22 Oct 13
From a friend with a large agency on the East Coast:
“Many departments don’t like their officers cleaning their own pistols and rifles. In one in particular, guns are periodically turned-over for ‘dip-tank cleaning.’
Guns are ‘dipped’ into a tank containing some sort of solvent. Often, there is no follow-up! I’ve recently seen four serious stoppages on the training range, all caused when ‘dip-cleaning’ failed to get built-up gunk out of tight spots. And, there was little follow-up. No re-lubrication in most cases.
>SIG 226 in 40S&W, gunk build-up behind the extractor causing failures to feed
>Glock 22 in 40 S&W, gunk build-up in the extractor cut causing soft extraction
>M4, non-functional, due to gunk build-up within the gas-spigot (carrier key), preventing the bolt from closing completely
>AR15, non-functional, due to blocked gas-tube, from ‘dunking’ the entire barrel assembly, and then failing to subsequently clean-out/blow-out the gas-tube. Solvent loosened crud inside the tube, but the slurry was not then flushed out. Instead, it eventually “set-up,” like wet cement.
In all four cases, a few minutes of correct maintenance and cleaning, and the gun was back up running as designed.”
Comment and Lesson: When your gun doesn’t run, you get to die, not the armorer, not the gunsmith, not the chief of police!
User-level maintenance needn’t be obsessive, but you have to keep after it, testing your personal weapons constantly. When it doesn’t run on the range, it won’t run in your next gunfight! Don’t casually brush-off reliability issues.
Clean it. Fix it. Or, replace it. You’ve bet your life on it, and getting killed is no fun, particularly for stupid reasons!