In my last blog, we explored some of the challenges of carrying a defensive firearm to the beach. And I shared the importance of removing any saltwater or sand from your gun (and from yourself … and likely from all of your belongings). And since summertime is still enticing a lot of people to get outdoors, this week, we’re heading to the pool!
Clearly, there are some similarities between the two locations. At the pool, we are probably still battling the intense heat (and the sweat that goes along with that). And we are still dealing with water. But we also need to think about chlorine and sunscreen … and about keeping guns safe, secure, dry and clean!
One of my favorite setups to use for a trip to the pool is the patented combination purse insert and holster from Packin’ Neat. Designed to separate your holstered gun from any other contents, this specialized holster insert can be used in just about any purse, tote, backpack or bag.
So as you’re getting ready for your day at the pool, you can toss in your towels, goggles, snacks and sunscreen while still safely securing your firearm. Just make sure the kids aren’t reaching in your bag for an apple or some floaties. The Packin’ Neat organizing holster is a great off-body option when a traditional holster just doesn’t work with your swimwear and your sarong. But a responsible adult still needs to be in control of the bag (and the firearm) at all times.
Sweat and saltwater on your everyday carry gun can be bad enough, but chlorine and sunscreen can be bad as well. Of course, sunscreen is mostly just greasy, but this UV-blocking spray or lotion can gunk up a firearm, so try to avoid getting it directly on your holster, firearm, magazine or ammunition.
And since chlorine can be pretty terrible for metal — it can corrode and rust it — do your best to keep your firearm clean and dry while you’re at the pool. Make sure your gun is not directly in the “splash zone.” Keep it tucked under a chair or a table but where it’s still accessible to you. And remember to never leave it unattended if you need to make a trip to the bathroom or take a quick dip to cool off.
Hopefully your concealed carry firearm never takes a dunk in the pool. But if it does get damp from sweat, sunscreen or water (or from that sticky, sugary cherry slushy the kids insisted on), be sure to get it clean and dry as soon as possible. Since rust can occur even in the tightest, tiniest crevices, this means you’ll have to break the gun down completely. Next, clean the firearm with soapy water to get rid of chlorine or any other chemicals (or saltwater, if the pool happens to be the ocean-inspired kind).
For taking care of firearms that have gotten wet, most folks live by the “wipe, oil and dry” method. For this, you can use a rag, an air compressor or a hair dryer to help you get all the parts wiped down or dried off. And if you spot any rust, be sure to remove it with some steel wool and a little CLP lubricating and protectant firearm solution. Just be sure to test this on a small area first to be sure it doesn’t ruin your gun’s finish. (Any breaks in the finish will invite rust to appear.) Then, let your firearm “air dry” for a few days before you put it back together again so you can be sure to check for any more rust.
Follow this process with some oil, and your gun should be back in its safe carrying condition. Hornady One Shot (or any aerosol lube) will be able to get oil into some of those hard-to-reach areas. And don’t forget the sights and the inside of the barrel. Just wipe off any excess oil before you shoot. (If at any point you are unsure if your gun is clean, dry and ready to go, be sure to take it to a professional gunsmith.)
A day enjoying sun, fun, water and guns is entirely possible. It just may require a little extra thought, a few compromises here and there, and some careful planning. And just remember that the extra effort on your part to ensure your firearm is dry and clean after a trip to the beach or the pool will help keep your guns safe, reliable and rust-free!
About Beth Alcazar
Beth Alcazar, author of Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals and associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, has enjoyed nearly two decades of working and teaching in the firearms industry. Beth is passionate about safe and responsible firearms use and enthusiastic about teaching others. She is certified as an instructor through SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute, DRAW School, TWAW and I.C.E. Training and is a USCCA Certified Instructor and Senior Training Counselor.