When bellyguns go bad……..

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

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:


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”.



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