Are You Over or Under Lubricating Your Glock?

Glock slide atop the frame

Glocks represent over 60 percent of the handgun market. They are a favorite of law enforcement, competitive shooters, home defenders, plinkers, and citizens legally carrying concealed for self-defense. Glock is also a top choice among new shooters. This represents a large cross-section of shooters with a wide range of opinions—some based on fact, others… who knows.

Glock 23 field stripped
Glock pistols are easy to field strip and run great on very little lubrication. Start with a pistol that has been field stripped, thoroughly cleaned and dried.

Recently, I was at the range. Two shooters were having a spirited debate about maintaining their Glocks. Being as I had three Glocks on my bench, two of which were obviously customized; I was quickly tapped to play arbitrator.

The ‘discussion’ was centered around the proper amount of lubricant to use on a Glock based on the polymer design. One fellow seemed to believe the Glock was designed in such a way as to never (or almost never) require any lubricant. The other fellow wanted to practically dip the whole thing in a vat of oil. This caused more than a little concern and a spirited debate among half-dozen or so shooters before it was over.

I had my own thoughts, but after hearing the crowd’s arguments—some contradictory, but very good—I began to doubt my own knowledge. After all, where did I come up with it? Was it gained during a factory tour? Perhaps a shooting session with a veteran writer or competitive shooter. In the end, I could not remember. Like all good writers professing to be an expert, I called an engineer at the factory who is much smarter than me, took copious notes, rearranged the words slightly and now present it as expert advice!

Glock Maintenance

You’ll need to start with a pistol that has been field stripped, thoroughly cleaned and dried. Next, slightly dampen a clean patch with your favorite gun oil. Use the patch to wipe the barrel and the inside of the slide where the barrel hood and slide ride against each other. Then, use the same patch to lubricate the barrel lug at the bottom of the barrel.

Taking the slide with the breech end up (that’s the end facing you when the dangerous end is facing the bad guy) put a drop of oil in each of the slide rail grooves. Let the oil run down the slide rail grooves. If it does not go all of the way, don’t worry. The oil will be distributed once the slide is mounted on the receiver and cycled.

Likely, the most important drop of oil goes where the trigger bar and connector meet. A failure to properly lubricate the junction of the trigger bar and connector will lead to premature wear and a very heavy trigger pull. That’s bad for shooting accuracy and the gun.

Glock transfer bar and connector
The most important drop of oil goes where the trigger bar and connector meet. A failure to properly lubricate the junction of the trigger bar and connector will lead to premature wear and a very heavy trigger pull.

Reading the directions, you would almost have to side with the guy that wanted to dip it oil. However, the opposite is true. It is important to remember that you do not want to over-lubricate a Glock. Glock pistols are in fact designed to function with only small amounts of lubrication. Over-lubricating results in large amounts of burnt and unburnt powder, brass shavings, dirt, lint and other foreign matter gathering to form sludge. These will affect the way the gun functions. At the least, they will affect accuracy. At the worst, they cause a failure to fire at a critical moment when your life is at stake.

Don’t Overdo a Good Thing!

While on the subject of over lubricating a Glock, there is a word of caution that I would be remiss by not mentioning. This one is important so pay attention. Instead of what to do, this is a “what not to do.” Do not allow any oil to reach the inside of the firing pin channel, the extractor, breech face, barrel chamber or feed ramp. Likewise, you should not need any lubricant in the magazine.

All of the aforementioned areas should remain clean, but lubricant-free. Lubricant in these areas will cause contamination and gunk. The buildup is likely to cause a failure to eject or failure to fire.

It is that easy. All totaled, you are looking at about six drops of oil. One in the slide, one in each side of the slide rails grooves, one on the barrel and another on the barrel lug and the last one on the intersection of the trigger bar and connector. The entire process should take about one minute, but the rewards will keep your Glock running through thousands of rounds.

How has your maintenance program compared to this one? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (45)

  1. Buy a 100% cotton flannel cloth at the fabric store and cut it 20×20, the kind they make kids pajamas from, and put 2 tablespoons of mineral oil on it then wring it out like a bathing suit. That distributes the oil throughout. Fold it up and keep in a zip lock bag. Use pinking shears to cut it so it does not unravel. A light wipe on gun parts to be lubed is all that is needed for any gun that is for civilian storage and use. All these other lunes are no better and at $3 for a pint MO lasts forver.

