We are blessed with a number of great lubricants that clean, protect, and provide the lubrication necessary for pistols and carbines/rifles to function properly.
However, even the best lubricants will eventually evaporate, wear off, or break down over time (even the so called "dry" lubricants). A good rule to follow is simply to clean your weapon properly after each firing, and lubricate it with a quality product per the manufacturer's recommendation.
A weapon that's carried for duty or self defense should be checked for proper lubrication at least every two weeks and lubricated as necessary. Light lubrication is best, because it's less likely to attract dust and grime between firings. If the weapon is checked frequently for proper lubrication, light lubrication is all that's necessary. It doesn't rub off onto clothing.
That being said, there are several new nanotechnology lubricants that promise that they are "self cleaning." This new type of lubricant seems very interesting, but has been on the market for such a short period of time. We haven't observed a long enough track record to render a verdict on these claims.
I will say that it looks promising and, from what we have seen, it appears to work on the concept of balling and shedding of the dirt and debris. If you follow our general recommendation, no matter what type of lubricant you use on your weapon it should serve you well.
Editor's note: Bruce Park also contributed to this article. Park is the senior armorer and a reserve deputy with the San Bernardino County (Calif.) Sheriff's Department. Park is certified as an FBI and NRA Police Firearms Instructor, as well as an FBI Armorer.