There is a reason for the exceptionally high sales of Glocks. They’re reliable, accurate and comfortable for many to grip. And they keep cycling, even through dust and mud. Last year I hunted with my Glock 20 in Texas. I was thrilled it kept taking down hogs even though it was turning red with Texas dust. But even that plastic fantastic workhorse needs to be cleaned every now and then. Let’s talk about cleaning your Glock.

Clear the Glock

Before cleaning any gun, you must clear it. When you clear your Glock, take care to follow the four universal safety rules:

  1. All guns are always loaded.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
  4. Always be sure of your target (and what is beyond).

Drop your magazine. Next, rack your slide to clear the chamber. Do this even if you believe the chamber is empty. Do it again not only visually but also by touch. Verify it is empty by feeling around the chamber and barrel.

Here’s the catch: You will continue to treat it as if it were loaded. Sticking to these practices creates habits, and safety is the best habit you can hone as a gun owner.

The Takedown

Field-stripping your Glock is relatively easy. Of course, you won’t start until you’ve cleared your gun, right?

  1. Aim your carefully cleared Glock in a safe direction and pull the trigger. The slide cannot be removed until the trigger is in its rearmost position (as opposed to the forward position it is in when loaded).
  2. Grip your Glock in one hand, wrapping your fingers across the top rearward portion of the slide, with your thumb curved around the top of the backstrap. Next, use your fingers to pull the slide slightly to the rear — about 1/8 inch according to Glock. If you pull the slide too far back, you’ll reset the trigger and have to start over.
  3. Use the thumb and index finger of your other hand to pull the slide locks down while you continue to retract the slide. The locks are small, vertical controls located one at each side above the trigger guard. They must be pulled downward simultaneously.
  4. Holding the slide locks down, push the slide forward to remove it from the frame. It should slide right off.
  5. Remove the recoil spring assembly by compressing the rearward portion of the spring toward the muzzle with one thumb. Set aside. (Tip: Brace your index finger on the muzzle end of the slide.)
  6. Remove the barrel from the slide by gripping the barrel locking cams located at the back of the barrel. Then lift up. Slide the barrel forward just enough to free it from the slide, then pull it toward the rear of the slide to remove and set aside.
The silver barrel of a Glock 48 9mm semi-automatic pistol lying atop a patterned gun cleaning pad

The barrel from a Glock 48. You can see the barrel locking cams at the raised rearward portion of the barrel.

Your Glock is now field-stripped for cleaning.

Cleaning Your Glock

There is an astronomical number of cleaning products on the market, but I typically use SEAL 1. Some are better than others for specific needs though. Find what you like and ignore the many “experts” on social media.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll outline how I clean my Glocks using SEAL 1, which is non-toxic and multi-purpose. It cuts through carbon buildup, lubricates and protects my guns. Having used SEAL 1 CLP Plus on my Glocks for years, I’m comfortable recommending it.

A two-tone silver and black Glock 48 9mm semi-automatic pistol propped against a yellow bottle of SEAL 1 non-toxic gun cleaning solution

SEAL 1 CLP Plus is the author’s go-to for cleaning and lubricating her Glocks.

1. Begin with the barrel. Saturate an appropriately sized bore brush with SEAL 1 CLP Plus Liquid. Move the bore brush back and forth through the barrel vigorously, pausing to re-apply cleaning agent at least once. The bore brush scrubs the barrel and loosens build-up. (Tip: Always clean the barrel from the chamber end, not the muzzle end.)

2. Set aside the bore brush and pick up SEAL Skinz or another patch. Skinz are pre-saturated. If you use a dry patch, saturate it with SEAL 1 CLP Plus Liquid or whatever product you are using. Slip the patch through a cleaning jag attached to a cleaning rod. Continuously run several patches through the barrel until they come out clean. When you’re satisfied it is clean, run one final SEAL Skinz or another lubricant-saturated patch through the barrel. (Tip: If you intend to fire your gun immediately after cleaning, Glock suggests running a clean, dry patch through the barrel from the chamber end to remove excess lubricant.)

3. With a nylon brush dipped in lubricant, brush down the outside of the barrel. After removing residue, wipe the outside of the barrel off with a clean, dry patch. If the patch is dirty, repeat this step until it remains clean.

4. Use a wetted nylon brush to clean your Glock’s slide. A little cleaner, such as SEAL 1 CLP Plus Paste or Liquid, on the brush goes a long way. Grip the slide with the muzzle end away from your body and brush the breech face and extractor claw area. When you believe it is clean, wipe it off with a clean, dry patch. Repeat the process until it is clean.

5. Re-wet the brush with lubricant and brush the slide rail cuts to remove residue. Once clean, wipe them off with a dry patch. Again, repeat this process until the patch comes back clean.

Dirty slide rail cuts inside a silver slide of a field-stripped Glock 48 9mm self-defense pistol

The (dirty) slide rail cuts on a Glock 48 can be seen here.

6. If you missed any part of the slide, clean it. Rags come in handy at this point for wiping down the exterior and interior of the slide. Q-tips or Swab-Its dipped in cleaner are great for cleaning nooks and crannies.

7. Move on to the frame. Use a rag that has been dampened with lubricant to wipe off the exposed portions of the frame. Use a clean, dry patch to test if it is clean. If the patch comes back dirty, wipe it off again. Repeat until clean.

8. Glock recommends lubricating your gun as follows: Use SEAL Skinz or a lubricant-saturated dry patch to wipe down the outside of the barrel — don’t forget the hood and lugs. Lubricate the interior of the slide in front of the ejection port, where the barrel hood rubs against the slide, and the space the barrel slides through. Use SEAL Skinz or a clean, dry patch slightly dampened with lubricant or gun oil to wipe the exterior of the slide.

9. For the frame, place drops of lubricant or gun oil on the rear end of the trigger bar where it touches the connector, located at the right rearmost portion of the frame. Spread a drop of lubricant or gun oil along the full length of each slide rail cut.

The polymer lower assembly of a field-stripped Glock 48 9mm semi-automatic pistol, with a view down the darkened magazine well from above while the gun lies on a patterned gun cleaning mat

When your Glock is clean, lubricate the trigger bar where it touches the connector at the right-hand, rearmost portion of the frame.

10. Before re-assembling your Glock, take a moment to perform a basic inspection of parts for function and overall condition.

11. Re-assemble by reversing the aforementioned field-stripping steps. When the gun is back in one piece, cycle the action repeatedly to spread lubricant. A nice touch is to apply an ultra-light coat of lubricant or oil with a clean rag to the gun’s exterior.

Place your clean, cared-for Glock in your safe or holster. And remember, if you take care of your Glock, it will return the favor when the time comes.


Manufacturer: Glock Slide Finish: Silver nPVD
Model: 48 Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Caliber: 9mm Trigger: Striker-fired
Capacity: 10 +1 Barrel Length: 4.17 inches
Action: Semi-Auto Overall Length: 7.28 inches
Frame Size: Compact Overall Width: 1.10 inches
Frame Material: Polymer Height: 5.04 inches, including magazine
Weight: 18.48 ounces, empty