How to Clean: M&P Shield

How to Clean a Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield

The Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield was the highest-selling semi-automatic pistol in 2016. It remains one of America's favorite guns to date – a modern single stack 9mm with a locked breech, short recoil, and polymer frame. 

It is available in the most popular self-defense caliber, reliable, concealable, and affordable. This pistol is one of the go-to guns for new gun owners and enthusiasts. 

If you're a new owner of a Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield, maybe you have these questions – how do you clean it and how often should you clean your gun? 

We'll answer both in this article and throw in some recommendations on what tools and products you should use to clean your pistol.  

How Often Should I Clean My Gun?

If you check online, watch videos, or ask around your gun-expert friends, you'd get several different answers. It's because the frequency of gun cleaning depends on different variables, such as dust, weather, humidity, and sand. 

Ask yourself how often your firearm is exposed to the elements. You should also consider the number of shots you’re firing every time you use your gun. 

All these factors should be considered when deciding how often to clean your gun. More importantly, check the gun manual and refer to the manufacturer's recommendations.

If you're a gun owner who only owns a gun for safety reasons and hasn’t yet used it, cleaning and lubricating your weapon once a year is okay. 

However, if you're a regular at the firing range, I would advise you to clean your firearm after every use to prevent residue and rust buildup.    

What Do I Need to Clean My Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield? 

Cleaning your gun is a quick and satisfying activity if you have a complete set of gun cleaning tools. Here is a list of what you need to clean and lubricate your firearm:  

  • A cleaning rod that runs through the inside of the barrel. Choose one made of a softer material than your barrel to prevent scratches and crowning. 
  • A jag is an attachment that holds the cleaning patch which threads at the end of a cleaning rod.
  • Cleaning patches are made of absorbent cloth to remove the gunk from inside the barrel.
  • Picks are used to remove residue and dirt from hard-to-reach areas of the pistol. 
  • A lubricating cloth gives your gun components a protective shine.
  • Cleaning chemicals with the ability to remove copper and fouling – an oil lubricant, a degreaser for the gun's moving parts, and a protectant to prevent rust and corrosion.    

You can buy these tools and products separately, or you can purchase a full-type cleaning kit. Hoppe's wide range of gun cleaning products are specially designed to cover all your gun cleaning needs and keep your gun in great working condition for a long time.  

Hoppe's Range Kit with Cleaning Mat

This range kit includes an oil and chemical-resistant advanced cleaning mat where you can efficiently perform detailed firearm disassembly and field stripping. 

It contains a multi-section cleaning rod, a .223 chamber brush, and .22, and 9mm, .40/10mm, .30, and .45-caliber phosphor bronze brushes. It also comes with a nylon utility brush, cleaning patches, and cleaning picks. 

In addition, the kit contains a range kit bag for easy storage.

Hoppe's Black Cleaning System 

Hoppe's Black Cleaning System uses a high-performance formula to clean and protect high-round count firearms, such as the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield. This line of cleaning chemicals created by Hoppe's can withstand an extreme range of temperatures from -65°F to 540°F.

Hoppe's Black is composed of a Copper CleanerLubricating OilGrease SyringeGun Cleaner, and  Lubricating Cloth.  

How to Clean a Pistol

When cleaning your gun, find an open space or a room with proper ventilation. Choose a sturdy workstation – not your dining table. You don't want to cross-contaminate your food with gun powder residue or chemicals.   

1. Pre-Cleaning Safety Precaution

Just as you would with any other firearm, make sure to follow gun safety rules at all times. Remove the magazine from the chamber. Visually inspect it and ensure that the chamber is clear. 

Make sure to put all of the ammunition and magazines in a separate and safe place, away from where you're working. 

Never skip this step. It is the most essential part of the gun-cleaning process. 

2. Firearm Disassembly 

The first thing you need is a fine-edged object, like a screwdriver. Look for the yellowish sear deactivation lever. It disengages the sear inside of the sear housing block. Follow these steps:

  • Using a screwdriver, move the sear deactivation lever downward while the slide is locked open. 
  • Turn the takedown lever 90 degrees and then release the slide so that you'll be able to pull it off the front of the frame. 
  • Take off the recoil spring assembly, pull off the barrel by moving it forward, pulling it up, and taking it out.
  • Look at the manufacturer's manual on how to clean/take down the firearm before beginning disassembly and contact a profession if you do not feed comfortable. 

3. Gun Cleaning

Now that you have a disassembled pistol, you can get it cleaned up. 

It's best to use Hoppe's Black Cleaning System. Most people think that this set of cleaning chemicals is suitable for Modern Sniper Rifle (MSR) platforms, but it works and looks great across the board.

To clean your pistol, follow these steps:  

  • Put some Hoppe’s Black Copper Cleaner on a cleaning patch. Insert the patch to the jag and thread it through the pistol rod. Clean the bore, always going from the breech to the muzzle. 
  • Once you get a clean patch back, run some high-performance precision oil through the barrel.
  • Use some high-performance gun cleaner in the spray bottle to work over the slide. After wiping the slide with the gun cleaner, use the cotton swabs and picks to clean out all the small spaces. 
  • Once it's all cleaned up, add some high-performance gun grease to all high-friction or moving parts. Hoppe's high-performance gun grease is a high-quality product that protects your pistol, especially during high-round count days at the range.
  • Repeat the same cleaning process on the frame. An excellent way to know where to apply Hoppe’s Black Grease Syringe is to find worn-down areas from high friction.  

4. Firearm Reassembly 

Before you put the pistol’s movable parts together, wipe all the components with Hoppe’s Black Lubricating Cloth to give them a shiny and protective coating. 

Reassemble the parts and give it another wipe down with a patch to take off any excess from the lubricating cloth. 

Perform a Function Test

Now that you've got your pistol all cleaned up, I advise that you do a function test. Follow these steps:

  • Release the slide and pull the trigger, pointing it in a safe direction. 
  • While holding the trigger, pull the slide back and release it. 
  • Check if you have reset the trigger. Pull the trigger again. If it works, then you have reassembled your pistol correctly.  

Now return your Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield to its safe and secure storage. If this gun is your EDC (every day carry), get it loaded back up and secured in a holster.    

Browse our wide selection of Hoppe's Gun Cleaning Kits and other Hoppe's gun cleaning products for pricing, more information, and to order.