How To Clean A Beretta Px4 Handgun


These detailed instructions are for a Beretta Px4, but if you have a 92/96 series, you can take advantage of this article too. There are a couple of different details, like how the takedown lever works, but everything else is pretty much the same.

The gun I’m using for this demonstration is a .40 S&W Beretta Px4 with a Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro. That’s a combination light and laser unit that works with virtually any gun with a rail – like this Px4. The good thing is that it’s completely out of the way for cleaning and maintenance, as you see here.

First you have to take it apart, or field strip your PX4. There is no need to completely disassemble your pistol unless something is obviously wrong with its function. And even then, full disassembly and inspection is best left to a qualified gunsmith.

When you’ve field stripped your Px4, you will be left with six major assemblies:

  1. Magazine
  2. Frame
  3. Slide
  4. Barrel
  5. Recoil spring
  6. Central block


All necessary cleaning and lubrication can be done with this level of takedown.


Even before step 1 of the field stripping process, you need to make sure that your pistol is empty. Remove the magazine. Most importantly, rack the slide multiple times to remove the cartridge in the chamber. Now visually check the chamber. Now do it again. Lock the slide open by pressing upward on the slide lock lever while retracting the slide. When you look through the top, can you see daylight through the magazine well? Can you see that there is no cartridge in the chamber? Good. Now you’re ready to proceed.

How to field strip your Px4

Step 1: Remove the slide.

Your Px4 should be decocked with the hammer in the “down” position. Using one hand, pull down the disassembly latch on both sides of the frame. Now move the entire slide assembly forward and it will come completely off the gun frame. Yes, it’s that easy.


Step 2: Remove the central block and recoil spring.

The nice thing about a Px4 is that the recoil spring is captive, meaning it won’t go flying off across the room when you remove it. Turn the slide upside down and pull the central block and spring out. These two parts will separate easily as the spring is inserted into a hole in the block.


Step 3: Remove the barrel from the slide.

Another easy step. With the central block and spring removed, the barrel will lift out of the slide.

All done! With the Px4, you want to be careful with the slide lock / slide release lever. With the slide removed, it’s fairly easy to knock off the frame, and the spring that holds it is a little bit tricky to reinstall. Just be careful and you’ll be fine.

How to clean your Beretta Px4

First you’re going to need some basic supplies. The Px4 includes a cleaning rod with a slotted end for patches and a brush, so technically all you need is cleaning solvent and lubricant.


My favorite cleaning rig: OTIS Technology

There are dozens of gun oils and cleaning solvents on the market. Fortunately, it’s pretty hard to go too wrong with any gun-specific cleaners and oils. Notice we say gun-specific. What you don’t want to do is use a general purpose penetrating oil like WD-40. We love WD-40 and it’s wonderful for many things, like getting bubble gum out of your hair. You may even use it to clean gun parts. Just don’t rely on it as a preservative and protectant for post-cleaning use. Guns tend to get really hot, hence the need for special oil and lubricant formulations that are designed to stand up to intense heat. Since the Px4 has a polymer frame, be sure not to use solvents than can damage plastic. Generally, only degreasing products will have this issue.

We’re going to pause and put in a plug for what I believe to be the best cleaning system on the market. It’s called the OTIS Technology System.

It’s well worth the money and the kits are designed to accommodate rifles, shotguns and pistols of various calibers. Their most basic kits will handle 9mm, 40 S&W and .45 ACP – all you need to clean the Beretta Px4.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

Be sure to check out Tom’s latest books! They are ON SALE now for a limited time!

Surplus Ammunition: Shooting a Little Bit of History, Literally

Surplus ammo is not just inexpensive, but interesting and fun - if you give it the proper respect.

Surplus ammo is not just inexpensive, but interesting and fun – if you give it the proper respect.

Remember when surplus 8mm Mauser ammo was more abundant than White House press conference fibs? I do. Not so very long ago, you could buy as much as you could store for less than 5 cents a round. Now that same round is about 60 cents – if you can find it. Similar scenarios apply for other common military rounds like .308, .30-06, 7.62×39 and 7.62x54R. While harder to find, and a lot more expensive than it used to be, it can still be cheaper than newly manufactured ammo.

While the glory days of surplus ammo have gone the way of real investigative journalism, there are still some deals to be had. For example, one of the current “bargains” (and I use that word begrudgingly) is 5.45×39 for AK74s. That can still be found in quantity for about $.22 per round. Considering new 5.56mm ammo runs into the $.40 to $.50 range, that’s not too bad, assuming you have one of those micro-bullet AKs or a different 5.45mm bullet eater.

