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Old 02-27-2013, 10:16 AM   #1
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Newbie to Handguns and Cleaning...Don't Laugh!

I will have in my hands a PK380 within the next few weeks, and I am a complete newbie to guns. I have shot my friend's S&W Shield 9mm and LOVE it (his Glock 45 not so much...too much power for a beginner). When I picked up the PK recently in the gun shop I liked the feel in my hands. I didn't get to shoot it, so I am unsure whether it will really be the right fit for me. (I had thought I had wanted a S&W Bodyguard till I got to shoot one, and I hated it. Way too small in my hands!)

If I end up shooting and not liking the PK, I may flip it. I don't think I'll have a hard time doing that, as it seems it is a very popular gun around here and the shops have a hard time keeping them. The guy at the shop I bought it from even said he'd buy it that day if I wouldn't!

That being said, I am looking for a "universal" gun cleaning kit. Not only in the event that I don't like the PK and end up with something else in a different caliber, but in the event (which I am sure will happen) I will purchase another gun in the future (would love to get a good deal on a .22 rifle). All the "universal" kits I have seen do NOT list a .380 as one of the sizes that they have. I have looked at quite a few, and I actually liked this one because it's not only a kit but a carry case:

Winchester Pistol Range Bag with Cleaning Kit, 22pc, and Driver Set 10pc: Hunting :

But note it doesn't list the .380 in the sizes it has. So my question any of the other sizes clean a .380? Or are .380's just not that popular that they don't consider them worthy of a "universal" kit? We were recently at Academy Sports and Dick's and decided to take a look there, and even in individual parts they didn't have brushes for the .380. I can buy a kit for $10 on eBay that is just for the .380, but again, if I don't like the PK and end up with something different, then that kit won't do me any good and I'll end up having to buy another one.

Any suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:08 AM   #2
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I just checked out the link! I like that kit. I have the Hoppes Deluxe Gun Cleaning Kit. I switched out the cleaner in my kit for Hoppes Elite cleaner (spray bottle) and a small can of Rem Oil. (Those are my preferred staples...less mess cleaning, and the Hoppes Elite gives a good cleaning with no smell or residue. (That's just my opinion, however, and there are many more cleaners out there that people prefer due to their own preferences. You kind of have to find what works for you.)

The Winchester Pistol Range Bag with Cleaning Kit is awesome, because you not only have the cleaning supplies, but you also have a bag to tote your pistol around with. If you're like many of us, it will come in handy if you're carrying one on your person, and have another pistol or two that you'd like to transport without wearing them. The brush for the .38/.357/.380/9mm caliber pistols are all the same, from what I've been told. My kit has a this particular size, but it is stamped ".357" on the stem.

I do hope you enjoy your PK380 as much as I've enjoyed mine. It makes for a very comfortable carry. Just watch out for that recoil spring when you're doing your first cleaning. Here's a link to help you out with that (although, I'm pretty sure there are some methods posted in the PK380 forum):

Best of luck to you, and enjoy!!
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:06 PM   #3
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Fuego .22
Clean your pistol every time you shoot it. Make it fun instead of a dreaded chore.

Inspect every part of the disassembed pistol carefully for metal fatigue, cracks, or unusual signs of wear.

A .380 barrel has a nominal bore diameter of .355". So any bronze bore brush for a 9mm or a .38 or a .357 will work just fine. Just remember to push the bore brush all the way through from the breech end of the barrel. Do not reverse the brush while it is in the barrel, or you will destroy the brush.

I prefer a bronze brush with a loop on the end rather than a cut steel sharp end.

NEVER use a stainless steel bore brush.

I make my own patches out of old cotton T-shirts. I like a woven cotton patch, not the synthetic non-woven junk.

I use Hoppes #9 for a powder solvent. I have never had a problem with it. I use Mobil-1 synthetic motor oil for a lubricant. Never had a problem with that either. I am a cheapskate, and a quart will last a lifetime.

Buy a simple fishing tackle box long enough for your cleaning rods and keep all your cleaning tools in it. Throw in some used toothbrushes for scrubbing carbon deposits.

And that's about it.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:23 PM   #4
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Lola9 .22

I just learned some awesome info from your response to Froggie. Old cotton t-shirts never crossed my mind. I usually end up using them for dust rags around the house, rather than using them to clean 'the ladies'. (Of course, I've still got that bag of cotton patches to finish it will be a while before I get to the shirts!).

Also, Mobil-1 synthetic...any particular viscosity? My only problem with the oils is that I am a little heavy handed, and even though I let everything sit for a moment before re-assembly, I sometimes get a little 'ooze' of oil when I use lubricant that must be "dropped" onto the working parts. Guess my other question is: Do you dab it on with cotton cloth? I'm interested in trying this. I'm with you on saving money!!

Thanks for sharing!!
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:14 PM   #5
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This is a terrific thread; thanks for participating.

One of the best sites for gun owners, young and old alike, men and women alike, is the Cornored Cat. You'll find many helpful hints in it, including a section on cleaning and maintenance. If you haven't already discovered it, here's a link:

Cornered Cat | If you have to fight, fight like a cornered cat.

... and one for cleaning:

cleaning maintenance | Search Results | Cornered Cat

Searcher 451

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Old 03-14-2013, 09:24 PM   #6
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table42 .22

I also like the Shield. It might be my next purchase. You might also consider the Walther P22. It makes a good trainer.

As others have said, the .380, 9mm, .357, 38 special, etc., are all in the same family as far as cleaning supplies goes.

And the fishing tackle box idea works perfect to keep all your stuff in one place.

good stuff!
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:42 AM   #7
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I bought a bunch of stackable transparent plastic tubs of varying sizes with lids from Wally World. Smaller ones hold ammo sorted by caliber, three medium sized hold tools and cleaning supplies and spare parts, a big one acts as the holster box. I also keep one in the car trunk with equipment and supplies I use at the gun range, which helps keep the range bag to a reasonable size and order.

Ask four people for a cleaning solution, tools and cleaner- lubricant-protector, and you will get five answers. I suggest the only truism is that you will not end up with the solution you first selected, so do not be afraid to try new things. Personally, I started with traditional Hoppes and Outers rods and patches, and cleaners that would give cancer to a stone. I moved to Bore Snakes and Gunzilla. Now I use a combination of traditional and Bore Snake with Ballistol, and a film of gun grease on a few parts that never see the light of day. And no doubt something else will come along someday that will cause me to change again.

Many aspects of this gun hobby are not static. The bar is continually being moved by better engineering and chemistry. We should be willing to change methods when better ones are presented to us...not change for the sake of change, but change for the better.

--GG, SoCenPA
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