  2. I have done quite a bit of product comparisons. I have looked into ingredients and testing results when available. It is like picking motor oil for your vehicle, many of the old favorites are sufficient, but not the best out there. And any products like synthetic motor oil are OK, but their film thickness can be incorrect and attract residues.
    I did settle on Shooters Choice who does provide YouTube videos of some of their testing and one can call and talk directly to knowledgeable people.
    After cleaning I run one drop of lube down each rail slot a drop on certain spring assemblies (depending on the gun). I stay away from firing pins. Then I wipe down most of the gun, attempting to remove all the visible oil, knowing there is sufficient film left behind (like where the barrel rubs the inside of the slide). Sometimes I smear a very small dash of 3M copper lube where the brass rubs the slide.
    It is not unusual for me to run through hundreds of rounds between cleanings and I have had some of my guns over 20 years.
    Tony Z
    Ps. Now if I can find a use for some of these other products.

  3. 2 Questions. 1) Iv’e seen DRY lubes. Can they be used anywhere in place of oils? I think that they might not attract gunk.But don’t know. Any thought?
    2) I heard oil alone is no good. (don’t know where) And that you should use grease in critical areas. Any thoughts? Thank You.

  4. I recently replaced my striker spring and striker. While I didn’t oil inside the slide, I did clean inside with Weapon Shield. I also rubbed down the striker with Weapon Shield, but wiped it dry. My thinking is when fouling makes its way to the striker it will have a barrier of the weapon shield to help deflect grime. Again, I just cleaned and dried the inside of the slide, and same with striker. I’m wondering what anyone thinks of this. Again, there is no “wet” oil on anything inside the slide. Anyone else do this or think it should not be done?

  5. This may be a stupid question but I am curious. Just purchased 3 Glocks, 17, 19 Gen 4 and a 43. When doing the initial cleaning and lubricating I found all 3 had a good application of this copper lube on the slide rails. Should I still add oil per recommendation? I had thought that with the copper nothing else was needed and it is best to leave the copper intact

    1. Please; I never heard of a “copper lube”, What is it? Who sells it? What is it for? What is it used instead of? What is it used for? Pardon my ignorance. I’m just trying to learn here. Thank You

    2. It is the copper colored grease that comes in your GLOCK from the factory. I don’t know where they get it, but would like to know so that I may get some for all my guns.

    3. It’s actually rather easy to find—at your local auto parts store. It’s anti-seize lubricant. A small tube is about $3.
      Caution: be very careful and use very sparingly. A little goes a long way. I put a tiny drop onto something small and disposable (plastic spoon) and use a Q-tip to pickup a tiny amount, then just barely touch it to the parts of the Glock that need it. Too much will make a big mess, and it will spread out much further than you can imagine. It will surprise you.

  6. There is a real lack of testing in many gun products. I use Shooters Choice because of the history and the new technology testing. I have heard good things about some of these other products, but others are old technology that will work OK even if they are inferior. It is sort of like deciding between an old reliable motor oil or a better synthetic. BTW, Shooters Choice far exceeded synthetic motor oil in testing.

  7. Thanks a lot for the clear instructions on maintaining our Glocks. Great article. Is there a chemical spray you recommend for cleaning lubrication and debris.

    1. Freddie,

      When a barrel has been through a long day of shooting and has significant build up from lead or copper fouling, I like Gunslick’s Gun Foam. You just spray it in, let in sit for a few minutes and brush it clean. For pistols, AR receivers and the like I have a heated Ultrasonic cleaner. I field strip and toss it in the machine with some solution for 20-30 minutes. You have to dry everything — I spray it with lp air to get the moisture out of spring and small assemblies — and then lubricate it afterward, but it does a great job.

      Otherwise, to be honest, I use what I have in the way of samples. I have had great luck with Tetra Gun, Hoppes, Outers, Birchwood Casey, Rem Oil, Gunslick, M-Pro, KleenBore, Bristol… I am fortunate enough to receive a lot of ‘care packages’ so I buy very little, but as a side note, the wife knows when I am mad to put a drop or two of Hoppes No. 9 behind her ear — the smell drives me crazy! ~Dave Dolbee

  8. I’ve always done the same as is described here to all of my Glocks, as it is pretty much what is described in the owners manual for the guns. The only thing I do differently is use a small toothpick to spread the drop of oil down the slide channels before reinstalling the slide.

  9. It looks like it’s a soluble oil. A soluble oil is a water base product that they use in the drilling process. Does it turn white when it’s in water?