But as they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The “cost” of that dirt cheap ammo is that some of it has corrosive primers or other issues that require extra care when feeding.

There are benefits and drawbacks to using surplus ammunition. Rather than address pros and cons, let’s just make some observations.

Corrosive ammo

The real issue here is corrosive primers that use material which leaves a potassium chloride residue in the barrel and gas system – if you use a semi-automatic. You might recognize this dangerous (to guns anyway) chemical as… salt.

The problem with salt is that it likes water and attracts it from humid air. It likes water so much that even if you slather your bore with gun oil after shooting corrosive ammo, the salt will pull moisture through the oil to the bore and rust it underneath the oil layer. Did I mention that it really likes water?

The other problem with salt is that it does not really break down into anything less damaging to guns. It dilutes in water, but it’s still salt. So you can’t just “neutralize” salt residue left by corrosive ammo primers. Oil won’t neutralize it. Gun cleaner won’t neutralize it. Justin Bieber’s Greatest Hits won’t even neutralize it. You have to remove it. On the plus side, the fact that salt dilutes in water makes it easier to remove.

Read the rest at AmmoLand!

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition 2nd Edition 2014. It’s ON SALE now for a limited time!

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Neat Invention of the Day: OTIS Ripcord Gun Cleaner

I spent some quality time at the range yesterday. I had to shoot some AR rifles to gather some data for my upcoming Insanely Practical Guides book, The Rookie’s Guide to the AR-15. Yeah, I know, it’s not just an adventure, it’s a job!

The OTIS Ripcord with an OTIS IDT Bore Brush attached. If you look closely you can see how the cord gets larger from one end to the other.

The OTIS Ripcord with an OTIS IDT Bore Brush attached. If you look closely you can see how the cord gets larger from one end to the other.

Anyway, the not so fun part of all that work is the cleaning afterwords. While not as difficult as rehabbing a recently paroled assistant crack whore, it can be a tedious process.

Fortunately I got my hands on a sample of the hot-spankin’ new OTIS Ripcord while at the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational. OTIS was a sponsor (thanks!) of the event and brought lots of new cleaning supplies for trial and testing.

The OTIS Ripcord is a semi-rigid cleaning “rope” for lack of a better word. Except it’s not much like a rope at all.

It’s constructed from a molded and rubberized core which provides the rigidity. Wound around that is carefully patterned Nomex fiber. You know Nomex – it’s that space age fire-resistant stuff that helps protect astronauts, military pilots and race car drivers from all that highly combustible fuel that they surround themselves with. It won’t even start to burn or melt until you get north of 700 degrees. This is important because… gun barrels get HOT. So you can use the OTIS Ripcord at the range while your barrel is still smokin’. That makes it a little easier to get the gunk out before it cakes on like Joan Rivers’ stage makeup.

The Nomex fiber is wound into a helix shape, like Alpaca DNA, so that the pattern gets deep into the rifling grooves. This means better cleaning and fewer passes through the bore. You’ll also notice that the OTIS Ripcord increases in diameter from one end to the other. The larger end won’t even go through the barrel if you try to put that in first. That’s by design. Insert the skinny end, and when it comes out the muzzle, pull the rest, including the fat part, through.

At each end of the Ripcord is a female threaded cap. So you can add other OTIS cleaning accessories. I stuck the OTIS IDT Bore Brush on the fat end and soaked the mop portion with FireClean Conditioning Oil, which I’ve been testing recently on AR’s.

Wow. I did two passes and the bore was squeaky clean. The rigidity of the Ripcord makes life a lot easier, especially when cleaning a semi-automatic where you don’t have linear access to the chamber end of the barrel. I’ve been a fan of the OTIS breech to muzzle cleaning system for years, and part of what makes it easy is the fact that the cleaning cables are not limp and floppy. While “limp and floppy” may sound a bit suggestive, it’s really a bad thing when you’re trying to wind a cleaning rope through an AR chamber. You have to orient the rifle muzzle down and take advantage of gravity to get the leading end out of the muzzle. It can be a three hand job. Not so with the Ripcord. Put your rifle on the bench sideways and just push it through. Awesome. I’ll be picking up more of these for my other rifle and pistol calibers.

You can get them in a couple of calibers at Amazon now and more will be appearing at your favorite gun accessories retailers like over the next few weeks.

And The Winner of the OTIS Technology Elite Cleaning System Is…

Tactical chicks have a great sense of humor.

We’ve met a number of contributors to The Women’s Outdoor News over the past couple of months and learned the hard way that they are as twisted and genuinely silly as we are. Love that.

