Always store the ammunition away from the weapon.