Lubrication of Sig Sauer pistol rails

This article is about what I personally recommend for lubricating Sig Sauer pistols. I have different methods for lubricating other guns, but this article is focused on the Sig Sauer pistols.

My philosophy: If metal rubs metal, it needs grease between the parts.

We lubricate guns simply to allow the parts that rub on one another to move smoothly. Modern combat handguns are not intended to be run without lubrication. One of our customers made this mistake recently and is now spending a lot of additional money to get his gun in working order after degreasing his gun and dry firing 1,000 times after it came back from Grayguns.

ggi-grease-rails-1Application of grease
I had an empty “Shooter’s Choice” syringe sitting around so I filled it with my favorite grease. Any method of application will work just fine. I use about half-ounce of grease a day while working on guns. I was in need of a way to keep grease readily available without having to unscrew the top of a jar or bottle and I found the syringe to work perfectly for me. What I like best about the syringe is that I can put the grease directly where I want it, such as inside certain springs and the corners of frame rails.

Product options
Any gun-grade grease will do the trick. I personally prefer to use Brian Enos’ Slide Glide, Shooter’s Choice grease including a cool syringe for later use or Lubriplate found at Brownells.com. The grease in the following pictures is a lithium/moly-based grease that I’m experimenting with, details available soon.

ggi-grease-rails-2I’ve applied most of the grease to the underside of the frame rail completely filling the top inside corner. This is critical along the length of the rails because most of the force of recoil lifts the slide and applies force backward and upward against the underside of the frame rails.

Notice how there is a greater amount of grease near the muzzle end of the gun than at the rear. This is intentional. There is only so much space in the tolerance of the pistol for lubrication to reside. Since the slide goes on back to front it’ll push the remaining grease to the back of the frame and bunch it up on the back of the slide when the slide it closed.

You can see that I didn’t use as much grease on the side of the rails as I did on the underside, this is purely because it’s not generally necessary.

ggi-grease-rails-3The top also gets a layer of grease to protect against galling and excess friction.

More pictures and more information will be posted in the coming days, and I provided detailed shots on applying grease to the pistol’s internals as well.

Different mission, different approach
For my every day carry (EDC) I grease the rails, put the slide on, run the action a couple of times, remove the slide then wipe the rails off to remove the large amount of bulk. I leave the grease on the under side of the rails alone when I wipe them off, the slide normally holds enough grease to keep things running.

For an EDC, remember your gun goes everywhere you do and is exposed to everything you are, hot, cold, humidity, dust, taco shells from that ill advised taco you ate while trying to talk on your cell phone while driving last week….everything. So if you have grease squirting out of every crevasse on the gun, you’ll be attracting the general detritus of every day life into your gun. Generally, that crap doesn’t generally make it in far enough to do any kind of damage unless you’re irresponsible enough to never clean your carry gun.

For open carry EDC for law enforcement, you gotta start thinking a bit more. I’ve had a couple of cops bring me their duty pistols for work and I’ve been astonished at what I’ve found. When I cocked the hammer of one of them, I found three pieces off bitten of finger nail and a corner of plastic from a plastic ketchup packet….I mean WTF MAN! Clean your freaking gun.

I asked how long it thad been since he last cleaned it and he told me it had been a couple years, “I hardly ever use it, I figured it was still pretty clean” was his excuse. His gun was absolutely bone dry, I actually found dust on the frame rails as opposed to lube.

That brings me to another subject, cleaning. Here’s what I recommend.

Competition
Clean it after every 200 to 400 rounds. Most of the time a big match or a day of shooting will be enough of a work out that your gun will need cleaning.

EDC with frequent use including open carry
Clean it after every time you use it. If you’re going to depend on that gun to save your life, you want it to work the first time you pull the trigger, so keep it clean and lubed.

EDC with little to no use
Clean your gun at least once a month. More of the same of your gun being needed to save your life. Even without use, your gun needs to be cleaned and relubricated, so give it a quick bath and make sure it’s ready when you need it. There are 720 hours in a 30 day month, I think you can afford to spend 1/720 of a month cleaning your gun every month, it’s cheap insurance.

18 replies
  1. Bob Hightshoe
    Bob Hightshoe says:

    Excellent article. The photos really help. I was surprised on the Sig Forum to read how many folks under lube based on your rec. Bob

  2. Kirk Fleming
    Kirk Fleming says:

    Great article, Scott. I find you can use ‘feel’ to tell if things are right, too. The hands and fingers can really feel ‘grind’ versus ‘slick’, and it really takes some serious lube to get ‘slick’ on my 220.

  3. Tom Henderson
    Tom Henderson says:

    OK and OK! What? Nobody has read this article yet? Maybe they read, but didn’t comment, even to say THANKS? Sheesh! Some people! THANKS GUYS!

    QUESTION: My Sig P6 (pretend 225) seems lousy-bad for FAILURE TO FEED after it becomes warm. First couple of mags it seems OK with FMJ and JHP as well. Then, after it warms up, and USUALLY with NEW MAGS (very seldome OLD mags) designed for the real P225 (if it matters) it starts to act up. Won’t feed the third, fourth, fifth rounds. Next mag, won’t feed the third, fourth and may go OK for the rest.

    I though it was ME getting tired. Maybe it is, but I can’t nail it down. I’ve typically used TETRA GUN GREASE. I tried a LOT and I’ve tried a LITTLE. I’ve done it as the article shows and I’ve done as “on-line experts” suggest (EVER’ONE IS AN X-PERT!) The issues still show up –again, usually after the gun warms a bit from firing.

    I’m set to just dump it – telling any potential buyer about the issue and letting them know it MAY BE THE GUN or IT MAY BE ME. I guess I’m just tired of messing with it and sure don’t want to dump more money into a pit. I could easily have bought a new anything for what I have in this dog!

