This time of year, most hunting seasons are over and training organizations are ramping up for spring. With cold weather setting in, evenings are the perfect time to complete projects you haven’t had time to get to. First up: a complete breakdown and cleaning of your firearms and other gear.

Most semi-auto pistols are easy to fieldstrip and don’t normally need anything beyond that. Detail stripping a double-action revolver is above the skillset of many shooters and should not be attempted unless you have a good book or video you can follow along with when you reassemble it.

Another option is to take it to a gunsmith. Many gunsmiths will disassemble the revolver, clean the parts in a sonic cleaner, and reassemble it for a nominal fee.

Magazines are often overlooked, but since they are the primary feed source for your handgun or rifle, take the time to clean them as well.

Scrubbing the bodies with a toothbrush and Dawn detergent in water as hot as you can tolerate works great. Stainless, aluminum, and polymer mags can be placed with the feed lips down and allowed to drip dry. For blued steel, hot water evaporates quickly, or you can blow them out with compressed air.

The above procedure also works well for pistols and ARs, though I recommend blowing them out with compressed air and not drip drying.

Customizing or personalizing a firearm brings a certain satisfaction to many gun owners. This can be as simple as installing a set of decent sights on a Glock or as involved as finding someone in your local area who can apply Cerakote® in your preferred color(s).

The shot of a lifetime with a scoped rifle, be it for self-defense, competition or hunting, starts with a scope that will remain zeroed. One of the most common reasons for a scope losing zero is loose mounts, rings or both. This can happen through rough handling or just the vibration in a vehicle.

My go-to tool for making sure everything is tight is the Fat Wrench. It’s available through sporting-goods suppliers such as Brownells, Midway, and Sportsman’s Warehouse. It comes with the most common screwdriver bits used on scope mounts and rings and includes the proper torque specs for each. It will set you back about $50, but is well worth it in the long run.

As far as gifts for friends or family, a subscription to S.W.A.T. Magazine, an NRA membership, or a membership to your local range or club is hard to beat.

I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

Until next time, stay low and watch your back.

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