    1. Forget what I just said. I was reading the label and it says no petroleum or water. It says plants.

  10. Glock recommends maintenance be performed monthly, in addition to each time after you shoot it. As for the oil, I use “Gunzilla” [TopDuck Products, LLC]. This non-petroleum product was tested by our troops in the [sandy] middle east, with reported great success. It is used for everything from cleaning to lubrication. I find it is easy to clean off surface contaminates after firing, so follow up lubrication is quick and easy. I use no other product..

    1. Look at the MSDS on line for that product. Your lubricating your gun. You would only need something like that in the manufacturing process. I know how companies love to sell you an ounce or two for tons of money. Most of your lubricants are petroleum base with some sort of additive. The truth be told almost any oil will do. Your paying for the additive package if they put one in there. They have rust preventative packages. Biocide packages the list goes on. There are tons of additives and lubricants out there. If you like spending a lot of money for something your household vegetable oil could do go ahead.

  11. I use Frog Lube on my Glock. Frog Lube when applied as directed goes on as a paste then liquifies when heated. This causes the Frog Lube to seep into the microscopic pores of the metal sealing the pores when cooled. When the firearm is fired and warms the Frog Lube liquifies once again and lubricates the metal. Best protection I’ve found against rust and corrosion while lubricating my Glock.

    1. Glad to see someone finally give a nod to Frog Lube! I’ve been using this for a while now and am most impressed with the results (and this is after years of working with traditional solvents and oils). Any others with experience using Frigg Lube (good or bad) please chime in, I’d like to hear from ya!

  12. I have always preferred “Gunslick” a fine graphite type grease. I use it ‘lightly’ everywhere Glock recommends oil, except in the trigger itself. Very little is required, never any buildup issues, and with over 150,000 rounds through our G17, never a hiccup! Never one to ‘give up’ a competitive advantage;), I like a dab on the face of the stryker and face of the trigger that holds the stryker. If not “slicker,” it ‘feels’ mentally slicker….I use it, very thinly, where that Glock ‘Gold’ stuff is applied also.

  13. I did something new to a lot of shooters, I read the manual! I lube my Glock just like it says in the manual. I do lube my firing pin but I do it with just enough to prevent rust. I use a patch with a little oil and wipe it on very thin. When I clean my magazines I use an oil coated patch to clean and a clean patch to remove any excess oil. It you oil a magazine it attracts all the mud, blood, and beer associated with shooting. The beer is after the shooting is done and the firearms secure for the day! Remember alcohol and gunpowder don’t mix any better the alcohol and gasoline!…Jim

  14. I switched to Froglube last summer after having it highly recommended at Glock armorer course. I’ve shot thousands of rounds since and love the product. Gun cleans very easy and metal absorbs lube like a seasoned pan with no run off or gumming. Smells minty, and no petroleum products.

  15. I’ve owned Sigs, Rugers, Tauruses, 19lls by different manufacturers, S&W revolvers, Kel-Tecs, XDs, and a few others besides the Glock. I’ve owned and shot the Glock 17, 19, 34, 26, 27, 30, and 21. The Glock is the easiest and fastest one to clean. Cleaning supplies lasts a lot longer since the Glock needs so little oil. I have known owners who shot their Glocks for 5-6,000 rounds without cleaning in an attempt, without success, to make them jam, But I clean mine each time I shoot. I usually practice shooting 200 -300 rounds twice each month. I would rather have a clean firearm just in case. In spite of the “drop” on the connector and trigger bar, when the gun is completely disassembled, the lower needs to be wiped cleaned of excess oil that collects there.

  16. The article fails to mention how often she needs to be lubed. With a Glock, in my opinion, less is more.

  17. Harvey,

    You are correct, I dug through my receipts and found the Glock receipt dated 11-11-95.
    You will forgive an “older” man the passage of time, and perhaps next time you respond you will take that into consideration.

  18. Hickcock45 has some videos for cleaning Glocks on his website. Ever since I bought my first Glock, I have been cleaning mine just as he demos in the videos. He uses Balistrol and very little of the lubricant when he cleans them. Check out his videos.

  19. I shoot a first gen g 19. Thousands of rounds later it still shoots great. Only 5 drops of CLP per cleaning. And only clean it thoughly about every 300-400 rounds. In between just a quick wipe and lube. Works for me. Upgrade include 3.5 lb. trigger, and reflex red dot site.