    THANKS AGAIN BRUCE FOR THE ‘LUBE JOB”!

  4. Jerry B
    Jerry B says:

    GREAT article. I’ve always put a lot of lube on my guns, but frankly, based on this article, I was not always put it exactly where it should have been put….. Now I know better.

    Please keep these kinds of articles coming!!!

    BTW, if you are reading this and wondering if Gray Gun’s trigger work is worth the money, I can tell you it’s the very best money you will ever spend on your pistol. They’s worked on two of my SIGs and the triggers are (now) simply amazing. Gray Guns currently have three of my pistols for the same treatment; a Browning Hi-Power, a Kimber Super Match and and SIG Match Elite. Can’t wait to get them back!

  5. Mike "Mickey3Gun" Andren
    Mike "Mickey3Gun" Andren says:

    Finally! I can now properly lube my P220 with confidence. To me, it’s mostly logical anyway, if metal touches metal, lube it. I can remember when I initially got my weapon back from Bruce and the guy’s after having the RRCDP package installed, I thought it was over lubed. But a quick call back to Gray Gun’s convinced me I was being a little to conservative. My dab of grease was smaller than their dab. (I guess size really matters after all….)

    Great article and the photo’s, as always, speak louder than words.

  6. Brad
    Brad says:

    I am a fairly new gun owner, and so far I have only had experience with gun oil. I also live in Arizona, and have been taught to lube very sparingly due to the excessive dust here. So I wonder, can grease be bad in this environment, since it will attract so much dust and sand?

  7. Tim Hecht (aka CWO4USCGRET)
    Tim Hecht (aka CWO4USCGRET) says:

    Bruce – an excellent idea; I usually use grease instead of gun oil on my slides. I’ve always felt that oil is not going last as long as the grease. I have to remember to try to clean it more often though, especially if I shoot more the 100 rounds at one session.

  8. Bill Beamon
    Bill Beamon says:

    I have a new Sig Sauer P250 compact and like it. I am still getting used to the DAO trigger. Even though it is very smooth, it has a fairly long pull. Is it likely someone will make a DA/SA kit for it? Thanks in advance…
    Bill Beamon

  9. Bill Beamon
    Bill Beamon says:

    Unlike some guns which have interlocking grooves for the frame and slide, the P250 has just four bent-over ‘ears’ which ride in the machined groove in the slide. That’s not much of a bearing surface. I would suppose that lubrication is even more critical for this pistol.

  10. Chris J
    Chris J says:

    Thanks for a great article! I’m really looking forward to the information on lube points INSIDE the gun, on the frame. I recently did a detail strip pf my new P229 and reassembled using mostly a heavy weight oil. If it’d be of benefit to use grease in certain places, I’d love to know where. Thanks again!

  11. Randy G
    Randy G says:

    Thanks for the lube article, it is always intriguing to find out what top professionals use.

    I first started to use grease (Brian Enos slide glide lite) on my police duty gun (STI Tactical). I had been using it on my USPSA guns it it is great…until it snows and is in the 20’s and 30’s. It then runs sluggishly slow. I have had jams on my competition guns, so I stopped using it on my duty gun.

    I live in the mtns of Colorado and it gets cold here. I use FP10 oil on my duty gun now. I would grease the rails before a training day on a warm day, but found out that grease on the rails on a cold winter day/night may slow the slide and cause a malfunction. For my competition guns, I now add some oil over the grease when it is cold out, and that works great. For my duty gun, I find out I have to reapply oil every couple months as it seems to disappear and get thin.

  12. John C
    John C says:

    I noticed I have rail wear on my p229…I always have cleaned and lubed w/ CLP but never heard of greasing the rails. I will now but I would like to have the rail repaired…does Sig cover this repair to your knowledge? This is purley from firing the gun. Never have dropped or otherwise abused this fine weapon.

  13. clarkster from oregon
    clarkster from oregon says:

    Question : just got another sig 556 book does not show much except to lub. where friction points, shiny spots on bolt, carrier, etc. can you explain on gas tube , spring return etc. and the gas control , and tube do I : lubricate the big long spring ?? the firing pin can’t ( I say can not be taken apart for thorough cleaning, it has a very hard pressed pin in place and I will just saturate with cleaning solvent then spray with rem. oil ? What have I missed on lubrication of 556 -223 Can’t wait to play with this, think payed a little too much too 1100.00 slightly used no scope or attachments, what do you think ?

  14. Bill Barnum
    Bill Barnum says:

    Thank you.. Currently I own a XD Service 45, I CC with a Milt Sparks VM2 holster and considering the move to the P220.

    Thank you so much for all of the information you provide. Should be reaching out to you and your team to purchase upgrades after the purchase.

  15. DaveH
    DaveH says:

    Thanks, I’ve been using Glide slide and love it, you just confirmed I have been doing it right by accident on my 220 and 226. I use the light glide slide in the cold winter and seems to work well. I normally do not clean my pistol evey day, looks like I will step up my maintance schedulle..thanks for the heads up.

  16. vanessa B
    vanessa B says:

    thanks bruce.

    the manual of my pro2022 did not cover lube at all, i knew though, to keep it greased from reading you past articles. now to just get one of you p220 10mm’s.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] I usually follow the folks over at Gray Guns when it comes to my Sigs. Here is a link to what he has to say regarding grease and lubrication: Lubrication of Sig Sauer pistol rails : Grayguns by Bruce Gray […]

  2. […] at heaving shooting. For carry a bit dryer but I still use grease. I use MilCom and Tetra… Lubrication of Sig Sauer pistol rails : Grayguns by Bruce Gray Guide to Sig Sauer pistol inspection : Grayguns by Bruce […]

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