Fast & Easy Glock Magazine Cleaning and Maintenance
The magazine in your pistol is the backbone of being able to consistently feed that next round. Glock and many other guns come with exceptionally reliable magazines these days. However, to maintain this high level of performance, a little regular maintenance goes a long way.
When performing magazine maintenance, the first step is visual inspection. Check the feed lips, then the rest of the mag. Keep an eye out for cracks, chips, bends or dings. If something looks off, compare it against another “known good” magazine and replace anything suspect.
Next, remove the baseplate from the bottom of the magazine. The easiest way that I’ve found to do this is with the Squirrel Daddy Magazine Disassembly Tool. All you have to do is put the peg in the bottom of the magazine and then pop it off as if you were using a bottle opener. There are other tool options, such as the GTUL and a punch, so do what works best for your system. Make sure to keep a hand over the bottom of the magazine as the baseplate comes off, as the spring inside is perfectly happy to launch magazine parts all over the garage.
A Glock magazine is made up of the mag body, spring, follower, insert, and floorplate. As long as the insert and floorplate pass inspection, cleaning these two parts is just a matter of wiping them down. A shop rag or microfiber cloth with a few squirts of Breakthrough Clean Solvent works great. This is the best solvent that we have found to date and currently use it on everything, from pistols to degreasing KitchenAid mixer gears (long story).
Next, we’ll put all the parts on top of our rag, this becomes important in a minute, and give them a few squirts of Breakthrough Clean. Make sure to get the follower good and wet as it usually has the most carbon and gunk buildup.
While the solvent is taking a minute to do its magic, dig around the workbench for your nylon gun cleaning brushes. You can use someone else’s toothbrush, but they wouldn’t appreciate it if they found out. (Fun fact: Breakthrough Clean apparently does not have a strong flavor.) Give the follower a good scrub and all the buildup should come right off. The single row of bristles on the back end of the brush is good for scrubbing the small corners where gunk will try to hide. After the follower is clean, use the already solvent damped rag to wipe down the spring and the inside of the magazine body.
It is best to avoid using oil or grease inside a magazine. This can give carbon and dirt a place to stick and potentially cause problems with ammo. I have gotten into the practice of spraying the spring, follower, and inside of the mag body with Super Lube, which is a dry-film lubricant. Make sure to do this outdoors or somewhere with good ventilation as it definitely has that chemical smell which means something works really well, but should not be breathed on a regular basis.
Once all the parts are snapped back into place, we are done. With a little planning and the right tools, it only takes a few minutes to check and clean a magazine. Doing them in batches will cut the per-mag time down even further. Since it is harder for stuff to stick to the inside of our dry lubed mags, future cleanings will be even easier.
It does not take long to make your Glock magazines look new again after a few range trips. Could you sometimes go months or years without giving your mags a second look? Sure, but why risk the potential reliability issues when the fix takes just a few minutes in the garage. The big payoff is that you can literally feel the difference in how smooth a cleaned and dry-lubed follower runs inside the mag body compared to an unloved magazine.