  20. I always clean my guns after I use them. To me that’s part of the fun of using them. To me when you wipe on a thin layer of oil. That’s more of a rust prevention. Having to much oil on anything that is in the open just attracts dust and debris. I like to polish my parts and use dry lubricants like silicone spray. To me how you lubricant your weapon all depends on what your going to do with it. Are you going out shooting,are you storing it or are you carrying it on your person. I would think all three of those situations would require different lubrications. I believe there’s a lot of dry lubricants and graphites out there you can use. I would like to know what everyone else thinks. Thank you.

    1. I generally always clean ours after every range trip to, Sal. To me it’s very relaxing to sit in my gun room and clean our guns, and it gives me the opportunity to really get to know each of them and inspect them.

      I always use only dry lubricants on my magazines when i disassemble and clean then. For the gun itself I like some of the new lighter oils that provide a nice slick lub, but don’t seem to collect debris.

  21. I’ve always followed the directions from the owner’s manual, which included everything listed except the trigger bar connector.

    Personally, I’ve always used grease on the rails, and oil on the rest. I’ll have to add the connector to my routine.

  22. Great article, I used it as a refresher course. I have owned a Glock model 22 since I chose it for my carry weapon back in the 80’s. At that time I was instructed on proper cleaning/lubricating (as you described) and have religiously remembered it to this day. I have fired literally thousands of rounds through that gun and it still operates flawlessly. I have to say that proper lubrication is one the keys to it’s longevity and will continue to maintain it accordingly.

    1. Ralph,No, you did not, “The .40 S&W cartridge debuted January 17, 1990, along with the new Smith & Wesson Model 4006 pistol.” The GLOCK 22 is chambered for the .40S&W so, we would all appreciate if you would be accurate or tell the truth. The first mention of a .40S&W Glock on their own website is not even until 1994.

    2. Harvey,
      Per Wikipedia, “The Glock 22 has undergone three major revisions since its introduction in 1990.”

      For another reference: “The Glock 22 is a .40 S&W version of the full-size Glock 17 introduced in 1990. The pistol uses a modified slide, frame, and barrel to account for the differences in size and power of the .40 S&W cartridge. The standard magazine capacity is 15 rounds.” There, if you check 1990, you will find,
      “A third subsidiary is formed in South America to coordinate sales and marketing activities for Latin/Central America and the Caribbean. Production begins on the G22 and G23 .40 pistol models. Plant #1 is expanded in Deutsch-Wagram.”

      Great gun for at least 25 years.

      Semper fidelis,

  23. I have a problem on that. I have owned several and sold many more. And everyone, I have seen also had some sort of copper infused grease inside on the rails. Kinda loos like the copper based lube in machine shops. I didn’t hear this mentioned.

    1. comes from the factory like that. You’re supposed to leave it alone and not clean it off. Eventually it will come off with normal cleaning, but try to leave it on as long as possible.

    2. That’s not much of an answer. Especially since in writing the story it doesn’t even mention it. Plus, if you do a descent clean, it’s gone the first time. Nothing said anywhere about it.

      If this is being used, why isn’t it mentioned? And why isn’t it being replaced? Not a lot of sense to me. I put a fine sliver back in mine But it should be addressed..From my shop background I have many different lubes not normally found including silver based for high temp, etc.

    3. The copper lube is an anti-seize. It’s applied at the factory, and allows the gun to be stored for long periods, such as being purchased by a large agency, and stored indefinitely, as sometimes happens. I’ve seen decade old, brand new, weapons that were purchased as “spares” and never taken out of the box. That’s what it’s for, and why it’s not used after the factory. It is not a part of normal maintenance, and this article is just about that. Not many people even think about the one and only initial cleaning that one does on a new gun, but only the subsequent regular maintenance.

    4. The copper material is an anti-sieze compound. You can find products similar to it at a GOOD hardware store.

    5. Sorry I didn’t know precisely what it was, but my advice is accurate. How about a quote directly from the Glock owners manual “Note that the copper colored lubricant found on portions of the slide of brand new GLOCK pistols should not be removed, as it will help provide long-term lubrication of the slide.”

  24. Great article, and very useful. My dad always taught me to just leave a light sheen of oil on the critical parts and not overlube. Of course, that was long before Glocks existed, but it still rings true. Glad for the advice on not oiling the firing pin channel.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on using products like Gun Scrubber or similar spray solvents? I generally use it to get the gunk out of the firing pin channel on guns that you can’t disassemble that far..

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