When bellyguns go bad……..

So I’m sitting in front of the missus’ Mac, watching a movie (Dredd…way bloodier than I expected), and I see her little KelTec 32 sitting next to the keyboard. I pick it up and examine it. Pull the mag, rack the slide to eject the cartridge and…hey..is that a spot of rust on the breechface? Hmmmm. I stop the movie, Google up some disassembly directions and….

photo-31Someone is going to get a spanking. And not the fun-Friday-night kind. And it ain’t gonna be me and it ain’t gonna be Nuke.

A half hour later I’ve cleaned it up and mitigated as much damage as I can. Mostly cosmetic but…some barrel pitting. How does this happen? Well, really, a maintenance routine would be nice. (Like, maybe every time we switch to/from Daylight Savings Time we should detail strip our carry guns?) But, mouseguns like these are especially prone to this sort of thing.

Here’s a S&W 36 that I carry sometimes when I’m just too lazy to carry the Glock. Please observe it from two sides:

IMG_0608

Not a bad little gun. It’s a former NYPD gun that I got for a good deal years ago. Why so good? Well, lets flip it over and see…….:

IMG_0609Oh! Thats..thats not right! I know, I know…I probably should have warned the weak-stomached S&W fans that there was some gun-gore coming. In my defense, this is how I got the damn thing. I take much better care of my thundertoys than to have that sort of thing happen. As an aside, the Smith works flawlessly…it’s just damn ugly on that one side.

Here’s the skinny – mouseguns and other hideout firearms are usually carried in a manner that is not terrbily conducive towards gun health. Take the case of the Smith shown above…why is all the pitting and funk on one side of the gun? Heck, even only one side of the cylinder has it. The reason is simple – the cop who carried it carried it with the pitted side facing his body. Moisture and corrosive sweat, combined with typical cop gun maintenance, slowly started defacing that side of the gun over time. The other side, which was free to ‘breathe’ didnt suffer as bad. Same story on the KelTec..she carries it in the ‘appendix carry‘ style, which puts it close to her…uhm…well, let’s just say that I bet I could get a lot of money from her fans for that KelTec. But seriously folks….when you carry any small gun tightly against your body you are asking for this sort of trouble. That doesn’t mean you shouldnt do it, it just means you need to have an accelerated rmaintenance shedule for these and other guns that are in the ‘elevated risk’ category.

I carry a Glock, normally, which is fairly difficult to damage. Oh, you can do it, but it’ll take damage that would kill lesser guns. I usually fully disassemble and clean my EDC gun every other month or so. My little pocket guns, like my 640 or 21A, get cleaned and oiled more frequently.

Don’t think that stainless steel is going to get you off the hook, either. It’s stainless..not rustless. I use TetraLube on most of my guns and I’ll wipe it on with my fingers, getting it into every nook and cranny on the gun, and then wipe it all off with a paper towel. This leaves plenty of lube behind but doesn’t leave a gooey mess that can attract pocket lint and become gun-jamming sludge. Use whatever lube you want, but use your head in the selection and application.

Moral of the story: even with the use of a holster (especially with the use of a holster, since if you just leave the gun in it all the time youre leaving it in there trapped with whatever moisture and body funk youve generated) you need to take these things and air ‘em out and clean ‘em once in a while. To quote Michael Ironside from the unfathomably bad ‘Highlander II’ sequel: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if you dont take it out and use it, it’s going to rust”.

 

 

15 thoughts on “When bellyguns go bad……..

  1. Interesting, I think little guns are worse for a couple reasons. First we tend to carry them close to the body and second they tend to come out more when it is hot. A pistol carried next to a sweaty body will have more corrosion issues than one carried further away from the body in colder temperatures.

    I think blued guns are by far the worst. Look at one wrong and you might as well use it as a boat anchor for a week. You almost have to try and get a stainless pistol or something with a good proprietary finish (Glock, Sig, etc all) to rust. Not saying it can’t happen but it is less likely to sneak up on you.

  2. I used to have a Keltec P32, 1st Gen. The blued finish isn’t all that sturdy. While camping we got caught in a real good rainstorm. Yes, we even wandered around the campground in it. What I didn’t realize at the time was how weak that finish was. A couple hours of wet combined with no oil available to cover the gun with once I dried it out was all it took. The gun still functioned fine but it was ugly (not as bad as that J frame though).

    That was also the last time I didn’t bring a basic gun cleaning kit on any trip where I’m armed.

    Steelheart

  3. Coulda been worse. There’s other ways to find out a person’s gun maintenance activities haven’t been up to snuff, and the stories are seldom as funny at the time as they are in the retelling, over adult beverages after the stitches have healed. Or worse.

    Just suggest sweetly to “someone” that you probably saved her life, and thus deserve some suitable reward for slaying potential dragons.

  4. I had to give up on the Bianchi ‘Belly Band’ holster for this reason. Fabric holster + south Texas high humidity + south Texas high temperatures = beau coup maintenance! The hell of it is, you can’t really do a lot BUT maintain it – applying oil stains clothing (leaves a good smell though, at least to gun owners lol).

    Maybe some type of paint can be applied to that side of handgun ? That might cause a skin reaction though.

  5. I live near the Texas Gulf Coast so we get the heat, humidity and corrosion from the salt air and salt water. Once or twice a month I nuke my Kimber with Remlube to its dripping like a porn star in a downpour. I wipe it down, shake out the excess oil, run the slide several times and I’m good to go. It dries out quickly so Im actually forced to to maintain it more often being in the climate Im in. Today we had 90 percent humidity and it was 80 degrees outside in January no less.

  6. RUST IS A COMMON PROBLEM WHEN LEAVING A PISTOL IN A HOLSTER. I ALWAYS REMOVE MINE EVERY TIME I PUT IT AWAY. IT IS BEST TO KEEP A RAG WITH OIL IN THE SAME PLACE YOU STORE YOU GUN SO IT REMINDS YOU TO WIPE IT SOWN AT LEAST WEEKLY. I TAKE MINE DOWN ONCE A MONTH TO CLEAN IT. THEY ARE TO IMPORTANT AND COST TO MUCH TO NOT MAINTAIN. KEEP A LOG WHERE TO STORE YOUR GUN TO REMIND YOU TO CLEAN IT HELPS TOO

  7. Echoing Guerra’s comment above, would a Duracoat or Cerakote finish on the external and internal wearing points be a decent investment? I know the coatings are thin but would they impede fit or function inside the frame or on the barrel? This would be nice for the P3AT backup in the jeans back pocket…

    Echoing your comment CZ, that Glock finish has not rusted in 10 years of S Alabama humidity with daily carry in a leather IWB holster.

  8. Great reminder! When I was a kid I was trained to clean my firearms after every use, later…my military issued weapons get cleaned before going back in the arms room (unless it just for overnight)…but modern firearms are so durable that it’s easy to get lazy and not properly follow a cleaning regimen.

    When I was deployed in Iraq and carried my M-11 24/7 I religiously cleaned it once a week (more often if subjected to a sandstorm, rain, excessive grime or use)…and cleaned my M-4 every time I had to turn it in at the arms room (yea, warzone and we had to lock up the ‘big guns’…I don’t do the same with my everyday carry now…better get back into the habit!

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