How Often To Clean AR15

Many shooters are faced with the dilemma of figuring out when to clean AR15. Casual owners, in particular, find it unresolvable to determine the frequency of clean AR15. If you were to ask AR owners how frequently they clean their guns, you would be surprised by the varied answers you would receive. Cleaning your rifle is a crucial part of remaining prepared at all times.

Some people opt to clean the firearm after every use, others monthly, while others would tell you guns do not need to be cleaned. If you were to listen to their opinions and thoughts regarding cleaning ARs, you would never conclude. It is for this reason this article discusses the frequency of cleaning your gun. Read more and find out.

What is an AR-15?

how often to clean ar15

An AR15 rifle is a semi-automatic firearm that is finely tuned to cut down any intruder, animal, or distant target in one precise shot. To some, it is a toy made of metal or plastic, which leads to the gratification of their adrenaline blast. However, it is a piece of an embodiment of core American values like self-reliance, might, and freedom for many.

The AR-15 has an ardent following, and this, together with shrewd marketing, has made the rifle remain a jewel of the gun industry. It is the most popular rifle in American culture.

A while back, the AR-15 was used in a mass shooting in Florida, Las Vegas, Texas, and other cities in the USA, and this led to multiple attempts of its prohibition. As a reaction to the speculations that it will be banned, people started running out and buying more. This ‘panic buying’ led to a massive increase in the rifle’s sales during the reign of President Obama and the presidential campaign in 2016.

Once the fear of prohibition subsided, so did the sales, and gun makers lowered the trifle pieces.

Why Clean AR15?

While using your AR15, each fired shot’s carbon emitted begins to build up in different firearm areas like the fire control group, chamber, bore, and bolt assembly. These are critical parts of your rifle, and if left uncleaned for a period, the buildup will affect how your rifle performs.

Besides carbon, rust can also build up, and this will destroy the finishing of your rifle. Rust builds in the bore, the bullet trajectory and accuracy will immediately decrease. If your firearm does not have stainless steel elements, the parts inside could corrode, rendering your firearm damaged, and you can’t use it again.

If you clean your firearm frequently, you will remove coatings and moisture from your firearm, protecting the metal parts from oxidizing. There are some ammunitions with salts that react with the metal in your bore, leading to rusting and pitting. If left uncleaned, such ammunition will undergo significant damage, which will reduce accuracy.

Firearms work like machines, and if left without lubrication, the moving parts will grind against each other, leading to wearing out. There are very many internal parts in your rifle, like pins and springs, and all these are vital for your rifle’s wellbeing. If left unmaintained, these pieces will break completely or wear out quickly. Firearms that are not frequently lubricated require costly repairs and servicing.

Let us look at what can happen if you fail to clean your AR frequently.

  • Diminishment of the firm performance
  • The mechanical parts will rust, and this will lead to pitting
  • The firearm becomes foul, and this might lead to a reduction in inaccuracy
  • The AR15 becomes loose since the moving parts will start wearing off
  • The foulness of the gun makes the rifle jam when shooting
  • The efficiency and overall accuracy of the weapon will be impacted negatively

How Often to Clean AR15

how often to clean ar15

The debate on the frequency of clean AR15 has never found a winner. There is no specific frequency for cleaning your firearm. However, some factors can be used to determine how often you should clean your AR.

The elements you expose your AR to, together with the use of your AR, determine how often you should clean it. The kind of gun you are using also has a role in determining the frequency of cleaning your AR.

If you expose your AR to moisture frequently, you will have to clean it immediately after using it. Failure to cleaning it after exposing it to humidity makes your rifle prone to excess tear, wear, rust, and other damaging effects. If such debilitating effects happen on your rifle, then its effectiveness will reduce, and this will lead to a reduction in its lifespan.

This said, ensure the next time you are done hunting with your AR15 in cold weather, you scrub it thoroughly and get rid of all the moisture and dirt trapped in it. Do not let it stay without cleaning, even for a day after contact with water.

Even if the materials used to make AR15 are high quality and might withstand some elements’ damaging effects, you should ensure you clean them. You will be ensuring even the most susceptible pets of the rule are not exposed to the elements.

If you use your AR15 to target clays or make paper holes, you don’t have to clean AR15 and lubricate it after every use. If that’s the usage, you should clean it after every three or four services. However, it would help if you did not let your gun go for months without washing because you are waiting for the advised number of uses to elapse so that you can clean it. It is not advisable to leave your rifle for months without cleaning, even if you are not using it.

If you use your firearm for personal defense, you should ensure it is always lubricated and clean to prevent fouling, leading to reliability problems. You do not want it to fail you at the most critical moment. You can decide to adopt a monthly cleaning schedule since you will not be using the gun most of the time.

In addition to normal cleaning, it is advisable to carry out a detailed cleaning at the end of the year even if you have not been using your firearm. Detailed cleaning here means dismantling the gun and carrying out in-depth oiling and cleaning. If you are a tactical shooter or a hunter, you might want to carry this out twice a year to prevent additional issues.

Besides cleaning, dismantling your AR allows you to inspect your rifle and diagnose possible problems you might not identify ordinarily. When cleaning, therefore, be keen to look for things like corrosion, cracks, and rust. And once you realize your gun has such problems, replace the defective parts before using it again.

Maintenance Tips for an AR-15

You want long-lasting ammunition which does not lower its effectiveness, right? Follow these maintenance tips and enjoy the service it offers.

  • Buy a rifle rest for your AR. You can choose to make or buy a rifle stand and combined toolbox to make firing with your gun easier. Since you will have your rifle supported in the air, you will have the freedom to work with both hands.
  • Give your scope lenses a treat if you hunt in harsh conditions. Maybe you were in the rain somewhere, and rain inevitably got to at least the front element because you were looking up the trees. You can treat your lenses with different substances like Rainex. Also, remember always to carry a lens cloth in a pouch if you sense you are going to a place which your lenses will be wet.
  • Store your gun in a safe gun cabinet. Ensure the environment in and out is convenient. Some rifles are prone to condensation, and you should ensure you are preserving your gun in a place free from such conditions. Also, as you store the gun, ensure it is dry and oiled.
  • Invest in a good rifle bag if your firearm came with a lined bag, good for you. But if it did not, look for one which won’t store moisture and those which dry quickly. If you are from a cold hunting place, condensation will form on the hard metal. Before holding your rifle back, ensure it gets to room temperature and dry, and then oil it before storing.


The AR-15 is great rifles that will serve any function you want it. As it helps you, so you should service it. The frequency of cleaning your firearm varies depending on the use of a gun and the frequency of use. Regardless of these factors, you should ensure your rifle is always clean and do a deep cleaning at least once a year to identify faulty parts as you thoroughly clean it. Depending on its’ purpose, too, there are specific maintenance practices that you need to take into account as a shooter. If you want it to keep on serving you for long without issues.