Whether you have one gun or end up collecting one hundred, you need a way to store them. There are a number of things to consider when storing your guns, and what works for someone else might not be optimal for you. Storing a gun is a lot like buying a gun: It can be a more complex process or decision than you might think.
Ultimately, gun storage solutions are a personal choice. Only you know what is right for you or your family. The information and suggestions below are meant to provide a jumping-off point for selecting or creating your own personal gun storage solutions.
Things to Consider Before Storing Your Guns
Many considerations come into play when looking at storage options for guns. Things like where you should store your firearms, how they should be stored, and even how long you'll be storing them for all play a role in this decision.
On top of that, you'll also need to consider whether you plan on accessing your gun frequently or in an emergency situation, as well as any legal considerations and even aesthetic options. Let's face it, if you're using a giant safe to store your guns, your significant other may not be a fan of attempting to integrate it into your home decor.
Since we have previously discussed options for storing your main home defense gun, the main focus for this article will be on long-term storage.
While there may be some mention of accessibility here and there, the assumption we're operating under is that we're discussing storing your guns for an extended period of time. The length of time can vary from person to person and gun to gun, but the assumption is that you won't need immediate access or be accessing the firearm repeatedly while it's being stored.
Where to Store Guns Long-Term
Where you decide to store the gun is an important factor because it can have an impact on the lifespan of your firearm. For example, if you store a gun in a basement and have it in some kind of locker or gun cabinet and the basement floods, your firearm may end up with damage to certain polymer, wood, or other nonmetallic areas like your optics. The metallic surfaces may not be safe either, because water could end up leading to rust. Nobody wants that. Even if you don't have to worry about flooding, there may be issues with temperature regulation that can cause the same kinds of issues.
So, the first step is figuring out where you're going to store the gun.
You may decide to store your gun in a storage facility or opt to create a space within your home. Keep in mind that weather and climate conditions will come into play. A location for long-term gun storage should remain within a specific temperature range and not have excessive moisture.
How to Store Your Guns Long-Term
How you store firearms is also important, and your options can be impacted by considerations such as accessibility. If this is a gun you're planning to use for home defense, a giant free standing safe may not be the best option. However, just throwing your firearm in a cabinet or storage chest doesn't provide as much security as a safe would, and is especially inadvisable if you have children in the home. You want the firearm secured and safe for when you aren't there, but if you might need to access it quickly, that needs to be taken into account. There are plenty of quick access safes and lockable gun cabinets, as well as decorative storage options such as false walls, shelves, and even headboards for your bed.
When considering how to store your guns, make sure you can answer yes to every question below. That's how you know you found a storage solution that works for you:
- Does the gun storage solution let you access your firearms as you plan? For example, if you want to use your gun for home defense, you need immediate access to it as needed. If you're planning to use the guns for hunting a few times per year, a safe in the garage or basement may be sufficient.
- Will the storage solution fit in your planned space? If you want to house your guns in your bedroom, you need a safe or other solution that's not too big or that fits within your decor.
- Does the solution protect your guns from moisture and other elements?
- Does the storage option lock to keep your guns safe and secure?
- Are you following all laws and business policies when storing your guns? For example, if you're using an off-site storage option, does the business in question allow gun storage?
Preparing Your Guns for Storage
Proper storage of your guns doesn't mean throwing them into your selected storage container and locking them up. You must prepare firearms for being stored, especially if it will be for an extended period of time.
- Clean all guns you plan to store. This lets you visually inspect for damage and corrosion. Removing excess carbon also helps keep damage from occurring as a result of the carbon sitting in the barrel or any other surfaces.
- Place a light coat of oil all over the firearm. This provides protection against the elements and any other corrosive factors.
- Consider breaking the gun down. Breaking weapons down into components for storage can relieve pressure on springs. You can also remove optics for separate storage or store certain components together for space saving purposes.
The third step is optional. You may want your gun easy to access and in ready-to-shoot condition, and in that case, you wouldn't break down its components. If you do choose to break down components, know that you will likely have to re-zero any optics when they're reassembled. You also want to ensure that you store parts in a way that they aren't rubbing or damaging each other. For example, you don't want your optics being touched by other parts, so plan for these issues with your storage space.
Tips for Storing Your Guns
- Place your firearms or components as securely as your storage method allows. Make sure they aren't in danger of falling or being otherwise jostled around, and secure the safe or storage means you chose and then leave them alone. Since this is long term, the more you interact with the guns by opening the safe or cabinet and moving them around, the more likely moisture and corrosives can be introduced or something breaks due to all the movement. Don't constantly check in on your guns; if you stored them right, you can leave them alone until you're ready to use them.
- Consider storing your guns or broken down parts in a protective bag of some kind. You can find many products for this purpose, including sleeves to help prevent moisture and corrosion to more involved options that provide extra protection. These can be used as their own storage method or as an extra layer of protection within a storage room or safe. They can be quite versatile so it's worth looking into them as an additional storage element.
- Use options to control moisture and climate. Moisture can be mitigated by methods as simple as silica packs in the safe or by using dehumidifiers in the room. Specific HVAC setups can control the climate of the room that the storage method is in. How involved you get in controlling the environment where your guns are stored is up to you, and the expense and time you put into it should typically correlate with your investment in the firearms themselves. For example, you might not invest in separate climate control to protect one gun, but it could make sense if you have a valuable collection of firearms.
- Use appropriate safety measures. If you're storing guns long-term and not relying on them for your go-to home defense weapons, consider using any safety features you have available. Things like trigger locks or bolt locks, some of which may even come with your gun, are perfect to use in this situation. Adding extra layers of protection only causes a small amount of extra work when you do want to use your guns, and it can keep you and others safe if something fails with your overall storage system. Whether your guns are stolen or a curious child finds their way past the safe door, extra locks are definitely a good better-safe-than-sorry approach.
As with buying a gun, storage is a very personal decision that ultimately can only be decided by you. Especially if that storage will be long term. Only you can know what your needs will be, what the conditions of your environment will be and what potential dangers you may face. However, with just a little bit of prior planning, you can store your guns safely and securely for as long as you need. Now that you know the ins and outs of storing your guns, why not read up on how to properly store your ammo?