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Maintaining, Cleaning, and Lubricating your Pistol

Frequency of Maintenance

You should follow a regularly scheduled maintenance program to ensure the reliable functioning of your Shadow Systems pistol.  Your pistol should be properly cleaned and lubricated to prevent corrosion and to remove accumulated debris that could affect the functioning of your Shadow Systems pistol.

Your Shadow Systems pistol should be field stripped, cleaned, lubricated and inspected as follows:

  1. After each firing session.
  2. After exposure to the elements or harsh conditions.
  3. At least once per year if in extended storage conditions.



The Shadow Systems pistol should be field stripped into its major components every time it is cleaned. Cleaning without field stripping, by merely locking the slide to the rear and inserting the cleaning rod from the muzzle, can cause dirt, oil, and fouling to build up inside of the pistol.

In order to field strip the Shadow Systems pistol, THE PISTOL MUST FIRST BE COMPLETELY UNLOADED. To unload your Shadow Systems pistol, proceed as follows:

  1. Point the pistol in a safe direction. Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard.
  2. Depress the magazine release.
  3. Remove the magazine.


Maintenance 1


  1. With your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard, lock the slide open by pushing up on the slide release lever while pulling the slide to the rear with your other hand. Be aware of where the muzzle is pointed during this manipulation.


Maintenance 2


  1. Once the slide is locked to the rear, thoroughly inspect the chamber and the magazine well of the pistol to be sure that no ammunition remains in either place.


Maintenance 3

Once you have verified that the pistol is unloaded by following the above steps, the slide is removed as follows:

  1. Pull back the slide and release to close the action
  2. Point the pistol in a safe direction, and then pull the trigger. You will hear the firing pin move forward.
  3. Hold the pistol in either hand so that your fingers grasp the top of the slide as shown.
  4. With these fingers, pull and hold the slide back approximately 1/16 of an inch.
  5. Simultaneously, pull down and hold both sides of the slide lock using the thumb and index finger of your free hand.

Maintenance 4

  1. Push the slide forward until it is fully separated from the receiver.

Maintenance 5

Note: If the trigger moves forward and the slide will not come off during step 6, you may have pulled the slide back too far in step 4.  If this happens, begin again at step 1 above.

  1. Push the recoil spring assembly slightly forward while lifting it away from the barrel.

Maintenance 6


  1. Remove the recoil spring assembly.
  2. Lift the barrel from the slide.


Maintenance 7

Further disassembly by the user is neither required nor recommended and should only be performed by certified gunsmiths or armorers.


Barrel: Once field stripped, the barrel and chamber are easily cleaned from the chamber end using a bore brush, patches, and solvent.  Standard firearm solvents can be used on the pistol.  Do not leave excess solvent inside the pistol as it can cause the accumulation of dirt and contaminate primers

Slide:The slide rail cuts should be cleaned of dirt and debris by using a clean patch on the end of a toothbrush-type cleaning tool.  The breech face and the area under the extractor claw should be cleaned with a toothbrush-type cleaning tool and be absolutely dry and free of any dirt and debris after cleaning.  All other exposed areas of the slide should be checked for cleanliness and wiped or brushed clean as required.

Frame: The frame should be checked for cleanliness. Exposed parts in the frame may be wiped with a clean, soft cloth that has been slightly dampened with a quality firearm cleaning solvent.  All solvent should then be wiped from the parts so that they are clean and dry.

Post-cleaning Inspection: Before moving forward, ensure that no debris from your cleaning tools (q-tip cotton, threads from rags, etc.) are left behind in the action of the pistol.


To properly lubricate your Shadow Systems after cleaning, use a clean patch that has been slightly dampened with quality gun oil.  Wipe the outside of the barrel, including the barrel hood and lugs, the inside top of the slide forward of the ejection port where the barrel hood rubs against the slide, and the opening that the barrel slides through in the front of the slide. One drop of oil should be spread along the entire length of each slide rail cut.  A drop of oil is needed where the rear end of the trigger bar touches the connector at the right rear corner of the frame.

Maintenance 8

This will assure proper lubrication of your Shadow Systems pistol without over-lubrication.

Warning: Do not put oil or solvent inside of the firing pin channel it can cause contamination of primers and failure to fire. 


  1. Reassemble the slide, barrel, and recoil spring assembly by reversing the disassembly procedures
  2. Replace the slide assembly on the receiver and pull to the rear. If the slide hangs up, ensure the recoil spring is fully seated against the barrel.
  3. The action of pulling the slide to the rear completes the reassembly procedures.