For Fathers Day, we elected to have a little fun with the ladies from The WON. This resulted in us losing a battle of wits in flaming-ball-of-wreckage fashion. Big surprise there.

An Open Letter To Women’s Outdoor News

An Open Letter To The Men At My Gun Culture: An An Opportunity To Win An AMPLIFI Cleaning System

Our Response To The Vicious An Unprovoked Attack By Women’s Outdoor News

Women’s Outdoor News Takes The High Road And Gives Jennifer An AMPLIFI System

As you can see, things got ugly fast. For us.

But all’s well that ends well, and as a result of some egging on by the ladies at The WON, and a most generous donation from Otis Technology, we’re giving away our part of the Fathers Day sweepstakes – an OTIS Technology Elite Cleaning System.

This cleaning kit has it all – the famous and effective OTIS breech-to-bore cleaning equipment and enough gadgets and goodies to clean everything in your safe from .17 HMR to 10 gauge shotguns. It’s even got a kit within a kit for portable field use. You can get the full scoop on the OTIS Elite System features and benefits here. You can read about it at your leisure, but we’ve had the Elite System for years and use nothing else. It’s that good.

If you’ve been keeping up with this banter over ultimate Fathers Day gifts, you know that we agreed to randomly select a winner for the OTIS Elite System from the comments on our two stories linked above. With a little help from, we selected the following winner…


Randy’s comment incantation of “This would be a nice kit to have, hint, hint random number…” seemed to work just fine with the voodoo.

Randy did not give his (or her?) last name. Randy did leave an email address however, so Randy, if you are reading this, check your email now!

Congrats to Randy! And enjoy your OTIS Elite System. We’ve certainly gotten our money’s worth out of ours!

Top 5 Coolest Things from NRA Annual Meeting Day 1

Even with a busy meeting and interview schedule, we managed to spot some pretty nifty things during day 1 of the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis. So far, we’ve only covered about 30% of the exhibits, so look for more over the next two days.

Here are some of the standouts from Day 1:


Smith & Wesson M&P Shield – The much anticipated Shield is out and available for purchase. It’s a compact, yet comfortable little single stack pistol. It sports a brand new trigger design which is, well, fantastic.


Aimpoint Pro – Previously for LE and Military only, a civvie version is ready. 2 MOA red dot, flip up lens covers, a torque limiting rail mount and typical Aimpoint quality. We’ll be doing a full review shortly.

22 Large

Bore Tips and Swab Its – We first saw these at SHOT Show 2012, but they still make the NRA AM Day 1 cool list. Bore-Tips are foam based cleaning swabs get complete contact with the barrel – and they are washable for reuse. Swab Its are the 21st century equivalent of Q-Tips that don’t leave cottony junk in your gun. And they come in different sizes to do things like reach into those impossible spaces in AR chambers.


Handgun Hangers – From Store More Guns, these simple but amazingly useful hangers mount above and/or below safe shelfs to hang pistols by the barrel. This keeps your pistols organized on any size of shelf. And you can store magazines underneath. They also have some nifty solutions that allow storage or more rifles in the same amount of gun safe space.


Ruger 22/45 LITE Rimfire Pistol – This fun little .22LR pistol is shockingly light. No really, shockingly light. Oh, and phenomenally cool. The gold receiver and barrel shroud is tastefully colored and the contour cuts are just plain sporty. Look for this in different colors something in the future.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more cool things from the NRA Annual Convention. Stay tuned…

Hoppe’s No. 9 Scratch ‘n Taste Now Available


Hoppe's Scratch n' Taste - 'aggressive' according to some early customers

Following closely on the heels of the successful release of Hoppe’s No. 9 Air Freshener, Hoppe’s, the gun care people, have announced Hoppe’s No. 9 Scratch n’ Taste.

According to Hoppe’s, the No. 9 Scratch n’ Taste is targeted at those who want more than the “olfactory bliss between gun cleanings” offered by the No. 9 Air Freshener product. “It’ll definitely wake you up in the morning” stated company CEO Ben Cartwright.

Hoppes  Air Freshener

Hoppe's No. 9 Air Freshener

Described by early customers as ‘aggressive’ the Scratch n’ Taste is aimed at a relatively small market niche of truly fanatical gun lovers. “We’re really trying to capture the market segment defined by people who actually drink Hoppe’s No. 9 gun cleaner” stated Don Draper, Vice President of Marketing at Hoppe’s. “We figured if people were that dedicated, we ought to provide a safer means of savoring the Hoppe’s experience.”

While admitting that the Hoppe’s taste experience may be expanded in the future, Draper would not comment on rumors  about Hoppe’s No. 9 Breath Mints.

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