39 Replies to “Maintaining, Cleaning, and Lubricating your Pistol”

  1. Roger Bergeleen says:

    Purchased an MR920 second hand and was extremely dirty. While cleaning the barrel with Hoppes #9 solvent I found that it had removed the bronze coating on the outside of the barrel. I have never owned a pistol with a coated barrel before so was somewhat surprised. I found a bronze high heat engine paint and am considering repainting the outside of the barrel. Before I do I wanted to get your thoughts. I am in no way unhappy with this situation I think you make a phenomenal firearm. Regards, Roger

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      Roger, That’s something we can fix for you. Please email tburke@shadowsystemscorp.com so he can get you set up to have your barrel re-plated.

  2. Mike Evenson says:

    Regarding the above note, where using #9 Hoppes solvent removed the paint from the outside of the barrel, is that something I need to worry about and can avoid if done differently? Thanks

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      Hi Mike, We have used Hoppes #9 to clean our barrels without issue. Obviously you don’t want to soak it for a long period of time, but any commercially available solvent should be fine.

  3. mike evenson says:

    awesome. Thanks so much.

  4. Jordan says:

    I have a mr920 and was wondering f if I would be able to buy an elite slide and change that out with my current slide is this possible?

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      Unfortunately, we do not sell slides separately.

  5. Bradley says:

    I recently bought a MR920. I haven’t yet been able to go out and shoot the 200 rounds to break it in, but while I haven’t been taking the slide off the frame, it seems to catch quite a bit when I am putting it back on the frame. Is that something that gets resolved with the 200 round break in?

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      Bradley, That catching is usually improved with break in. It is normally just a little rubbing between the backplate and the trigger housing assembly. It is not indicative of any issue.

    2. Jon says:

      The 200 round break in is a excuse for a poorly designed and made gun. I’ve been thoroughly disappointed with mine and it’s around 1000 rounds. I can overlook the awful trigger but after charging the weapon it doesn’t always go into battery. After a dry firing yesterday somehow the firing pin has broke. Even before this I still didn’t trust this weapon and really regret spending the extra money when Glock19 would have been the better choice.

      1. Jessica Roe says:

        Jon, I’m sorry to hear this happened to you! Please email my technical team at support@shadowsystemscorp.com so we can get replacement parts out to you.Please also let them know about your issues with going into battery, so they can appropriately diagnose and get that problem fixed for you.

  6. Jay says:

    My recoil spring assembly is not under tension when I remove it, but simply laying there loose and it moves around not under pressure. It functions fine so far but I’ve had maybe 3 instances where I had to smack the slide forward. I am using some ammunition that appears to be rather dirty during the break in period as it’s cheaper. The description above makes it sound as if it should be under tension when I remove it?

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      Jay, Whoa! We have never heard of that before. Can you send us a video of the gun field stripped and show us what you are seeing? Please email to support@shadowsystemscorp.com

      1. John says:

        I’m running into the same issue. The gun shoots great but field stripping is a pain and when it’s done the recoil spring has dropped down from where it’s supposed to sit. Anything “abnormal” with a carry pistol makes me nervous.

        I’m in the Plano area and could bring the gun into the shop pretty easily if that would be helpful.

      2. Jessica Roe says:

        John, please email my support team at support@shadowsystemscorp.com so that they can set that up with you.

  7. Garret says:

    Just wanted to say I love my MR920 Elite. By far the best gun in my collection. Is there any instruction on how to take apart the rest of the gun for proper deep cleaning? I am an oil advocate and try to apply oil liberally. After a few trips to the range Im sure it will be in need of a deep clean and would love some information on a complete teardown, deep cleaning, and lubrication of the frame and firing mechanisms in the slide. Please let me know if there are any good resources that ShadowSystemsCorp provides or can recommend. Thank you for everything!


    1. Jessica Roe says:

      Garret, I will add it to the list for a future Technical Tuesday!

      1. Rich says:

        I too have an MR920 Elite and love it. I have found contradicting documentation on lubrication (between your info and Glock). In your info I’ve found a written procedure for field stripping, cleaning and lubricating, but I’m a hands-on kind of guy so a video covering that and an additionsl video covering the maintenance Garret is requesting would be most appreciated.

  8. Steve says:

    I recently purchased a MR920 War Poet and I’m very happy with it so far. I do notice however, that the slide seems to be loser than I expected it to be. By this I mean that when the slide is released and I press down on it, it has some movement to it. Particularly when the slide is forward and barrel is pressed down over the chamber, it has a noticeable movement to it as well. As this is my first handgun I asked one of the gunsmiths where I picked it up. He stated it was not a safety issue, but commented “that would drive me crazy”, and suggested I get a stronger recoil spring. I’m not anxious to make any adjustments to it since it is so new, but was wondering if you could give me any guidance on how much play is expected on the slide and barrel. Perhaps this is normal for the MR920. Other than this one minor issue it operate fine and I’m very happy with it. I can send a video to you if that would help explain the amount of movement I am seeing. Thanks.

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      Hi Steve,The play you’re describing is totally normal and will not effect accuracy or reliability. That said, you can email a video to support@shadowsystemscorp.com if you’d like my Technical Team to take a look to ensure there is nothing out of the ordinary happening.

  9. Yuri says:

    Recently purchased mr920 and and just wondering if Shadow Systems prefers or recommends for the firearm to be cleaned before the break in. Thank you! Also do you sell the larger diameter pin for the back straps? I appreciate the tool provided but the pin has bent before and also have difficulty accepting the pressure from the tool, and will strip occasionally when putting it back in

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      Hi Yuri, It’s never a bad idea to clean and lubricate the pistol before shooting it. Our pistols like to be run wet during break in.

      As to your other question, I think you mean the Trigger Housing Pin It does not need to be removed to change the backstrap.

      1. George says:

        Just got my MR920 elite. I understand you recommend lubing the gun before first use. However does it need to be cleaned off factory lubricant/oil? It seems the gun from the box has some oil already applied here and there….

      2. Jessica Roe says:

        Just wipe it down and lube it up!

  10. Milton Bowers says:

    I recently bought the dr 920 and put about 50 rounds through it and then later this evening when I went to field strip it , it would not dry fire so that I could take the slide off. Any suggestions on what could be causing this??? Don’t know if I want to try and put anymore rounds through it until it is resolved.

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      Hopefully this solves your issue: https://youtu.be/ihz76UfI4HI

      If not, please contact my technical support team at support@shadowsystemscorp.com for additional assistance.

  11. Joe says:

    From a tech writing point of view, can you edit this instruction to make the oil points more of a checklist format instead of a running sentence? It would just help me as a beginner who needs to refer to the docs.

    Higher resolution picture for the “end of the trigger bar touches the connector” photo would be nice too. I just got that general area because I was not exactly sure what the trigger bar and connector were.

    1. Mike says:

      I agree with this. A simple enlarged picture with arrows showing lubrication points would be great. The manual is very hard to follow

      1. Jessica Roe says:

        Check out today’s Technical Tuesday! https://youtu.be/h1O4WUeTykA

  12. Eric says:

    I purchased a MR920 elite FDE that comes with a Holosun 507C in matching FDE from a local big box outdoor retailer and am quite happy with the fit and finish and feel in the hand. However immediately after purchase I took it to the range and every round fired would not extract from the chamber. I went through about a dozen rounds having to lock the slide back, drop the magazine and extract the spent casing every time. Is there something I can do to fix this? Should it be cleaned thoroughly first? Thanks for any help.

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      That sounds like it could be an extractor tension issue. We can walk you through some diagnostics to help him solve it. Could you please email my Technical Service team at support@shadowsystemscorp.com

  13. Justin says:

    Noticed a bronze type of grease around the connector and trigger bar. Is this normal? The color seems to match the barrel. Wasn’t sure if it was grease or somehow from the barrel finish.

    Other than that the gun runs good.

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      That is anti-seize lubricant. Completely normal. All of our guns have it.

  14. Jimmy Kubanek says:

    I ordered a MR920 Elite from my local shop. I haven’t shot it yet but after some dry fire practice it seems like 2 small corners on the barrel block the coating is rubbing off. Is this normal wear just from dry fire or is it something with the coating?

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      Some wear is normal. If you’re concerned, please email some photos of what you’re seeing to support@shadowsystemscorp.com so they can take a look and advise.

  15. Joseph says:

    Recently purchased MR920 and attempted to completely disasmble the firearm for cleaning and I could not get the extractor rod or plunger to come out like on my glock. Is it meant to be completely dissambled or am I doing something wrong?

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      The Extractor Depressor Plunger Assembly does not come out of the back of the slide like a Glock. It is captured by a pin. It can be seen by removing the optic cover plate. Instructions for removal are in the manual.

  16. Jesse Neumann says:

    My trigger bar is rubbing on the bottom of the slide causing the sights to rise and fall while taking up the slack and then falling when pulled through the wall. The trigger is really gritty because if this and is causing wear marks in the slide and the trigger bar. Can you help or is this normal?

    1. Jessica Roe says:

      The trigger bar is supposed to rub the bottom of the slide. That’s how the trigger bar deactivates the plunger safety. The trigger will smooth up with use. The slide will not move up and down like that with a magazine inserted.

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